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Scrapple and Beer – Our Best of Baltimore

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We recently paid a visit to Baltimore for the second time in the last few years. The first was to see a baseball game and go on a The Wire inspired tour. Well, it wasn’t so much a tour as it was us making a few wrong turns out of our hotel and seeing terrified cops on every street corner. But among the crabs, crack houses (just kidding…) and coastline we also found a ridiculous amount of craft beer. Though the city of Baltimore doesn’t really have any major breweries, it is full of unassuming looking bars that boast some of the more impressive tap lists we have ever run into. So when we saw that Neutral Milk Hotel was touring and playing shows in both Brooklyn and Baltimore, we decided to roll the dice and go to the Charm City stop for a weekend indie rock and beer extravaganza.

Like we said, Baltimore is full of awesome bars and at the top of the list is Max’s Taphouse. Max’s doesn’t look like anything special on the inside, with a bit of a “bro bar” vibe,  until you notice the 100+ taps along the wall. And just in case there is nothing to your liking on tap, they have a bottle menu that is the size of a small novel. We were able to sample a few rarities here and even though we were only in the area for a short amount of time we made three or four trips to Max’s. Oh, and it is located in the heart of Fell’s Point which means it is walking distance from Stuggy’s; the spot where we were able to obtain a crab mac and cheese hot dog after perhaps one too many The Bruery Smoking Wood’s. And by we, we mean Alicia. Also nearby is the Thames Street Oyster House which is a great place for a bit of a classier seafood dinner. If you can, sit upstairs and try the clam cakes which are basically delicious hush puppies that come in their own little paper bag. Or get wild with it and sample the blood clams from the raw bar. Yes, they are exactly what they sound like. On the other end of the spectrum is Bad Decisions, a bar we stumbled upon before noon on a Monday. A bar that has changed hands many times, the main attraction here is their extensive liquor selection. Seriously, it was the most liquor we have ever seen in a bar. Due to our off time visit, we were the only patrons so we had the pleasure of chatting with the owner who was eager to present us his handwritten menu which read more like a drink journal. After intently studying it we finally just said, “make us something good,” and we were not disappointed.

Baltimore also has it’s share of farmers markets, including one in Fell’s Point and the much larger Farmers Market & Bazaar that is walking distance from the inner harbor and under a highway overpass. We were unaware of the walking distance fact and instead boarded a bus that took us on our second The Wire themed tour of the city. Really though, the bus driver was overly nice and helpful and dropped us off right at the entrance to the market. Highlights there included pit beef, tiny donuts and Millstone Cellars Cider and Mead, whose products we got to try earlier at Of Love and Regret. Hey, that’s another awesome place in Baltimore. Created by Brian Strumke of Stillwater, this multi story hangout features two bars, ample seating, a kitchen and a small bottle shop. Plenty of Stillwater beer and collaborations are on tap, but other breweries make their way into the lineup as well. Beer isn’t the only libation served, as they have a diverse and curated liquor collection, even offering a small “beer and a shot” menu. Kevin of course jumped right on that train.

There are way too many hit spots in Baltimore for this post, so we plan on tackling the beer destinations in more detail one by one. But we will leave you with two more great things about Balitmore: The Brewer’s Art and crabs. The Brewer’s Art is a bit of a hike so we opted to take a ten dollar cab ride there, but it’s worth it. If you are coming in by train, it’s walking distance from their Penn Station so it’s not a bad idea to visit first or last on your trip. They have an upstairs, fancier restaurant and bar where they serve their beer but all the fun happens downstairs. It has more of a dungeon vibe, and we mean that in the best possible way. Their menu is seasonal, rotating and on both trips has been delicious. They also sell bottles and cans to go when you are done there for the evening. And no trip to Baltimore would be complete without going to a restaurant where they cover your table in paper and dump a mess of crabs all over it. Armed with just a tiny hammer, it’s a bit of a challenge to get your meal out of there but once you do it’s quite the sense of accomplishment. Long story short, if you like beer, food, water, walking, scenery, markets or music you should probably visit Baltimore.

2012 Otsuchi Old Stock Ale

2012 Otsuchi Old Stock Ale

Bad Decisions = Good Times

Bad Decisions = Good Times

Classy Tiger Loving Life

Classy Tiger Loving Life

Fell's Point Cobblestone Streets

Fell’s Point Cobblestone Streets

The Brewer's Art

The Brewer’s Art

Sour Plum Goodness

Sour Plum Goodness

Crack Donuts at the Farmer's Market & Bazaar

Crack Donuts at the Farmer’s Market & Bazaar

Sunday Market Under the Overpass

Sunday Market Under the Overpass

Late Night Crab Mac & Cheese on an HD

Late Night Crab Mac & Cheese on an HD

Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Shot & Beer

Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Shot & Beer

Beer Sign Car/Art

Beer Sign Car/Art

Fell's Point Farmer's Market

Fell’s Point Farmer’s Market

Millstone Cellars Cider & Mead

Millstone Cellars Cider & Mead

Crab Massacre

Crab Massacre

Written by A+K

August 4th, 2014 at 10:36 am

2 Responses to 'Scrapple and Beer – Our Best of Baltimore'

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  1. You had an opportunity to highlight the burgeoning craft scene in Baltimore, and instead made the predictable Wire comments.

    Jake

    7 Aug 14 at 10:18 am

  2. Our overall message here was that Baltimore is an awesome city to visit for beer. However, parts are sketchy and it was the setting of a hit HBO show. If someone wrote about our local (Long Island) brewery scene we’d expect a disclaimer to watch out for drunk Billy Joel.

    A+K

    8 Aug 14 at 10:35 am

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