Last week, the team at Waverly Brewing Company celebrated their second anniversary.

Though they consider themselves “petite but mighty-ish,” they have made a lasting impression on fellow brewers and the consumers that make up the tight-knit Maryland beer community. They’ve done so with their unabashed personalities, inventive collaborations and a steadfast commitment to have a positive impact on their neighborhood.

And they’ve accomplished all of this from their unassuming, but welcoming taproom — lovingly dubbed “The Shed” — located right off I-83, in the Baltimore neighborhood of Hampden.

Following one of the final meetings of the Reform on Tap Task Force, I had a chance to hang out, drink beer and talk shop with Waverly head brewer Roy Fisher and “partner/numbers guy” Al Yukna.

While I was already excited to chat with them about all things Waverly, I wasn’t ready for a conversation that turned out to be equal parts thoughtful, hilarious and reflective.

And in spite of Roy’s busted thumb, we were still able to tackle a ton of topics, including:

  • The importance of the neighborhood brewery.
  • Why it matters to know who brews your beer.
  • The intersection of cooking, food and beer. (Oh, and salty snacks.)
  • Al’s experience attending a Reform on Tap Task Force meeting.
  • Whether or not local legislators are getting the right messages from the right people.
  • The pressures of big beer on the industry at large.
  • The debate around regulating “sin” industries like alcohol, due to morality.
  • Why Roy should not pick fights with ladders.
  • Everyone’s favorite topic, House Bill 1283, and how the original version would have put Waverly out of business had it passed without amendments.
  • Their delicious beer.
  • And much, much more…

Okay, Here’s the Episode

“It’s important as a country to have local, small economies and to keep the money in those economies. In particular, in beer, it is a weird notion that you’re not going to meet the people who made your beer. But here, you can meet the people who made your beer, with their busted thumbs, and their high-kick ability, and their cool overalls.”

“When we set out, we wanted to be a neighborhood gathering place. We’re embedded in a neighborhood, we’re not in an industrial park out in the middle of nowhere. We physically have homes behind us that are filled with teachers and police officers and engineers and college students. We’re a part of this neighborhood, and that was intentional for us.”

“We want teachers to be able to come here and hang out. And on any given Saturday or Sunday, you’ll see folks — they come down with their strollers, and they’re hanging out with their kids, and there are dogs running around. That’s cool to us. These are our friends. We know these folks.”

“I put my life and my soul and my love into this liquid that we’re making today.”

“We would be foolish to say we’re not afraid, because we are. We hear those kinds of things, and to think that your livelihood could be yanked at the stroke of a pen because of some backyard deal is disheartening.”

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