Today is the day. The day you all have been waiting for. The day that this sub-format of this loosely thrown together blog wraps up. Today, this day of all days, is the last day of Good Morning Beertimore! I know, I can feel that applaud in your heart. I’m cheering too. And shedding a solitary tear. Don’t be ashamed. You’re allowed to have mixed emotions about the conclusion of my time spent in Baltimore. On one hand, it was nice to just have content to create but on the other hand, Baltimore is a garbage city and it’s going to be comforting to not have to pretend to care about it anymore. I know, I feel you, my dear reader. (Except you, you know who you are, who is going to try to tell me Baltimore is a great city with a lot of offer. Stop. Stop trying to convince me.)
The final brewery visited in Baltimore was Waverly Brewing Company in the Hampden/Woodberry neighborhood of Baltimore!
Nicole and I rolled into the brewery in the late afternoon during the Packers/Seahawks game during the first football Sunday of the season. Outside on the patio there was a diverse group of people hanging out, drinking beer, socializing with friends and strangers, dancing to a DJ, and inside were people wearing Green and Gold watching the game on the set in the corner. The vibes were completely different, but the Green and Gold was comforting to my Midwestern sensibilities. My first beer I ordered was the Mo Kings APA and Nicole got the Resting Peach Face, which is their first sour. Nicole and I both liked their sour a lot and the APA was good as well. She still wasn’t sold on it, as APAs are very similar to IPAs and we have already established how Nicole feels about those.
After ordering, we decided to enjoy our beers on the patio. Like I said, the crowd outside was not what you would expect from a craft brewery scene. It was lively and friendly and everyone was just hanging out. People were sharing tables and strangers even talked to us of all people. One girl asked how we were enjoying our beers and Nicole’s sausage, and then another guy Postmate’d crabs to the brewery and then offered them to everyone, and again, even to us. Very Maryland.
Sitting out on this patio, though, is where I had a crisis of faith moment. Seeing this scene unfold and being jarred by how it did not line up with any other brewery I have yet to attend on this journey of mine (ours) made me realize that this might be a futile effort. After a while, can I really denote the differences in beer? Can I honestly appreciate one brewery’s “vibes” over another? They all start to blend together. The beer. The people. The patios and taprooms and tours and bartenders. And you don’t realize it until something stands out, like here at Waverly, where they had a food vendor on the patio where Nicole got a rattlesnake sausage and there was a DJ playing songs I didn’t know but everyone was grooving to. It did not align with the hipster bullshit I was starting to become blind to, but the moment when you walked back into the taproom, you saw it. The same scene as every other brewery. The Edison bulbs. The distressed wood. The kitschy tchotchkes definitely bought at Goodwill but intended to make it look like they were acquired over a long period of time and travel. They were all the same.
Now, that is not to say I don’t still enjoy it. I do. And I will keep on this journey because, as many times before stated, this is more than a journey. This is our destiny. This is what we were born to do. Drink beer. But I have to accept that I am a type. I am a hipster who is blind to the aesthetic until the aesthetic is disrupted.
For our second drinks, Nicole and I sat in the taproom. I got the P-Don Pils and Nicole went for the guest tap which was the Wynridge Cider. My pilsner was good. It was straightforward. As with most pilsners, it was a beer your grandfather would drink, only with a little more flavor. Nicole’s cider, however, was a bit of a misstep. It was just a lot. We both struggled to finish it. It tasted like a very syrupy apple juice and it was just overpowering. Again, though, that’s not a knock. It just wasn’t our style.
We drank it, though, and watched the Packers win their first game of regular season. The two Packer fans in the place seemed pleased and I felt nostalgic for a place where people are pleased about football and sit in dive bars drinking $3 Miller Lites and cheer loudly. But I was only in Baltimore for the weekend, so it wasn’t that I was missing Wisconsin fiercely. I was missing a certain lifestyle I have been far removed from in recent years. I miss un-ironic enthusiasm. I just don’t have that in my life much, especially now that I spend my weekends at craft breweries where people cannot risk showing their true emotions about anything other than maybe Rick and Morty and Game of Thrones. I need to reconnect with my roots, go back to those rural dive bars in desolate parts of the state that everybody leaves the second they can and drink the champagne of beers with men who lived through the second World War and helped get Trump elected. Or not.
So anyways, we finished up our seconds pretty quick because the joint was closing. Then, on our way out, I finally agreed to the one thing Nicole had been asking me to do since we first arrived at our first brewery over twenty four hours earlier. I agreed to one game of bags. That’s right. I said yes. And know what? I won. I don’t remember the score for certain, but I do remember winning. And I feel like that is the best story arc you will ever find on this blog. Over the course of four Baltimore (or Maryland) breweries, I finally agreed on our way out of our last brewery to play a game of bags. And. I. Won.
That’s a wrap on Good Morning Beertimore! fam!! Next time we talk about my happy place, Third Space Brewing!