We checked into our Inner Harbor hotel early Friday afternoon and immediately made our way down the National Aquarium because that's what you do when you're doing the whole tourist-thing in Baltimore. After a couple hours of wandering around in the dark, checking out the creatures of the sea, and trying to block out the hoards of hyper-active children running around the place a beer was simply necessary. We decided to just grab quick bite to eat on our way back to the hotel at a small and unasuming place called Peter's Pour House which was one of a few bars we found on Water Street. The place had the dive vibe going for it with a few rowdy regulars who seemed to have gotten their weekend started even earlier than us. I was quite excited to see Natty Boh on tap everywhere down there, we used to get cases of the stuff for $8.99 at Temple so it has a special place in my heart. The rest of the taps were your standard domestics except for a Flying Dog and New Belgium Fat Tire, the legendary amber ale out of Colorado that I had never had before. After years of build up and hype the beer was bound to fall flat for me the way it did. It was by no means a bad beer, lots of sweet caramel malts with a sublte citrus hop finish to round things out, but it's not something would really stand out to me if it weren't for its reputation. I was still excited to check this one off my beer-bucket list so I ordered another before we headed out.
For dinner we headed over to Fell's Point which seems to be the "super-hip" part of town with too many bars to count. After many a recommendation, I knew I wanted to hit up Max's Taphouse but by the time we got there it was already packed with the Friday night crowd so we grabbed some food around the corner at Sláinte. The place had a really welcoming atmosphere and I enjoyed myself thoroughly but their draft list left something to be desired. After a surprisingly great dinner for an Irish place we found ourself back at Max's Taphouse, a place that just has to be seen to be believed.
Hopfenstark Berlin Alexanderplatz Epilogue which was a mouth puckering raspberry berliner weisse. I tried to order Dupont's holiday saison, Les Bons Voeux, but ended up kicking the keg half-way through the pour. Luckily the bartender let me have the glass for free but I hadn't though far enough ahead to know what I what I wanted as a replacement.
Going against vacation protocol, I set an alarm to wake my sure-to-be-hungover-sorry-ass up in the morning because we did have a schedule to keep, Heavy Seas was expecting us for the 11 am tour which you can read all about right here. Before driving off to the tour we did get some breakfast at the hotel bar/restaurant and I normally wouldn't comment on it but it was the worst meal in recent memory. They didn't have any grapefruit which I woke up hankering for so I was immediately pissy about that. That breakfast held the title for the worst meal until later in the day when we made the rookie-tourist mistake of having lunch at the "historic" Lexington Market. Bad idea.
The rest of the day consisted of a whole lot of walking, wandering in and out of the shops and bars that make up the more...errr...civilized downtown areas. We found ourselves back in Fell's Point for dinner at Riptides By The Bay where I experienced two firsts, some Atlantic oysters and a pint of Goose Island's IPA. I was more enthused about the idea of having my first Goose Island beer than the beer itself but the food made up for that. We thought about heading back to Max's for a good nighter but I was not about to pay the cover for just one beer so we decided to minimize risk and stick to something we knew, Sláinte. Mer saw their Guinness Chocolate Creme Brulee on the menu the night before so she had her dessert with an appropriate pint of Guinness while, in a strange move by myself, ordered some whiskey. Who knows.
Before heading home on Sunday we were planning on having lunch at The Brewer's Art but failed to realize that they open late and thus we missed on of the Baltimore landmarks that I had heard so much about. This just gives me another reason to plan a trip back down though. On our way home we stopped at State Line Liquors to pick up a hefty selection of bottles that don't make their way to Pennsylvania including some Maui Brewing Company cans!
I know this has been an obnoxiously long winded post but that is just a testament to Baltimore and their surprising (to me at least) beer scene. We never encountered any of the sort of snobbiness that often plagues this sort of travel and that alone made it a success. If you find yourself down in Baltimore be sure to look past all the great beers that come into the city and make certain that you partake in some of the fantastic beers that are being made right there.
I'll shut up now.