Food & Drink

You Should Be Drinking in These Baltimore-Area Breweries

Published On 11/06/2015 Published On 11/06/2015
Courtesy of The Brewer's Art

Believe it or not, the city of Baltimore has played a crucial role in beer-guzzling history. The bottle cap was patented here in 1829. The people at the American Can Company, located in present-day Canton, were the geniuses who first canned beer. National and Gunther Brewing Companies became household names in the 1950s. But sadly, like in so many parts of the country, Baltimore’s breweries were largely consolidated, bought out, or moved out of town during the 20th century.

Luckily (also like many parts of the country!), Baltimore’s beer scene has blown up in the past decade, to the point where a new one seems to be opening every day. From tap rooms to brewpubs to beer co-ops, here are the 11 Baltimore-area breweries you shouldn’t miss.

Flickr/Mark Poblete

Flying Dog Brewery

Frederick

While technically an hour away from Baltimore, a road trip is so worth it to visit this off-the-wall brewery. Known for its edgy beer names and label art drawn by Hunter S. Thompson illustrator Ralph Steadman, Flying Dog moved from Colorado to Maryland in 1994 and we’ve been thankful ever since. Not only does the brewery hosts hourly tours and happy hour in the tasting room, but there are also full-fledged concerts with food trucks on its lawn. Don’t be afraid to experiment because Flying Dog produces everything from Old Bay beer to an oyster stout to a blood orange ale. Also for the beer super-nerd, the brewery just started Flying Dog University, which offers classes that cover everything from beer-making basics and beer/food pairings to a beer geek tour -- an extensive, two-hour look into all aspects of production.

Courtesy of Union

Union Craft Brewing

Woodberry

Credited with being the first craft brewery to open in city limits in 30 years, Union Craft Brewing is always setting trends. The Woodberry brewery is located in an old warehouse that opens up to a giant parking lot, where it often hosts food trucks, live music, and games of cornhole. There are tours of the intimate 20-barrel brewhouse on Saturdays and the bar-like taproom is open for happy hour on Thursdays and Fridays. While you’d be in good shape to stick with flagship brews like Duckpin and Anthem, where Union really shines is its limited releases, like Schmoke (a smoky rauchbier) or Snow Pants oatmeal stout.

Flickr/Thomas Cizauskas

Heavy Seas Beer

Halethorpe

Known more or less as the grandaddy of the craft beer scene in Baltimore, Hugh Sisson founded Heavy Seas (formerly Clipper City Brewing Co.) in 1994, after owning Maryland’s first official brewpub. The pirate-themed brewery is located in an industrial area of South Baltimore, where it produces 34,000 barrels a year in its massive space. They also offer free brewery tours that finish up in the recently renovated tap room. For $5, you get a pint glass and four beer samples. To get the most bang for your buck, we recommend the brewery’s popular Loose Cannon IPA and our favorite seasonal, The Great Pumpkin imperial stout.  

Flickr/Maryland GovPics

Peabody Heights

Charles Village

If sharing is caring, then Peabody Heights really loves local beer. Starting production in 2012, Peabody opened as the city’s first co-op brewery, lending its space, equipment, and expertise to a current count of eight startup breweries. In total, the space puts out about 1,000 barrels a month and just redid its 2,000sqft tasting room. You can try Peabody Heights' nod to Baltimore’s Natty Boh roots with an Old Oriole Park Bohemian (the brewery sits on the site of the original baseball stadium). Of course, there are plenty of other brews to choose from, like Monument’s 51 Rye, Full Tilt’s Berger Cookie Stout, Public Works’ Red Cent, and Raven Beer’s various nods to a certain notable macabre writer from Baltimore.

Courtesy of The Brewer's Art

The Brewer’s Art

Mt. Vernon

This famed brewpub is known for having two distinct floors: an open, bright top level predominantly for diners and a dark cavernous space below predominantly for drinkers. But what’s really important is the third floor, aka the basement, where Brewer’s has been producing amazing beer since the fall of 1996. The brewpub’s goblets are usually full to the brim with its Belgian-style ales, including abbey-style dubbel Resurrection and pale ale Beazly. (Fun fact: Beazly used to be called Ozzy until Ozzy Osbourne wrote a cease and desist letter to the company. Apparently bats aren’t the only ones who have to watch out for him.) If you want to tour the place that Esquire magazine once named the best bar in America, it offers those too, on most Saturday afternoons.

DuClaw Brewing Co.

DuClaw Brewing Co.

