Over the past six months, downtown Silver Spring in Montgomery County, Maryland has become a legitimate craft beer destination.
The best way to discover Silver Spring’s thriving brewery scene is to visit all three breweries on an afternoon brewery crawl. The distance from Silver Branch, which is across the street from the Silver Spring Metro station, to Denizens is less than a mile on foot, with Third Hill Brewing Co. almost directly in the middle. Three stops for beer and no designated driver needed.
Stop 1: Silver Branch Brewing, 8401 Colesville Rd. (Entrance on Second Avenue.)
Why you’re going: Silver Branch is a bright and spacious young brewery set in the Silver Spring Metro Plaza, a sprawling 1980s office complex across Colesville Road from the Red Line Metro and MARC stations. If you didn’t know the taproom was there, you might walk past it. But climb up a flight of stairs to a paved patio and you’ll find a spacious, airy bar full of picnic-style tables, plus foosball and indoor corn hole sets. Even more biergarten tables are available in a fenced area outside.
What to drink: If you’re the kind of beer drinker whose eyes glaze over when you find eight IPAs on tap, Silver Branch will feel like a little slice of heaven. Brewer Christian Layke spent eight years at the former Gordon Biersch brewpub in Rockville, and he knows his way around other styles of beer. Silver Branch released Glass Castle, a note-perfect Czech-style pilsner with a bready body and a nose of floral hops. There is one English-style beer, brewed using Maris otter malt, plus a chocolaty stout and a classic Belgian wit. Oh, and plenty of IPAs.
What to eat: The Biergarten Food at Silver Branch offers many sandwiches, tacos and sides. Enjoy their Mango Habanero Chicken Sandwich or the Teriyaki Bao Buns. Silver Branch also has traditional bar snacks including Bavarian Pretzels, Landjäger, a traditional Bavarian semi-dried beef sausage and chips and salsa. For people who don’t eat meat, Silver Branch offers Buffalo Cauliflower, Rice & Beans, and Salads.
Stop 2: Third Hill Brewing, 8216 Georgia Ave.
Why you’re going: Third Hill Brewing Co. is a place to escape and be with friends and loved ones. You’re going for the beer, not for the modest taproom, which is sparsely decorated with long tables and a TV, or the small patio facing Georgia Avenue which can be opened to allow fresh air to circulate through the building (Music fans may remember this building as the previous home of Joe’s Record Paradise.)
What to drink: This recently opened location features an ever evolving selection of beers. Be sure to visit their website for an updated menu.
What to eat: Many restaurants are within walking distance from Third Hill Brewing Co. The Society Restaurant & Lounge is a three minute walk from the building and features American cuisine with a Caribbean twist. Or, go one more door down to Underground Pizza Company Silver Spring for specialty pizzas and filling appetizers.
Stop 3: Denizens Brewing, 1115 East-West Hwy.
Why you’re going: By any measure, Denizens is the biggest and most important brewery in Montgomery County. It was involved in changing laws to allow breweries to self-distribute beer throughout Maryland. The brewery has the most popular beer garden in the county: a kid-friendly, dog-friendly space that’s home to beer festivals, birthday parties and lazy days spent hanging out and playing corn hole.
What to drink: Denizens Brewing Company has brewed over 150+ brews and hard seltzers. All of their beer is proudly brewed in Maryland. One of their year round brews is Born Bohemian, a 4.9% crisp and floral Czech-Style pilsner that received a 96 rating by Craft Beer & Brewing. They have seasonal brews and last kegs of the season on their menu. Their seasonal Hike the Alps Hefeweizen won the Maryland Craft Beer Gold Medal. Non-alcoholic products are also available for purchase.
What to eat: Denizens Brewing Company serves up salads, a Bacon Cheese Smashburger or Chicken Club Sandwich. If you’re in the mood for BBQ, try their delicious Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwich or the smoky Chopped Texas Brisket Sandwich. For something sweet, try their Fried Cheesecake with Powered Sugar or soft All Set Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Read the full article on The Washington Post.
This post was updated to reflect the closure of Astro Lab and the opening of Third Hill Brewing Co.