OMG BBW! @BaltBeerWeek Starts…Tonight!

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Baltimore Beer Week Co-Founders Joe Gold and Dominic Cantalupo

OMG BBW! Baltimore Beer Week Starts…Tonight!
Steve Fogleman, Baltimore Beer Baron

Baltimore Beer Week crept up on us this year, what with all of the Oktoberfesting and last weekend’s Baltimore Craft Beer Festival. Now in its 9th year, the BBW, as it has become amorously known, is always a ton of fun and this year will be no exception. For years, I’ve written about all of the new and improved events from years past, but let’s face it: they’ve done it all. There’s only so many creative bells and whistles you can attach to this beer behemoth. After years of tweaking, the tried and true events remain.

That said, here’s a couple of unique tweaks:

According to BBW co-founder Dominic Cantalupo, the wildly popular Beer History Walking Tour narrated by him and beer author Maureen O’Prey will focus on the post-prohibition history this year with a bit more attention on Canton history rather than Highlandtown’s (11 a.m., Venice Tavern). It’s been a good run since the tour began in 2011, so I’m excited about the new material and the new stops along the tour.

Cantalupo’s also excited about the biggest tweak of the week: “The bicycle tour, which is really cool and we’ve done for numerous years,” he said. “This year we’re bringing it to Baltimore. So on the last day of beer week, we’re going to take a bicycle tour starting at the Canton Waterfront Park and head up to Waverly and Union Brewing and work our way back through Brewer’s Art, Fell’s Point and back,” he told me.

As I was speaking to Cantalupo about the bike tour from his barstool at Max’s, another customer leaned in to add his two cents. I’ll be damned, it’s Canton’s Jason Black! “The Brass Tap has a lot of events this year,” Black said of the Mt. Royal bar that opened in January, “and they have the first event of Beer Week this year at midnight on Friday morning: the Founders Breakfast Stout Brunch.” It should come as no surprise that Black plans to be there. The man’s got stamina.

After I started writing this piece, I took a break and headed to my favorite Canton watering hole and ran into the other BBW co-founder, Joe Gold. What a country! Gold’s looking forward to ‘Looking Forward: The Future of Baltimore Beer Week Luncheon’ at Bertha’s next Monday. There’s a meal and beverages involved, so there’s a $25 fee, but after that, it’s all free. As in free speech, since Gold promises an open forum and microphone so that anyone can offer suggestions about shaping BBWs yet to come. “We’ll be talking about Beer Week as a concept, past, present and future,” he said. “We’ll have Dominic (Cantalupo) and I talking about it and we’ll have the back of the house web person there talking about the development of technology and how digital is in and print is out. We want people to come and share their ideas, the highs and lows.” This is sure to be some inside beerball I don’t want to miss.

But let’s just get through tonight and tomorrow. As the clock strikes midnight tonight, it’s on at The Brass Tap in Mount Royal. Wake up tomorrow and head to the Legends Hall of Fame Luncheon at Heavy Seas Ale House in Harbor East at 11:30 a.m., where my good and salty old friend Bill Oliver will receive a worthy induction into the BBW HOF.

Still with me? Then head to Baltimore Taphouse in Canton for the 1:30 p.m. release of a Waverly-Checkerspot collaboration honoring beloved beer hero John Bates, who passed away this year. It’s called “Caped Bates” and the release is a kettle sour with caped gooseberries. After that, it’s on to Metropolitan in Federal Hill for the ‘King of the Pins’, a now annual tradition of real cask ales where brewers duel on the wood.Don’t drink too much, because you’re headed to Chilibrew 11 at 7 p.m. in the Zion Church next to City Hall downtown to do terrible things to your digestive system. Then go home and go to bed. You’ll need to save yourself for the BBW opening tap celebration on Saturday at Das Best Oktoberfest at M & T Bank Stadium.

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