New brewery opens in Hampden area
Union Craft Brewing Co. makes Duckpin Pale Ale and Balt Altbier
A 64-ounce "growler" of beer, left, costs $17 and $10 for refills at Union Craft Brewing, a brewery that opened June 6 in Woodberry. (Photo by Karen Jackson / August 7, 2012)
"I needed a hobby," Zerivitz said.
Indulging a longtime passion for beer, he went to the Maryland Homebrew store in Columbia in 2010 and bought everything he needed to brew beer.
"The first batch was really good," he recalled. "The second batch was really bad. I kept at it."
Two years later, Zerivitz, 32, was brewing beer again Aug. 3, but on a larger scale, as co-owner of the new Union Craft Brewing Co., on the border of Hampden and Woodberry.
The brewery opened June 6 in Clipper Mill Industrial Park, 1700 Union Ave., near the Woodberry light rail station. It is North Baltimore's only brewery currently operating, although another isn't far behind. Peabody Heights Brewery, formerly Charm City Brewing Co., is planned in an old Canada Dry bottling plant, at 401 E. 30th St., in Abell, as reported in the Messenger last December.
"We're planning our first brew around the first week of September," said Stephen Demczuk, the co-owner of Peabody Heights and owner of Ravens Beer.
Zerivitz, of Lutherville, and business partner Kevin Blodger, of Towson, held a grand opening party and tasting for invited guests July 28, featuring their Balt Altbier and Duckpin Pale Ale. A third beer, Old Pro, is coming soon.
Their first public tastings were Saturday, Aug. 4, with 64-ounce, refillable "growler" jugs on sale for $17 and refills for $10.
Zerivitz was so taken with home-brewed beer in 2010 that he began looking for space in the city in which to build a brewery.
A mutual friend told Zerivitz about Blodger, a brewer who worked in Chicago for the Gordon Biersch chain of brewery-restaurants. As it happened, Blodger, who had family in northern Virginia, felt creatively stifled after five years at Gordon Biersch.
"I wanted to branch out and do my own thing," Blodger said.
"I called him. We hit it off," Zerivitz said.
Blodger transferred to the Rockville location of Gordon Biersch, and the two began looking for space in Baltimore City.
"We really wanted to build a brewery in the city that would be embraced by Baltimore," Zerivitz said.
But city zoning restrictions hampered the search until they found Suite D of the industrial park, whose main building — once a 19th-century annex of Clipper Mill — also houses a theater service and supply company, among other businesses.
"Two and a half years later, here we are," he said.
They raised $800,000 to open the 7,200-square-foot brewery and tasting room in a former sign company. In the long, narrow tasting room, Balt and Duckpin beers are on tap and T-shirts for sale hang on a wall, including a onesie for babies.