Baltimore Beer Week begins tomorrow, Thursday, 6 October. When it concludes eleven (!) days later, Sunday 16 October, the Land of Pleasant Living will have celebrated its beer heritage, past and present, at 327 events (give or take).
The organizers have appropriately lifted the slogan "The Land of Pleasant Living" from the labels of bottles (and cans) of National Bohemian, the beer that was once the proud provenance of the city and region. Honoring that, the organizers have included events, not only in Maryland's largest city, but, as well, in the areas surrounding Baltimore.
Many events are free; some require a fee; many are beer tastings or pay-as-you-go meet-and-greets; some are festivals and dinners. With such a wealth, it would be difficult, and non-inclusive, to pick the best of the best. But, here are a few to consider:
- Baltimore Beer Week begins with a Star-Spangled Banger Parade [spelling intentional!], beer tour and pub crawl with the organizers of Baltimore Beer Week. It begins, tomorrow, 6 October, at noon at Fort McHenry [a battle there inspired the writing of the Star Spangled Banner, the national anthem] "whereupon the fabled Star-Spangled Banger mallet [video] will weave its way through some of Baltimore’s storied neighborhoods, visit various landmarks and taverns, and ultimately end at Rams Head Live for the Opening Tap Celebration."
- The official 2011 Baltimore Beer Week Opening Tap Celebration occurs tomorrow night, Thursday, 6 October, at Rams' Head Live, in the Inner Harbor, beginning at 6pm with the ceremonial tapping of the First Firkin, brewed by Heavy Seas Brewery. Details and tickets: here.
- Saturday morning, 8 October, there's a rare tour of the historic Wiessner/ American Brewery building, "perhaps one of the most iconic jewels of Baltimore's brewing and architectural history and landscape," now 're-habbed' with a substantial amount of the long-closed brewery's memorabilia and architectural fixtures retained. Details from Baltimore beer blogger (and one of Baltimore Beer Week's oganizers) Alexander D. Mitchell IV: here.
- The first of two 'bookend' beer festivals: The 9TH Annual Maryland Brewer’s Oktoberfest at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium, including over 80 beers from fifteen local breweries, an assortment of food, live bands, and oompah bands, and the Maryland Brewer’s Homebrew Competition and the announcement of the winners of the 2011 Governor's Cup for Maryland's best beers. The festival is organized not by a third party promoter, but by the breweries of Maryland themselves, through their guild, the Brewer's Association of Maryland. [Despite the spelling, there is more than one brewery in Maryland, sixteen of which are members of the association.]
- Pints for Poe Fundraiser. The Baltimore City Council has cut funding to the Edgar Allan Poe House, located in West Baltimore on Amity Street. A fundraiser has been organized to help save this home of one of America's greatest poets and authors. it's Tuesday evening, 11 October, from 6 to 9pm, at the Creative Alliance at the Patterson. Details available on Facebook, or at the Week's website.
- The other 'bookend:' The 8th annual Chesapeake Real Ale Festival, sponsored by the Baltimore branch of the Society for the Preservation of Beer from the Wood, Saturday, 15 October, 1-5pm, at the Pratt Street Alehouse. Details and tickets: here. Prior to the festival, there will be an hour-long panel discussion on real ale. Details: here.
And, anything at Max's Taphouse, Pratt Street Alehouse, Brewer's Art, Mahaffey's, and Metropolitan. The non-mention of many other Baltimore pubs and locations is not meant as a slight to them, but is simply a matter of bandwidth limitation. Check your local listings: the rest is up to you, doen'cha knoe, hon!
- The Baltimore Sun has a story on the Week's genesis: here.
- The Week itself has a list of several articles on Baltimore's beer history: here.
- Learn more at the Baltimore Beer Week website at www.baltimorebeerweek.com; follow on Facebook at facebook.com/BaltBeerWeek; follow on Twitter at @BaltBeerWeek and hashtag #BBW11 [that's NOT #BBW, which leads to 'non-family' material!); see photos on Flickr at flickr.com/photos/baltimorebeerweek.
- One event not officially sanctioned by Baltimore Beer Week is also worth consideration: Science on Tap at the Maryland Science Center, Thursday, 6 October, 7-9pm. Details from the Center's website: "The Maryland Science Center’s popular science of adult beverages series focuses on beer in October with Jim Wagner, Brewmaster of DuClaw. Explore various ingredients and the different roles ingredients play in the brewing process. The evening includes sampling of various DuClaw specialties including Venom Pale Ale and Black Lightning." Reservations required: here.