Ocean City Today
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Annual Brews on the Beach craft beer festival, Saturday

By Kara Hallissey | Sep 07, 2017
Backshore Brewery representatives, from left, owner Danny Robinson, Gina and Nate Todd participant in the eight annual Brews on the Beach craft beer festival last year at Hooper’s Crab House in West Ocean City. The 2017 event will take place Saturday.

(Sept. 8, 2017) Sample 37 locally-made craft beers during the ninth annual Brews on the Beach festival on Saturday, Sept. 9, at Hooper’s Crab House in West Ocean City.

The craft beer festival will begin at 12:30 p.m. for VIP ticket holders with general admission following an hour later under the big tent in the restaurant’s parking lot.

“This is Ocean City’s longest running craft beer festival,” said Patrick Brady, manager of Hooper’s, which has its own in-house brewery, Fin City. “We are keeping it local and there will be a ton of great beers.”

A local home-brewing club based out of Wallops Island, B.I.E.R, will have up to 12 different beers for VIP ticket holders to sample and vote for a People’s Choice winner.

“We had kicked the idea around the last two years and this was the year to do it,” Brady said. “It is a neat opportunity for home brewers to brew on a larger system and see their beer out there.”

Fin City will brew the winning beer in West Ocean City, which will be available for tasting at the annual Shore Craft Beer Fest on Oct. 28.

“VIPs can vote for their favorite and Fin City will brew the winning beer,” Brady said. “It is a nice event to involve the community and home brewers.”

From 1:30-4:30 p.m., representatives from 12 Maryland and Delaware breweries will be on hand to pour samples and talk with guests.

The first 600 attendees will receive a commemorative sampling glass, and acoustic duo Bad Since Breakfast will provide live music during the event. In addition, food pairings can be purchased from Sobos Catering of Salisbury.

For the last couple years, Hooper’s Crab House has partnered with shorecraftbeer.com to host the oldest craft beer festival in Ocean City.

“It’s been an honor to be able to help grow this festival and awareness of craft beer in the region,” Ann McGinnis Hillyer, president of Shore Craft Beer, stated in a release. “Delmarva and our seasonal beers really get a chance to shine.”

Local favorites slated to participate include Backshore Brewing Co. and Hoop Tea, OC Brewing, Burley Oak, Tall Tales, 3rd Wave, Evolution, Dogfish Head, Rubber Soul, Mispillion River, Blue Earl and of course, Hooper’s Fin City.

Brewers and representatives will be on hand to pour unlimited, two-ounce samples.

“Breweries will have their new and upcoming beers,” Brady said. “Some are not out on the market yet and others haven’t been brewed in a while and they are bringing them back. There will be a neat variety of beers.”

Fin City is Hooper’s in-house brewing operation, located on the restaurant’s second floor. The idea for the brewery came during Brews on the Beach six years ago, when brewer Vince Wright approached Hooper’s staff. They began brewing in 2012 and Fin City started distributing its brews a year later.

Fin City will have last year’s hit, Bad Luck Banana, and a new favorite, Backfin Blue Crab Stout, available during the event.

“In October, Bad Luck Banana will be released in cans and it’s received such positive remarks,” Brady said. “Our Backfin Blue Crab Stout is the first and only [made with blue crab] and has received good reviews. Maryland is a craft beer state and known for the blue crab.”

Hundreds attended Brews on the Beach in 2016 and Brady expects many more to come out this year if the weather is nice.

“People from the area get to come out and enjoy the day after a long season,” Brady said. “I am looking forward to familiar faces.”

Any beer left over after 4:30 p.m. becomes an “everything must go” sale which allows guests to purchase beer for a discounted price.

Brews on the Beach tickets cost $35 for general admission and $50 for VIP at the door. Designated driver tickets cost $10. The event will take place rain or shine.

Part of the proceeds will be donated to Believe in Tomorrow Children’s House by the Sea, a facility on 66th Street that is open year-round to provide a free getaway to the beach for critically ill children and their families whenever they may need to escape the stresses of their child’s illness.

Brews on the Beach is scheduled from 12:30-4:30 p.m., Saturday, at Hooper’s Crab House, located at the foot of the Route 50 bridge in West Ocean City. Attendees must be 21 years old and bring a valid ID.

Call Hooper’s at 410-213-1771 or visit www.fincitybrewing.com or www.shorecraftbeerfest.com/brews-the-beach for more information. The restaurant will also be open during Brews on the Beach.

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