BERLIN — After what seems like an eternity, especially to the owners, the Burley Oak Brewery opened for business Friday to the relief of Bryan Brushmiller and the fans of the local brew who have been waiting more than a year to buy their first growler.
Hurricane or no, when Brushmiller announced he was officially selling his brews, there was a definite and immediate response from the public.
“Friday was pretty busy,” he said. “And, believe it or not, so was Saturday.”
Even Sunday was surprisingly steady given the fact that so many people relocated because of the hurricane. My Monday word had gotten out about the brewery.
Brushmiller began his beer odyssey more than a year ago, taking over the former restaurant equipment sales center on Old Ocean City Boulevard and transforming it with painful but precise attention from a rundown barn of a building into a showplace.
The interior was complete in time for Gov. Martin O’Malley’s visit last week and a number of people, along with O’Malley, got their first taste of the new beers. Still, it took another seven days to put on the finishing touches and get the proper permits in order to get the various stamps of approval that any business needs to open.
From the start, Brushmiller wanted to use as much local product as he was able and so has begun reaching out to local farmers to provide the barley hops and rye that will eventually make Burley Oak one of the most local craft beers around.
As it stands, Burley Oak Brewery will have three taps available serving 7 Finger Farmer, Rude Boy and Just the Tip, which represent years of different flavors, trial and errors. Customers can purchase tastings, which include a souvenir glass, for $5 and growlers for $15 with $8 refills.
A growler is a jug for holding beer and is the centerpiece of any small craft brewery worth the name. When you purchase a glass growler, you own it, which means as long as you keep it in good repair you will be able to refill it for the discounted price.
Brushmiller and master brewer Brian Carl hope to have a regular rotation combining fan favorites with new brews. But for now Brushmiller is a little behind on serving beer and locals and visitors alike are anxious to catch up.
He will be open from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily and stay open until 2 a.m. Thursday-Saturday.
The hours will be long for the small operation but after all the work he put into both the beer and the facility, he doesn’t want to deprive anyone of their opportunity to try it. After all, he said, it isn’t as if he has anything better to do.