Baltimore Beer Week is here again. You probably already know this by now, but there are so many beer offerings on tap in the days ahead that the head on your beer is about to explode. I’ve picked out my early favorites in an effort to pare down the fare.
Three noteworthy events take place this Friday before Saturday's official Opening Tap Ceremony during Das Best Oktoberfest at M&T Bank Stadium.
The home brew and chili contest has moved this year to the Zion Church. I'll be on the judging panel to award honors to Baltimore's best homebrews again this year. I cannot fully explain the feast on the palate that awaits you. You must come and taste for yourself. In some respects, it outshines the Opening Tap ceremony itself. It's easily the most hipster-infused of any of the BBW events, meaning a feast on the eyes as well as the palate. Get your tickets online at Baltibrew.org/chilibrew, since the event has always sold out. (400 E. Lexington St., 7-10p.m.)
Now here's a cutie-pie idea: a Friday date night spent making your own kiln-fired Steins together. For $90, Clayworks will let you and your significant other imbibe in "an experience that can bring people closer through creative shared art-making." A couple of weeks later, you'll have a permanent reminder of your magical date night without the paternity test. That's also much better than getting a tattoo if the date turns out to be less than a magical memory of a lifetime, and at least you can drink out of that stein and use it as a Friday night springboard for getting it right on future romantic interludes. (5707 Smith Ave., 7-10 p.m.)
If you've been dying to check out the Horseshoe Casino, here's a beer-related excuse to get in there. The casino's B'More Beers bar is offering a free lunch to the first 75 RSVPs on the Baltimore Beer Week website. It's a pay-as-you-drink event, and you'll have a chance to hear from local brewers, as well as meeting my friends, BBW co-founders Joe Gold and Dominic Cantalupo. Don't forget to measure their slim waistlines before they put on the weight ahead of their usual Beer Week Bellies. (1525 Russell St., noon-2 p.m.)
Stoop-Sitter: Daughter of MarzHon?
Heavy Seas Brewmaster Chris Leonard brought together the equivalent of the Justice League to brew a single collaboration to celebrate Baltimore Beer Week. That would make Union Craft's brew-house the Hall of Justice, where a magical potion was born on Sept. 12 at the hands of our heroes from Heavy Seas, Oliver, Union Craft, DuClaw, Red Brick Station, and The Brewer's Art. Appropriately, the fest-style beer with local hops was dubbed "Stoop Sitter," whose name immediately invokes memories of the original stoop-sitter on Clipper City's erstwhile label for Balto MarzHon. Unlike a star-studded Hollywood production that flops, something tells me these superheroes' concoction will be a hit with fans and critics.
If there's one beer that I must drink during Beer Week, this is the one.
It will debut on Thursday, Oct. 16 at Max's Taphouse after the second annual Maryland Breweries Big Wheel race, where 11 brewery reps will take to their three-wheelers for friendly competition. The beer will also be released to other pubs during the remainder of Beer Week and a portion of proceeds from Stoop Sitter's sales will benefit a charity promoting Jake's Law and the dangers of texting while driving. (737 S. Broadway, 5-10 p.m.)
Let's face facts. After the first couple of Beer Week events, we're going to need a break from the usual bar scene. Why not feed the mind with a symposium on the science of brewing? Stevenson University sponsors a lecture on Tuesday, Oct. 14, with the mad scientists from Victory and Flying Dog at the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park in Fells Point. (1417 Thames St., 6-8:30 p.m.)
In an effort to neutralize the inevitable Beer Week Belly, Liam Flynn will make you get on a bike and sweat it out. On Oct. 14, Flynn will guide a group of pedalistas down Charles Street to gaze at new murals and the Charles North Co-op Garden. By then, you'll be fit as a fiddle and ready to dive into the Heavy Seas flights and local Amish cheeses awaiting you upon your return to Flynn's eponymous Ale House. (22 W. North Ave., 6-9 p.m.)
Or you can really fake it, and register for the "Baltimore Beer Run" on Sunday, Oct. 12, where you'll jog around Birroteca for two half-mile laps, with four (!) beer stands along the route to quench your enormous thirst. (1520 Clipper Road, 11:45 a.m.)