OCEAN CITY, MARYLAND
Right on Ocean City’s bustling bayfront in a large multifaceted complex, ASSAWOMAN BREW PUB & RESTAURANT features a cement-floored pub area, sizable restaurant space, second floor banquet room, kitschy tiki bar, windowed brew tank station and patio dining section. Within walking distance of the Civic Center, the yellow-hued frontage and red lettering hail from the days Shallow Water Pub & Restaurant existed.
Open for biz since 2015, my wife and I grabbed a seat at the sidewinding wood lacquered bar (with cool brewing coasters and stickers) for our late afternoon snack time, June ’16. Equipped with 36 tap handles (dedicated to its own brews plus several fine craft beers), plentiful wood furnishings and Edison lighting, the red-bricked barroom centers Assawoman Bay’s interior.
Classic reggae music plays in the background as I sample seven stylish elixirs. We move outside when the enjoyable Texas Toothpicks (beer-battered jalapeno and onions with sriracha mayo) arrive and the place fills up with the Monday dinner crowd.
For starters, Assawoman Bay’s initial release, Bayside Blonde, took a walk on the wild side with its minty cucumber adjunct adding a sage-like tease to the tropical mango-guava tang, candi-sugared yellow fruiting and lemon-soured pineapple juicing overriding mild diacetyl buttering.
Beechwood-smoked peat malts imbibed For Peat Sake Scottish Ale, a mildly nutty mocha-spiced moderation with wavered black cherry and black grape notions. Spiced rye malts, dry walnut and fig secured Red Head Rye Ale, a soft-toned medium body.
Instructive ‘peppercorn’ and garlic’ adjuncts provided a unique sidebar to Pony Swim IPA, where dry wood shavings tingle sharp Cascade-hopped orange and grapefruit spicing as well as caramelized pilsner malts.
Easygoing Angry Clown Brown Ale brought nuts, raisin and dark cherry to the fore as caramelized biscuit malts and coffee-stained Fuggle hop bittering gained latent hazelnut, fig and molasses undertones. Not as clearly defined, TransPorter traipsed dry cocoa above desolate vanilla and caramel tones.
The darkest ale, Commodore Decatur Black IPA, brought thriving black chocolate and dark cocoa overtones to dry grapefruit tartness while its damp-wooded hop char gained bitterness.
Unfortunately, the ever-popular Weizen Shine Hefe kicked right before we entered.
Though this copious venue may seem mainstream with its affluent sportsbar feel, family-styled pub dining and mall-like atmosphere, Assawoman Bay’s fine beer selection will capture everyone’s attention.