For this Silver Spring brewer, it’s not just about the beer — it’s about the glass

Silver Branch co-founder Christian Layke and Brett Robinson. (Courtesy Silver Branch Brewing Company)

Silver Branch Brewing Company in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland, casts a wide net for the beers it brews, concentrating on beer styles from the four most-recognized beer-producing regions of Central Europe, the British Isles, the Americas and Belgium.

But all those beers, 18 of which are currently on tap at Silver Branch’s Silver Spring taproom, don’t get served in the same glasses. Far from it.

“If you go drink a beer in Belgium at a cafe, they serve it in a certain type of glass and it has a certain type of vibe,” said Silver Branch co-founder Brett Robison. “If you drink a beer in Germany in a biergarten they serve it in a different kind of glass, and it has a completely different feeling.”

He added, “We have five different glasses just for serving various types of lagers. That doesn’t even include all manner and styles of other beers.”

Robison estimates the Silver Spring taproom has as many as 2,000 individual glasses in its inventory right now, though some of that is buildup for its second location, planned to open this fall in Warrenton, Virginia.

Robison and Christian Layke, who met in 2014 through a mutual friend — Denizens Brewing Company owner Julie Verratti — opened Silver Branch brewery, taproom and biergarten in 2019. It has a full food menu, including bao buns, tacos and sandwiches. Taprooms are now focusing on more robust food menus, Robison said, as taproom fans’ preferences evolve.

Some craft brewers have also been branching out beyond beer as part of their evolution, with things like CBD-infused beers, hard seltzers and energy drinks. Is that in Silver Branch’s future?

“I never say never, but I don’t think it’s our priority,” Robison said. “I think we like our beer pretty well. Mostly our goal is to make sure we have something for everyone. I think there are other ways to accomplish that then having to jump into every single category.”

Silver Branch’s motto, as splashed all over its website homepage, is “Gemütlichkeit,” a German word with no precise English translation.

“Gemütlichkeit is this sense of sort of camaraderie and coziness. Many German words take on a meaning that can be a little bit more complex. It’s just this general sort of warm and fuzzy feeling,” Robison said.

Silver Branch aims to have its Warrenton brewery, taproom and beer garden, in the former Wort Hog Brewery on Beckham Street, open in time for Oktoberfest.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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