At least 20 different craft beers (brewed on premises) on tap at any given time, a full bar, German beer hall style seating, flat screen TVs, nine different types of egg rolls, 12 varieties of flatbreads, games, corn hole tournaments, beer flights, beer pairings, live entertainment…have we piqued your interest yet??

OC Brewing Company features all of the above and then some, with a deceivingly large restaurant and bar space that is ideal for just about anyone, from the vacationing family to the local beer connoisseur. We took a tour of the brewery, retail store, bar and restaurant last week, catching up with General Manager Matt Rankin and Director of Sales and Distribution, Mike Lee, for the inside scoop on OC Brew Co.’s exciting second year of business.

“We had a really great first summer,” said Rankin. “We are really, really excited about next summer.” OC Brew will celebrate its one year anniversary this June, marking an exciting and successful first year for the brewery and restaurant. One of the first aspects of the business that Lee and Rankin were quick to point out (and incidentally our initial reaction when we first visited the 56th Street location) was that they are more than just a brewery.  We’ll get to the beer shortly; after all, they are quickly expanding their distribution territory, but first, let’s talk about the restaurant. From the outside, OC Brewing Co. looks like your standard storefront, but step inside and you are quickly dumbfounded by how expansive the interior actually is. Past the retail space, you’ll find ample seating, with a mix of bar stools, dining tables and long, German beer hall style communal tables. The beer hall tables create a community feel amongst patrons, accommodating large parties while simultaneously allowing for smaller parties to get to know one another if they are so inclined. “It’s a cool social vibe – the German beer hall style – it really opens you up to talking to new people,” pointed out Lee. The dining section of the restaurant is family-friendly, and with seating for up to 300 people, it’s easy to nab a spot whether you are with a party of 2 or 22. “We can seat over 300 people in here,” explained Rankin, adding “even if you walk in with 35 people, we will get you sat.”

Once seated, the menu options are seemingly endless, with a collection of traditional bar food and Eastern Shore favorites. Burgers, crab cakes, fish and chips, cheesesteaks and tacos are available, along with salads and appetizers such as coconut shrimp, fried pickles, mozzarella sticks, and crab dip. Of course, what immediately caught our eye were the egg rolls and the flatbreads. Their “almost famous” egg rolls include an inventive list of options, from Thai chicken to cheesesteak. There’s also the BBQ egg roll, with fire braised pork, onions, slaw and mozzarella, or the local, with crab, shrimp, cheddar and Old Bay. And don’t forget to check their FB page for the Egg Roll of the Week. For flatbreads, the options are even more staggering. We’re partial to Nonna’s Gorgonzola Pesto, with sausage, pesto, mushrooms, mozzarella, onions and Gorgonzola. “Its good comfort food,” said Rankin. “Our menu is also very family-friendly.” Kid’s menu options include the likes of macaroni and cheese, pizza, chicken tenders and corn dogs.

Of course the food is best paired with one of OC Brew’s craft beers, brewed on site and available on tap. At any given time, there are 20 different options, with seasonal varieties complementing the popular mainstays. “Our range of beers is extensive,” said Lee. “We have something for everyone.” Year-round selections include the OC Lager, Lost Souls, Kraken, Route 50, and OC Light, to name a few. Fast favorites have been the Kraken, an I.P.A with a light malt flavor and a citrusy bitterness, and the Route 50, an American Pale Ale with a soft hop aroma balanced with a bready sweetness. Lee and Rankin both agreed that while they certainly attract the craft beer connoisseur, their wide selection makes OC Brew ideal for the more casual beer drinker. Not a beer lover? No worries, there’s a full bar with a terrific lineup of specialty mixed drinks to consider.

Beer tours are available daily, at 11am, 1pm and 3pm. Tours are just $10 and include a complimentary pint glass, a flight of beer, and stickers and coupons. Offsite, the OC Brewing brand can be found on tap at other bars and restaurants, as well as in stores. Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania currently sell their beers, with West Virginia and Virginia on the horizon.

Events are also popular at the brewery/restaurant. Paint Nite is held every Tuesday and consistently draws a large crowd of locals.  Wednesday evenings are also popular, with the weekly corn hole league. “We’re also going to start four-course beer pairing dinners, every first and third Thursday of the month,” explained Lee. The first will be held this Thursday, February 5th. Tickets are $35 and include Joshua’s Red, Dragon’s Moon, Belgian White and Spoiled Brat paired with a delicious selection of chef-selected courses. For the beer enthusiast, there’s also the Home Brew Club, which affords home brewers with the chance to convene to sample test batches, bounce ideas off one another, and talk shop.

With events, live entertainment, and a constant flow of locally brewed beer, OC Brew is primed for a successful sophomore year. Stop in for a beer, grab a snack with a friend, take a tour of the brewery, or enjoy a lunch out with your family. We’re currently working our way through all of the egg roll options…stay tuned;)

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