Black Flag Brewing Co. - Bates Architects - Bates Architects


Established in 2015 with a second location now in nearby Marriotsville, BLACK FLAG BREWING COMPANY’s flagship at Columbia gave founder Brian Gaylor his footprint in the Maryland brew scene. Despite borrowing its moniker from anarchic punk band, Black Flag, the sterling wood-ensconced pub features a ‘warm color palette’ leading to the ‘boulevard of brewtanks’ in the rear.

Inside a tan stone professional building with gleaming cement lacquered floor, Black Flag’s 12-seat, 15-draught oak top bar services several pristine metal-seated community tables. Exposed pipes at the black ceiling offer dramatic contrast to the yellow wooded splendor.

My wife and I grabbed a few core brews and one-offs, some slightly beyond the ‘established norm,’ on our February ’24 Baltimore-Columbia excursion.

Toffee-sugared banana, cherry and fig guided creamily caramelized Dubbel Doug, a sweet spiced Belgian styler.

Waxy tropical fruiting gained vanilla-creamed oated wheat density for Stupid Sexy Wizard NEIPA, coalescing mild lemon-limed grapefruit bittering with yogurt-like pineapple tartness and tangy mandarin orange sweetness.

Terpene-infused hop oiling lent dank cannabis gunk to the salted mango, lemon meringue and buttery Chardonnay influences of Maui Waui, a hazy NEIPA with a boozy gin flourish.

Yet another tropical NEIPA, Sun Run, let softly billowing oated wheat creaming froth its lightly pined Citra-Mosaic hop fruitiness as yellow grapefruit, white peach, navel orange, mandarin orange and pineapple tanginess glimmers.

White peach and Bosc pear combined for Crumble: Peach & Pear, a cinnamon-spiced fruited sour.

Mild chocolate nuttiness reached oats-sugared malts for Suede Shoes Brown Ale, using English ale yeast to invite wispy fruity esters.

Black chocolate and mild coffee roast merged for Dark Arts Imperial Stout, picking up latent hop charred nuttiness.

Blending Dark Arts with Fuzzy Whitaker Raspberry Wheat Sour created Dark & Fuzzy, a delightful combo securing its tart raspberry souring with lemony white grape tannins to contrast ascendingly sweet Black Forest caking.

Then came two exquisite barleywines for dessert. First, ‘unaged’ Uncut Diamonds retained smooth caramelized toffee spicing, buttery whiskey serenity and dried fruited plum-fig conflux as well as heady 11.3% ABV.

An even more complex nightcap, luxurious barleywine, Sunken Diamonds, sank fruitful cuvee-like Madeira wining into lovely bourbon, rum and brandy aged whiskey caramelization, garnering tertiary medicinal cherry, bruised orange and sherry illusions.