Next Exit: Episode 2, "Baltimore Craft Beer, BBQ, and Harbor Views"

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Todd, Sep 14, 2022.

  1. Todd

    Todd Founder (6,698) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society Trader

    It's been almost a year since Next Exit: Episode 1, "The Hidden Gem Beer Scene of Pittsburgh" dropped. But this week, Next Exit: Episode 2, "Baltimore Craft Beer, BBQ, and Harbor Views" takes us to Heavy Seas, Chaps Pit Beef, Mobtown Brewing Company, Checkerspot Brewing Company, and Sagamore Spirit Distillery.


    Give it a watch and drop your thoughts below. Especially if you hail from Baltimore. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the stops that were selected for this exit and whatnot.

    Next Exit, Season One:
     
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  2. Samlover55

    Samlover55 Champion (827) Oct 8, 2015 New York
    Trader

    I was wondering when the next episode would drop!
    Will they do it more often now @Todd?
     
  3. Todd

    Todd Founder (6,698) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society Trader

    There are three more episodes that'll be released every Tuesday through October 4: Brooklyn, Philadelphia, and Cincinnati.
     
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  4. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (3,533) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland
    Society Trader

    Being a Marylander since day I was born, I can say their stops at Heavy Seas and Mobtown were respectable. Never heard of Checkerspot brewing but will look into them. Big miss on them not stopping at Union Brewery as they are probably the most well know and respected over the last decade. Most of the best breweries are in the burbs of Baltimore however where the majority of people with good jobs and money live. There are a few small hipster pockets within the city limits but as most everyone that follows the news knows that Inner city of Baltimore is basically a 3rd world country war zone and too dangerous these days to venture in most areas except around Fells Point and inner harbor tourist zones and even then, daytime visits are highly recommended. Chap BBQ is solid. Pit beef is to Baltimore like Cheesesteak is to Philly. Not many outsiders know about Baltimore pit beef, just blue crabs and Old Bay seasoning (and Natty Bo). But the hidden secret is most crab houses in Maryland use JOs seasoning on crabs, Old Bay is for tourists and unaware Marylanders (I was just made aware a few years ago about JOs seasoning). Sorry, a lot more than beer talk but figured to provide some intel from boots on the ground.
     
  5. milkshakebeersucks

    milkshakebeersucks Meyvn (1,282) Feb 10, 2020 Maryland
    Society

    While I would not disagree with any of the spots featured and have been to all of them (with the exception of the distillery), it seems like a short list. Diamondback is only a few blocks from Checkerspot, Monument is a few blocks from Mobtown and Guinness is a short drive from Heavy Seas (which is in the county, not the city). Only pointing that out so a visitor could get a better overall view of what the city has to offer. Union, which @bubseymour mentioned, would have been my 1st choice, plus there are two other breweries in that neighborhood to explore.

    None offer water views, by the way. Years ago Capitol City had a spot right in Harbor Place that had a killer view and Gordon Biersch had a nice waterfront spot in Harbor East, but both are long gone.

    Hopefully there will be useful information for the cities in future episodes.
     
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  6. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,304) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    I was always a Colts fan growing up. My Dad and I would sit in the far back bedroom and watch the weekly broadcast. Johnny Unitas, John Mackey, Raymond Berry, Lenny Moore, and later even Earl Morrall. Unitas was inelegant but deadly. The best I've ever seen. And the National Bohemian Land of Pleasant Living ads with the talking crabs. Great memories of my father and another time long ago. Cheers all.
     
  7. nomisugitai

    nomisugitai Devotee (436) Mar 11, 2006 New Jersey
    Society

    of the Hooters girls on the adjacent porch:grin:
     
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  8. BJB13

    BJB13 Meyvn (1,199) Feb 18, 2017 Maryland
    Society

    Lived my whole life no further than 20 minutes outside of Baltimore. Just watched the episode last night and agree that Heavy Seas was a good place to start as Founder Hugh Sisson lobbied the Maryland General Assembly in the 1980’s opening the door for microbreweries.

