The first ever Baltimore Beer Week begins tonight, on the water, literally.
Boog Powell *, former Baltimore Oriole who is a longtime friend of beer, will start Baltimore Beer Week with a mighty blow. Powell will crack open a cask of beer aboard the USS Constellation in Baltimore's Inner Harbor . The ceremonial cask tapping is the first of a series of Beer Week events including beer dinners and tastings held at taverns and restaurants around the Baltimore metro area. A list of sanctioned events and how to obtain tickets for those requiring them can be found on the events section of the Baltimore Beer Week website www.baltimorebeerweek.com.
This ceremonial tapping is a fundraiser to help defray costs of the organizing committee. There will be no walk-up tickets available at the dock **.
If you're not to be on-board, consider this opening celebration, instead. It is open to the public.
Brewers Association of Maryland (BAM) Kick Off PartyThere are 15 (!) other events listed just for this evening.
Pratt Street Ale House
206 W. Pratt St
Baltimore , MD 21201
Thursday, October 8th
Baltimore Beer Week runs from today through 18 October (an eleven day week: that's Bawlmer beer math, hon!), featuring more than 350 events ***. Two existing events fall within the celebration as well: the Maryland Brewer's Oktoberfest (10 October, with many brewers and their beers, despite the name) and the Chesapeake Real Ale Festival (17 October).
The festival is the brainchild —and the sweat equity— of longtime Baltimore, Maryland beer maven Joe Gold (Baltimore Beer Week founder and organizing committee chair), Baltimore Sun columnist Rob Kasper (media liaison for Baltimore Beer Week), and
Dominic Cantalupo, a real estate associate broker who as a kid growing up in East Baltimore used to fetch a bucket of beer from the corner tavern for his grandmother <...> Les White, president of the Free State Home Brewer's Guild as well as a computer whiz, and Sandy Mitchell, a reporter for the Mid-Atlantic Brewing News.
My prior posts:
- Bawlmer Beer Week's brand
- Baltimore Beer Week for October 2009
- More about Balto Beer Week
- 6th Annual Chesapeake Real Ale Festival
- [UPDATE: Photos and recap of the tapping here.]
* Rob Kasper of the Baltimore Sun has a funny story on at least one reason why Boog Powell is a "friend of beer." (The article includes several interesting tidbits of Baltimore beer history.)
In 1954, National [Brewing Company] had 60 percent of the Baltimore beer market. The brewery's owner, Jerry Hoffberger, also owned the Baltimore Orioles, an arrangement that a few years year later proved to be felicitous to Boog Powell, who joined the team in 1961. At the start of every homestand, Orioles players would be given a case of National beer, Powell told me. Some of the players did not like beer, so being a good teammate, Powell took it upon himself to relieve them of their unwanted cases.
** The initial opportunity to purchase tickets was afforded to various members of the press and folk associated with Baltimore beer and brewing (both present and past). After that, the invitations were extended via random drawing to anyone who had subscribed to the Baltimore Beer Week newsletter. As space on the USS Constellation is limited, tickets were not made available for general sale to the public.
*** I've already heard some carping that many of the events listed are simple beer samplings in Baltimore and Maryland beer shops. To that, I respond, "So, what!" That in no way diminishes the entire celebration or the work involved to organize it, and it ignores the major events around which the festival extends. I'll be going to some of them. For the full listing of events, go here.