Union Craft Brewing wins gold at Great American Beer Festival

It’s a big week for Baltimore beer.

Baltimore Beer Week kicks off Friday and runs until Oct. 28. The opening tap celebration takes place at Power Plant Live from 6-9 p.m. on Friday, and $30 will get you unlimited samples of local beers, including many from the Top 20 list I helped put together for this week’s b. (More on that in a minute.)

Looking at the list, you may notice the absence of Union Craft Brewing, the Woodberry brewery that debuted this summer. We only included beers that could be currently purchased at local liquor stores (not just at bars), so that explains the exclusion.

Union Craft Brewing has been making its own headlines recently. Its Balt Altbier beer won gold last weekend at Denver’s Great American Beer Festival in the German Style Altbier category. It’s a major win at one of the most respected beer competitions in the world.

Union Craft began brewing in Spring 2012, and debuted its two beers — Duckpin Pale Ale and the award-winning Balt Altbier — at Max’s Taphouse in late June. More than 100 bars and restaurants in Baltimore now serve Union Craft, according to co-founder Kevin Blodger, including Cardinal Tavern, the Windup Space and Blue Sage Cafe and Wine Bar. Blodger says the company hopes to have cans on store shelves in early 2013.

The company will be active during Baltimore Beer Week as well, including a Halloween party at the brewery on Oct. 27. For more information, check out the events page at Baltimore Beer Week’s website.

And, real quick, I wanted to call out for feedback on b’s Top 20 Maryland beers list. Sam Sessa, Jordan Bartel and I tried nearly 50 beers together in the past week — some new, some old to me — to compile this list. Sam mentioned this in the introduction, but I’ll reiterate it here: We are not beer snobs. We don’t get into heated arguments over lacing or “mouth feel.” But we also avoid Bud Light when we can, so hopefully that provides some context to our points of view.

So for full disclosure and fun, I’m including my personal Top 10 list here, hoping to generate a discussion on the best beers brewed in Maryland.

1.) Heavy Seas Loose Cannon IPA

2.) Stillwater Cellar Door

3.) Brewer’s Art Ozzy

4.) Brewer’s Art Resurrection

5.) Heavy Seas Winter Storm

6.) Evolution Craft Brewing Co. Lot No. 3 IPA

7.) Heavy Seas Pale Ale

8.) DuClaw Double Spiced 31

9.) Flying Dog Doggie Style Pale Ale

10.) Stillwater x Brewer's Art Debutante

So … what do you think? Let us know in the comments.


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