Old Oriole Park Bohemian wins top state beer award

Old Oriole Park Bohemian, the deliciously simple lager brewed by Peabody Heights Brewery that should replace Natty Boh as the beer of Baltimore, won the top prize in the Comptroller's Cup, a statewide competition among local brewers.

The beer beat out Evolution Craft Brewery's Lot #6 Double IPA, Raven Beer's The Cask, and Franklins Brewerey's Bombshell Blonde for best-in-show honors.

Jeff Sanders, the director of the competition held by the Brewers Association of Maryland, said that one of the judges remarked after 101 minutes of tasting: "Wow, after all this time, this beer has just not changed. It still is great."

In prepared remarks before the awards were handed out, Comptroller Peter Franchot lauded the beer industry's growth in recent years and said sales for the major national breweries have flattened in the state.

"A lot of these retail stores are becoming big believers," he said, expressing the desire to have local stores feature a "Made In Maryland" section with the state flag.

He hoped such a section would "urge people to do the patriotic thing and buy local." Hey Comptroller, we agree!

Franchot also announced a new initiative of a beer and baseball trail, with local breweries crafting beers tied to old-time baseball greats connected to Maryland such as Lefty Grove, Jimmie Foxx, and Babe Ruth. Naturally, Peabody Heights Brewery, on the site of the Oriole Park that burned down in 1944, would be a stop.

After the top prize was announced, Peabody owner Richard O'Keefe called up his four brewers onstage to share the honor with him. Head brewer Ernie Igot seemed genuinely surprised, remarking that the beer had only been on the market for about a year. Between the four of them, they have nearly four decades of experience, the 36-year brewing veteran joked.

Following the ceremony, Mary L. Washington, who represents the 43rd District in the House of Delegates, said it's been exciting to see this formerly abandoned warehouse turn into a community staple.

Along those lines, let us renew our plea to ditch the Boh for Old Oriole Park. Now, said beer is considered the best in the whole state.

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