Alewife

Not Rated.
AlewifeAlewife
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

28 Reviews
Reviews: 28
Visits: 53
rAvg: 4.19
pDev: n/a
Taps: 40
Bottles: 100
Cask: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

21 N Eutaw St
Baltimore, Maryland, 21201-1718
United States
phone: (410) 545-5112

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @alewifebaltimor

Notes:
Place added by: dankopp on 09-20-2010

No notes at this time.
Place: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 28 | Visits: 53
Photo of jgasparine
4.22/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

I have been to Alewife a few times now, but only for drinks- never for a sit-down meal.

Atmosphere- The decor is fantstic, and while it's not much different from when the previous tenants were using it, the decor just seems perfectly suited to a higher-end craft beer bar. The feel of the place is excellent as well- a healthy mix of people from all walks of life. The only thing that keeps me from giving a perfect 5 for atmosphere is the layout near the bar... while the bar is huge, the space can get really cramped around the bar during busy times... and there's nowhere else to go unless you're getting a table.

Quality- High quality abounds here. Everything is clean, served out of clean tap lines, and often in appropriate glassware.

Service- Barstaff are reasonably knowledgable/at/worst and highly knowledgable about beer at best. Service can get quite slow during busy times. However, I would still say the service is a notch above average.

Selection- A very well-thought-out selection. While they don't have the sheer volume of beers in their selection as say Max's, they have done a stellar job of putting together an excellent range of beers that are world-class examples of an array of styles.

I will definitely be going back to Alewife and would definitely recommend it to friends. (1,302 characters)

Photo of jjboesen
4.54/5  rDev +8.4%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4

Alewife is Baltimore's newest purveyor of craft ales. Proudly situated opposite the Hippodrome Theater in an imposing building that was once the Eutaw Savings Bank (the vault is still here), it offers Charm City beer advocates another opportunity to quaff great brews accompanied by some very eclectic cuisine, one item being Belgian-style fries cooked in duck fat.

The room is beautiful; spacious and airy, it is accented with dark wood, brass, stained glass windows and sleek crimson walls. There is a large, comfortable bar that is opposite a row of hightops that serves to separate this area with the regular dining area. Additionally, there a few tables along the windows, the large ones in the center once being the front entrance of the bank.

As previously noted, Alewife offers their customers about 40 taps to accompany a well chosen bottle list, which represents several of the great Beer Countries (i.e., Belgium and Germany). Several of the bottles are a bit pricey - such as De Ranke Golden Ale for $26.00. (Ouch!) During my visit, on a quiet Saturday afternoon, I had the opportunity to quaff the following: Loose Cannon IPA, Boulder Mojo, Evolution IPA and O'Hara Dry Stout. I could not help but notice that a good portion of Alewife's draft list favored hoppy beers. But, who's complaining? Not I.

Nor can I complain about the service: efficient and friendly; nor the menu, which went above and beyond the ubiquitous "pub grub" that one would find in many a bar, saloon or tavern. And yes! Those duck fat fries; this and a hearty Cuban sandwich sent me home stuffed and happy.

Alewife is a welcome addition to the Baltimore beer scene; and it is a most welcome sight to the thirsty Beer Advocate who wanders into this neglected section of town.

Given its' location well away from the Inner Harbor and Fells Point, this building has not had the best of luck (there have been two Irish pubs in three years); however, Alewife is worth a visit. In fact, the owners are also responsible for several such venues in Massachusetts: Lord Hobo (Cambridge) and Moan and Dove (Amherst). I wish them the same success with Alewife.

While I will always reserve a special love for Max's (See My Review), Alewife will indeed make a wonderful mistress.

Update: Paid another visit during Baltimore Beer Week 2011; this place grew on me even more. I remarked upon the serene atmosphere - as opposed to Max's sportsbar vibe. During Visit Two, they had two Bear Republic Double IPAs!

Update 10/19/13 - Another wonderful visit; this trip provided the chance to tatse Green Flash Surf Up, a Black Bear Racer, a new Belgian Pale Ale (Birdhouse) one from Baltimores Full Tilt and Boulevard Nommo Dubble. Max's is still my favorite but Alewife is catching up. Note: It gets very crowded with theater goers since H=the Hippodrome Theater is across the street. (2,858 characters)

Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.3/5  rDev +2.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 5

*A little re-reviewing here*.

