Your relationship with Baltimore's Free Alternative Weekly may vary: You may stop at a yellow box at 6 a.m. every Wednesday and read it cover to cover; you may skim the calendar and Savage Love, then chuck it; you may use it as fish-wrapper or a makeshift umbrella. However you feel about us, one thing is indisputable-City Paper throws a mean party. This Saturday's Brewfest is no exception. Day-drinking in Fells Point, in Broadway Square, surpasses just about any other late-April afternoon escapade that we can think of. With 80 or so beers on draft, from the likes of Lagunitas and Pabst, both lawnmower-beer lovers and beer nerds will find a tap to call home. Some highlights of what's pouring:
New releases: DuClaw's just-released session IPA, Oz, clocks in at 4.4 percent ABV; Heavy Seas' new spring seasonal is a tasty white IPA made with torrified wheat, orange peels, and coriander; Peabody Heights' Full Tilt Brewing floats out super-fruity Fleet Street Raspberry Wheat; Heineken-owned Newcastle-known for their brown ale-diversifies with Newcastle Bombshell, a pale ale.
Unusual: Shiner brews Ruby Redbird, its summer beer, with Texas-grown grapefruits and ginger; the imitation peanut flavor ain't bad at all in DuClaw's chocolate-peanut butter porter, Sweet Baby Jesus; Syrah grape must transforms the flavor of Dogfish Head's continually hopped 60 Minute IPA in Sixty-One, a beer-and-red wine hybrid.
Farmhouse funk: Brian Strumke and the folks at Brewer's Art collaborated on Debutante, a saison brewed with spelt, rye, and herbs; Stillwater also pours its black saison, made with rose hips, hibiscus, and Schisandra berries (traditionally used in Chinese medicine); Boulevard's Tank 7-a straightforward, dry saison-plays it a little safer than Strumke; and Yards Brewing Company serves up its supremely drinkable farmhouse ale.
For Hopheads: New to Maryland's distribution circuit, Georgia's Terrapin Beer Co. tests Brewfest's waters with its citrusy Hopsecutioner; whole-cone hops ratchet up the aroma in Sierra Nevada's Hoptimum; Tell Tale Hearty Ale, Loose Cannon, Lot 6 DIPA are arguably the best local IPAs, but Dempsey's Ale House and Red Brick Station contribute their efforts as well.
For those who just want a wheat beer: You can't sniff at Lancaster Brewing Company's fragrant Strawberry Wheat, because it's too damn good; Goose Island's 312 has a cool tap handle and tastes better than Blue Moon (which'll be there too); Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy is slightly less sweet than lemonade, but the brewery's Airstream trailer is the neatest swag you'll see all afternoon.