Backshore Brewing Co. is now entering its sixth season on the Ocean City Boardwalk, and things at the brewery are really heating up — pun only a little intended.
June through August are crazy months for any Boardwalk business, but in spite of the thousands of visitors who come sit on their bar stools every summer, Backshore will continue to pump out new crowler releases every month, in addition to a Barleywine to celebrate their 300th batch and even a special Air Show brew. It’s all par for the course for the busy beachside brewery.
New experiments + new releases
“Since everything is so small batch and it changes so often, we get the joy of being able to do what we want,” said Backshore manager Nate Todd.
Nate himself is featured on the label of one of their summer releases, Danger Zone, which will debut for its second time around during the OC Air Show weekend. The beer is a Top Gun-themed, high-gravity triple IPA that pairs best with F-35 Joint Strike Fighter demonstrations on a warm June day, and Nate can be seen on the can in a fighter pilot-style jumpsuit.
Even before that release, the season was already kicked off with a raspberry and peach Pulped & Press 32 oz. crowler, and more on the Pulped & Press line will follow in the months to come. They’ll only brew one barrel of each, which is equal to about 115 cans that are usually gone in the span of one to two weeks. The next one will be strawberry mango.
Fall is normally the time for experimentation at Backshore, but the creativity doesn’t stop in the summer.
The brewery will release their first Barleywine in July to celebrate their 300th batch. With their 300th batch on the horizon, Nate and head brewer Matt Shockley got thinking about the movie 300, resulting in the idea to experiment with a Barleywine brewed with walnuts, honey, grape must and orange peel.
That’s how most of their brews come to fruition: the name always comes first.
“We have a dry-erase board hanging in the back and we’ll jokingly come up with a name and then figure out a beer that’ll go with it,” Nate said. “It’s very rare that we do a beer and then go, ‘what are we going to call it?’”
Names, and the beers that go along with them, aren’t hard to come by at Backshore. The brewery’s aesthetic and its very employees are majorly inspired by all things pop culture, from music to movies to TV. (Rick & Morty paraphernalia is all over the bar, and their mug club was even dubbed the “Schwifty Fifty” in honor of the show.)
Quit your job. Move to the beach. Never look back.
In addition to the van t-shirts (now in red), keg glasses, crowlers and Maryland flag bottle openers, you can also take home a tank top that embodies just what Backshore is all about: quitting your job, moving to the beach and never looking back (especially those last two parts).
The view of the beach from the brewery is unbeatable, which Nate cites as one of he major “pros” of brewing out on the OC Boardwalk.
“It’s the best view you’ll find in Ocean City,” he said. “No offense to Seacrets or any of those places, but you can sit right here and stare at the beach while drinking a handcrafted beer right where you’re sitting.”
One major “con,” he said, is that many people still aren’t familiar with the concept of craft beer. They mistakenly assume that Backshore is just another boardwalk bar and expect to be served a Bud Light or a frozen margarita.
But turning the uninitiated on to craft beer is also one of the best parts of working in a craft brewery.
“That’s why we keep the Boardwalk Blonde on tap all the time, because that’s our transitional beer,” he said. “We kind of get to change peoples’ lives every day with our beer.”