A variety of breweries have popped along the C&O Canal, featuring creative brews sourced from local ingredients and with local character. Many outdoor enthusiasts know a hike or bike ride followed by a craft beer is one of the best combinations out there.
After your visit to the C&O Canal, grab a cold at one of these breweries:
7 Locks Brewery – Rockville, MD
12227 Wilkins Avenue, Rockville, MD, 20852
Although it isn’t right on the canal, it is named for the canal! You’ll need a car to get to 7 Locks Brewery in Rockville from the C&O Canal National Historical Park, where you will find a 40-seat taproom housed in a 7,200 square foot warehouse, an up-close view of the brewing equipment, and plenty of places to hang with friends. Their focus is to offer an array of well-executed and thoughtful beers to demonstrate their vision of what local craft beer should be.
Smoketown Brewing Station – Brunswick, MD (Mile 55)
223 W. Potomac St., Brunswick, MD, 21716
Smoketown Brewing Station opened in 2016 in a former firehouse. The owner’s father worked in the firehouse as a firefighter, and now his son works in the same firehouse as a brewer. Smoketown has a family-friendly patio environment and is open to outside food. Grab a slice of pizza from King’s Pizza next door to enjoy with your beer. Bike-able from the towpath, Smoketown hosts trivia and food trucks. Check their events page for more details.
Smoketown’s creative beer names incorporate historical and local references. “The Patsy New England IPA” is for country star Patsy Cline who performed in the events space upstairs and at the Brunswick Lions Club, now the Brunswick Heritage Museum. “Berlin Brown Ale” references one of Brunswick’s former names. “Lockhouse 28 Imperial Stout” is for the Lockhouse a few miles east on the towpath. Finally, “Walter’s Spirit Porter” is named after a man who used to work in the fire hall. Staff and guests report having seen his ghost.
Harpers Ferry Brewing – Purcellville, VA (Mile 60)
37412 Adventure Center Lane, Hillsboro, VA 20132
This brewery is technically in Purcellville, VA, but it is only a 5-to-10-minute drive from lower town Harpers Ferry. Harpers Ferry Brewing opened in 2018 and is family and dog friendly. During the summer, enjoy “The Needle,” named after a rapid on the Potomac River while you enjoy an amazing view and watch the rafters and tubers float down the Potomac River. Harpers Ferry Brewing often hosts live music, bingo nights, and food trucks. Check their website for details.
Bavarian Brothers Brewing – Shepherdstown, WV (Mile 72)
164 Shepherd Grade Rd., Shepherdstown, WV, 25443
Bavarian Brothers Brewing opened in 2019 as part of the Bavarian Inn, a European boutique resort operating in Shepherdstown since 1977. Relax in their brewpub, brew lounge, or outdoor beer garden all overlooking the Potomac River. Enjoy an Appalachia Ale or a Sozial, Session Ale, the German word for socialize. You can also order meals and small bites.
Cushwa Brewing Company – Williamsport, MD (Mile 99)
10210 Governor Lane Blvd. #2100, Williamsport, MD 21795
Opened in 2016, Cushwa Brewing Co. is a family- and dog-friendly brewery. They rotate food trucks weekly and host trivia, yoga, painting, and succulent planting events. Check their Facebook page for more details. Cushwa sells small bites, cans, and growlers to go. Their signature beer is the Cush, a fruity IPA. The Big Cush and the Cush with Wakatu are variations on the original.
Cushwa Brewing is named after the Cushwa Basin in Williamsport. The Cushwa Basin was a turning basin where boats could turn around. You can even see a canal boat in their logo and as part of the brewery’s décor.
1812 Brewery – Cumberland (Mile 184.5)
13006 Mason Rd NE, Cumberland, MD 21502
1812 Brewery is the first brewery in Allegany County, which opened in 2017. It is located on Mason Road and is a 12-minute drive from the towpath in Cumberland. 1812 is a farm brewery located on 190 acres in a repurposed barn built in 1812. It has a taproom and outdoor patio, where dogs are allowed. They are family-friendly and offer light snacks and growlers, and partner with regional and local food trucks.
They host live music, a craft and flea market, and private events. Check their Facebook page for more details. Some of their beers are historically named, including “Maddy’s Golden Ale” and “Monroe’s Ale” for Presidents James Madison and James Monroe, and “Ambush IPA” in reference to the Civil War history in the region.
Dig Deep Brewing Company – Cumberland (Mile 184.5)
2 Howard St. Suite B, Cumberland, MD 21502
Located in the historic Footer Dye Works Building at Canal Place in Cumberland, right off the towpath, Dig Deep Brewing Company opened in 2017. They work to connect to their community by using local ingredients and partnering with local businesses, which include restaurants and food trucks.
Their brews include IPAs, lagers, and sours, as well as several offerings with fruity notes.
Brunswick, Harpers Ferry, Shepherdstown, Williamsport, and Cumberland are Canal Towns. Learn more about the Canal Towns Partnership here.