Tag Archives: BALTIMORE MD


guilford hall brewery | historic industrial baltimore wedding venue — urban  row photography | baltimore maryland wedding photographer


Occupying an old red brick warehouse formerly housing Crown Cork & Seal in the Greenmount West section of northern Baltimore, GUILFORD HALL BREWERY opened for biz May ’21. Providing “European tradition and Baltimore charm,”, this cavernous hardwood-floored public house specializes in German, British, Czech and Belgian styled brews given a modern flair and paired with Bavarian, English, Polish and American cuisine.

A rustic two-floor brewery with intimate biergarten and separate right side open kitchen, Guilford Hall’s olden windows, metal-crowned Edison lights, exposed pipes and ceiling beams match its Industrial arts and entertainment area.

A giant Guilford Hall insignia spreads across the left wall fronting the brew tanks. Block wood tables front the twenty-seat bar in the rear. A large second floor banquet space offers more wooden chairs and tables. There are multiple TV’s at every angle to satisfy sports fans of every stripe.

At brunch on a bustling Sunday morning, December ’22, crowded minions watch the World Cup finals between Argentina and France. There’s no available seating so I grab a hefe and stout to go (reviewed below). Within a month, I revisit Guilford Hall to enjoy lunch with the wife and sink a few newly discovered brews.

Guilford Hall Restaurant - Baltimore, MD | OpenTable

Bustling Hefeweizen let its salty lemon splurge, lacquered herbal musk and dried plantain tartness soak up the sweet banana-clove expectancy.

Dry nut-charred black malting and soothing coffee-oiled dark chocolate bittering saddled C & S Irish Stout, leaving Blackstrap molasses treacle on its dark roast hop seared backend.


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Ever since Pittsburgh’s cathedral brewery, The Church, came into existence during ’99, followed by Grand Rapid’s zymurgic chapel, Brewery Vivant, there’ve been a few places of worship springing up as brewpubs nationally.

North of Fells Point in the urbanized Washington Hill neighborhood, MINISTRY OF BREWING took over St. Michael’s Church January ’20. Its pristinely evocative Cathedral ceiling, restored religious paintings, stain glass windows and pearly Corinthian columns provide a majestic setting.

There are butcher block tables on both sides of the white-tiled central corridor and a choir balcony for further seating. The vast 30-seat right side bar with oyster-shelled poured concrete top features ‘rotating spectrum’ of at least a dozen beers.  Brewtanks and vats are located at the altar.

I soaked up eight delightful suds on my December ’22 pilgrimage.

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Dry lemon spritz and mild lemongrass herbage prickled Kolsch With No Name, a simple relaxing moderation.

Eccentric Spice Must Flow Cream Ale placed vanilla and cardamom adjuncts inside spruce-tipped minting and cologne perfuming.

Salty lemon-dried orange tartness swept thru the mild vanilla creaming of Kreamsickle Kolsch, leaving slight hay acridity on the tail end.

Lemon-limed cherry souring and modest rhubarb tartness enticed Rhuby Sunglasses, a coriander salted gose with delicate white bread spine.

Vibrantly tropical Galaxy/Eldorado hops allow peachy passionfruit and pineapple tang and lemony cherry snips to caress the dry-wooded grassy hop astringency of brusque Lady Day Pale Ale, a feisty little Billie Holiday celebrator from her Baltimore hometown.

Then there were three dark ales.

Cream sugared coffee splendor picked up caramel burnt chocolate fudging and a nutty remnant to engage Dark Wave English Porter.

In its barrel aged version, dark chocolate, dry cocoa and nutty espresso surged against the mildly creamed coffee tones, letting tarry black malt bittering gain traction.

Oats-sugared brown chocolate and spiced caramel gathered for Houndstooth Oatmeal Stout, a sweet, rich full body.

For its Barrel Aged Houndstooth, dark chocolate syruping soaked up the overwhelmed apple brandy aging, allowing dry medium roast coffee, raw molasses and charred nuttiness to gain a bitterer edge.

