Monday, March 14, 2011

The Baltimore / D.C. Beer Scene

So let's face it, when one thinks of great beer spots and famous breweries few are going to name Baltimore MD or Washington D.C. on that list.  That said in the latest issue of Draft magazine there is a LOT of love for the brewers and beer selections of Maryland and D.C.  I thought I would give a quick talk about the local happenings and the magazines articles.

In the "Pubs We Love" section the highlight is on 3 DC belgian cafes (gastropubs) with great selections.  I've been meaning to try one of these for some time now but have not gotten around to it, maybe the next time I go to a show at the rock and roll hotel I will stop by the nearby and highly rated Granville Moore's to sample their mussels and awesome selection of belgians.

Moving on through the magazine we find "American Beer Overkill" an article about the upscale swing of the craft beer scene, with expensive bottles seeming to dominate the market.  While, for the most part, I don't agree with the author I see some validity as there are many overpriced and overpraised beers on the market and I would love to see a few more of the midrange ($6-$10 six pack) beers available.  One of the most intriguing parts of the the article was the emphasis on D.C. and Baltimore.  There is first a talk about Churchkey in D.C. with its wide selection and pricey beers, and the downstairs restaurant with its beer pairings.  The author then met with Brian Strumke of Stillwater Artisanal Ales the brewer of Stateside Saison, a $12 bomber I can't seem to justify purchasing, and the 2011#2 top new brewer in the world who he met at The Brewer's Art in Baltimore, a brewpub I have visited and didn't enjoy much, but they get high reviews and I intend to give it another try one day.  In fact, just several pages later in this same magazine their beer gets the highest review (a 96) in the biere de garde category.

There isn't much more about the area in the magazine but a mention of a farmhouse brewery in Mt. Airy MD and the event listing of a Beer, Bourbon and BBQ fest (sounds pretty awesome) and a reference to the impact of flying dog on english ales. There's also an add for Savor, one of the biggest beer events in the country which occurs in D.C.

Its clear to see that the area is an up and coming site for both brewing and, probably to a greater degree, high grade drinking.  In many ways this doesn't overly surprise me, the area has a large amount of the wealthy 30 and 40 somethings with money to spend on beer and a strong belgian food scene which encourages both imoported delicacies and new local takes on the styles.  For now I'll just enjoy a mild, but refreshing and lightly hoppy Heavy Seas Gold Ale from Baltimore's Clipper City Brewing Co.

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