Waverly Brewing Co, Baltimore, MD

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.

 

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Rattlesnake sausage

 

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!

Union Craft Brewing, Hampden, Baltimore, MD

Honestly, if we were going to nail down the aesthetic of this blog it would be “simple yet focused premise but still cannot seem to maintain a theme.” Just look at how this blog has been going so far. How many Milwaukee breweries have we actually been to? Three? Sure, there have been other miscellaneous events and breweries here and there, but that doesn’t adhere to the premise which was simply visit every Milwaukee brewery and write a blog post about it to get a hands-on knowledge and appreciate for beer culture. See how simple that reads? It’s a great logline if I were to run into a producer in an elevator and wanted to pitch them my blog to be adapted into a Travel Channel show. Simple. But somehow I still cannot maintain that theme. So, that brings us to today, which is part one of four on our special Baltimore Series that shall henceforth be known as Good Morning Beertimore!

That’s right jerks! I’ve strayed from theme again!

So, I decided to take a long weekend to visit Nicole in Baltimore for her birthday and I figured, what better way to celebrate my best friend’s birthday weekend than by making her go to breweries with me although she does not like beer. So on Saturday, September 8th after bumming around Hampdenfest, we would hit up a brewery. Briefly, I will tell you that Hampdenfest was fine. It was a pretty run-of-the-mill street festival with food and beer vendors and a bunch of people just milling about. The one noteworthy thing to mention about Hampdenfest was that there are toilet races? I know. People decorate toilets and form teams and RACE THEM. Like, down a hill. There are costumes and cheering and themes. It was quite the sight to behold. But that is not why you are here. You are here to hear about Union Craft Brewing.

Union is also in the Hampden/Woodbury neighborhood, but since travel efficiency is not one of my high points, first Nicole and I tried to hit up a cemetery which was like fifteen minutes away and closed. So then we were like, “Well, we can check out a brewery now I guess?” And it was honestly like, five minutes from The Aveune*.

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I made it to the cemetery eventually.

Full disclosure, while I did want to hit up as many breweries as possible and Union was on the list, it was not what we were aiming for. We were aiming for Waverly Brewing, but could not find it. The GPS proudly announced that you are here! but we did not know where here was. But Union is on the same street and just slightly further down so we decided to start there, which I am glad we did because they closed at six and it was already a little after four.

The taproom is small, but definitely has that familiar craft beer charm to it. Along with the cute little taproom was also an outside patio that had picnic tables where people were sitting outside on the nice Saturday afternoon with their friends and dogs. There was also bags. Nicole and I ordered our first beers, hers was the Old Pro Gose Sour and I got the Royal Farmhouse Double IPA. Nicole loves sours and she did really enjoy this beer. I also liked mine quite a bit. Nicole, however, did not like my beer. I mean, I shouldn’t be offended because she does not like IPAs at all and I suppose I am not offended but she had a very vocal opinion on what it tastes like. Grass. She thought it tasted like grass. In turn, most of the rest of the weekend devolved into this following gif for the two of us.

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Nicole also really wanted to play bags with me at this point, or as she insists on calling it, cornhole. But the problem with this request is one, what the eff is corn hole amirite? But also, two I am terrible at bags. And so is she. Can you imagine how embarrassing it would be for me and my street cred if the entire city of Baltimore found out how bad I am at bags? It would almost be as bad as if they found out I run a beer blog (which the entire city might already actually know because Nicole is a good friend who promotes as if it actually matters).

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For our second rounds, I got the Steady Eddie Wheat IPA and Nicole got the Mid-Century Modern Belgium Table Beer. First off, shout out to the guys at Union for just know what they have on tap and how to help out a helpless girl trying to get her life together (me). I wandered in from the patio for our second round and Nicole just said to me “the table beer one. It’s Belgium.” And I wanted to seem in the know when I got in there, but no matter how quickly I scanned the board I could not figure out what she meant or what it might be called so when the guy came over to as me what I would like, I stuttered and panicked and said, “I dunno some Belgium one? Table beer?” And then magically he was like mid-pour of what I wanted and was like “Yeah, it’s the Mid-Century Modern.” And I was like, you, kind sir, get it. And he didn’t even throw any beer-itude at me about not knowing what exactly I was trying to order. And that has taught me that I think I have a misguided fear about breweries.

Although now in my life I have been to many taprooms and many tours and many beer halls and gardens and keggers (two truths and a lie time), I still always feel like I do not belong there and that I will be met with judgement, but know what? People working at breweries do not care about my bullshit because they are just doing their jobs and do not care enough to judge me. They just see a girl who wants to expand her beer horizons and, more importantly, is willing to pay $7 for a craft beer rather than $4 for a Busch Latte. Sure, there are some elitist assholes that exist within some of these breweries who will side eye me, but honestly, I think I fit the profile more than I think I do. And that’s not exactly something I am proud of. I’m not looking to fit any profile and certainly not the hipster beer snob profile, but I dress just like the rest of them (homeless-chic) and talk like them (oh wow, I am definitely getting the subtle notes of witchhazel in this experimental small batch!) and I think like them (Bernie would’ve won if only we could have KCCO’d and if they would have released season 5 of House of Cards soon #UnderwoodUnderwood16 #teamFitivia #JedBartlettIsMyPresident). I need to get over my self absorded, self-conscious, “I’m doing this ironically” attitude and just drink beer and realize that I am the person who drinks beer. Sure I might tell everyone my favorite beer is Landshark, but honestly, my favorite beer is Third Space’s Happy Place. I am no better or worse than anyone else that chooses to spend their Saturday afternoon in a parking lot patio at a brewery in some trendy neighborhood in Baltimore. It is who I am and I should just embrace that about myself.

Anyways, comments on Nicole’s beer were that her and I kept passing it back and forthing trying to figure out how we feel about it. Honestly, it just sort of tasted like nothing. I mean, I kept saying that it tasted like a crouton which is just to say that it was very wheat-y, which is to be expected from a Belgium beer but since I am not like good at beer yet, I could only articulate that as “IT TASTES LIKE A CROUTON!” Again, if you came here for facts, you came to the wrong place. Honestly, if you came here at at all, you came to the wrong place. Go outside, take a deep breath, and ask yourself, do you really want to spend the limited amount of time you have on this earth reading this blog? If the answer is yes, welcome back. Let’s continue.

My second beer, the Steady Eddie, was good. It was another IPA, Nicole still thought it tasted like grass. I thought it was fine. Didn’t knock off my pants or anything (mostly because I was wearing a skirt but sh) but it definitely served it’s purpose. We had fun sitting around, though. But, sadly, we were only able to enjoy these two beers apiece because they closed on us. I mean, we knew it was coming. The internet did warn that they closed at 5, although did not actually close until 6, and we did arrive around 4. But still, it’s hard to have a Beer trip when there is only two of you and you can only get two beers apiece. It makes it hard to fully appreciate and sample a wide variety of the menu offerings. So while I have learned that five beers is too many, when there are only two of you, two beers/piece is not enough. I’m not saying that I need to drink more than two full beers, but just sampling the four beers between Nicole and I did not give me a wide ranging opinion on the brewery in whole.

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In terms of vibe, though, it was very chill. Very laid back. Overall, Union was a cool place. I would definitely recommend checking out if you are in Baltimore, especially since there aren’t many alternative options in the city.

Come back next time for more Baltimore beer! 

*not a typo