Coffee-stained dark chocolate gained bitterness from the dark-roast hop char and subtle nuttiness of 9.9 Problems Imperial Stout, a bold nightcap.



Nepenthe Brewing Co.'s experimental beers and innovative pub food are just  days away


Banishing grief from a person’s mind via Homer’s Odyssey, NEPENTHE BREWING COMPANY will cure your ills with a well-respected, ever-evolving lineup of diversified beers. Next to Extra Space Storage, the commodious gray-bricked warehouse pub in the northern Baltimore mill town hamlet of Hampden (near Johns Hopkins University) took over a former sportsbar and opened for biz January 2019.

Alongside fashion boutiques and vintage shops, Nepenthe’s part of the entirely overhauled main drag. A 10-barrel brewhouse with two draught stations servicing sixteen taps, its twenty-seat marble top bar stretches across one side and ten community tables and several leveled tables fill out the plank wood-floored, pipe-exposed, red brick-walled interior.

An open kitchen serves fine pub cuisine. A large blackboard beer list centers the bar and two opposing TV’s provide further entertainment.

I tried one rich stout and a busy IPA variant on my December ’22 stopover, then downed six more goodies thereafter (reviewed in Beer Index).

Nepenthe Brewing Co. is Finally Debuting in Hampden This Weekend -  Baltimore Magazine

Part of an ongoing series, Spontaneous Deviations #2: Red West Coast IPA chameleonically combined an amber-grained red ale with a dry-wooded Cascadian Dark Ale. Its charcoaled Simcoe/Amarillo/Chinook-hopped pining surfaced alongside lightly embittered grapefruit, jammy red grape and sprucy juniper tones above bitter cocoa bean insistence.

Dutch cocoa powdered pistachio and almond roast gains Madagascar vanilla beaning for richly creamed Aphotic Run, an intriguingly mocha-nutted Imperial Stout with tarry hop char and flaked oats spine as well as setback almond biscotti, Amaretto, espresso and cafe latte illusions.



Waverly Brewing Company | Baltimore, MD | Beers | BeerAdvocate


Just off the Jones Falls Expressway in western Baltimore’s industrial Mondawmin area, WAVERLY BREWING COMPANY occupies a blue aluminum storage facility. Set up as a whimsical ‘art gallery lounge’ or ‘merchant marine chill out space,’ Waverly’s ever-shifting small batch brews range all over the spectrum since 2015.

Recycled and reclaimed barnyard wood completes the rustic cement-floored pub. Its ten-seat, aluminum-sided, lacquered wood bar features six to eight proprietary beers plus a few worthy outside suds. There are olden tables and a wide patchworked beer rail for on-site consumption.

I visited Waverly on a cold December ’22 Friday afternoon to down three rangy brews.

Waverly Brewing Company in Baltimore - Restaurant reviews

Spritzy lemon-soured briskness picked up spicy herbal licks for Golden Sombrero Pale Ale, an easygoing faux-Mex moderation.

Rummy brown chocolate draped the bourbon-spiced bruised cherry, red grape and figgy raisin fruiting of Rum MoFo Barrel Aged Belgian Ale, a wonderful strong ale with latent caramelized bourbon snips.

Briny oyster-shelled espresso tones and oily nuttiness propelled nitrogenated Local Oyster Stout, relegating its semi-sweet chocolate creaming.



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Residing at the painted lady rowhouse-lined Abell neighborhood, former home of historic Oriole Park, Baltimore’s PEABODY HEIGHTS BREWERY initially came to fruition during 2012 as a contract brewer only. Operating out of a large red brick warehouse, its memorabilia salutes the old timey Orioles (before they relocated six miles south to the Inner Harbor in the ’90s).

Since 2015, Peabody Heights has been crafting its own proprietary beers as well as outside brews for local independents. Its rustic cement floored brew room features 20-plus draughts at the Edison-lit left side bar (with centered TV). Wood tables and counters fill out the spacious interior and black pipes hang from the white-bulbed ceiling. There’s also a heated patio tent.

During my two-hour December ’22 lunchtime perusal, a seasoned DJ spins tunes for a growing crowd of local residents – some with children and dogs. I grabbed a dozen recurring and one-off suds.

Peabody Heights Brewery / Brewee.app

Subtly dry honey grazed salted lemony orange oiling of Czech pilsner, Up Hill, leaving grassy astringency in its brisk wake.

Dryer Czech pils, Westport Park, let its perfumed lemon musk and grassy herbage settle atop spelt-like oats.

Salted caramel sugaring sweetened confectionery delight, The Charmer, a honey-spiced Scottish ale with butterscotch candied reminder.

Candy-glazed orange and juicy papaya, pineapple and mango anchored piney hopped 10 Acres Imperial IPA, a debonair 10th anniversary celebrator.

Mild rum-soaked coconut and polite cinnamon spicing paced New England IPA variant, Crash Boat Beach, re-creating Puerto Rican coconut eggnog while eschewing most of its stylish tropical fruited zesting.

Arguably my fave, Double Mango Double Astrodon Milkshake IPA plied marshmallow sugaring to salted mango juiciness, turning refreshingly bitter when its lemony orange rind and grapefruit pith sharpness increased.

Coconut creamed candied pineapple and lemony orange zest fortified tropical fruited sour ale, Juiced Painkiller, a vibrant cocktail alternative.

Toffee-spiced dried fruiting obtained dewy cellar musk for Evocator Doppelbock, leaving brown-sugared fig, sweet orange peel and tart raisin illusions on the caramelized back end.

An adjunct Belgian Dark Ale, Lord Pumpkin let its rummy brown-sugared pumpkin pie entry gain toasted cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice subtleties.

A coconut-bound oatmeal cookie, Philter Imperial Stout ushered in brown chocolate, brown raisin and cumin sweetness with finesse.

Milk creamed medium roast Colombian coffee and dark chocolate malting sufficed for Major Arcana Imperial Stout, a valiant nut-charred full body.

Creamy peanut buttered dark chocolate richness pounded decadent Imperial Stout variant, Major Arcana: The Magician, to its molasses-sugared ‘Graham Cracker pie crusting.’





Full Tilt Brewing | Good Velo Club


In the heart of northeastern Baltimore’s revived Govans district, FULL TILT BREWING inhabits a pale blue-bricked, garage-doored shop. Local homebrewers Nick Fertig and Dan Baumiller joined forces in 2013 to open this friendly neighborhood pub, combining ‘traditional and modern ingredients’ for a solid lineup of mostly one-off brews in its backspaced brew room.

Full Tilt’s white slate-topped bar extends towards the rear with its 20 stools creating an elongated corridor with centralized draught taps, assorted bottled wines, cocktails and spirits. An unassumingly charming tavern (with multiple TV’s for sports addicts), a few frontal community tables plus several black and orange right side seats consume the interior. The pipe-exposed black ceiling houses stringed Edison lights and a front patio and upstairs mezzanine provide additional seating.

Despite having only a modest-sized barroom, its massive stainless steel brewtanks stretch towards the backroom ceiling, allowing for expanded brewing capacity in the future.

Alongside a few left side tables were two shuffleboard games and a brilliant wall-painted Full Tilt insignia.

Besides the typical stylistic fare done right, there were also a few highly approachable sour ales. My wife and I consumed nine sundry brews on a brisk December at noon while Argentina bested France for the World Cup.

Full Tilt Brewing Co., Baltimore, MD | The Beer Mapping Project

Snappy lemon prickle teased light lager, Royale With Cheese, retaining mild herbal hop licks and barnyard-dried graininess.

Spritzy lemon fizz crackled for tartly banana bruised hefeweizen, Go Bananas, leaving herbal-snipped clove and coriander spicing on its poppy seeded lemon banana breading.

Juniper-licked lemony orange bittering softy sashayed thru lacquered pine contrasting salted caramel for moderate-bodied Beer Maria: Blonde Ale.

Orange candied spicing perked up Hops The Cat, a Citra-Mosaic-Sauvin-hopped India Pale Ale with dank pine resin and grassy floral herbage.

Soft-toned milk chocolate creaminess and light vanilla sugaring captivated High’s: Cookies & Cream, a nifty chocolate chip cookie confection.

Fudgy cookie dough enriched High’s: Mad Cow Fudge, a chocolate brownie ice cream alternative with nutty sugared coffee reminder.

There were also three Dan’s Jams sours available on our wintry perusal.

Murky rogue-rubied ‘pistachio blackberry ice cream sour,’ Jamba Jams, juxtaposed peachy blackberry tartness and distant pomegranate-cranberry bittering with cake-battered vanilla sugaring sans pistachio influence.

Gummy Bear fruit punch, Cannonball City, combined candied orange, tangerine and clementine tartness with tertiary cherry-pineapple tanginess in a vanilla-pinched lactose setting.

Candied peach souring and tart lemonade sugaring guided Life’s A Peach Ring, a lactose fruited sour with slight apricot-nectarine sweetness plus Gummy Bear powdering.   


   Best Bars: Max's Taphouse - Drink Baltimore - The Best Happy Hours


On the corner of South Broadway in the Fells Point section, MAX’S TAPHOUSE earns the right to be labeled Baltimore’s Best Beer Bar. Boasting 140 rotating drafts, 5 hand-pumped cask stations, 18 TV’s, private rooms and a billiard table, this cozy Irish-styled pub specializes in hard-to-find one-off European beers, respected American micro and nano brews, plus an incredible bottled selection. An elongated wood bar to the right of the entrance gets packed quickly by enthusiastic craft beer imbibers.

On a Friday night in late April ’13, my wife and I grab one of the wooden community tables to quaff a few previously untried offerings. Loud classic rock (Electric Light Orchestra’s “Evil Woman” and Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet”) blasts from the speakers as a large contingent of post-collegiate weekend warriors tip some cocktails while enjoying typical pub food.

For our 2-hour sojourn, I enjoy three different stouts in Charm City’s highly touted watering hole. But first, I grab Full Tilt Baltimore Pale Ale, a local flagship beer offering mild IPA-like pine-needled orange peel bittering to floral grapefruit, apple, peach and pear illusions above a caramel-toasted barleymalt base.

Representing Hawaii, Maui Aloha Baktun Belgian Stout was the least interesting of the stouts, getting a tad musty despite its nutty dark-roasted chocolate opening, bittersweet coffee bean salience, mild espresso dalliance  and sugary Belgian yeast influence. Better was Missouri-based Boulevard Coffee Ale, a distinct strong ale blending heavenly Ethiopian Sidamo coffee with dark-grain roasted barleymalts and oats-dried rye breading.

For dessert, Iceland’s remarkable Olvisholt Lava Smoked Stout proved to be uniquely balanced, plying peat-smoked German rauchbier grit to dark chocolate, roasted coffee and fudgy molasses illusions. (Full reviews are in Beer Index).

A friendly neighborhood saloon glorified by its long-time rep as a superior craft beer fortress, Max’s admirably preserves Baltimore’s historic boutique-bound maritime post.   





In the narrow Federal Hill section blocks away from Inner Harbor and across the Street Market area lies tiny neighborhood bar, RYLEIGH’S BREWPUB & RAW BAR (which ceased brewpub operations during ’07). Its black-fronted exterior boasted ‘steak and chop restaurant with fine ales,’ February ’05. Upon entering, rustic red brick archways lead to wooden booth-laden bar on right with additional seating in the back. To the left, glass enclosed brew tanks front the main eating section. On tap, dryly grassy sugar-candied Marble Golden Ale, spicy red-fruited Dizzy Blonde Ale, and soft buttery-floral Ryleigh’s Best Amber Ale were simple lightweights. But bitter-hopped India Revenge Pale Ale and Black Forest cake-like liqueur-splashed Wild Willie’s Oatmeal Stout left better imprint. Recommended for tap beer brewhounds: Thirsty Dog Pub – two doors down.



