The highlights of Day One include the Opening Tap Celebration, the after party at Baltimore's new beer garden and a karaoke session at Alewife hosted by the festival's marquee name.

Thursday's scheduled activities begin at noon with the First Annual "Star Spangled Banger" Parade and end fourteen hours later, give or take, as the participating bars toss out their last customers.

The parade will start at Fort McHenry, traipse its way through the south side streets and wind up at Market Square, aka Power Plant Live!, just in time for the Opening Tap Celebration at Rams Head Live. I'm hoping that McKeldin Square is on their route.

The opening part only goes to 9 p.m., which leaves plenty of time to check out the official after party at Leinenkuegel's Beer Garden, only steps away.

A $30 Opening Tap Celebration ticket gains you free entry to the after party, which otherwise is $10.

Or, you could walk a few blocks west to the Pratt Street Ale House for the ceremonial tapping of a limited-edition new smoky Belgian porter, the result of a three-way collaboration among Pratt Street, the Brewer's Art and Stillwater Ales. From there, head to nearby Alewife for Stillwater Karaoke with Brian Strumke, scheduled to get going right after 9 p.m. These are first of 1,204 Baltimore Beer Week events to feature Strumke and/or his beers.


They'll be tapping casks out at the Mount Airy Inn, and at the new Liam Flynn's Ale House in Charles North, they'll be tapping the first firkin of O'Floinn's Froach Abragod Ale. That's at 4 p.m. sharp.

You can start your BBW 2011 pint collection at Leinenkuegel's happy hour. They'll be giving away Batch 19 pint glasses with purchase to launch their Eleven Days of Tapas Happy Hour promotion. (Actually, they're calling it Ten Days of Tapas, but it's eleven days, right?

Stop by Mahaffey's in Canton for their Kick the Kegs party and to get your first-day's stamp in the tavern's Baltimore Beer Week Passport Challenge.

In Fells Point, the Cat's Eye is running a Heavy Seas special from noon to 9 p.m., the Wharf Rat is offering three beers for $6 all day. Palmere's in Little Italy is discounting Sierra Nevada pints all day.

Finally, Jim Wagner of DuClaw Brewing Co. headlines Beer-Ology 101, a Science on Tap program at the Maryland Science Center. just the thing to get novice palates revved up for the ten days ahead.