One small upside of the pandemic: COVID turbocharged consumption of alcohol, fueling an interest and demand for local products. As a result, there’s been an astonishing spread of Maryland wineries, breweries, and distilleries to choose from. We’ve plucked three suggestions for you to check out, but don’t hesitate to take a deeper dive into any of our regional producers; there’s never been a better time to go exploring.
Baltimore Spirits Company Epoch Reserve Maryland Rye Whiskey
This early comer to Baltimore’s distilling renaissance has been around long enough to have aged some booze, and it’s time for us to rejoice. Not only have they resurrected the Maryland style of rye whiskey production, but they also now sell it in a reserve offering that’s over four years old. Cascading tones of baking spice and vanilla make for an engaging sipper, with that unmistakable spice signature of any good rye. Serve neat or with a bit of ice or, if you prefer to mix it, make the most amazing Manhattan ever.
Elder Pine Brewing Oak-Aged Marzen “Autumn Awaits”
($15 4-pack cans, Elder Pine)
Celebrate Oktoberfest with this amazing local offering. Gaithersburg newcomer Elder Pine has crafted a plush, malty gem of a lager with a slightly crisp undertone and aged it for three months in large oak vessels. The result is a silky, lushly textured brew with mellow malt character and a long, balanced finish. These folks are crafting beer at a very high level, and we can’t wait to hit the road and visit them at their gorgeous brewpub. The food is likely to be just as inviting as the brew.
Big Cork Cabernet Franc 2020
Western Maryland’s Big Cork Vineyards makes some of our state’s most attractive wines, and this Cabernet Franc is no exception. For this offering, they’ve collaborated with Six Wicket Vineyards and crafted a deeply flavorful Cabernet Franc with notes of cherry, prune, and tobacco. It’s a wine that prefers food, and its persistent earthy finish begs for a rich, savory, autumnal roast. Cabernet Franc has been a proven winner for many Virginia wineries, and if this bottle is any indication, it’s doing just fine in Maryland, too.