OCBC: reach for the beach (Hop’in Around on the road)

By on May 16, 2018

 

Ocean City Brewing Company serves everything from Orange Crush Belgian-style white ale to the standard American Pale Ale named after the Route 50 thoroughfare, which leads into Ocean City, Md. (Photos by Michael Upton)

During a recent mini-vacation I stopped by an Ocean City Brewing Company location. I remember when the summer vacation hotspot in Maryland was a craft beer desert — the closest beer fans could come to great beer near the waves was Evolution Craft Brewing Co. & Public House in Salisbury, Md. (Which I absolutely love.)

Now OC Brewing has four locations! And here one is, a little taste of brewed beach life all the way up in Abingdon, Md., 25 miles south of the Lancaster County (Mason-Dixon) line.

This destination taphouse serves up all the brewery’s staples, from the popular citrus-and-vodka concoction-inspired Orange Crush Belgian-style white ale to the standard American Pale Ale named after the Route 50 thoroughfare, which leads into Ocean City Maryland.

There was nothing “new” on their list of company brews at Abingdon, so we opted for the 6.5 percent ABV Krusher IPA. The Krusher is a standard American IPA, heavy with non-distinct hops and light on the malt. What struck us most was the underlying notes of “brew pub.” You know that je n’ais se quoi flavor with hints of metal and dust-maybe old wood — perhaps an attribute derived from old beer lines, overly worn glassware, or the unseen filament in the firmament surrounding fried food? That’s “brew pub,” the umami of beer tasting notes. Just less appetizing. Notes of “brew pub” can also be found olfactorily in long-time watering holes where the mix of outside air (fresh or not) tangles with decaying bar seats and suds-soaked bar tops in places where just as much beer may be spilled in merriment as imbibed. Great Irish bars waft of “brew pub.”

Crabby Totchos (nachos made with tater tots) are a popular menu item at OCBC.

The Abingdon location reminds me of Ocean City Md. There’s a giant faux-shark hanging from the ceiling explaining OC Brewing Company does things “dif’r3nt.” Every inch of wall space is tacked with beer signs or symbolic slogans. There are games and TVs — lots and lots of TVs. This is a party place. At 5 p.m. on a Friday, the evening’s band was setting up in an otherwise empty main room.

No visitor here is going to be reading Michael Jackson’s “The World Guide to Beer” in a quiet corner. This is the place where you knock back some Nuckin’ Futs brown ale, play skee ball, and fill up on Crabby Totchos (nachos made with tater tots). We sat in the weather-convertible outside area enjoying the view of the parking lot wishing it was the ocean.

This shark welcomes patrons to OC Brewing Company’s Abingdon, Md., location. As the sign says, they do things “dif’r3nt.”

If you are looking to get a growler filled here, think again. The liquor license OC Brewing holds in Abingdon does not allow for take-out sales! Thankfully, our server pointed us in the direction of Friendship Wine & Liquor just a short drive away. We swung in, and after making it past free samples of wine, bourbon, scrapple vodka, and German beers, we spotted a 12-tap growler station in the back. It was a little pricey, but we filled two growlers: one with Bad Luck Banana Porter from Fin City Brewing Company and the other with No Way Gosé from DuClaw Brewing Company. Both beers were fresh, clean, and outstanding. You can find all of Friendship’s offerings on Untappd, too.

Cheers and thanks for reading!

Michael C. Upton is a freelance writer specializing in arts and leisure. He welcomes comments at somepromcu@gmail.com and facebook.com/SomebodiesProductions.

OCBC’s Krusher IPA, according to beer reviewer Michael Upton, is a standard American IPA, heavy with non-distinct hops and light on the malt. What struck him most was the underlying notes of “brew pub.”

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