After a handful of visits to Alewife Baltimore, there are some points that need to be reconsidered. Once the Stone historic event was over, what we have left is a draught list that is solid good but not exceptional. I've had trouble finding something I wanted here. Not a lot of variety, not many (if any) Imperial Stouts, no Barleywines, few (if any) Imperial IPA's. Lots of quality Euro brews from Belgium and stuff, if you care for that (St Bernardus, La Chouffe). But really, a little more diversity would be nice to appeal to all palates.

Prices are still incredibly out of control. Nasty expensive, both the beer and the food. No correction here.

Service can be hit or miss. At first everyone was super knowledgeable. Now they got at least one new bartender who's got no idea about beer and is also slow. She is willing but inefficient and can't tell a pilsner from an stout.

So I'm knocking down some points, but Alewife is still a very good beer bar with a unique, classy atmosphere and great food.

---

My wife and I are stationed in Baltimore for two months and have already been exploring the beer options. The new Alewife is a cool addition to downtown Baltimore, in a somewhat strange and desolate area where Broadway-style theaters meet check-cashing joints and the homeless mingle with college students outside a Starbucks.

How well will this expansive and beautiful beer bar do in this sketchy area of a sketchy town? Hopefully well enough to survive!

The atmosphere is very nice, an old Irish-type pub with lots of wood, high ceilings and the works. Gorgeous and airy. Service is very good too, with beautiful bartenders who are extremely helpful and know their beer and food (how rare is that!).

40 beers on tap, and all of them interesting. No fillers here, no Guinness or Stella. When I visited, they had taps leftover from a massive Stone tasting (all 40 taps for them!), and I was lucky to drink Double Bastard '08 and Double Dry Hopped Stone IPA. Vertical Epics from '06 to '10 were available too!

The food is a winner here too. Imaginative, well made, different. I love it when places like these go beyond the nachos-and-fries fare of most bars. Here you can have beef carpaccio, tuna tartare, wild mushroom risotto cake, a meat-and-cheese plate with foie gras, chorizo and different cheeses... WOW!

Beer prices are all over- $5 for Dogfish 90, $6 for an Anderson Valley IPA, $6.5 for all the Stone specialties served on 12-oz glasses... the prices advertised on the board didn't match the prices I was charged, though ($8 for a Double Bastard, but a free Stone, nice but confusing).

Food is incredibly expensive, sadly. Tuna tartare was $12 and it was barely two bites, with no much dressing or garnish.

Three appetizers and two beers: $60, and they charge you for extra bread. SIXTY, that is correct. I can go to Brewer's Art and have the same amount of beer and food for half the price.

We loved the Alewife, but with these outrageous prices, I doubt we'll come often... we'll consider it a "once-a-semester treat". (3,095 characters)

Photo of akorsak
4.18/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Stopped by on a Saturday, late afternoon early evening before heading to Ottobar for the Greg Dulli show.

Atmosphere: The nicely restored building, both inside and outside. Alewife is across Eutaw St. from the Hippodrome theater and seemed to do good pre-show business. On entrance, I was greeted with a huge (and very tall) bar and seating area. A small alcove, maybe four tables, overlooked the bar. A couple of TVs but nothing that would dominate the scene. There are two huge chalkboards of tap and bottle offerings.

Quality: Service was a bit slow in the early going (strange because it wasn't that busy) but that quickly turned around. Restrooms were very clean and I noticed, over time, that the booming stereo was gradually lowered.

Service: Again, a little slow at the outset. That didn't linger for long though and, by the end of the night, I had no complaints.

Selection: This is where things got interesting. There were remnants from the Stone night a few weeks back and I led off with a Vertical Epic flight (06 through 09), topped off with a goblet of 10 for good measure. Plenty of other Stone offerings, along with a number of Victory, Boulder and Stoudts brews as well. The website isn't as up-to-date, so use that with caution. A nice bottle list. And I had to chuckle at the special: Southern Tier Cuvee 2 bombers for $5. You couldn't pay me $5 to drink one of those!

