Baltimore has a reputation for being a gritty, blue collar East Coast town. But despite being somewhat rough around the edges, Baltimore is affectionately nicknamed Charm City. It’s known for its crab cakes, Old Bay seasoning, Johns Hopkins University, the MLB’s Orioles and the NFL’s Ravens.
Baltimore has also become a home for both skilled brewers and a slew of bars and restaurants serving up the best microbrews from around the city and beyond. Whatever your reason for visiting, here are the breweries and beer-focused restaurants you need to put on your next Baltimore itinerary.
Baltimore-Washington Beer Works
Also known as RavenBeer, this brewery churns out beers inspired by Baltimore poet Edgar Allen Poe. The Tell Tale Heart IPA (7.25% ABV) packs a good punch without being overly bitter. On the other end of the spectrum is the Pendulum Pilsner (4.5% ABV), a super drinkable and crisp brew that will satisfy beer drinkers that appreciate a more mellow flavor profile.
The Brewer’s Art
?The Brewer’s Art doubles as a brewery and restaurant. It offers several standard beers, which are also canned and distributed in six packs around the region. The signature beer is the Resurrection (7% ABV), an abbey-style brown ale. Beazly (7.25% ABV), formerly named Ozzy, is a Belgian-style strong ale that goes down surprisingly easy for its volume. Another refreshing choice is the Birdhouse pale ale (5% ABV), a well-balanced brew named for the Baltimore Orioles and it’s perfect for baseball season. The Brewer’s Art also produces a host of interesting large-format and seasonal beers that are sold in stores and tapped at bars around the city.
DuClaw is known for its off-beat brews. The most unique is the Sweet Baby Jesus (6.2% ABV) chocolate peanut butter porter. If you’ve ever wanted to drink a boozy peanut butter cup, this is your chance. Its Misfit Red (5.1% ABV) is an American Red Amber Ale with a bit of roasted malt flavor. Brewery tours are still in the works, but DuClaw does offer several Baltimore-area tap houses.
Heavy Seas Beer
This Baltimore brewery has been in business since 1995 and has been steadily ramping up production in past years. It produces beers with appropriate nautical-themed names like the popular Loose Cannon IPA (7.25% ABV), the strong Small Craft Warning pilsner (7% ABV) and the rich, toasty Peg Leg imperial stout (8% ABV). Stop by the brewery for a free visitor tour, or hit up its Baltimore alehouse location.
Monument City Brewing Company
A relatively new entrant to the Baltimore scene, Monument City currently bottles two beers. One is its 51 Rye IPA (6.5% ABV), which is brewed with 51% rye grain paired with citrusy hop flavors. The American brown ale (6% ABV) is a straightforward take on the style. Monument City also offers its Battle IPA (7.5% ABV) on tap only and also features some other limited-release kegs from time to time.
Oliver Brewing Company
Oliver’s has been cranking out English-style suds in Baltimore since it began operating out of the Pratt Street Ale House as Oliver Ales in 1993. Popular options range from the 3 Lion’s English strong ale (7.5% ABV) to the Bishop’s Breakfast oatmeal stout (4.4% ABV) and the Draft Punk English-style IPA (7.0% ABV). The brewery recently announced a rebranding along with opening a new standalone location and tasting room, allowing it to increase its offerings.
Union Craft Brewing
Union started brewing in Baltimore’s Woodberry neighborhood in 2012 with its flagship Duckpin pale ale (5.5 ABV). Duckpin then gave way to Double Duckpin (8.5 ABV), a double IPA brewed with five types of hops. Both are reliable options that can be picked up in canned six packs around the area. Union also brews and cans its Balt altbier (5.6% ABV) and Blackwing lager (4.8% ABV) year round. There are many interesting seasonal and special beers to look out for as well, such as Snow Pants oatmeal stout (8% ABV). The taproom is open Thursday through Friday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and gives tours Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Not Quite Beer
Charm City Meadworks
?3511 8th Ave.
Mead is a tasty beverage made from honey, water and fermented yeast. Charm City Meadworks produces both still and draft meads. The standard bottled lineup checks in at 12% ABV and includes original dry, rosemary, cinnamon and sweet blossom. The 6.9% ABV draft meads come in varieties like elderberry, wildflower and basil lemongrass and are available in 1/2 or 1/6 kegs and cans. The tasting room is open from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays.