A local friend first mentioned Black Flag brewing Company in a meeting last fall. We were considering local breweries that might be able to host an event.

“We could ask Black Flag.”

“The punk band?!”

“The new brewery that just opened.”

“Oh. That makes way more sense – I think the band broke up when I was in high school.”

No, YOU’RE old.

We didn’t approach them for that event, but I’ve been meaning to visit ever since. And a couple of weeks ago, I finally had my chance.

The Brewery

Black Flag Brewing Company’s space is large and welcoming, light woods interspersed with dark metals with a beautiful accent wall behind the bar bearing their distinctive logo.

Floating shelves hold memorabilia and chalkboards cheerfully display an illustrated list of available brews. Turn away from the bar and you’ll be captivated by a remarkable mural depicting iconic scenes from Star Wars’ Mos Eisley Cantina.

Naturally I had to try the Mango Smoothie (6.8% ABV), an incredibly refreshing, gorgeous IPA with a definite (but not overpowering) flavor of mango.

The hoppiness was nicely balanced by the lactose they add during brewing, so while it maintained the crisp mouth-feel the finish was nice and smooth. I’d highly recommend it as a perfect summer sipping brew, and I’m already looking forward to their next batch.

From the Founder

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Brewer Warren Hendrickson (left) and Founder Brian Gaylor (right)

Founder Brian Gaylor was kind enough to take the time to answer a few questions I sent his way:

When did Black Flag open? We opened last July so we are coming up on one year and have an anniversary party planned for the last Saturday in July.

What’s the significance of your name? From the website, it appears that your name – Black Flag Brewing Co. – most closely references the “anarchist” meaning of the flag. It’s a symbol of following your own path, ignoring rules and expectations, to craft creative and tasty beer. Is this accurate? Is there anything you’d like to add (or correct)?

Thats correct – it’s really just a statement to show that we don’t have any allegiance to any one type of beer and are always going after new things and interpreting styles in our own way.

Why did you start Black Flag? I wasn’t very happy in my old IT job and was always homebrewing as a hobby. Eventually I put a business plan together and it was enough for us to get a loan and some investors and get the thing off the ground.

What do you want for the craft beer industry as a whole? I want continued success for the many quality breweries entering the market as well as the existing big players. I think if everyone has a dream of national distribution, that is not in the cards – shelves are crowded with many options which is great for consumers but eventually the marketplace will not support more brands.

At that time retailers will need to decide where to focus and I hope their answer is ‘locally’ as the freshest beer you can get will always be made right down the street.

What about the craft beer industry in Maryland – how would you like it to evolve? A continued push for local beer by consumers. Supporting local breweries supports local families and communities and helps them expand and improve their products – its win-win.

What are your favorite beers that you brew? Rainbow Road – our hazy pale ale with Australian hops is my favorite and is usually the number one seller in the taproom. Really any hoppy beer is fun to brew because it makes the whole brewery smell great.

What are your favorite beers/brewers other than Black Flag? Union is my local go-to lately. If I am looking out of state I always mix up what I get to try new things. I just got back from a wedding in California and had half a suitcase full of random beers from out there.

Do you have anything else you’d like to share? Anything unique about your operation, your philosophy, your technique? We started canning June 8th so you can finally find us in liquor stores!

What’s Next?

Han Drank FirstBlack Flag recently hosted a fundraiser for a local nonprofit, inviting dogs to bring their owners (and friends!) for a day of celebration to benefit Small Miracles Cat and Dog Rescue.

Cheers to the first production brewery and taproom in Columbia for showing their commitment to our local community!

And congratulations are in order – they began canning on June 8th (Flagship IPA, Mambo Sauce DIPA, and Garage Banger 7- a hazy IPA with Australian Hops and Lupulin Powder)! Hooray!

In addition to being family-friendly (and I’ve heard dog-friendly, but you’ll want to confirm in case that’s changed), their inviting space is available for events – I’d highly encourage anyone seeking a location in the Howard County, Maryland area to check them out.

Black Flag Brewing Company doesn’t have a kitchen, but they partner with local food trucks (parked just outside) and invite guests to bring snacks and meals back inside. You can find the food truck schedule on their website.

Black Flag’s approach to brewing – creative and bold while maintaining a deep respect to the craft – makes this a brewery to watch.

And me? I’m already looking forward to my next visit.


Black Flag Brewing Company

Location: Columbia, MD

Website: http://blackflagbrewingco.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/blackflagbrewingco/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/blackflagbrewingco/


The Craft Beer Diaries catches up with Columbia craft brewer Black Flag Brewing Company to learn about their history and where they're going next.
Mickey Gomez
Writer. Singer. Artist. Reader. Endlessly curious. Enjoys laughter, All Dogs, and great beer. She lives in Maryland, home of countless fabulous breweries. Speaking of, her favorite types of beer (in no particular order): Belgian saisons, goses, imperial pumpkin ales, IPAs, stouts, bourbon barrel stouts, chocolate stouts, and unique flavor combinations.
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