More than two years ago, when Wet City arrived on Baltimore’s bar scene as a confident beer haven, PJ and Josh Sullivan, brothers and owners, envisioned their own beers on their Mount Vernon bar’s taps.
It took longer than expected, but on Thursday, that goal becomes a reality when Wet City (located at 223 W. Chase St.) releases its first beer, a hazy India pale ale fittingly called Hello, said PJ Sullivan on Tuesday. Sullivan said the day-to-day operations of managing the bar and restaurant, while also working out the zoning with the city to build a microbrewery, led to the delay.
“We’re just a small operation and we wanted to make sure we had organic growth,” Sullivan said.
The brothers believe the new beer is worth the wait. They made the IPA with a Norwegian yeast called kveik, which has quickly become popular among experimental brewers, Sullivan said, for its dry finish. (Brut IPA is another fast-rising style of beer for similar reasons.) The beer “smells a lot like pineapple,” Sullivan said, which adds a tropical note to the taste.
“My brother is always wanting to try new things,” Sullivan said. (Josh Sullivan and Kirk Kemp are Wet City’s brewers, he said.)
Hello ($5 for half-pour, $7.50 for 12 ounces) is a limited release — Wet City has eight total kegs of it, all of which will be sold at the bar, Sullivan said. Growler fills will be available as well.
The beer was brewed on-site in the new production area, the former pool room of Dougherty’s Pub, the previous tenant. Most beers will only be available at Wet City, though the brothers have tentative plans to one day can some of their beers. They’d also like to collaborate with other local breweries, according to Sullivan.
More original beers are in production, including an IPA made with wild yeast and peaches, and a pale ale. No dates are finalized, but Sullivan hopes to host another beer release party next month, he said. The goal is to one day have more than one-third of the beers on tap at Wet City be their own, Sullivan said.
Releasing the bar’s first beer is a major step for Wet City, and further solidifies their outlook as a beer bar more focused on quality than quantity, Sullivan said.