One of my favorite things about craft breweries is how they bring people of all walks of life together. So, when I heard about Patuxent Brewing Company creating a space for genuine connection and community beyond the suds, I knew I needed to visit.
I happened to pick a lovely winter afternoon for a drive and headed down to Southern Maryland to meet some of the folks behind Patuxent Brewing Company, the first nano-brewery in Charles County and one of two black-owned breweries in the state. From the moment I walked in the door and met some of the co-owners and staff, I felt like I was with old friends, confirming my gut feeling that Patuxent Brewing has deep local roots. The sense of community was woven through my whole visit, from the open space perfect for grabbing a beer with friends to our conversation about the history of the brewery and what motivates them to keep going.
Everything at Patuxent Brewing is lovingly handmade by the co-owners: the bartop, the tables and benches, and of course, the beer. Davie Feaster, founder and head brewer, brews a variety of beers that reflect the diversity of the local area. Patuxent Brewing’s best selling beer, 301 Pale Ale, is a nod to Maryland’s first area code, and their other flagship beer, Pipestone IPA, was described to me as “an ode to the area” with notes of corn and pine, reminiscent of flavors one would have found in local beer in the 1800s. Cans on an upcoming beer will have QR codes linking patrons to oral history from long time Charles County residents. One of the co-owners, Tranice Watts, described these fifth and sixth-generation Charles County residents as “griots for the new generation,” linking these stories to the West African tradition of oral history using beer as the medium instead of music or storytelling.
Watts told me that the best thing about the brewery is the people who see the vision of Patuxent Brewing and are committed to providing help however they can. Even before the brewery opened its doors in August of 2019, they felt the support of the community when they stopped by or dropped off meals during the long hours building out the brewery, meeting their families’ practical needs, and seeking out candid conversations about race.
The owners and staff of Patuxent Brewing are passionate about giving back as well. In addition to hosting karaoke nights and yoga workouts with beermosas at the end, they actively seek out opportunities to make substantive contributions to others. Some examples are a recent food drive at the brewery and participating in the nationwide Black is Beautiful beer initiative and donating proceeds from the beer to the Charles County chapter of the NAACP.
The brewery recently started a podcast, The Mash-Up with Patuxent Brewing Co., which highlights local businesses and hopes to help young people envision a way to achieve their professional goals.
In partnership with Explore Charles County, Patuxent Brewing will release Sunken Sips, the Official Beer of Charles County, in February. (Check out their Facebook page for updates.) Partial proceeds from this delicious IPA will go towards initiatives related to protecting local waterways, one of them being the Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary. The marine sanctuary is located on an 18-square mile stretch of the Potomac River and the resting place of hundreds of ships dating back to the Revolutionary War and more than 100 abandoned steamships from World War I. The site also highlights the history of local Native American communities and the Potomac River fishing industry. There are wildlife viewing areas, fishing spots, a hiking trail, and boat access in Mallows Bay.
Getting to the brewery is easy, they are located just off of U.S. Route 301 in Waldorf and have plenty of parking.
And don’t forget — it’s FeBREWary, the official month-long celebration of craft beer in Maryland! Breweries are highlighting their winter styles in celebration. Look for the “Love Thy Beer” logo on draft lists and visit the Brewers Association of Maryland’s FeBREWary page for more ways to join the celebration.
Lead Photo: Patuxent Brewing Company