A diner's guide to Baltimore Beer Week

The sixth annual Baltimore Beer Week is set to kick off tomorrow, and although the focus is on America's favorite frothy beverage, there are plenty of festivities where food also takes the stage. Below are some of the events where you can look to get a solid food coma on with your drinking session:

Le Garage, 911 W. 36th St., (410) 243-6300, legaragebaltimore.com:

This no-frills French bistro has taken off since opening back in April, and it isn't messing around with its first Beer Week, offering up three consecutive nights of brews and French eats. Chef Sarah Acconcia has created a special menu—including items such as beer-braised chicken wings, French country-style meatloaf en croute (wrapped in pastry dough, because YES), and pumpkin tart—where you'll get to choose three courses for $35, each of which will be paired with that night's featured brewery.  

Tuesday (Oct. 14) will feature Jolly Pumpkin—a brewery out of Michigan known for some of the best wild-fermented and oak-aged beers in the country—with neighbors Union Brewing and Eastern Shore's Burly Oak offering their rare and seasonal beers on Wednesday (Oct. 15) and Thursday (Oct. 16), respectively. 

For reservations and the full menu, visit here.

 

Pen & Quill, 1701 N. Charles St., (410) 601-3588, penandquill.net:

The brand-spankin'-new Station North restaurant Pen & Quill (which we recently touted) will offer two four-course beer dinners for $55. On Wednesday (Oct. 15), Virginia's Blue Mountain brewery will pair its best beers with a hard-boiled egg, new potato and bean salad, seared scallops with Belgian whit Schnitzle and Pretzel Spaetzle, sour short ribs and dumplings with carrots and braised cabbage, and an apple terrine accompanied by salted caramel, oat crumble, and brown-butter ice cream.

Not to be outdone, on Thursday (Oct. 16), Cisco Brewing out of Nantucket will be using chef Bella Kline's menu of pickled herring with gherkins and mustard sauce, a mettbrotchen (raw minced pork) with beef tartar, garlic confit and caraway aioli, Belgian poached salmon with kale, white beans and ham hock, and an apple terrine with caramel, oat crumble, and brown-butter ice cream to show off their suds.

 

Ten Ten Bistro, 1010 Fleet St., (410) 244-6867, bagbystenten.com:

Union Brewing will also be teaming up with Ten Ten Bistro in Harbor East on Sunday for a five-course Thai and beer dinner that'll cost you $45 (plus tax and gratuity). 

Union will match up its Balt Alt, Foxy red IPA, Anthem golden ale, Royal Farmhouse DIPA, and Old Pro Gose (a silver-medal winner at last week's Great American Beer Festival) with Ten Ten's one-time-only menu of northern Thai herb sausage (sai ua samun phrai) with sticky rice, squash, beans, and chili sauce; an Issan steak salad (neua nam tok) with mint, lemongrass, and dried chilis; a northern Thai curry noodle soup (khao soi kai) accented with chicken, pickled cabbage, and bean sprouts; and lychee pudding cake with mango sorbet. 

Get tickets here.

Pro tip: Union's also hosting a Baltimore Beer Week Save Your Soul kickoff dance party this Saturday at the brewery (1700 Union Ave.) from 7 p.m.-midnight with music by DJ Robert Fearless and eats from the Golden West taco truck and The Local Oyster. Cover is $5, with canned beer going for $3 and $4 drafts. It'll definitely be a scene.

 

Birroteca, 1520 Clipper Road, (443) 708-1935, bmorebirroteca.com, and Nickel Taphouse, 1604 Kelly Ave., (443) 869-6240, nickeltaphouse.com:

Evolution Brewing will take part in six beer dinners throughout the week, but we couldn't help but notice the menus at Birroteca and its sister restaurant in Mount Washington, Nickel Taphouse. On Monday, Nickel Taphouse will host five courses featuring the Eastern Shore brewery's beers paired with dishes such as sweet and sour chicken gyoza, seared octopus and sunchoke salad, and braised pork belly with almond-apple gremolata (a fancy word for chopped herbs, garlic, and lemon juice).

On Wednesday (Oct. 15), Evolution will head south to Birroteca, where it'll go head-to-head in a beer pairing dinner dubbed "Evolution vs. Flying Dog." Four courses will be served, each featuring both an Evolution and Flying Dog brew, and presumably diners will get to crown a winner at the end of the night.  Dishes such as the wild-boar bolognese with ricotta salata and pecorino, the sweet potato and cranberry gnocci with crispy prosciutto, toasted pumpkin seeds, and pumpkin seed oil, and a pumpkin-coffee tiramisu have us thinking this will be a win-win, no matter the outcome.

While not as extravagant as Wednesday's brouhaha, the brewery will also be on hand for Birroteca's Sunday Funday (Oct. 19), where it'll be roasting a whole suckling pig, slinging buck-a-shuck oysters, and happy-hour-priced Evolutions all night. There's also a live jam session from local musicians.

For the details on more Evolution dinners at Phillips, Dudas, and Farmstead Grill, click here.

 

Cunningham's, 1 Olympic Place, Towson, (410) 339-7730, cunninghamstowson.com:

The Brewer's Art, one the city's craft-brewing elder statesmen (for good reason), is teaming up with one of the new kids on the culinary block, offering a beer dinner with Cunningham's on Oct. 14.

The five-course dinner, priced at $49 plus tax and gratuity, pairs a salmon crudo with dill oil and crème fraiche with Ozzy (oops, we mean Beazly), a house-made jagerwurst and braised red cabbage with their green peppercorn Belgian tripel, a seared scallop with apple-brown butter and Tuscan kale with Coup De Boule Ale, a roasted salmon saddle with Brussels sprouts and lamb bacon (!!) with Le Canard (a Belgian strong ale), and, last but not least, a pumpkin brioche ice cream sandwich featuring salted butter caramel ice cream and a chocolate-balsamic reduction served with two-year bottle-aged glasses of St. Festivus, Brewer Art's highly anticipated spiced holiday ale. Good lord. 

Get tickets here.

 

Heavy Seas Alehouse, 1300 Bank St., (410) 753-1403, heavyseasalehouse.com:

We're not sure if they're celebrating the recent decriminalization of pot in Maryland or just like a good reason to burn shit, but either way the "Up In Smoke" beer dinner at Heavy Seas Alehouse sounds intriguing. It's a bit pricey at $75 (including tax and gratuity), but if you can swing it, you'll be treated to hickory-smoked octopus salad, tea-smoked Hudson Valley duck breast, smoked venison loin wrapped in bacon (obviously), and smoked bourbon cheesecake. 

Alcohol pairings will include specially smoked Heavy Seas beers and cocktails, along with a rare pouring of a 2010 vintage of its Smoke on the Water, a smoked porter that hasn't been available since its initial release. Tickets are available here.

 

The Wharf Rat, 801 S. Ann St., (410) 276-8304, thewharfrat.com:

If you're looking for something where the menu doesn't include anything un-pronounceable, Wharf Rat's got you covered with its Brew & Stew on Oct. 18th. It's simple: 15 people bring in their best stew off the street, add a pint of smoked porter to the pot, and you get to taste and judge it. Regardless of how drool-inducing the menu's from the dinners above sound, sometimes you just want a good old hot bowl of meat and potatoes to soak up the alcohol from those endless pints. 

Entry is $5 for tasters (aka judges) and $10 for competitors (pint of porter included). Competitors are limited to the first 15, with prizes going for $150, $100, and $50. All proceeds go to BARCS.

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