Rosedale

Back in the infancy of the state’s craft beer scene, DuClaw opened up a brewpub north of Baltimore in Bel Air. In the past 20 years, it has outgrown two different breweries and ended up in a massive production facility just outside of the city. While it’s still working out the kinks of brewery tours and building a tasting room, there are plenty of places to indulge in DuClaw, including its four brewpubs around the state. DuClaw is known for having fun with ingredients, as seen in beers like Sweet Baby Jesus chocolate peanut butter porter and Morgazm grapefruit blonde ale, along with label art that closely resembles metal album covers.

Courtesy of Jailbreak

Jailbreak Brewing Co.

Laurel

Another brewery worth the drive (or Uber) is Jailbreak Brewing south of Baltimore in Howard County. The taproom is open most of the afternoons and evenings and even offers occasional yoga classes. Though it just started production last year, its beers and events are gaining popularity in the brew-nerd world. Jailbreak happens to have our favorite local Hefeweizen in Feed the Monkey and the ideal amount of heat in the Welcome to Scoville jalapeño IPA.

Diamondback Brewing

Curtis Bay

Inspired by dorm-room homebrew creations and the University of Maryland mascot, three friends started Diamondback Brewing last fall. Though Diamondback's not quite ready to offer tours just yet, its brews can be found throughout Baltimore, in both cans and drafts, and also fittingly at The Diamondback Tavern in Ellicott City. The brewery’s concepts are hyper-local, from the Maryland flag-adorned cans to its latest release, Omar’s O.P.A. (oat pale ale), which all fans of The Wire know you best not miss.

Oliver Brewing Company

Oliver Brewing Company

Herring Run Park

Though Oliver has been brewing its English-style ales in Baltimore since 1993, it’s the newest developments that have everyone most excited. For the longest time, Oliver brewed its stouts, ales, and bitters in a tiny side room of Pratt Street Ale House, but the brewery’s overwhelming popularity has forced the company to expand. That lead them to purchase an old ice factory in an off-the-radar area of Northeast Baltimore. The new place has an ample 10,000-barrel capacity, a giant parking lot for events, and will be open for business in just two weeks. For now, Oliver beers, like the brilliantly named Draft Punk, can be consumed at its various brewpubs throughout the state.

Jess Mayhugh/Thrillist

Waverly Brewing Company

Woodberry

Just a can’s throw away from Union is the just-opened Waverly Brewing Company. The tasting room feels warm and cozy with ski lodge-like decor, a collection of beer steins, and nostalgic skateboards and magazine cut-outs on the wall. Thankfully, Waverly’s creations have already been available at various festivals around town and we are partial to Golden Sombrero, a sessionable gold ale. Look forward to plenty of catered, outdoor parties once it opens up.

Key Brewing (also coming soon!)

Dundalk

Another new space on the horizon is Key Brewing, located in an industrial area of Southeast Baltimore. Though the 1,200sqft taproom has 12 draft lines, the only beer currently available in Baltimore bars is its flagship On Point red ale, a full-bodied amber. Anticipating a December opening, the brewery will soon release a rye porter and Helles lager, and there are rumors that horseshoe pits and croquet equipment are in store for its spacious lawn.

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Jess Mayhugh is the digital editor at Baltimore magazine and Flying Dog’s Bloodline might as well be flowing through her veins. Follow her for all things boozy @jessmayhugh.

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1. Key Brewing Co. 2500 Grays Rd, Dundalk, MD 21222 (Baltimore)

Another new space on the horizon is Key Brewing, located in an industrial area of Southeast Baltimore. Though the 1,200sqft taproom has 12 draft lines, the only beer currently available in Baltimore bars is its flagship On Point red ale, a full-bodied amber. Anticipating a December opening, the brewery will soon release a rye porter and Helles lager, and there are rumors that horseshoe pits and croquet equipment are in store for its spacious lawn.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
2. Flying Dog Brewery 4607 Wedgewood Blvd, Frederick, MD 21703 (Baltimore)

While technically an hour away from Baltimore, a road trip is so worth it to visit this off-the-wall brewery. Known for its edgy beer names and label art drawn by Hunter S. Thompson illustrator Ralph Steadman, Flying Dog moved from Colorado to Maryland in 1994 and we’ve been thankful ever since. Not only does the brewery hosts hourly tours and happy hour in the tasting room, but there are also full-fledged concerts with food trucks on its lawn. Don’t be afraid to experiment because Flying Dog produces everything from Old Bay beer to an oyster stout to a blood orange ale. Also for the beer super-nerd, the brewery just started Flying Dog University, which offers classes that cover everything from beer-making basics and beer/food pairings to a beer geek tour -- an extensive, two-hour look into all aspects of production.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
3. Heavy Seas Alehouse 1300 Bank St, Baltimore, MD 21231 (Baltimore)

