Sunday April 8, 2018
Frits and I met Jeff at Cromwell Station, rode to Hamburg Street, and managed with some difficulty to wend our way to Checkerspot Brewing. We were some of the last few to arrive, not only due to our marginal navigational skills, but also because several people had Ubered ahead of us. Checkerspot hadn't officially opened yet, but the proprietors, Judy & Rob Neff and Stephen Marsh, graciously let us visit. Brewery operations had not yet begun, so they offered a corny keg of homebrewed IPA flavored with juniper, which will be one of their staple beers. We saw both the downstairs brewery and the upstairs bar area, the latter of which still had a lot of work to be done.
We then walked about a mile through some of Baltimore's, shall we say, "scenery", over to Pigtown to visit Baltimore's newest brewery, Suspended Brewing. They had opened the previous New Year's Eve but had been closed most of the time since then due to demand for their beers outstripping supply, so that when we got there more than three months after their initial opening, it was only their tenth day being open for business. The term suspended comes from the Italian word sospeso, which means "pending". The term comes from a tradition originating in Naples where customers pay for two cups of coffee while receiving only one so that later a poor person can be served coffee for free.
The brewer, Josey, spoke to us about the brewery's processes. They pitch fresh yeast for each batch. They use many different strains so that each beer on tap has a different yeast. They use caustic with hydrogen peroxide for cleaning and ozonated water for sanitizing. They can brew up to 30 barrels at a time in their five fermentation tanks. Josey also showed us some of the 240-volt / 5500-watt heating elements.
The taproom is cashless; they accept only credit cards. On tap they had:
Afterward about half the group went for lunch at Birroteca while the rest of us walked to the Convention Center Light Rail stop and rode up to the Woodberry stop. The plan was for us to hit Waverly first but several folks opted to stop at Union first. John and I continued on to Waverly and met up with others from our group.
Waverly Brewing opened in late 2015 and has a 5-barrel brewhouse. The taproom is dark and cozy and serves stuffed pretzels to go with the beers. On tap were:
We then walked to Union Craft Brewing where we met up with everyone else. Frits's girlfriend Patty and their dog Zio had driven up to join us. The following might not be 100% accurate but the tap list was something like this:
Union closes at 5 PM on Sundays so at closing time a bunch of us walked to Waverly (some for the first time that day, some for the second). We closed that place too, as they shut down at 7 PM on Sundays. Afterward several folks went to Brewer's Art and others went to Pratt Street Ale House. I headed out of town with Frits, Patty, and Zio.