Midnight Sun Wesley Case covers the city's after-hours scene

The Baltimore area's best local beers and spirits

In 2018, Marylanders could exclusively drink beers and spirits produced here — and likely be plenty satisfied. As our breweries and distilleries continue to hone their crafts, the proof can be tasted in cans, bottles and pint glasses around the region. These are some of the best.

Top five Baltimore-area beers

Waverly Brewing Company’s The Garis: A collaboration with the Wine Source, this double dry-hopped India Pale Ale packs a wallop alcohol-wise, but you’d never notice from its deceptively light finish. 8.7 percent ABV

Union Craft Brewing’s Old Pro: This German-style wheat beer known as a gose (pronounced go-suh) has touch of salt and tartness, but ultimately it’s refreshing. This is the local gold standard for sour beers. 4.2 percent ABV

Monument City Brewing’s Rye 51: As the Kresson brewery widens its impressive portfolio, its flagship beer remains the crown jewel — a brew with a crisp balance between citrus and spicy malt notes. 6.5 percent ABV

Real Ale Revival’s 1st Meal: The popular Eastern Shore brewery concocted this stout with Vermont maple syrup, coffee and other flavors that work in the morning as well as they do at night. 7 percent ABV

Burley Oak Brewing Company’s Lost: Some of Maryland’s best and most interesting beer consistently comes from this small Berlin brewery. A good place to start is Lost, a hop-forward American IPA whose medium body mellows out quickly. 7.2 percent ABV

Top five Baltimore-area spirits

The Baltimore Whiskey Company’s Epoch Rye Whiskey: Patience will pay off this month, when this Baltimore distillery finally unveils its rye whiskey after a two-year aging process. A nod to Maryland’s history with rye, the deliciously smooth taste is worth the wait. 100 proof (50 percent ABV)

Old Line Spirits’ Single Malt American Whiskey: The Highlandtown distillery uses a grain primarily found in a single-malt Scotch, but then ages the spirit in an oak barrel like bourbon — with complex and rewarding results. 86 proof (43 percent ABV)

Lost Ark Distilling Co.’s Lady Anne White Rum: Versatility defines this clear spirit, one of the first products from this Columbia distillery. It can be sipped neat, or it can serve as a fantastic base for cocktails like a mojito or a Mai Tai. 80 proof (40 percent ABV)

Sagamore Spirit’s Moscatel Barrel Finished Whiskey: The Port Covington distillery found a way to improve its base whiskey. Aging its Straight Rye Whiskey in Portuguese dessert wine barrels, the variation has a distinct, fruity sweetness that elevates the finished product. Approximately 100 proof (50 percent ABV)

Lyon Distilling Co.’s Dark Rum: There’s nothing shy about the spirits made at this St. Michaels distillery, including the dark rum — rich, caramel-heavy and excellent on the rocks. 90 proof (45 percent ABV)

wesley.case@baltsun.com

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