Phrases like all-you-can-eat are usually reserved for meals you really don’t care to brag about. Whether it’s endless bread sticks at Olive Garden or Joey Chestnut eating 62 hot dogs on the 4th of July, there are few times that kind of eating conjures anything less than a mess (or a stomach ache). Save for the Chesapeake Crab and Beer Fest, which bills itself as an all-you-care-to-taste “extravaganaza” of, well, crab and beer.
The annual festival is held on the National Harbor in Maryland and draws crowds by promising over 40,000 crabs and over 50 beers, wines, and some spirits for the cocktail-lovers among us. The festival hosts two four-hour sessions during the day (11 a.m. to 3 p.m. or 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.), putting attendees in a very delicious (and less competitive) “Supermarket Sweep” style situation — given six crabs at a time (per person), festivalgoers consume as much as they can in their given amount of time.
Other food options, should you want a break from dining on crab, include classic festival fare like hot dogs, hamburgers, corn on the cob, and a barbecue pit. The beer selection is vast, though it’s somewhat less craft-brew focused than other festivals of late. Everything from Pabst to Heineken and Magic Hat to Jeremiah Weed made the list — with Bud Lites and Sierra Nevadas rounding out the options. Live music, arts & crafts, and even family-friendly entertainment (beer-less entertainment, that is) are all part of the festival fun.
So pull up, grab six crabs to start, throw on that funny bib (and maybe even a red crab hat), and enjoy a day on the water front. Nothing goes better with that end-of-summer sea breeze than crab and beer.