Steamed Blue Crabs at Cantler's Riverside

Crabs & Beer

A six pack of local brews for your next crab feast

A six pack of local brews for your next crab feast

Leave the fancy wine pairing for other foods. When you’ve got a pile of steamed, seasoned Chesapeake Bay blue crabs in the middle of the table, you need two things: a roll of paper towels and a cold beer. Time was, Natty Boh would’ve been the go-to choice, but with the craft beer revolution in full swing across the region, there are a lot of great local beers to choose from. With an assist from our local purveyor (Mills Fine Wine & Spirits—thanks Jerry!) we rounded up a six-pack of the best breweries in the watershed and asked them which of their brews they recommended.

Here’s what they said:


Burley Oak Brewing Company 
Berlin, Md.

“I’d say our best options for steamed crabs would be our lighter in body and lower ABV beers—simply because you can drink several while not getting full or overindulging on alcohol while adequately cutting that slow creeping Old Bay spice burn.” 

—Adam Davis,
Head Brewer

Nanticoke Nectar

RAR Brewing Company 
Cambridge, Md.

“We always recommend our IPA’s with crabs.
Our main IPA is Nanticoke Nectar. The citrus notes
you get from the hops we use cuts through the spices and cleanses your palate prepping you for the next bite. Insanely refreshing!”  

—Chris Brohawn, Co-owner


Flying Dog Brewery 
Frederick, Md.

“I can’t think of a better beer on earth for steamed crabs than our Dead Rise Old Bay Summer Ale. Dead Rise is brewed with Old Bay and is balanced by crisp lemon notes that perfectly compliment picking morning, noon
and night.” 

—Erin Weston,
Senior Director of Communications

Old Pro

Union Craft Brewing
Baltimore, Md.

“Our Old Pro Gose is a tart, wheat beer brewed with salt and coriander. The salt and tart are perfectly paired with some Old Bay-covered crabs and the coriander’s lemony aroma and flavor help clear the spice from your tongue and get ready to crack the next one open.”

—Kevin Blodger, Co-founder and Director of Brewing Operations

Safety Dance

Smartmouth Brewing
Norfolk & Virginia Beach, Va.

“With just enough hop flavor to accentuate the Old Bay tingle but a crisp finish to wash away
a buttery backfin, Safety Dance Pilsner is a perfect pairing
for cracking crabs.”

—Porter Hardy, President

DelMarVa Pure Pils

Evolution Craft Brewing
Salisbury, Md.

“A supremely session-able Eastern Shore take on a Czech-Style Pilsner. Crisp with delicate malt flavors and a dry finish. The clean crisp flavor won’t overpower the sweetness of the crab or get lost in the spice.” 

—Carter Price,
Vice President
of Sales