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Independent Brewing Co. aims to tie into Ma & Pa Trail expansion with new patio

Independent Brewing Company is building a patio that will include a court for bocci and cornhole and accommodate up to 270 people. Owners hope it will be done by Labor Day.
Independent Brewing Company is building a patio that will include a court for bocci and cornhole and accommodate up to 270 people. Owners hope it will be done by Labor Day. (Erika Butler / The Aegis)

As work gets ready to begin on connecting the two ends of the Ma & Pa Trail through Bel Air, the owners of Independent Brewing Company on Main Street are working on a new outdoor patio.

“The idea to do this was the connection to the Ma & Pa Trail,” Phil Rhudy, one of Independent’s owners, said. “We really thought it would be aesthetically attractive for people coming into Main Street.”

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From Williams Street, the trail will follow Ellendale Street to a crossing on Main, directly in front of Independent, and continue on t parallel to Ellendale. It will traverse property along Route 924 to North Avenue and ultimately join the section that starts/ends at Melrose Lane in Forest Hill, according to Harford County officials planning the extension.

Work on the Main Street crossing is expected to begin in the fall.

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Independent Brewing’s fenced-in, 4,778-square-foot patio will be able to accommodate about 270 people, Rhudy said.

Ground is set to be broken this fall for the first part of the last section of the Ma & Pa Trail that will connect the end in downtown Bel Air with the end in Rock Spring, county officials said.

Seating areas will be inside large shipping containers with one long side and one short side removed, he said, with a different theme in each container.

“I’m a very organic person, so it will evolve as it goes along,” Rhudy said.

The containers will be placed next to the fence along the properly line between the brewery and a neighboring car wash, to create a buffer between the two, “so you don’t feel like you’re next to a car wash,” Rhudy said.

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The patio also will include a multi-sport court for games like bocci and cornhole, he said.

No alcohol will be served outside — patrons will need to go inside to get their drinks. Entrances to the patio will be through the main entrance at the rear of the brewery and through the front room.

The patio will be built in two phases, with the first to the end of the fence separating the properties. Rhudy said he hopes it will be done by Labor Day.

The second phase, from the end of the fence to the back lot, should be completed over the winter.

His patio project, Rhudy said, reflects the desires of Bel Air town officials to see more growth and visitors on the north side of town.

The new Bel Air trail section should attract people from numerous neighborhoods along it, he said.

“I’m excited to see people riding bikes to town and connect the heads of the trails,” said Rhudy, an active cyclist. “The connection will really increase the connectivity of self-powered access to town.”

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