Naptown Pintcast: Earl, Daniel & Andrew of Crooked Crab Brewing, Part II (This Time It’s Personal)

Sunday, March 25, 2018 was Maryland Day, which commemorates when the first European settlers landed in the province of Maryland on that date in 1634.

To celebrate, I headed back to Odenton to see the guys at Crooked Crab Brewing.

If you’re a long-time listener, first-time caller of the Naptown Pintcast, you’ll probably recall that I hung out with the Crooked Crab crew last season, as one of the first-ever Pintcasts I recorded.

Leaving aside the fact that I clearly didn’t know much about podcasting when we first recorded — “Dude, the wind won’t ruin the audio,” I said. “It’ll be fine,” I said. Ugh. — it was an exciting milestone.

Not only for them, because they were looking forward to opening, but also for Anne Arundel County.

Ribbon cutting ceremony on February 17, 2018, at Crooked Crab Brewing, along with Comptroller Peter Franchot and other local and state elected officials. 

History lesson: Production-scale breweries weren’t always legal in our fair little county. In fact, why we didn’t have breweries of our own was most common question I was asked back in the day, when I was just starting out with my column in The Capital.

After a little digging, I finally found out the answer. It was an unsexy zoning issue.

But, once the barrier was understood and acknowledged, the Anne Arundel County Council unanimously — and with enthusiasm — passed a bill to make them legal!

Then, us local beer drinkers waited. And waited. And waited.

The laws had changed, right? Yet, no breweries opened their doors. There were hints and whispers, of course. But no brewery would actually ever materialize. It kind of sucked. So, for more than three years, I traveled out of the county to get great Maryland beer.

That’s why Crooked Crab opening up in Anne Arundel was such a big deal to me, and a lot of other people…

Opening day at Crooked Crab.

Even though I had a great time chatting it up in that first episode with them, they hadn’t opened yet.

(When I entered what would become the entrance to their taproom last August, it was a huge, empty space, with no walls. There was just a big red, load-bearing pole in the center of it, and a couple walls that said “NO” on them.)

The Crooked Crab Brewing team last August. And their pole. And their wall.

About seven months later, that pole is now lives inside the cold storage room in their very active and open brewery.

See, there’s the red pole! 

So, for season two, I thought it would be fun to catch up with the guys, because I had questions. Lots of ’em.

For example, did the reality of opening a brewery live up to the dream?

Andrew, Alex, Earl & Daniel of Crooked Crab.

Also, how did I not already know of the man, the myth, the legend — Tim? Why had they been keeping him from me? From the world?

Who is Tim? You’ll have to listen to find out.

In honor of the fact that it was Maryland Day, we not only sampled some of their amazing beers. We also shared stories while passing around a few killer beers from other local Maryland breweries, including, Dundalk Calling by Key Brewing, 25th Hour by Hysteria Brewing, Friends with Benefits by Black Flag Brewing, and Spin Out by Brookeville Beer Farm.

We had a blast, but… 

…we also learned a lot about Earl.

So, what did we talk about?

  • What’s changed since we last spoke and since they opened.
  • What’s one thing you would tell yourself before the doors opened to your brewery.
  • The perils of DIY projects as a brewery owner, and what they wish they hadn’t done on their own.
  • Introducing new beer drinkers to the fact that production scale breweries are often in industrial areas.
  • How craft brewers integrate themselves as community partners and good neighbors.
  • How Earl is a horrible human who has never seen Jaws, Casino, The Goonies, Goodfellas, The Shining and other timeless classics.
  • When we offended Patrick Swayze’s ghost by calling his classic, Roadhouse, by the wrong name. Like monsters.
  • A rousing defense of the modest cream ale style.
  • The spooky happenings perpetrated by the ghost that haunts the Crooked Crab Brewing.
  • Alex’s terrible pour of beer for a video.
  • And finally, hot takes about specialty can releases, lactose in beers and lagers.

Okay, Here’s the Episode

“Opening day, was insane. I’m just humbled that people were waiting outside. In the snow! It was snowing that day!”

“I remember sitting with our architect, and he brought out the acoustic panels and showed them to me. And I pretty much just threw them across the room and said, ‘What do we look like? Do we look like rich people with acoustic panels?’”

“DIY projects that we’ve taken on in the taproom. If we could go back to ourselves four months ago and just slap them in the face and tell them, ‘Don’t do this.’”

“I’m really impressed and proud of what we’ve done — I’ll be honest about that. Aside from the floors — which I would not do again — I wouldn’t change much.”

“People come up to us all the time and say, ‘There was nothing to do in Odenton, and now we’re so glad that you’re here.’”

“Breweries tend to be very community-minded, community-centric, wanting to help out their communities … Odenton is making this comeback. We get to be part of that, and it’s awesome.”

“I think that’s what’s missing with all of this legislation. Ultimately, in the end, retailers, breweries, things like that, we all get together and tend to be pretty good friends and try to be supportive of each other.”

“We close at 10 p.m. on the hot nights, and people always ask us, ‘What should I do? Where should we go?’ And it’s awesome to be able to say, ‘Hey, you know, Buck Murphy’s just re-opened up a block and a half that way,’ or ‘Are you hungry? The best wings in town are at the Hideaway, you should grab a bite over there.’”

“Want to give a shout out to Hysteria Brewing for their 25th Hour, which is on point.”

“Have you seen the Guitar Hero episode of South Park? That’s me.”

“I’ve never seen Jaws. At this point, I’m purposefully not watching it. Just because.”

“All of it’s been fun. All of it’s sucked at the same time.”

“Being able to pour people beer that we made 20 feet from the taproom… that’s pretty awesome. Being able to talk to people about beer. Being able to connect with people about beer.”

“Dan truly is the guy that rates everything a 5 on Untappd.”

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