    As already mentioned by fellow Marylanders @bubseymour and @milkshakebeersucks, Union Craft Brewing should of gotten a look. Also on my list would be Monument City and Diamondback, both already mentioned above, and probably Oliver. I have sampled only a couple of beers from Mobtown and Checkerspot but am planning a visit to Checkerspot for a few O-Fests and a pretzel.

    The nod to “Natty Boh” bothers me as it was long ago sold to Pabst and hasn’t been brewed in Baltimore since 1996, Most Marylander/ Baltimoreans seem either not to know this or not to care because it is much more popular now than when it was actually brewed here. A successful marketing strategy I suppose.

    As far as pit beef goes, yes please.
     
  9. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,531) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    :astonished: Late 50's thru the mid-60s, the National Brewing Co. had more that a 1/3 share of the beer market in Maryland, far and away the best selling brands in the state. Throw in Gunther, and during the late '50s those 2 Baltimore breweries sold more than half the beer in the state. Into the early 60s, AB, Schlitz, Miller and Pabst all had single digit market shares.
     
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  10. BJB13

    BJB13 Meyvn (1,199) Feb 18, 2017 Maryland
    Society

    I was actually hoping you would weigh in on this.

    Apologies. I should have clarified that my comment reflected my experience. Being born in ‘73 I can’t speak to the 50’s or 60’s. But I remember that Natty Boh in the late 80’s and early 90’s certainly seemed to have a smaller piece of the pie, had a reputation similar to Milwaukee’s Best and the marketing being almost non-existent compared to present. That being said people I knew who drank it, including myself on a few occasions, did so with chippy local pride.
    I’m curious to know if @bubseymour or @milkshakebeersucks have similar recollections of that time period.

    @jesskidden. I was wondering if you had any insight on current ownership of Natty Boh/Pabst.
    When I looked into it I found an article stating that a California based group had ownership but saw something else saying that a Russian group had bought it in 2014.
     
  11. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,531) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Yeah, well, by then it was just another locally-marketed popular-priced brand owned by Heileman (the fifth biggest brewer in the country but sinking fast). The original National Brewing Co. was sold to Carling (itself a subsidiary of the Canadian brewing company, Carling-O'Keefe) which was also then headquartered in Baltimore, in 1975 and Heileman bought the combined Carling-National a few years later. So, it hasn't been a Baltimore-owned brand for decades.

    Wasn't until 1999 when Pabst acquired the brand when they bought most of the Stroh/Heileman portfolio, as that company left the industry. Pabst had typically used Miller and then MillerCoors breweries for contract brewing but some National Bohemian has come out of The Lion (Wilkes Barre, PA) and City Latrobe and City Lacrosse (WI).

    Yeah, when Pabst was purchased by the current owners the "Russia" connection was played up in the news (and such articles, uncorrected, still exist on the 'net) but, though the initial reports were confusing...
    Maybe Pabst Wasn’t Bought by Russians

    Interestingly, National's old super-premium brand, National Premium, has had a different owner since the late 1990s, when Stroh (which bought Heileman in the mid-90s) sold that label to craft brewer Frederick Brewing Co. (aka Wild Goose). It's bounced around since then. National's other big brand, Colt 45 Malt Liquor, is also a Pabst-owned label.
     
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  12. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,750) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    It will be interesting to see if the locals will be supportive of the ‘new’ National Premium beer:

    “The original Pale Dry Beer returns to Baltimore this October.

    For the first time since 1996, National Premium is being brewed in Baltimore! The liquid behind the iconic brand will now be brewed by Heavy Seas.

    Save the Date:

    National Premium Release Party

    October 14, 2022 at Heavy Seas Brewery”

    https://nationalpremiumbeer.com/

    Cheers!
     
