On the first weekend in April, folks gathered at Olney’s Lone Oak Farm Brewing Company to commemorate its namesake, a majestic 200-plus-year-old white oak that had recently fallen to heavy winds. The tree had been a symbol of strength for the three-year-old farm and brewery. As they raised glasses of “Lone Oak Lager” and “All the Smoke” brews (using malt smoked with wood from the tree), co-founders Chris and Charlie Miller, with Ralph and Ryan Mollet, were heartened by the community’s support and the knowledge that something good would come from the loss — they’d be repurposing the wood for use across the property, making tables, chairs, and barrels to age their craft brews.
Community support is not uncommon for the family-friendly brewery; it’s what inspired the Millers and Mollets to open the farm to begin with. “Our goal was to create a place for young families to get away from computers, cell phones and TVs, and enjoy nature and a nice atmosphere and product simultaneously,” Charlie says. Their scenic 28-acre farm sees up to 1,500 visitors on a busy Saturday — as they like to say, it’s “a farm with a brewery,” not the other way around. Rare for area breweries, barley is grown on-site in the “ground to glass” operation. It’s a process that visitors will get the chance to view up close at the farm’s Harvest Fest this June.
“It will be a visual experience,” Chris says. “You’ll get to see the machines working in the field, taking the grain out, putting it into trucks, and eventually it will end up in the beer people are drinking while getting to watch this. It’s a true harvest fest, not just in name but in practice.” The free event will feature food trucks, live music, a farmer’s market, and wine and spirits from local partners including Doc Waters Cidery, Two Story Chimney Ciderworks, Twin Valley Distillers, and 61 Vineyard.
They’ve also partnered with the Special Olympics of Maryland for a “Pint-Sized Plunge” in July, a kid-friendly summer version of a polar plunge that will feature ice buckets with prizes inside, raffles, music, and more. The goal is to raise as much money as they can for the thousands of Special Olympics athletes that live in their state.
“We’ve been blessed with this property, with our community, with all of the business advances we’ve been able to make during hard times,” Chris says. “We opened during Covid and made it through the dark days. We love to give back because we’ve been given so much.”