It's been a mini-tradition of sorts for me to hit Baltimore, Md. for a day of beer tasting soon after Christmas Day. It was easier when I lived there. Since 2002, it's required getting off the couch and driving north on I-95.
Last year, it was to the Wharf Rat for a book signing: Beer and Philosophy.
This year, it was with friends to Maxs TapHouse in the Fells Point district, a block from the Inner Harbor.
Among the beers we tried were a cask pull of Weyerbacher Winter; draft JW Lees 1997 (!) Harvest Ale (tasted like a prune juice cocktail... in a good way); bottle Hanssens Oude Kriek; draft Chouffe Houblon; draft Oaked Aged Arrogant Bastard; draft Uerige Doppel Sticke; draft Troegs Mad Elf; bottled Ølfabrikken Jule Ale (Danish strong golden ale hopped with US Centennial); and bottled Ølfabrikken Winter Porter (bottom-fermented porter of about 7.5% abv).
Mark your calendars now for Max's 5th annual 72 Hours of Belgium, a three day celebration of Belgian beer, 13-15 February 2009. In year's past: over 100 Belgian draught beers, and 200 bottled Belgian beers.