Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Baltimore Beer Week 2010-Rockin' the Suburbs Edition
I’ve never lived in a city, but I love visiting different cities. I’ve spent a lot of nights I have trouble remembering in NYC, San Diego, Tokyo, LA, Phoenix and Boston. There is something I like about having bars on every corner and the smells of restaurants mixing together into an intoxicating aroma that makes you want to eat everything you smell and stay up all night long drinking.
In my younger days the only reason I would go into Baltimore was for field trips to the Zoo or with my family to 33rd Street to see my heroes Cal, Rick and Eddie play ball. As I got older ‘The City that Reads' was where I went when I told my parents I was going over to a friends house. Instead we were sneaking into to Hammerjack’s for College Night or to Fletcher’s to see whatever band was playing upstairs that night. In my early twenties when I moved back into the area from being out west, I got entrenched in the Rockabilly scene in Baltimore. The Glenmont Pope’s were by far my favorite band fronted by now Dangerously Delicious Pies Baker and Ramblin‘ Pie Man, Rodney Henry. We would be at Fletcher’s, Club Midnight(now the Ottobar),The 8x10 or the Old Bohager’s to see Blue Balls Deluxe, The Pourbillies, Twin-Six and Chester Stacey or Social D, The Supersuckers, Reverend Horton Heat and the like. We would also grab beers at Ledbetter’s, The Horse You Came in on and Max’s on Broadway and good beers were found at Racers, Baltimore Brewing Co. or Capitol City. Baltimore was fun besides the fear of STD’s and 25 minute drive from my house in the Suburbs.
Where is all of this going? I'm not sure, but I think my point was: For me, the city is a nice place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there.
I still go into Baltimore about once a month to see bands or drink great craft beer, and beer of course is what Baltimore Beer Week is all about. The beer scene in Baltimore has improved by leaps and bounds in the last 6-7 years with the help of many fine establishments. For a beer that is made in the city proper there is one of two places you can go, The Pratt Street Ale House or Brewer’s Art. PSAH (formally the Wharf Rat) is a quick stop just inside the city by the stadiums for a pint of authentic English Ale made by Subterranean-brewer and friend Steve Jones. Brewer’s Art in the Mt Vernon area offers fine dining along with fine Belgian beers. Max’s Taphouse has made great steps for ‘beerkind’ in the city with the help of barkeeper Casey Hard and 140 rotating taps, 1,200+/- bottles and 5 Cask Ales. The other places that have helped to bring beer to the people of Baltimore are Mahaffey’s, Metropolitan, Grand Cru, Baltimore Taphouse, Bertha’s, Joe Squared, Mugsey’s and many more.
The nice thing about Baltimore Beer week is that in my neck of the woods in Howard County we have some great Beer-centric establishments that have embraced Baltimore’s week and become a part of it here in the ‘burbs. When I first moved back into the area there was this 'weird bar', The Last Chance Saloon, in the Oakland Mill’s area and it had a leather bound beer menu that confused everyone with different colors of beer and ABV percentages. It was way before it’s time and did not last long. Noel from The Last Chance helped expand what was then Frisco Burrito, (a bare bones restaurant counter and 10-15 tables where you could get great Cal-Mex Food and they had a Sierra Nevada on tap) to become Frisco Grille and Cantina (19 taps and a cask)and began to pave the way for craft beer in Howard County. Since then we have had very good establishments improve their beer offerings from better to outstanding. Judge’s Bench, T-Bonz, Pub Dog and Kloby’s have been great additions to the craft beer scene in my area along with, a Husky Runner favorite, Victoria’s Gastro Pub. Victoria’s has not only brought great food to the area but also great beer flights and Truffle Popcorn that have made me and my wife very happy. Combined I think there are a total of 31 events being hosted by establishments in Howard County, not including the tastings at Perfect Pour, Snowden Liquors or my class at Maryland Homebrew. The beer scene here in Howard County is really good and I only see it getting better. So during Baltimore Beer Week I will be traveling into the city a couple of times but for the most part I’ll be staying close to home and I will not miss a thing.