The atmosphere in Frederick’s newest brewery is relaxed. There’s a soft buzz of music playing on the speakers as people crowd around the bar or around tables.

There are 14 beers on tap, although that number will rise. And the selection includes IPAs, darker beers and a cider.

That calm, relaxed atmosphere is what owner Dave Blackmon wanted for Smoketown Creekside, his second brewery in Frederick County.

In bringing Smoketown to Frederick, Blackmon brought a bit of Brunswick. The wall hangings are similar to the ones found at Smoketown Brewing Station. In the back, there is a wall hanging made from the doors of the fire bay in the Brunswick fire hall. Those were originally rail cars.

More notable are the tables and the bar. They are made of bowling lanes from the Brunswick bowling alley.

“It is our roots,” Blackmon said. “It’s where we started. [Without] Brunswick and our experience, we wouldn’t be here.”

Tapping into live music

One of the defining features of Creekside is something yet to come. Tucked away in the back of the taproom by the brewhouse is a black stage. That’s where Blackmon plans to have live music.

Frederick has a healthy music scene, Blackmon said, something into which he hopes to tap.

But live music is still in question. The Frederick Board of Aldermen will look at legislation that would allow smaller breweries, wineries and distilleries to hold live music and entertainment without zoning board approval, as long as events are kept indoors and run from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., along with a few other stipulations.

Under current regulations, live music and entertainment can be regularly held at breweries, wineries and distilleries that are 10,000 square feet or larger, according to previous News-Post reporting.

Smoketown Creekside is about 4,000 square feet, Blackmon said.

Bringing music to a brewery makes it more like a neighborhood establishment, said Jim Bauckman, spokesman for the Brewers Association of Maryland. He also sits on the work group convened by the Downtown Frederick Partnership to look at live entertainment at smaller breweries.

“So I would like to say on behalf of the association, we think that entertainment is hand in hand with operating ... A brewery is a neighborhood destination, a place where people are coming to be entertained, hang out with friends, relatives, neighbors, and it's a place where people are going to network,” Bauckman said.

So Blackmon will have to wait for the aldermen to consider the law before bringing regular live music. But the stage is ready for its first guest, if the law were to pass.

‘Unique and creative way’

A brewery as a neighborhood place that Bauckman proposed likely will come true at the industrial park that is now home to Creekside. The new Smoketown location neighbors Attaboy Beer. Idiom Brewery is nearby, along Carroll Creek in the old Union Knitting Mills building. Another brewer, Jim Steinhardt, is opening a taproom along the creek near Idiom.

Alcohol tourism is great for the state, said Sen. Michael Hough (R-Carroll and Frederick). That applies to Frederick as well.

There’s a good chance that a few more breweries might open in the coming year, Bauckman said.

"That part of the city, I think is ripe for more development, and the industry side offers industrial spaces, which work really well for production. They offer walkability along the park that makes it easy for consumers to get to them,” he said.

It creates a sort of critical mass, said Richard Griffin, Frederick’s director of economic development. People stay longer. They get a drink, have a bite to eat from a food truck. Then they might walk along the creek to the rest of downtown.

That’s good for the city’s economy, Griffin said.

It’s a “unique and creative way” to mix in the industrial park, he said.

That, as well as the continued improvements to Carroll Creek Linear Park, will help make it a destination, whether people come from other parts of the county or state, he said.

Neighbor Carly Ogden, who co-owns Attaboy with her husband, said the industrial park and Frederick remind her of Portland, Oregon, where she is from.

“And so there's just a fun little vibe when you see people up and about going from place to place,” Ogden said.

It has a community feel as well, she said. People can stop at Smoketown Creekside or Attaboy, and try the different beers and offerings from the food trucks. Odgen said she is excited to have another brewery neighboring hers.

Multiple breweries in one location might sound like competition to some business owners, but those in the brewing industry seem to embrace it. Going to a brewery is an experience, Bauckman said, meaning that when someone has a beer, they get to learn more from the owner and hear the brewery’s story.

Follow Heather Mongilio on Twitter: @HMongilio.

