Silver Spring’s third downtown brewery will hold its grand opening at 1 p.m. Sunday, March 3, according to cofounders Brett Robison and Christian Layke.
Silver Branch Brewing Co. has invited Councilmembers Tom Hucker (D-District 5) and Hans Reimer (D-At Large) to join to the opening festivities, along with others who have helped with the project.
“Once we’re officially open,” said Robison, the general manager, “we will be going from 4 [p.m.] to 12 [a.m.] Monday through Thursday, and then 4 to 1 [a.m.] on Friday, 10 [a.m.] to 1 [a.m.] Saturday, and 10 [a.m.] to 8 [p.m.] on Sunday.”
The brewery can seat 218 in the taproom and the gaming area indoors, and will add a dog-friendly biergarten on the plaza adjoining the taproom when weather allows.
Unlike many of the other breweries in the area, Silver Branch will offer table service indoors and out, with a limited food menu, primarily of snacks.
“To start, we’re going to have popcorn and beef jerky and potato chips and landjaeger, which is like a traditional German sausage,” said Robison.
“It’s a traveling sausage for hunters to take out into the woods,” said Layke, the brewmaster. “It’s sort of like jerky…it’s a cured sausage.”
“We’re also going to have stroopwafels,” Robison said, “the thing that’s traditionally served with coffee in Holland.”
“It’s two thin waffles with caramel in between the two layers,” said Layke. “Sometimes they serve it on top of a cup of coffee or hot beverage, and that way the caramel gets nice and warm and gooey.”
Patrons will also be permitted to bring their own food to the brewery, whether they prepare it themselves or bring it from the local restaurants within easy walking distance, including the Tastee Diner, Buena Vida/Tacos, Tortas and Tequila, Mama Lucia’s or (coming soon) District Taco.
The opening beer menu includes two of Silver Branch’s signature brews, Quantum Shift (an American IPA) and Chronicle (a tropical stout), along with a collaboration brewed with Astro Lab Brewing (Olde Radicals) and guest beers from other local breweries, such as Denizens’ Southside Rye IPA.
“We hope to have between 12 and 16 beers on tap, generally speaking,” Layke said, once they’re up and fully running.
Some of the beers might be offered both as a cask version, such as is typical in Great Britain, along with the traditional American keg style, Layke said.
At full capacity, the brewery could turn out 45 barrels in a day, though they will start with one smaller batch a day.
The brewery opened Saturday afternoon for an event with its Founders Club members, which also served as a dry run for the staff.
“There was a lot of enthusiasm for us when we announced that we were starting Silver Branch,” Layke said. “So we decided to explore something that our friends over at Waredaca [Brewing] had told us about.”
Club members can join at one of two levels and received various benefits, including their name on a membership plaque (membership is still open for a brief period).
“For those folks who joined the club, this is a way for us to give ourselves some practice before we open to the general public, make sure that we have a chance to iron out some of the kinks,” Layke continue, “and for them, it’s a fun party.
“It’s a social club, and a beer enthusiasts club and a Silver Branch supporters club,” he added.
Visitors to Silver Branch will also find wines by the glass from various regions, including Germany, Austria, and the United States, as well as cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks.
“We’ll have house-made soda—we’re doing all the soda ourselves,” Robison said. “We’re also going to have a full coffee and espresso program here. We are also going to have a selection of tea as well. We’re trying to cover all the beverages.”
It’s all driven by the cofounders drive to create Gemütlichkeit.
“Gemütlichkeit is this German term for this nebulous sense of coziness, camaraderie and belonging,” said Layke in an earlier interview. “There’s no English equivalent in terms of a word, but it’s really that that we’re trying to achieve with our taproom.”
Silver Branch Brewing Co. is located at 8401 Colesville Rd., #150, overlooking Colesville Road and Second Avenue across from the Silver Spring Transit Center.
Top, General Manager Brett Robison (grey shirt) talks to the staff before the Founders Club event. Below, shots from the event. All photos by Mike Diegel.