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  13. BJB13

    BJB13 Meyvn (1,199) Feb 18, 2017 Maryland
    Society

    Interesting. I drop in there periodically, usually to get something on cask and will definitely have to try at least one.
     
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  14. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (3,533) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland
    Society Trader

    My history with Natty Bo was 1989-1993 when I went to College. Had a friend at college who was a serious alcoholic and bought Natty Bo “suitcases” for $3.99. I personally didn’t care for Natty Bo but yes that and Milwaukee’s Beast were the 2 cheapest options college kids were drinking around MD back then (and Keystone and Natural Light). I’d say Natty Bo was semi popular but more for the college drunks that had trouble staying sober during daylight hours and most were on the 5+ year Bachelor plan or never graduated.
     
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  15. jkrich

    jkrich Meyvn (1,433) Nov 1, 2001 Florida
    Society

    I always have a soft spot for old Baltimore, having lived there for several years in the 1990s. I got my start in craft beer while living there.
     
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  16. cjgiant

    cjgiant Poo-Bah (6,086) Jul 13, 2013 District of Columbia
    Society

    The GF and I hit Baltimore for a day trip every now and then (though a lot more then than now in recent times), though usually the target it Max's Taphouse. We've hit both Union spots and the Heavy Seas spot in Fells Point (before they closed that spot). I think it was Stillwater that had a local eatery that featured their beers, but it was also closed the one time we tried to go there.

    That said, we haven't hit any of the other spots people have mentioned (or the show went to), so it might be time to explore again in the coming year.

    Also, sometimes we even meet a fellow BA from the area and enjoy an afternoon that becomes evening more quickly than expected :wink:
     
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  17. Smakawhat

    Smakawhat Poo-Bah (8,410) Mar 18, 2008 Maryland
    Society

    Always dig the beers and scene up in Baltimore. Interesting that pit beef is a thing, as I always associate that with Chicago.

    Will definitely have to give that a go next time I'm up there.
     
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  18. BJB13

    BJB13 Meyvn (1,199) Feb 18, 2017 Maryland
    Society

    Ha! I’m not sure how many times you and the GF have pulled off that particular scenario at Max’s, but the time I attended was rather memorable. I still feel guilty that you had to get up and host NBS that morning. Good times! :beers:
     
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  19. cjgiant

    cjgiant Poo-Bah (6,086) Jul 13, 2013 District of Columbia
    Society

    Ha! Well, I was exaggerating the one time. Need to make another trip, as it’s always nice to get away, though it’ll probably not be until spring at this point.

    Think I saw that you did get a chance to hit Checkerspot. If so, how was it?
     
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  20. nomisugitai

    nomisugitai Devotee (436) Mar 11, 2006 New Jersey
    Society

    About that time Natural Light took the Natty nickname away from Natty Bo among the college drunks.
     
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  21. BJB13

    BJB13 Meyvn (1,199) Feb 18, 2017 Maryland
    Society

    I like drinking beer in the Spring.:grin:

    I did make it to Checkerspot. I was only there long enough for two beers, a decent enough Marzen, Zicke Zacke, and a somewhat disappointing ESB, First Whisper. They did have one beer on cask, which is a plus for me. I sampled it but passed, it was a NEIPA which the friendly bartender admitted was a work in progress. I am glad to have stopped in and may do so again but there are so many others I’d like to try first.
     
    #21 BJB13, Oct 11, 2022
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2022
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  22. carloancelottiseyebrow

    carloancelottiseyebrow Initiate (16) Jan 2, 2020

    I've been to every place listed. Max's is the big miss.

    Chap's is amazing. Ask for rare/medium rare.

    Union although existing longer, is not in a cool area to showcase. Their beers have not excited me for many years. Showcasing the other ones is fine; they can't go everywhere.

    Mentioning Natty Boh was also a fail.

    Sagamore is a super cool spot, and the only one with good views of the water. There is a great restaurant next to it as well.