Three Months of Beer

City Paper

I’ve got a lot of ground to cover in 600 words, hopheads. 

August: Union’s Second Birthday Bash

From what I remember, it was a hell of a party at Union Craft Brewing’s Second Anniversary on Aug. 9 at the brewery in Woodberry. About 550 people came out to toast the milestone and were rewarded with two versions of Chessie Barleywine, Snow Pants Stout, and Royal Farmhouse IPA. Aged casks of last year’s vintages were paired with their 2014 counterparts for some heady sampling as attendees swayed to the sounds of the Psycho Killers and DJ BohFunk. Co-founder Jon Zerivitz, who spent as much time pouring pints as he did greeting well-wishers at the event, took time to thank everyone who helped make their endeavor “an amazing experience.”

“We have to give thanks to the Baltimore beer community for supporting us, coming to our events, and allowing us to be a part of their lives and their community,” he said. 

That Baltimore beer community was well represented at the event, with party-goers including Oliver Breweries’ Justin Dvorkin and Derek Davis (also of Pratt Street Ale House), Casey Hard from Max’s Taphouse, and Tom Creegan from Brewer’s Art, who came out to give big ups to the brewery.

Zerivitz also said that Union intends to expand the canned beer lineup over the next year and will launch a beer garden with 18 outdoor tables by October, if not sooner. (Caveat lector: I represented the brewery before the Liquor Board when they were granted outdoor seating by the panel in July.)

September: Sailors Welcome

They put a sign outside of the Wharf Rat six years ago that says “Sailors Welcome.”

They mean it. 

The Fells Point institution will offer its famous 3-for-$8 beerfectas to bona fide sailors arriving on the ships for the Star-Spangled Spectacular from Sept. 10-16, open to close.

“Given that our building is centuries old, our neighborhood’s maritime heritage, and our family’s heritage, we’re excited to see the ships come in...We’re looking forward to meeting the sailors,” said owner Jenn Oliver. Throughout the bar are framed photos of many members of the Oliver family who served in the Navy. She reminded me that “since the late 1700s, the Wharf Rat has proudly served sailors from all over the world.” The tradition continues.

October: Baltimore Beer Week

Since my next column won’t run until Baltimore Beer Week is already in the recycle bin, I decided I’d better reach out to co-founder Dominic Cantalupo for a taste of #BBW2014. “In our sixth year, you’d think we might be complacent, but we’re not. We’re more interested in quality Beer Week events as opposed to quantity, and this year we’ll deliver hundreds of events designed to highlight our sponsors,” he said.

BBW has also teamed up with local artist Robert McClintock, who will serve as the official artist for the event. Instead of chasing dogs and cats around to use as subjects, McClintock now apparently chases beer trucks instead.

The biggest change this year is that the wildly popular home brew and chili tasting/judging exhibition ChiliBrew is moving to the Zion Lutheran Church for its eighth installment to accommodate the ever-increasing crowds. ChiliBrew is the brainchild of local home-brew organization BaltiBrew. 

The Opening Tap celebration is the official kick-starter for the 10-days-long week. The ceremonial tap will be ceremonially hammered into the ceremonial cask at 12:30 p.m. on Oct. 11, kicking off Das Best Oktoberfest at M&T Bank Stadium parking lot this year. If that’s too early for you, a second tapping takes place at 2:30 p.m. Cantalupo also promises a special guest tapper this year. Last year’s tapping drew a couple of thousand fans, compared with 500-600 at past BBW kickoffs, when the tapping of the cask was a stand-alone event. Prost! ν


Steve Fogleman was formerly the Chair of the Baltimore City Liquor License Board.
@baltobeerbaron

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