Naptown Pintcast: Judy, Rob & Stephen of Checkerspot Brewing

They may not have opened their doors yet, but if you’re familiar with the Maryland beer scene or been to a recent Maryland craft beer festival, then you’ve probably heard of Checkerspot Brewing.

(FYI, their juniper IPA is dreamy.)

Rob Neff & Stephen Marsh of Checkerspot

Judy Neff of Checkerspot

Freshly-picked elderberries.

Black-Eyed Susans, the Maryland state flower.

Recently, I had a chance to sit down with Judy, Rob and Stephen — and a few roosters — at Stephen’s farm in Pasadena, Maryland. (Fun fact: It was this small, but industrious farm that supplied all of the strawberries for RAR Brewing’s collaboration with Max’s Taphouse, Stunt Cock!)

“You will need to find another chair.”

After a tour of the farm and a delicious dinner of grilled steaks, we sat out back and discussed their vision for Checkerspot — which will be opening its doors near M&T Bank Stadium next year — and their recent collaborations.

We also talked about:

  • How the Checkerspot crew came together;
  • The importance of agricultural storytelling through beer;
  • What makes the Maryland beer community so special;
  • Stephen’s extensive background with Heavy Seas’ cask program;
  • Their thoughts on what happened last legislative session with House Bill 1283;
  • and more!

Okay, Here’s the Episode

“There really is this circle of life with beer. The beer drinker. The bartender that’s serving it to you. The brewer who made it. The maltster that malted the grain. The farmer that grew the grain. The farmer that grew the hops.”

“Here’s [something] that concerns me. If we’re making the beer, we have to make it for the distributor; we’re not making it for the customer. We’re making it for what the distributor thinks they can sell vs. what the customer really wants. So, the distributor can also control what we make, in a way.”

“I love the brewing community. Everyone is so open, wanting to be part of everyone else’s experience. And there to help with anything.”

“I love really well thought out beers, the camaraderie around a well thought out beer, sitting around and drinking a well thought out beer and enjoying it.”

“One thing I love [about the Maryland beer scene] is all the new breweries popping up. Everyone is making great beer, and it’s such an open-armed community – which, I’ve come from other careers, and it’s not like this.”

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