Maryland’s official month-long month dedicated to celebrating all things craft beer, FeBREWary, launches on the Shore on Feb. 1 with a special Trivia Night at Hopper’s Tap House in Salisbury (find details down below). In honor of FeBREWary, local beer, and brewery-related trivia, here are a few fun facts about some of your favorite Shore breweries that you may or may not have known.
1. Evolution Craft Brewing‘s Public House in Salisbury was once the home of the Salisbury Ice Plant. Each room was a giant freezer.
To rev up the excitement surrounding trivia night, we threw a few questions to the crowd at the Ocean City Hotel Motel Restaurant Association’s monthly dinner on Jan. 17. That’s where we learned that we need to come up with some harder questions. Before I could even finish reading one out, and well before I could list off the three possible answers that accompanied each one, someone in the crowd would shoot up their hand and they’d blurt out the answer–the correct answer, no less! This question was one of them.
The 22,000-square foot Reedy Ice Plant, where Evo is now, was once essentially a giant freezer. The facility had already had access to the high-quality water necessary for the brewing process, which made it easy for the Evo team to convert it to a full-scale production brewery. Before they moved into the freezer-turned-brewpub, Evo had operated out of a small former convenience store in Delmar, DE, which is now the home of 3rd Wave Brewing Co.
2. Burley Oak funded their canning line through a Kickstarter campaign that raised $54,000.
Online fundraising platforms are the future of fundraising for small startup businesses (and for individuals’ health insurance, on an unrelated note), and Burley Oak knew this in 2015 when they launched an “AmeriCAN Made” Kickstarter campaign to raise money to purchase a Wild Goose Canning System. Their goal was $45,000, the cost of the canning machine, which they ultimately exceeded by $9,000. The campaign reportedly generated 18-20 months of revenue for the brewery in just seven weeks, drawing in donors from the local community and from across the world.
3. Backshore Brewing founder Danny Robinson rapped “Turn Down for What” in front of a 79-year-old judge to explain the inspiration behind their now-retired “Turn Down for Wheat” beer.
I was sorting through some of our oldest-of-old posts from Shore Craft Beer’s early days in 2014 — Can you believe that the classic Lil Jon ballad “Turn Down for What” is five years old? Am I getting old or what? — And in my research, I stumbled upon this gem of a lede from a former SCB writer’s feature story on Shorebilly-turned-Backshore Brewing Co.:
In most lines of work, the odds of ending up in Federal Court singing “Turn Down for What” in front of a 79-year-old judge as he presides over your $1.3 million lawsuit are about as slim as the odds of being extorted by a T-shirt company over the use of a made-up word. But that’s the exact situation brewery owner Danny Robinson found himself in this July.
The “Turn Down for What” anecdote isn’t even the most ridiculous part of the 2014 hearing, but it is a fun fact about Ocean City’s first brewery that you can entertain your friends with at parties or at exceedingly niche Shore brewery-related trivia nights.
4. Dogfish Head had to convince Delaware to change state law before they could open their brewery.
Dogfish founder Sam Calagione was weeks away from opening the craft brewery, Delaware’s first, when he learned that it was still illegal to brew commercially in the state, a Prohibition-era law that was still on the books in 1995. Brewpubs in the state were effectively banned. Calagione started calling legislators and by 1996, commercial brewing was legalized and Dogfish Head was able to open its doors in Milton, DE. Today, Calagione cites Delaware’s brewing laws as being some of the most progressive in the country.
5. The first Shore Craft Beer Fest was an early iteration of OCtoberfest, held in Ocean City’s Sunset Park in October of 2015.
To shamelessly self-promote for our final fun fact, the inaugural Shore Craft Beer Fest, which took place just over three years ago in October of 2015, was the first of its kind in Ocean City and surrounding whereabouts. Like our more recent festivals, the first SCB Fest included local breweries and beer served by the men and women who brewed them, food trucks, live music, and scenic views bordering the perimeter.
Our festivals have grown steadily over their three years of life. The emphasis still lies on the local breweries, but lately we’ve been including a few from the Western Shore, from Baltimore and beyond, not as a replacement to our world-class local breweries (of which there are even more now than when we started in 2015!), but as an addition. The food’s just as delicious, the music as exciting, and the views as picturesque as ever, not only at Sunset Park but in West Ocean City, at Seacrets, down in Chincoteague, even at stints in Salisbury and Bethany Beach. Let’s cheers to that.
Our next festival is now a month away, the annual Shore Craft Beer Fest: Love on Tap at Seacrets, which serves as the cornerstone event of FeBREWary (Craft Beer Lovers Month) on the Shore.
But wait, there’s more.
More local beer trivia? Yes, but only at Hopper’s on FeBREWary 1!
Breweries up and down the Shore are hosting special FeBREWary events, and we’re kicking off Maryland’s official month-long celebration of craft beer with a special “Town Throwdown” trivia night at Hopper’s Tap House in Salisbury. You can read all about the event here and on Facebook, but if you really want to impress your friends and win some cool prizes from local breweries, here are the categories we’ll be pulling questions from:
In The News, Questions From Beer Notes, Local Beer and Breweries, Classical Music, Shore History, and Famous Love Stories.
You can study for Trivia Night by:
- Listening to Delmarva Public Radio (DPR) to keep up with national news.
- Listening to Beer Notes, on DPR at 5:44 p.m. Thursdays during All Things Considered, and right here online. We’ll be pulling questions from 2018 and ’19 episodes, so listen closely!
- Visiting your favorite local breweries, which of course you’d do anyway. It doesn’t hurt to ask your bartender about the brewery’s history, either.
- And, pro tip, you can also excel by getting all your (hopefully smart) friends involved and creating a sizable team to compete against representatives from towns, counties, and breweries on the Shore.
We’ll see you on FeBREWary 1 at Hopper’s.