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

What not to miss during Baltimore Beer Week: new brews, competitions and more

For local lovers of golden ales and robust porters, and the many varieties in between, Friday marks a reason to celebrate. It’s the start of Baltimore Beer Week, which is entering its ninth year.

Inspired by beer weeks in Philadelphia and New York, Heavy Seas Beer sales manager Joe Gold founded the Baltimore version in 2009 with the support of other craft-beer enthusiasts in the area. And as the city’s beer scene has expanded, so has Baltimore Beer Week. This year’s will feature events aiming to engage and educate area beer drinkers, running Friday through Oct. 22.

Before you raise a glass, though, you’ll need a game plan, and we’re here to help. These are the Baltimore Beer Week events we have circled on our calendar, split into categories for convenience. For more information on the events, go to baltimorebeerweek.com. (Events are free unless otherwise noted.)

Beer premieres

Each year, Baltimore Beer Week provides an excuse for local breweries to debut new products, and the ninth installment is no exception.

On Friday, Waverly Brewing and the new Checkerspot Brewing will release Caped Bates, a kettle sour brewed with cape gooseberries in honor of John Bates, owner of the corner bar Baltimore Taphouse who died over the summer. The Taphouse (600 S. Potomac St., Canton) will have it first at 1:30 p.m., and the party moves to Waverly Brewing’s taproom (1625 Union Ave., Hampden) at 5:30 p.m.

At Peabody Heights Brewery (401 E. 30th St., Abell), Full Tilt Brewing will launch Galacticat, an India pale ale made with aromatic hops, on Friday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Can’t get enough IPAs? Try Evolution Brewing’s new Lot 410, a blend of its Lot 3 and Lot 6 brews. Its flavors should feel fall appropriate, as portions of the beer were aged in whiskey barrels and soaked with smoked peaches. The tapping party is 4 p.m.-11 p.m. Friday at the Nickel Taphouse (1604 Kelly Ave., Mount Washington).

For the homebrewer

More than 40 competitors will faceoff Friday at Chilibrew, a casual chili and homebrew competition entering its 11th year. Attendees will vote on their favorite chili con carne, vegetarian chili and home-brewed beverages, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to nonprofit organizations. The event begins at 7 p.m. Friday at the Zion Church of the City of Baltimore (400 E. Lexington St., downtown). Admission ($25 at eventbrite.com) gets you a commemorative glass and all-you-can-drink beer from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

For more homebrewing fun, there’s the eighth annual Homebrew Extravaganza from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 18 at Little Havana (1325 Key Highway, Inner Harbor), where attendees will vote for their favorite homebrews from nearly 40 options. Baltimore roots-rock quartet the Racket will perform, and a portion of the proceeds from the $10 entry ticket will be donated to the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter.

Calling all history buffs

Those curious about Baltimore’s beer history — and there’s plenty — can hit the city’s streets to learn more.

Walking With Beer History, a stroll through Highlandtown and Canton with beer historian Maureen O’Prey and Baltimore Beer Week’s Dominic Cantalupo, will focus on the city’s post-Prohibition beer scene, including stops at the Venice Tavern, Hudson Street Stackhouse and Mahaffey’s Pub. The tour is set for 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 21.

If a bicycle is more your speed, there’s Pedal Power, a Sunday ride (10 a.m.-2 p.m.) that will visit breweries and bars like the Brewer’s Art, the Wharf Rat, Union Craft Brewing and more.

Those looking to reserve spots for either history event should email dominiccantalupo@championrealty.com.

Giving back

Many breweries are philanthropic-minded, and Baltimore Beer Week offers an opportunity to bring beer and good causes together.

Throughout Baltimore Beer Week, Alexander’s Tavern (710 South Broadway, Fells Point) will offer a special menu with beer, drinks and food items related to Texas, Florida and the Caribbean, three areas recently affected by hurricanes. A dollar from the sale of each item will be donated to relief efforts in those areas.

A portion of proceeds from specially marked items purchased at Wicked Sisters (3845 Falls Road, Hampden) and Huck’s American Craft (3728 Hudson St., Brewers Hill) throughout Baltimore Beer Week will be donated to the SPCA in Hampden and BARCS, respectively.

Best of the rest

Some quick hits for other notable events:

  • Baltimore Beer Legends Hall of Fame Luncheon includes this year’s inductee, Bill Oliver of Oliver Brewing Co. ($45, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Friday, Heavy Seas Alehouse, 1300 Bank St., Little Italy)
  • Looking to pair smoked meat and tasty local beer? Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in Harbor East will have six Burley Oak beers from Berlin on tap, along with suggestions of what food to pair with them (6 p.m.-9 p.m. Friday, 1401 Fleet St., Fells Point).
  • Das Best Oktober Fest features live music, German food and more than 150 local and international beers, wines and schnapps ($39-$59, noon-6 p.m. Saturday, M&T Bank Stadium parking lots G & H, 1101 Russell St.).

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