It’s an exciting time to be a beer drinker in Thurmont.
Craft beer aficionado and local restaurant owner Josh Bollinger has taken his home-brew talents to the restaurant scene.
Bollinger’s newest project, Uncle Dirty’s Brew Works, is ready to start rotating beers into his longtime successful venture, Bollinger’s Restaurant.
“I started home brewing about two years ago,” Bollinger said. “We’ve had craft beers in the restaurant for about five years now, and I’ve seen all these small-scale places open up and just felt like that’s what I wanted to do.”
With the integration of craft beer into his already established restaurant, Bollinger is planning on filling a much-needed absence of great local beer to Thurmont.
“The home brew was fun, and I made some really good beers,” Bollinger said. “I just wanted to take it to the next level and be Thurmont’s first microbrewery.”
Bollinger’s food is well-known in the area for its expert craftsmanship, and his beers are no different. He’s bringing something a little different to the table than your typical microbrewery, and that’s sure to be a big draw for new business.
“One thing that separates us is a lot of breweries will have food trucks pull up with one item, but here, you’ll be able to get a variety of food that pairs well with our beer,” Bollinger said.
“Beer and barbecue go together. I might even try to do pairings or specials, where I’ll make a dish to go with a particular beer.”
Bollinger and his team are running a small-batch operation, with a true focus on high-quality beer. When you make beer in small, controllable quantities, it’s much easier to come up with something of quality that really lights up your taste buds.
With the changing of the seasons, heavier, darker beers are sure to replace your typical light summer beers.
“Our first beer on tap is called ‘I’m Not Going To Get Rich Off This I Promise,’ and it’s a pale ale,” Bollinger said. “It’ll be our first beer on tap, and it might be our only beer on tap for the next week or two.”
The team has nearly a dozen working recipes, and a few that are primed and ready for the colder seasons. “We have one that’s got a higher ABV (alcohol by volume),” he said. “It’s a wheat wine, brewed with apple fritter donuts, dried apples, brown sugar, and some other deliciousness. Now I’m brewing a pumpkin coffee porter, and it should be done right around Halloween.”
For now, he plans to slowly add his newer beers in, but a big release is on the horizon for 2023.
“We start our 16th year here in April, so that’s what I’m thinking for a full-blown grand opening,” he said. “It’s very exciting, and we just have to stick to the process and make really good beer. From now until April, that’ll give me the opportunity to refine all of my recipes.”
Bollinger currently has a crowler machine, so if you find one of Uncle Dirty’s Brew Works beers that really hits the spot, you can take home your very own 32-ounce can for a later date.
While getting everything running and operational is important, Bollinger’s focus is on making the best product he possibly can.
“There are a lot of bigger breweries out there that don’t make that good of a beer, but they sell a lot of it,” he said. “I want to sell a small amount of really, really good beer.”
For now, everything is business as usual for the Bollinger team, but be sure to keep your eyes peeled for Uncle Dirty’s Brew Works beers hitting Thurmont soon.
Brian Lare (left) and Josh Bollinger (right) hard at work on some of their newest beers.
Photo by Blair Garrett