Dominic DeSantis of Hudson Street Stackhouse Goes All In For Baltimore Beer Week
Steve Fogleman, Baltimore Beer Baron
Dominic DeSantis has three successive generations of bar ownership in his family, so Baltimore Beer Week is not only a time to celebrate the present and future of Baltimore Beer, but his own family history as well.
And from his perch at Hudson Street Stackhouse in Canton, DeSantis has been hosting Beer Week related events since its inception.
I stopped by without notice yesterday to peruse the beer selection at the Stackhouse’s Belgian Tap takeover and ended up discussing the many events he and his family’s Venice Tavern have planned for the last half of the ten day “week”.
This is the fourth year for the mini-Belgian Festival, with more and more customers coming in every year specifically for the saisons and sours. There’s a ton of great beers and styles represented, with over 50 breweries, 36 Belgians on draft and another 25 in bottles.
Imagine a tiny Max’s Belgian Fest without the crowds and without the freezing February weather and that is what you’ve got. “This is a Smoked Saison,” he said, pointing to my De Glazen Toren Saison De Erpe-Mere Gerookt Fumme pictured above. “It’s phenonmenal.” They’ve also got Rodenbach Alexander on tap, aged two years in oak for a sweet and sour flavor profile. De Santis has also been aging kegs of LambickX Private Domain from 2011, a product of Vanberg & Familie, with a bouquet of fruits and hay and a “restrained tartness”. If there’s a $12 beer you should try in Baltimore, it’s this one.
Later that night, DeSantis hosted a Battle of the Doms Sandwich Challenge, squaring off against Beer Week Co-Founder Dom Cantalupo to let diners determine who makes the finest Italian sandwich in the city. (Spoiler Alert: a Dom won).
DeSantis’ grandfather, Mr. Frank, was slinging Arrows, Bohs and Natty Premiums before your parents were born at Venice Tavern, located in the basement of the old Esskay family mansion at the corner of Bank and S. Conkling Streets in Highlandtown. Dominic’s Beer Week activities keep him shuttling between the Stackhouse and the Venice to double-up on the fun and now the attention shifts to the old joint, beginning last night with an RAR tap takeover.
On Thursday, Venice hosts Classic Fights and Pints, where beginning at 8:00 a.m., customers will watch classic prize bouts and enjoy $3 craft beer pints while surrounded by 20th century boxing memorabilia. “We’ve got all of these great old fights in black & white on youtube, and we’re going to run them from open to close,” he told me.
And mark your calendar now for my favorite BBW event of all-Beers Through the Years-the wildly successful beer history walking tour, beginning this Saturday at Venice Tavern at 9:30 a.m. with an exceptional display of historical beer glassware and crockware.
If it’s beer history and Beer Week you want, expect the DeSantis’ family to be right in the thick of it.