Tag Archives: OCEAN CITY MD


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Right on the boardwalk in the heart of Ocean City, tiny 10th Street shanty saloon, BACKSHORE BREWING COMPANY, came into existence during 2015. Relying on a small-batch nano system to pump out six draughts at a time for thirsty beachcombers, this cozily rustic shingled shack features eight interior seats and a small wood patio (with surf board-topped tables, small community benches and vintage Volkswagen bus).

Pinched in next door to Hammerheads Bar & Grill (whose cozy seating gets utilized by Backshore during winter months), the moderately ranged traditional brews available on this sunny Saturday in January ’20 never disappointed. Shandys and ‘Moonshine Cocktails’ were also available.

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Lightly creamed light-bodied softy, Boardwalk Blonde, left mild lemon zest upon delicate herbal hop astringency and celery-watered vegetalia.

Mild dried-fruited nuttiness engaged Shoot The Glass Doppelbock, leaving tobacco-roasted fig, date, pecan and brown bread illusions above its dank earthen bottom.

Pleasant dry-hopped IPA, Maclunkey, brought wispily spiced grapefruit, orange and peach tones to mild pine resin and salty herbal wisps, contrasting its softly creamy vanilla sweetness.

Subtle brown-sugared pecan glaze contrasted sour fig above tobacco-roasted cereal graining for dewy Downtown Sugar Brown, a  moderate English-styled ale with golden brown toasting.

Chocolatey peanut butter-oiled molasses porter, Anybody Want A Peanut?, gained sweet molasses breading and spiced toffee daubs.

Mellow caramelized bourbon warmth and Scotch whiskey tones permeated Admiral Jackbar Barleywine, a lusciously sedate 11.6% ABV barrel-aged elixir with wispy toffee, rum, pecan and vanilla undertones.

As I was about to leave, Backshore tapped brisk piney grapefruit-peeled medium body, The Professor , a juicy-fruited IPA relegating its dry wood tones and gentle caramel malting.




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.

  Assawoman Bay Angry Clown Brown AleEasygoing 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.




A few miles off the Ocean City strip on Ocean Gateway lies the 7,000 square-foot WEST O BOTTLE SHOP & BAR, a fabulous craft beer, fine wine and spirits outlet with creatively designed interior wood trellises, central bar with several draught taps and left side lounge.

Selling the finest local bottled and canned beers while offering a few select draughts at the bar, West O has become a staple for local consumers and curious travelers.

On my June ’16 stopover, there were five previously untried Maryland brews on tap (reviewed in full at Beer Index). Burley Oak High Whhheat Hibiscus brought floral hibiscus and lavender adjuncts to buttery Chardonnay tones and subtle citric notions while Union Country Boy Citric Wit dried out its lemony banana-clove-coriander sweetness with sharp hop astringency. Heavy Seas/ Troegs Hoppelbock, a doppelbock collaboration, doused sweet tropical fruiting with floral-spiced hops and caramel malts.

Onward, Rubber Soul High Wheel IPA had a soft-toned approachability dangling floral pineapple-peach-orange-mango fruiting above its soft wheat spine. RAR Habanero Nectar layered peppery habanero heat inside subtle IPA tropicalia.




Situated just over the bridge from Ocean City on Route 50, FIN CITY BREWERY has been housed in Hooper’s Crab House (a spacious barn-styled seafood haven) since 2012. A freestanding edifice with gray weatherboards, fire engine red roof and giant red crab insignia, my wife and I sojourned this mammoth restaurant-brewery during the 3rd Annual Bikers On The Beach weekend, April ’13.

Entering from a wood-planked deck, we ate dinner at the raised section to the right of the bar. In the middle dining area, several cool antiques appear, including a single propeller aeroplane, chopper motorcycle, Dale Earnhardt’s one-time practice car and scattered nautical ephemera. Ancient copper tanks on the balcony level stored brewer Vince Wright’s sessionable suds.

As our drunken mussels, steamed clams, cream of crab soup and moon rings (fried mozzarella with onion rings) got served, I dug into Fin Light, an easygoing dry-bodied pale ale with grassy Saaz hops tingling buttered popcorn, baked bread and maize illusions.

Next up, polite Sneaky Wheat brought mild orange peel bittering to subtle banana-clove-coriander nuances and carameilzed white wheat breading.

As the sun sets on the bay, I quaffed stylistically robust Jackspot Amber, a sharp Fuggle-hopped orange-spiced medium body with caramel-roasted malts and biscuit-y baguette backdrop.