Some people treat beer shopping like a regular errand. My husband Will and I are more deliberate. While we’ve been known to make a quick stop at a nearby shop for a six pack or single, one of our favorite weekend activities is to go to a larger bottle shop and make a day out of beer shopping. We’ll consider what we want to find, set a budget (whether or not we keep it is another story), set a departure time, figure out our meals … it’s very involved. But it’s part of the fun. And one of our favorite places to go is The Perfect Pour in Elkridge, Maryland.
The Perfect Pour is located in a shopping center that looks like your average suburban shopping enclave – Costco, Trader Joe’s, and a couple of fast food spots. When you walk inside, though, you’re greeted by a vast collection of wine, liquor, and beer. While you can definitely find your macro staples like Budweiser and Miller, the store offers a very extensive collection of independent, foreign, and hard-to-find beer. (It should be noted that in Maryland, beer and wine are not sold in grocery stores [with a few exceptions], often leading to specialty all-purpose alcohol stores like this one)
Given its location, the store has a large focus on Maryland beers. They will often get some of the first, and largest, shipments of special releases from local favorites like Flying Dog, DuClaw, and Heavy Seas. They are also often one of the first to sell cans and bottles from Maryland breweries not immediately available elsewhere. I bought my first cans of The Brewer’s Art and Jailbreak beer at this shop, long before they were available in DC or Virginia; and on my most recent trip, I saw cans from Manor Hill, which I’ve only seen on draft closer to home. I’m also guaranteed to find an ample supply of special releases like the Flying Dog Brewhouse Rarities series and DuClaw’s experimental brews, even when they prove elusive in Virginia.
The Perfect Pour also offers selections from national breweries that aren’t available in our neck of the woods. It was because of this shop that I was able to try Elysian for the first time. They carry their flagship beers and have an ample supply of special seasonals, including a good variety of their famous pumpkin beers come Autumn (I especially love the Punkuccino, which I can always find at this shop). I can also count on finding goodies from Flying Fish, Lancaster Brewing, and Breckenridge Brewing, all of which are either nonexistent or very elusive in my town.
Up front is where you will find seasonals, one-offs, and bombers. Further back, you find an assortment of domestic flagships and an impressive collection of foreign beers. The foreign representation ranges from Germany and Belgium to Lebanon and Brazil, with many in between. Will has been able to scratch off many countries from his foreign beers list thanks to this shop.
With all of the beers they have to choose from, it’s fortunate that the Perfect Pour allows you to buy singles. You can take singles from any of the six packs, and mix packs built this way will get you a 10% discount off of your total purchase (note that this is only for a) six beers total and b) singles taken from a full pack). I usually take this route during my visit, since there are so many beers I want to try, it’s hard to commit to just one. It’s hard enough limiting myself to just one mix pack!
The staff at the store have always been friendly, offering help finding things when they see me looking around, and letting Will and I wander the aisles three or four times over (well, nine or ten) as we select beer and narrow down our mix packs. We usually go on the weekend, but in the late morning; so crowds are usually at a minimum unless it’s a holiday or game day. The prices are consistent with other craft beer shops, and sometimes a bit cheaper for local breweries. You can also sign up for their club card and get discounts on certain beers depending on that week’s specials.
The Perfect Pour is about an hour away from us. We usually go once or twice a season, and the trip is always worth it. I have found many new favorite beers there that I otherwise never would have tried. If you live in or near Elkridge, or even live far away, I highly recommend paying The Perfect Pour a visit. Just be prepared to spend some time wandering through their extensive collection!
The Perfect Pour
6630 Marie Curie Drive, Elkridge, MD 21075