Food: Appetizers to soups and salads to sandwichs to entrees. I had a cubano, my only complaint that the gruyere was a little too overpowering. (1,535 characters)

Photo of bheilman
3.88/5  rDev -7.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Good atmosphere. Lots of people that cared about what they drank and a mix of 40 somethings through mid-20s. Solid music in the background. Friday night was mostly older somewhat new wave, I feel like New Order and Devo came up a feww times. Saturday afternoon was closer to current indie/emo music. The bar was cool in a sort of industrial style with lots of sort of bar classic wood mixed in.

Had about 40 draft beers maybe more. It was a little difficult to understand exactly what they had. They had a chalkboard with the drafts and some had ABV, some listed prices, but some were labeled with nothing. They had a paper list of drafts but it was also incomplete. On the other hand, they had about 20 Dogfishhead on draft. That's more than I've seen anywhere, including the brewery in Milton, DE and the restaurant in Rehoboth Beach, DE. They also had a strong selection of Stone, ~10 options. So I had plenty to choose from and overall, those complaints are pretty minor compared to my overall experience. They also had a cask, and it featured Victory Hopdevil. I love Victory, so I defintely was delighted with this option and with the flavor.

Bottle list was impressive, with a lot of solid Belgians and some other europeans and american crafts, but I did not have time to try anything there. My guess would be on the level of 60-80 options.

My service was fine. I went there twice in 2 days. Once for dinner and the next day just before my flight out of town. The afternoon service was fine for me, but I do have to mention that a couple got up and left because it took a while for them to be served and they went to the bar a few times to request service. I do believe it was a miscoomunication between the server and the bartender, but figured I had to mention it. The food was solid. I had Ox tail on top of panco crusted mashed potatoes and fried onions on top. It was excellent. I also ordered some tempura battered frites. Not sure exactly why I ordered it because the concept sounded a bit ridiculous, but I like tempura and I enjoy belgian style fries. Anyway, they didn't really come out so great. The tempura batter was fine, but the inside was sort of like a slimy, barely cooked slice of potatoe. Not awful, just not all that great. I do applaud the effort to be creative, I would just remove this from the menu and go with traditional tempura and traditional frites. Both can be awesome and improved with some subtle additions.

The food was a little expensive, but I thought the beer prices were pretty good. In general, these prices are fairly reasonable considering it is so close to the inner harbor and I had a crab cake sandwich for lunch at another local restaurant that was around $15. (2,720 characters)

Photo of John_M
4.28/5  rDev +2.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

The latest addition to the Baltimore beer scene. Stopped by twice over the past week; once for their Stone event and a couple days later on Sunday to see what the place is like on a "normal" day.

Located near Camden yards in the West downtown area, Alewife is an impressively good size restaurant with two downstairs dining area, and then an additional upstairs area (where I have not yet ventured). There is a foyer area just off of Eutaw street, and the downstairs dining area is to the left as you walk in. To the back is a good size bar area with around 15 bar seats. The place has a solid, clubbish kind of atmosphere, with lots of old wood and red giving it something of a warmish vibe. It's a nice looking restaurant/beer bar, and is the sort of place you wouldn't hesitate to bring family or a first date you were trying to impress. On the other hand, there are a couple of flat screen TV's over the bar area, and so the vibe is still very relaxed, and so conducive to hanging out and relaxing with a few beers.

As for selection, Alewife is committed to having 40 beers on draft with no crap on tap. They also plan to have weekly firkins of cask beer, though that policy had not yet been implemented when I stopped by for a visit. No matter, the selection is excellent, all the more so during the incredible Stone event, when they had 40 Stone beers on tap, including some vintage barleywine and imperials stouts, as well as some other barrel aged rareaties. They also have a decent bottle selection (which they're still building), but the draft selection was so good the days I stopped by, I gave the bottle list no more than a passing glance. Service was friendly and prompt, and I got the impression that it had been drilled into the staff that they needed to make an extra effort to remain friendly and accommodating to the restaurant patrons.

Prices were the downtown norm or a bit less, with most beers going for $5 a pint (in a real pint glass; none of this cheater pint/shaker glass nonsense).

There's no doubt this is a quality spot (in some ways it reminds me a bit of ChurchKey in DC), and I hope it does well. There's nothing else quite like it in that part of downtown Baltimore, and time will tell as to how well the place is received by the locals (the bar and dining areas were pratically empty the Sunday afternoon I stopped by). While I'm personally not a huge fan of that part of Baltimore, Alewife is such a great spot that there's no doubt I'll continue to make an effort to drop in from time to time. Best of luck Alewife!