Heather Mongilio is the health and Fort Detrick reporter for the Frederick News-Post. She can be reached at

(23) comments


More brewers is good. The naysayers ate ignorant


Welcome to Frederick Smoketown!!


Hear, hear!

Love their Potomac IPA and I’m not a big IPA fan generally.


They keep "welcoming" more bars/breweries to town and then complain about the drunks vomiting, deficating, urinating, etc., around their homes and businesses. When you have the bars/breweries, you are going to have the drunks and the messes they produce. I hope McCutcheon's has increased the overnight security at their store as this new bar is right across the street from them.


Isn’t it MJ that gives you the sweet munchies? Salty is better with beer. McCutcheon’s will be fine.


There are plenty of people who can drink responsibly, do drugs responsibly, and gamble responsibly, and plenty who can't. It is great that Frederick has such success in certain markets. I just wish breweries and distilleries weren't numbers 1 and 2.


Excellent point- Frederick's 2 calling cards- church spires and people stumbling down Market Street!


At the prices of the beers, it's not likely someone's going to routinely get blasted at these places to the point of vomiting all over the place. I'd venture a guess you've never been to a microbrewery or brewpub...they aren't like a neighborhood or college town tavern.


Another microbrewery may be fine, but I don't like the food trucks. If I want to go out and eat I don't want to go stand in line outside at a food truck and then go in and stand in line to get my beer (while my food gets cold) and then try to find a table. I wonder how many people will be up to standing in line outside once cold weather hits. I am always suspicious of the sanitation on food trucks as well. I'll stick with real restaurants.


Most food trucks are well sanitized.....ours will give you a number and bring the food into you. Its part if the experience


My guess is the fascination with food trucks goes back to our childhoods, when we adored ice cream trucks. Then there was the county fair trucks selling us funnel cakes. Otherwise I don't see the charm about getting food from a truck.


Think I might walk down there later and show a little support.


Maybe we’ll see each other again. [smile]


More booze, more drunks, more DUI's, more assaults. Zero more cops hired. Typical Frederick.


Brewpubs are not your typical rowdy tavern. Want a dry county...go move to Arkansas...they have plenty.


Let’s try a pint at each one and back home.


Ever heard of Uber, Lyft? Or the Brew Bus? Hey, Sober Ride will even drive your car home for you, so that's a poor excuse.


I live within walking distance of more craft breweries than I could possibly get to and partake in drinking a pint from each. But “walking” is the operative word.


'Alcohol tourism.' Well, that's getting to the point. Hey, I like a beer as much as anyone. But after many years of self-medicating on a moderate amount of alcohol at the end of every workday, I decided I needed to quit alcohol for good. And now I'm doing much better alcohol-free. But I do miss good beer. And I'm here to tell you that beer doesn't have to be alcoholic to be good. If you think alcohol is the whole point of beer, I think you're missing the point. Try a Clausthaler Dry Hopped Non-Alcoholic Beer and you'll see what I'm talking about. Local craft brewers are getting to be a dime a dozen. Maybe one of them should take the lead and offer their customers a fresh, hoppy, wonderful, local non-alcoholic brew on tap. Please?


Alcohol or not, I miss your awesome limericks, armillary! You truly have a gift.


Armillary. Good for you but others drink responsibly


Just another loud beer joint serving overpriced Schlitz under the overhyped "craft" label. Just wait for the live music. Then you'll really hear the cows moo.


In the 50s I grew up on white bread, then in the 60’s and 70s more breads became available, then I married a woman who baked mouth watering homemade breads of dozens of different recipes and styles. I will eat white bread if I’m really hungry and that’s all there is.

When I was old enough to drink beer the choices were pretty much Bud, Miller, Schlitz and a few other same type beers. Then more and more tastier imports became available. Now has come a new world of beer that is more varied than one can even imagine. I like some of them, some I really like, some not at all. But, now I rarely drink the likes of Budweiser unless I’m really thirsty and that’s all there is. I hear that goes ok with Wonder Bread, but for me it and other swills of its ilk just barely beat river water. Welcome to Frederick, Smoketown.

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