During February ’05, I made a clean sweep of Baltimore’s brewpubs. Though CAPITOL CITY BREWING opened at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor around ‘98, the inaugural brewery in Washington D.C. has been operating since ’92. Two Virginia operations now exist also, but this site closed in ‘07. Located on the second floor of Light Street Pavilion, the Baltimore brewpubs’ glass entrance opened to ‘50s styled ambiance where bright red booths lead to a centralized bar area with copper kettles fronting the cooking area. Above, bright red overhead beams and a catwalk matched the scheme. Outside dining overlooked Inner Harbor and a billiard table adorned the back area.

While tasting plump Babe Ruth Burger, I quaffed dry wheat-husked fizzy-hopped lemongrass-y Capitol Kolsch, Scotch-licked caramel-buttered Amber Waves Ale, red-fruited floral-hopped mocha-hinted Extra Special Bitter, friskily fruit-hopped butterscotch-tinged whiskey-dabbed Duncan’s Scottish Ale, and chocolate-y coffee-roasted cola-hazelnut-hinted Prohibition Porter. Some of these brews are still available at Washington DC’s Capitol City Brewpub. Brewery Defunct: 2010.


Red Brick Station, United States, Maryland, Baltimore | BrewCruizer

A mere five miles north of Baltimore is the town of White Marsh. In a modern red brick building at The Avenue mall, RED BRICK STATION RESTAURANT & BREWPUB offered English pub fare, seafood, and firehouse pasta, February ’05. Fire Department memorabilia lined walls near central oak bar, which had endless hanging steins and cornered TV screens. Brew tanks were interspersed at glass frontage and behind bar while outdoor porch area befit summertime.

Opened in ’97, brewer Mike Mc Donald operates an English brick-styled Peter Austin setup, punctuating darker brews with a stiff alcohol reminder. Suiting docile palates were soapy hay-wheat-chaffed Honeygo Lite, soft lemon-spiced corn-husked grassy-hopped wafer-sugared honey-malted Avenue Ale, and red-fruited cereal-grained Something Red.

Caramel-malted beechwood-smoked cognac-teased raisin-cherry-currant-dabbed Octopus Pajamas Scottish Ale, piney dry-smoked deep-spiced grapefruit rind-embittered Daily Crisis IPA, and soft dry-bodied black coffee-licorice-deepened Spooners Irish Stout exhibited depth and complexity. Specialty brew, Mc Dunkel Weiss, pleated blackened hops with cask-y banana, rum cake, and bubblegum swirls.

On terse April ’09 stopover, renewed Octopus Pajamas had fleeting peat-smoked malting, capacious Band-aid illusion and spicier tea-like vigor.

At brass-topped central bar, consumed two previously untried soft-watered mocha-centric brews during late-morning January 2011 stopover. Got to talk about latest brew trends (newfangled Black IPA’s; cask-conditioned beers; sour ales) with seasoned brewer, Mike Mc Donald, whose well-rounded libations suited the stylish English pub setting this spacious beer hall oft-times suggests.

Easygoing German-lagered dunkel-styled schwarzbier, DPM Lager, brought up-front cocoa nibs creaminess to walnut-coarsened coffee-burnt respite, chalky chocolate chunking, and tertiary fig-dried acridity, retaining a sharp edge.

Undeniably exceptional dessert beer, Winter Solstice Oatmeal Stout, should be considered any chocolate lovers’ first choice. Soft-toned black chocolate creaming, milky cocoa caress, and distant toffee sweetness contrasted mild wood-burnt pine-tarred hop char.

Rich mocha-roasted malting allowed subsidiary crème brulee, crème de cocoa, Madagascar bourbon vanilla, and Turkish coffee illusions to increase abundant chocolate splendor.




In the hilly Mount Vernon section of Baltimore, fabulous BREWER’S ART served buoyant handcrafted Belgian-style ales and a great international selection on initial family visitation for dinner, February ‘05.

