The Hungover Gourmet


Restaurant ReviewsBaltimore Brewing Co. (Baltimore, MD)

Once upon a time, yours truly spent weekends in Baltimore soaked to the gills with that watered-down swill known as Natty Boh (National Bohemian if we're being formal). Politely described in most beer guides as being "good beer at a reasonable price," a case of Boh can be scored with your pocket change just before payday. Light enough to toss back 18 or so, the Boh usually left me with a serious headache and gas problems for the next 48 hours. If memory serves me correctly, WKDU's weekly Boh runs kept Springfield Beer Distributor in the black from 1987 to 1989.

But the times, they are a changin'. And with new times come new tastes, new ideas, and new partners in crime. The Kakster and rolled into the Inner Harbor for a little r&r, figuring that we'd sample the local nightlife and report back on the lessons Philly could learn from the Baltimore Tourist Bureau.

Unfortunately, our first night in town led to a tragic discovery...The Baltimore Brewing Co., a German beer hall-style bar/restaurant bordering on the area between the Inner Harbor and Little Italy. We walked in the door on that Friday afternoon to a scary selection of amenities: thick cigar smoke from the crew of regulars congregating at the bar, cheap eats, and beer freshly brewed on the premises.

We settled in and created a thoroughly satisfying meal of appetizers that included: a Chicken Corn Chowder that was thick, chunky, and just spicy enough; Nürnberger, a plate of grilled pork sausages smothered in onions and peppers that could make me forget my weeknight eating regimen; and an artery-clogging slab of Fried Camembert that was deep fried to a crispy brown and served hot and gooey with crackers and a cranberry sauce. Mmmm, gooey...

We'd never waste food this good on soda or java, so we sampled from the well-stocked selection of fresh beers served in pitchers heavy and thick enough to flatten the skull of your worst enemy. Having arrived at what must have been "Happy Hour," we paid insanely cheap prices for 60 fluid ounce pitchers of roasted, malty dark beer and a seasonal Altbier that was being released that day. Whilst I downed the dark in memory of my beloved Yuengling Porter, Kaki steered clear -- she does have more delicate sensibilities -- and went for the clean, fresh taste of the Altbier.

Day Two in the hometown of the John Waters resulted in a hearty lunch at Babusci's, a cozy place in the heart of Little Italy. We thought it a tad slow for a Saturday afternoon, but the neighborhood's Italian festival was occurring a few blocks away, and who can turn down a good greased pole race? (Why do I still remember that from an episode of Laverne & Shirley?) That simply meant really attentive service for us, and portions big enough to choke hungry tourists. Hey!

A day of walking through the city's high-priced tourist traps made us thirsty for...more beer, perhaps?! Suckers for a good thing, we tromped the few blocks back to Baltimore Brewing and downed a coupla more pitchers of dark along with heapin' helpings of Chicken Corn Chowder and Nürnberger. (I know what you're thinking. "Were those the only things on the menu?" The answer is no, but we weren't feeling very experimental, and I do order the same thing every time I set foot in a Taco Bell.)

[This article originally appeared in ER #43]

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