Known more or less as the grandaddy of the craft beer scene in Baltimore, Hugh Sisson founded Heavy Seas (formerly Clipper City Brewing Co.) in 1994, after owning Maryland’s first official brewpub. The pirate-themed brewery is located in an industrial area of South Baltimore, where it produces 34,000 barrels a year in its massive space. They also offer free brewery tours that finish up in the recently renovated tap room. For $5, you get a pint glass and four beer samples. To get the most bang for your buck, we recommend the brewery’s popular Loose Cannon IPA and our favorite seasonal, The Great Pumpkin imperial stout.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
4. Union Craft Brewing 1700 Union Ave, Baltimore, MD 21211

This Woodberry brewery maintains 20 barrels, as well as a large parking lot that hosts regular games of cornhole, food trucks, and live music. When the tap room opens on the weekends, you can create your own flight of stouts, porters, and ales (though the signature Duckin Pale Ale is recommended), and even have your choice of dinner delivered to the venue.

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5. Peabody Heights Brewery 401 E 30th St, Baltimore, MD 21218 (Baltimore)

Credited with being the first craft brewery to open in city limits in 30 years, Union Craft Brewing is always setting trends. The Woodberry brewery is located in an old warehouse that opens up to a giant parking lot, where it often hosts food trucks, live music, and games of cornhole. There are tours of the intimate 20-barrel brewhouse on Saturdays and the bar-like taproom is open for happy hour on Thursdays and Fridays. While you’d be in good shape to stick with flagship brews like Duckpin and Anthem, where Union really shines is its limited releases, like Schmoke (a smoky rauchbier) or Snow Pants oatmeal stout.

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6. The Brewer's Art 1106 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21201

The brewpub covers a two-story mansion, with a dining room on the ground-level and a more casual space below, where drinkers can sample Belgian-style beers and pub food.

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7. DuClaw Brewing Co. 8901 Yellow Brick Rd (& Other Locations), Baltimore, MD 21237 (Baltimore)

Back in the infancy of the state’s craft beer scene, DuClaw opened up a brewpub north of Baltimore in Bel Air. In the past 20 years, it has outgrown two different breweries and ended up in a massive production facility just outside of the city. While it’s still working out the kinks of brewery tours and building a tasting room, there are plenty of places to indulge in DuClaw, including its four brewpubs around the state. DuClaw is known for having fun with ingredients, as seen in beers like Sweet Baby Jesus chocolate peanut butter porter and Morgazm grapefruit blonde ale, along with label art that closely resembles metal album covers.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
8. Jailbreak Brewing Company 9445 Washington Blvd N Ste F, Laurel, MD 20723 (Baltimore)

Another brewery worth the drive (or Uber) is Jailbreak Brewing south of Baltimore in Howard County. The taproom is open most of the afternoons and evenings and even offers occasional yoga classes. Though it just started production last year, its beers and events are gaining popularity in the brew-nerd world. Jailbreak happens to have our favorite local Hefeweizen in Feed the Monkey and the ideal amount of heat in the Welcome to Scoville jalapeño IPA.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
9. Diamondback Tavern 3733 Old Columbia Pike, Ellicott City, MD 21043 (Baltimore)

Inspired by dorm-room homebrew creations and the University of Maryland mascot, three friends started Diamondback Brewing last fall. Though Diamondback's not quite ready to offer tours just yet, its brews can be found throughout Baltimore, in both cans and drafts, and also fittingly at The Diamondback Tavern in Ellicott City. The brewery’s concepts are hyper-local, from the Maryland flag-adorned cans to its latest release, Omar’s O.P.A. (oat pale ale), which all fans of The Wire know you best not miss.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
10. Oliver Brewing Co 4126 Shannon Drive, Baltimore, MD 21231 (Baltimore)

Though Oliver has been brewing its English-style ales in Baltimore since 1993, it’s the newest developments that have everyone most excited. For the longest time, Oliver brewed its stouts, ales, and bitters in a tiny side room of Pratt Street Ale House, but the brewery’s overwhelming popularity has forced the company to expand. That lead them to purchase an old ice factory in an off-the-radar area of Northeast Baltimore. The new place has an ample 10,000-barrel capacity, a giant parking lot for events, and will be open for business in just two weeks. For now, Oliver beers, like the brilliantly named Draft Punk, can be consumed at its various brewpubs throughout the state.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
11. Waverly Brewing Company 1625 Union Ave, Baltimore, MD 21211 (Baltimore)

Just a can’s throw away from Union is the highly anticipated Waverly Brewing Company, which is opening its doors mid-November. The tasting room feels warm and cozy with ski lodge-like decor, a collection of beer steins, and nostalgic skateboards and magazine cut-outs on the wall. Thankfully, Waverly’s creations have already been available at various festivals around town and we are partial to Golden Sombrero, a sessionable gold ale. Look forward to plenty of catered, outdoor parties once it opens up.

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