Its inconspicuous frontage makes it appear as a private residence, but upon entering, first floor bar features beautiful federalist design and mahogany-carved columns leading to upscale dining area and rear copper kettle tanks. Basement level bar recalls ancient dungeons with its dank cement floors, cryptic wine cellar, and fermentation tanks.

Besides the fabulously hand-crafted Brewer’s Art fare, a hand-picked crop of Belgian (Chimay, DeRanke, Dupont, Duvel, Lindeman’s) and German brews (Aecht, Kostritzer, Schneider) crowd the variegated menu.

Symbolic Abbey-styled dubbel, Resurrection, conceals orange rind bittering below phenol candi-sugared raisin-pureed plum-ripe tangerine-cherry sweetness.

Dry-bodied Proletary Dark Ale gains smoky chocolate roast to resin-hopped raisin-fig finish. Mildly carbonated coriander-clove-speckled nectar-apricot-beckoned Cerberus Tripel proved to be acute crossover.

Lemony banana-bruised peppercorn-etched Ozzy, diacetyl herbal-hopped citron-perfumed House Pale Ale, and bubblegummy banana-pineapple-fronted floral-doused peat-backed La Petroleuse suitably introduce lighter thirsts to richer, fruitier Belgian fare.

During January 2011 dinnertime sojourn with old pal, Dennis Flubacher, sat at graffiti-covered back table in dank catacomb-like cellar consuming terrific upscale cuisine (Duck Condit and Utz Crusted Cod) while quaffing one untried Belgian-inspired libation and two great flagship standards. Dingily appealing dark-lit backroom was perfectly contraire setting for absolutely delightful beer-food pairings.

Mild Belgian-styled pale ale, Zodiac, defined as a ‘session beer,’ integrates herbal chamomile-rosemary conflux, black-peppered hop bittering, earthen barnyard funk, and perfumed spices with sweet crystal malting.

Musk-y fungi-molded orange-peppered La Petroleuse, an uncommon Biere De Garde previously quaffed ’05, saddles creamy caramel malting with hop-spiced dark floral potpourri.

Truly reminiscent of Duvel, also retried Ozzy, a musty herb-fettered black-peppered citric-dried Belgian strong pale ale with candi-sugared apple-peach-pear perk, briny rosemary-sage-thyme lurk, and mild orange compote slurp razing earthen barnyard funk.



Duclaw Fells Point by DuClaw Brewing Company in Baltimore, MD | ProViewBALTIMORE, MARYLAND

Note: I initially visited Du Claws’ former Fells Point site, which was closed in 2008 due to a dispute between owner and landlord. However, four great Du Claw pubs remain. The original Bel Air pub was visited January 2010 (see seperate review). Other worthwhile Maryland locations are in Bowie, Hanover, and BWI airport.

Formerly on a quaint cobblestone road in the Fells Point area, DU CLAW was located inside the bottom floor of a five-story harbor building, visited on February ’05 Baltimore area jaunt. Its oak frontage and large glass windows framed a modern Industrial designed interior countering an Old World neighborhood. A small patio section to the left side existed. Spacious high-ceiling interior features oval central bar with four widescreen TV’s, metal stools at wood tables, and four green-seated booths.

Du Claw’s well-detailed brews showed tremendous diversity. Lightweights will adore citric-sweet cereal-grained Bare Ass Blonde Ale, caramelized barley-roasted apple-persimmon-spiced Misfit Red, tangy soft-fruited Ravenwood Kolsch Ale, and blanched Australian-hopped stone-fruited golden lightweight Kangaroo Love Lager.

More sophisticated tastes will lean towards expressive coffee-toned Naked Fish Chocolate Raspberry Stout (sporting a raspberry seed-ripened mocha-sweet hazelnut-walnut confluence), as well as tangy quince-peach-pear-melon-ripened lemon-hopped Venom Pale Ale. Robust dessert treat, Bad Moon Porter, weaves roasted coffee and toasted hops around addictive Godiva dark chocolate sweetness. These are only some of the more than dozen selections available at any given time. Though this Bond Street Wharf site opened July ’04, Du Claw’s original brewpub remains in nearby Belair.