CENTREVILLE — DrinkMaryland got a little love from the “First State” as local and out of town guests mingled at the outdoor mixer in downtown Centreville on Saturday, June 15. Several local craft beverage makers including Centreville’s own Bull & Goat Brewery, Kent Island’s Blackwater Distilling, and Queen Anne’s Ten Eyck Brewing Company and neighbor Crow Vineyards from Chestertown. Representing the “First State” was Beach Time Distilling made in Lewes, Delaware. Other vendors from across the state participated as well.

The Maryland Maker’s Festival was presented for the third year by the town and the Maryland Wineries Association. Free and open to the public, guests over 21 with a valid ID were able to purchase a sampling pass to taste or purchase wine, beer and spirits from various craft beverage makers from all across the state. The event boasted 29 craft beverage vendors, 17 artisans and food vendors, plus “The Wine Coach” — wine educator Laurie Forster from Easton, who served as stage emcee and hosted an interactive tasting presentation.

With music from Maryland musicians Heavy Fred Lite of Kent Island and the locally known Guthrie Matthews Method and Dell Fox Company, festival goers were able sip and relax along the town square. Visitors from as near as down the block, to as far as Pennsylvania and New Jersey attended this event – held for the third year in Centreville.

Forster shared a tasting with three local makers — Bull & Goat, Blackwater Distilling and Crow Vineyards. As a professional sommelier, she said her goal with the tasting was help people learn to drink differently. “Learn to trust your taste,” she said, “Know what you like and then be able to describe and ask for what you want.”

Joking about her first experience with spirits, she said she wasn’t always a wine snob, you can only go up when you start with Boone’s Farm. With an earlier career selling software in the ’90s — as easy as selling boob jobs to the real housewives, she quipped, she began to appreciate taking clients to expensive dinners and the wines that accompanied them. Now married to a chef, Forster said she has a new and different appreciation for wines and how they complement different foods.

“The longer the finish, the better made and more complex, it makes you want to take another sip or bite to eat,” she said, adding, “Smelling is 80 percent of tasting.”

Forster also played a few “drinking games,” encouraging volunteers in the tasting to make up their own name comprised of their favorite drink and mother’s maiden name.

Maryland’s craft brewery and wine industries also have the support of the governor.

“There is no doubt that it is in our state’s best interest to keep our farms growing, thriving, and innovating, and that includes our vineyards and our swiftly growing wine industry,” said Governor Larry Hogan during last years’ 2018 Governor’s Cup awards. “Agriculture is such a significant part of our history, our heritage, and our economy, and our wine producers are an important part of that.”

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