November 23, 2007

BALTI-not too ghetto any-MORE

Lance and I decided to get away to beautiful charm city- Baltimore. (just in case, for any reason) you were not aware that is was nicknamed such. Many would disagree that Baltimore is in fact charm city, and I would have been on their side in the past. But my most recent jaunt left me with nothing but warm fuzzies. Perhaps, there $500,000 marketing campaign is paying off and visitors are finding the best ways to "get in on it."

I packed. Lance did the research. He found a beer map of sorts from It mentioned all the places you should hit from usual suspects to the subterranean.
I guess I didn't realize how close it was...just about two hours.
We freshened up and hit Mahaffey's first.

The beer map mentions that this is the best beer joint in a subcity of baltimore, Canton. They also mention this guy Wayne, who owns the spot and is friendly and welcoming. We actually get to meet Wayne two sips into our beer. He's so friendly you want to invite him to Christmas Eve only five minutes after meeting him. (and hope he's your secret santa...I'm sure the bar is pretty profitable).

There I sip on an Otter Creek Otter Mon stout. The menu said it was a milk stout, but when I looked it up later, the website said it was a jamaican stout..the use of sugar can imparts a rummy taste. It was a bit on the sweet side. It would have been a delicious pairing with the pecan chocolate pie we had at Thanksgiving.

Lance and I played a long game of coaster flip...which if you aren't familiar- is quite simply trying to flip a coaster from one pint glass to another. He's really not that good at it. After about438 flips, I finally was victorious. We even had a little wager on it, so I was five bucks richer. And of course, he was a bit of a sore loser.
We move on to the acclaimed Brewers ART. I was at the Mount Vernon townhouse almost four years ago and had the most wonderful time. I was hoping for a repeat. I was so excited when I walked in the door I tripped and almost fell flat. I am so used to this that I shake it off immediately, everyone looks at me like I should be embarrased but I'm not. Perhaps the bright Gold engraved "Please watch your step" sign was there for a reason though.
We have an 8:30 ressie and actually do the real deal sit down dinner thing....oh it must be vacation ( I sang along with the go gos on the way down). We order a few different things: the simple but ever palate pleasing goat cheese and beet salad, mushroom pate, and scallops and ribeye for the main event.

The food was great. The ribeye was so big, I though lance would have gone into a carni coma. He knew when to call it quits though then we vetoed dessert and opted for a digestive downstairs. That digestive being Dupont's "Christmas" beer as the chalkboard claims, but it was actually their winter saison.. a bit bigger all around than the year round. Last time I went down it was a Wednesday evening...that was a better move than choosing a Saturday night at 9:00 to have basement beers. You couldn't move and I actually felt a bit old. They get a huge college crowd down there. Apparently basement bars are all the rage in B-more. I will follow up on this when I take another trip down there in February.

We headed to Max's tap room in Fell's Point. I met the cellarman/GMy Casey Hard in winter of 06 at a bar in Philadelphia. Easy going guy. He told me to stay in touch and let him know if I am ever in the area. I signed up for Max's newsletter and still get them to this day. Lance and I were in the door a mere minute when I asked the doorman if Casey Hard was there, he pointed to a gentleman on the other side of the hightop he was checking ids at. Casey remembered me instantly. WE were able to snag two seats at the bar. We were getting a bit weary at this point.
I have to find my notes on what we drank. they feature over 50 beers on tap and they all move, so you know nothing is sitting in the lines too long. Casey told us about a 3 day Belgian fest they are having Feb. 15, 16, 17th. forget the roses and chocolates, I know what I want for Valentines day....
When we asked for our check Casey gave us a bottle of St. Bernardus Christmas. our tab is taken care of and you are giving us a souvenir St. Bernardus? What a great guy. It was a bit crowded but they had an awesome selection, a vintage list, and a cigar room for the smokers out there.
The next day we had some time to kill before we headed north of the mason dixon. We had breakfast at this cute little cafe "The Morning Edition." The guy was in charge of picking out the spot and he did a good job.. If Baltimore really is charm city, at first glance it really materialized here. Knick Knack paddy wack. The place is almost too cluttered. A hodge podge of tables and chairs alone gave the place its personality. But there was also an addition of a misfit cricket set, st. patricks day decor still up, and clever names on the menu saying "pick me"
I picked a buffalo omelet which our server informed us has never been ordered. When It took one hour to come out even though only 8 customers were in the building I just told myself it took them 45 minutes to figure out how they were going to make it and the remaining 15 to cook up the egg.
We mosey on down to fells point again. We actually got to see them filming Jennifer Aniston's new flick, "He's just not that into you." No celebrity sightings ( drew barrymore and ben affleck are also on board). We pass the cameras on the way to Duclaw brew pub. Lance describes DuClaw as a Triumph of sorts. It was sort of lacking in character. There was a Lehigh/Lafayette football game going on..The bar was split in two. We ended up on the Lafayette side, so we cheered for them and lost.
We bought our nieces and nephews some cute rain gear and we were on our way.
Lance couldn't believe I had never been to STaTE Line liquors in Elkton , MD. So that was definitely a detour on the way home.
This place was amazing. I could spend a pay check there in forty minutes. They had a sale on all Belgian beer- 20% off. We picked up a bottle of Rochefort 10 for $5.99. We also found that rare mead that Tria has on their list, the South African sun blossom mead for 19.99. We got a bottle of Petrus Christmas ale. Which we haven't opened yet, but I did try it on draft and was very disappointed. Petrus Pale ale and the oud bruin are big hits with me but I found their Christmas to be lacking any depth whatsoever. There's nothing about it that makes you sit back and wait for it to warm up as you reminisce over your last year.
I had a feeling when I arrived and saw the selection of beer, that there might be some good news in the glassware department. I have been on a hunt for Karmeliet and Kwak glasses since my friends bar opened in August. Below and Behold. They had everything. And CHEAP! I managed to leave having only spent $75 dollars. I think Lance spent about 20 more than me, but he at least he was able to cross some people off his Christmas list. I was a bit selfish and got all my liquid for little ol' me.
Overall, we had a great time. Lance drove, so we had zero road trip tension.
I highly recommend a trip to charm city. Tell Wayne we said hi and we're glad we" got in on it" (whatever that supposed to mean.)


  1. baltimore is also "the greatest city in america" and "the city that reads"

  2. I love State Line Liquors; their selection isn't quite as fabulous as Bierkraft in Brooklyn, but it's certainly not bad. Great glassware too.