There Are Things Way More Baltimore Than @RARBrew But One Fell Swoop is Good Beer

RAR One Fell Swoop at Max's Taphouse
RAR One Fell Swoop at Max’s Taphouse

There Are Things Way More Baltimore Than @RARBrew & @PendryHotels But One Fell Swoop is Good Beer
Steve Fogleman, Baltimore Beer Baron

I saw the Facebook post for One Fell Swoop, the new Fell’s Point Wheat Ale. There was a launch party last week for Cambridge’s RAR Brewing’s One Fell Swoop at the Sagamore Pendry Hotel and like an odious internet troll, I thought out loud:

“Wow, what could be more Baltimore than a Dorchester County brewed beer launched at a fancy new hotel where rooms start at $400 a night?”

A: Everything!

But there’s just one problem with my snark. The beer is decent. And the genesis for it all was extremely Charm City.

So I skipped the $50 a head launch party, attended by over 150 guests on the pool deck of the Sagamore Plank Den in the sweltering heat, patiently laying in wait to pounce on it at Max’s Taphouse the next day in an air-conditioned comfort zone in Ye Olde Fell’s Point for a fraction of the cost.

This “American Wheat Ale” is different than I expected. My nose expected Bananarama and Clove City, but instead I got Lemontown. And I didn’t flush it down. It poured almost flat, with an ethereal head and fine lacing. It looked like the chewy Drink-by-Tomorrow DIPA cans I’ve been sampling this summer. The cloudiness had to come from some flaked malt and the Citra and Galaxy hops made it a Wheat Ale that I won’t judge by its name. Effectively, these are $500 kegs sold to 10 licensed establishments in the neighborhood with 100% of the proceeds going to Fell’s Point Main Street, the non-profit organization that strives to Keep Fell’s Point funky AND beautiful.

Max's Taphouse GM Casey Hard
Call Him A Brain Child: Max’s Taphouse GM Casey Hard

Max’s GM Casey Hard got the barrel rolling. Hard, along with a colleague, decided that the best way to raise money for Fell’s Point “would be to get a beer made and get a bunch of bars to sign on to donate $500 once a month from the proceeds of a keg,” he said. “It’s a win-win. The customers get a great beer, the bars make money and get to donate to Fell’s Point to do things in our area to make it better. It’s a great opportunity for us, for RAR and for the neighborhood.”

But for god’s sake, why didn’t a Baltimore brewery create this Fell’s Point beer?

A: Because RAR was the Goldilocks brewery.

“We needed to find a brewery that was big enough, and could do batches that weren’t too big,” he continued. “I was concerned that if we went to a brewery where their smallest capacity was 100 kegs, that was too much. We wanted to find a sweet spot in the middle and it happened to be the RAR guys. They came into the bar around the time we thought about it and they jumped at the opportunity. They come from a small neighborhood Main Street, historical neighborhood in Cambridge. We’re a historical neighborhood, so we thought it was a great fit.”

They started with a 40 keg run. Due to increased demand, another 40 keg batch is already in the works.

RAR Brewing's One Fell Swoop
RAR Brewing’s One Fell Swoop

Max’s co-founder Gail Furman chimed in on the launch party and all that I missed the night before. “It was awesome that the community came together and supported this. It was a blast being at the Pendry pool deck and RAR is a great brewery,” she said.

Furman then hinted that RAR will be doing another beer for Fell’s Point outside of the summer. She won’t give it all away, but she said “we’re thinking of something for Winter with honey.” She also mentioned that other local breweries have come forward and offered to help in the future. Everybody wants to get in on this good deed.

Let me make this clear. This is a good beer style, not the Messiah Beer, but it should be very marketable throughout the Summer of 2017. It’s a complex brew
that’s easy to drink and I support the cause. Try it on tap at the Sagamore Pendry, Kooper’s, Dogwatch, Max’s, The Horse, Red Star, Waterfront Hotel, Eight Ball Meatball, Abbey Burger Bistro and Admiral’s Cup.

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