Edit from 3/18/12. It seems as if Alewife has settled into the area and found it's niche. On a Sunday afternoon the place was fairly busy, with the dining room almost full and no seats left at the bar. Tried the catfish tacos recently, and while decent, I didn't find them to be any better than the fish tacos over at Max's (they were visually more attractive, but that's about it). Selection is as excellent as ever, but prices here are decidedly on the high side. Ordered a 12 ounce Dupont Saison and a 12 ounce Green Flash palate wrecker and the price came to $16.90 (nugget nectar pints were going for $7). Will still stop by from time to time, but the high prices will likely keep me from ever coming by on a regular basis. (3,288 characters)

Photo of 86sportster883
4.6/5  rDev +9.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Pleasant bar staff, good music, casual & comfortable bar atmosphere. A mix of younger grad students (20 somethings)and older business types.

40 Draughts: No beer menu, just a chalkboard listing what's on tap:

Dale's Pale Ale, Kulmbacher Pilsner, Brasserie de la senne Zinnebir, Buttenheim Lager, Monchshoff Fest Bier, Bink Blond, De Rank Guldenberg & Saison, Lagunitas Little Sumpin Wild Ale, Spaten Octoberfest, Victory Prima Pils & Fest Bier, DFH's Burton Baton & 60 min IPA, Wienstephan Weisse, St Bernardis Abt 12, DuPont La Moinette Blond, Allagash White, Stone's Smoked Porter, IPA, & Arrogant Bastard, Boulder's Mojo Risin, Reissdorf Kölsch, Youngs Double Chocolate, Old Rasputin, La Rulles Tripple, Smuttynose's Shoals Pale Ale & Big A IPA, Flying Dog Pale Ale, Bluebird Pilsner, Heavy Seas Golden, Haandbrygerriet Odin's Triple, Schlenkerla Helles Lager, Stoudt's Oktoberfest, Bear Republic's Racer 5, Avery's and Green Flash's West Coast IPAs.

Bottles: An uncommon selection of Belgians, Belgian-style beers, German, English and American beers with a big bias for Stone & DFH offerings.

Crispin Cider

Food: The venison sausage over red cabbage with potatoes was outstanding. I also enjoyed a half dozen oysters for HH ($1 per).

Great place. Decided to extend my stay in Baltimore to attend the "40 Stone Taps" event here on Friday. (1,349 characters)

Photo of 321jeff
4.18/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 5

Stopped in here for dinner on Saturday night with my wife. It's kind of a pain to get to, especially coming from the south, you sort of have to go a couple blocks above it and circle back, but once you get there, 2 public parking lots await less than a block away. Usually parking is the worst part about these places. Valet is advertised, but no one was outside when I pulled up. Inside is a trendy setting with two-story ceilings that make it feel very open. We sat downstairs and didn't venture up to see the 2nd floor bar. Bottle and tap lists are written on the wall in chalk and aren't easy to see from some of the seats, be prepared to get up from your seat to order a beer. Beer selection was decent. I visited in late September and found lots of American and European Oktoberfest beers. Stone seems to be their featured brewery as they had a higher percentage of their drafts and bottles over the others. IPA's are broken out on a separate list, neat idea. I had a Wienstephan Hefewiezen, which you don't see on tap every day. They ever served it in a .5L Wienstephan glass. The food was probably the highlight. Our shrimp appetizer was average, but my wild mushroom risotto cakes and my wife's chicken were both top notch. Prices were a little on the high side for the food (although it was worth the premium - the waiter made a point to tell us that everything is made from scratch on site.... even the ketchup) but my .5L Hefe was only $6... I would expect that same beer to be about $10 at some of the other local establishments. Service was also good, we got lots of attention as there wasn't much of a crowd there. I probably wouldn't go back for an average happy hour because I live closer to some of the other local beer bars, and they are easier to get to for me.... but I don't think I'll have any trouble talking my wife into going back there for dinner every few weeks to enjoy some good food and beer. (1,923 characters)

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Alewife in Baltimore, MD
93 out of 100 based on 28 ratings.