This past weekend I traveled to Baltimore to check out an Orioles game and survey the Fell’s Point bar scene. While I was there I enjoyed some rare beers, breakfast for dinner, and unlocked 3 Untappd badges! Here’s the whole story:
Our journey began at The Brewer’s Art, a spot that came highly recommended to me by everyone who knew I was headed down to Baltimore. Important detail: The Brewer’s Art opens at 4pm! We only had to wait about 15 minutes to get in the door, but some others had been waiting for much longer. The brewpub is super cool with a rustic yet refined motif and some epic tap handles. We grabbed 2 samplers for the 3 of us to share and found that we each had our own favorites – me the Saison des Mysteres, my friend Rich loved the Resurrection, and my friend Sarz enjoyed the Honeysuckle Rose.
We realized that we still had some time to kill before our meetup time with the other half of our crew, so I checked out good old Foursquare for some nearby suggestions. The first one that caught my eye was The Owl Bar as it was just a block away. The tips are what drew me in though boasting a history pre-dating prohibition. I’m totally obsessed with nostalgia, especially prohibition-era themes, so this was definitely happening. The part I missed was that it was located in the super-swanky Belvedere Hotel. Feeling a little out of place as I was dressed for a baseball game, not the black-tie wedding being held next door, I quickly made my way up to the bar and grabbed an Owl Bar Barrel Aged Stout.
All of the house beers here are made by Heavy Seas Brewing, a local Baltimore favorite. I loved the look and feel of this very classic bar, especially all the owl motif everywhere. Next up, however, was the big event – Max’s.
If you’ve never been to Max’s Taphouse in Fell’s Point you’re missing out majorly. Max’s boasts 140 taps, 5 hand pumped casks, and approximately 1200 bottled beers in stock. In case you’re not good at math like me, that’s a whole lot of beers!! I’ve been here twice now, and each time I have found myself holding an under-the-radar rare beer that have yet to disappoint. This trip was no different. We grabbed our other 2 companions and surveyed the scene. It didn’t take me long to realize that there was a crazy-sounding beer on the list that I had never heard of so it was obviously my first choice – Troll Palanfrina Zymatore, a barrel-aged Italian Chestnut Sour Ale.
Yes, you read all of that correctly. According to Untappd, only 15 people have checked in to this beer, myself being one of them. I loved the fruity tart flavor up front and the crazy nut flavor in the finish. It’s a top contender for the most complex beer flavor that I’ve had for sure. Next up, however, is where it got crazy.
My friend Rich and I rarely get to drink together. He’s got kids, I’m always crazy busy, so we’re constantly rescheduling. This whole trip was his concoction, but I’m not sure he knew what he was taking on partying with me. In case you’ve never met me, I’m pretty intense. So, his goal was to somehow keep up with me. As we were looking over the bottle list in what appeared to be a rare beer aging room upstairs, he grabbed a bottle of Thomas Hardy’s Ale from 2003 that Max’s had been so graciously aging for him. After taking one sip, I knew I loved this beer as well. So, we went a little crazy, and asked the bartender for the oldest vintage of this beer they had available. 1992. Do you know what I was doing in 1992? Attending elementary school. My little brother was just a year old. I didn’t even know what beer was in 1992. So we ordered it. What else did we have to do when it’s pouring down raining and the game was already rain delayed? The beer was great to say the least, and definitely a once-in-a-lifetime kind of experience.
From here we realized we all should probably slow down a little bit, so we went to the Blue Moon Cafe for breakfast for dinner. Captain Crunch french toast was ordered by some, but I stuck to some chorizo and eggs. Once we were fat and happy, and it was still pouring, we ducked into the first bar that looked fun to try and wait out the rain. We found ourselves at Bertha’s not to eat the mussels they advertise, but to grab a few cans of local love National Bohemian (or Natty Boh) and a cool 2 man blues band. We began to lose steam quickly at this point, but it worked out perfectly as the game’s rain delay was finally over!
The game started around 10pm and was fun. The O’s lost, unfortunately, but we ate a pile of peanuts and had a great time none the less.