The City that Drinks 9/24/14

Foret Libre
(Steve Fogleman)

Imagine this: not one, but two liquor-retailer events scheduled for a Monday afternoon in Baltimore. What was The City That Drinks supposed to do? We could attend the big distributor’s show at Horseshoe Casino or the open house at Baltimore’s “alternative” liquor distributor, Legends Limited. Because we are Baltimore’s booziest alternative weekly, the choice was easy.

Hundreds of bar and restaurant owners and managers converged at Legends warehouse in Rosedale that afternoon to sample dozens of beers, ciders, wines, and meads at the annual trade show you want to go to if you love great beer. Sure enough, we found two brand-new keepers for Charm City drinkers.
Cambridge, Maryland’s Realevival started as a tap room just last year and has been in distribution for only three months. Its Nanticoke Nectar was the offering most widely talked about by guests at the Legends shindig, all of whom knew more about beer than your average bear. It’s a hoppy IPA (7.5 percent ABV) with grapefruit notes and a nice malt balance. Nanticoke Nectar is like the 2014 version of Coors in the Free State: You had to drive to the Eastern Shore to drink it. Until now. Its kegs have finally landed in Annapolis and should be in Baltimore bars by year’s end. 
Gluten-removed beers have come a long way in the last few years and nothing proved that assertion more than when I tried Brewery Dupont’s Foret Libre last Monday. I tried it a few times, just to be sure. Foret Libre is a gluten-free—excuse me, “gluten-removed”—beer that stands on its own and has the perfect dryness for a Saison that could make a delicious option to those who are trying to eliminate gluten from their diet. But mind you, its citrus and peppery punch with no cloying candy aftertaste makes it one to try no matter what. It’s Belgium’s first gluten-removed exported beer, and it’ll be released in kegs and 750-mL bottles when it’s first retailed in Baltimore next month.