In Suspended Animation No More, @SuspendedBrew Now Cranking Out Delicious Local Brews
Steve Fogleman, Baltimore Beer Baron
SouthBmore.com did a great write up on Pigtown’s Suspended Brewing a few days ago, but it left me with one lingering question–what’s the beer taste like? Suspended, like so many other breweries in the region, has taken their sweet time from announcing the venture to opening their doors. At least Checkerspot Brewing has been giving their stuff away at beer festivals, basements and through collaborations. If you weren’t one of their “peeps”, as Suspended co-founder Josey Schwartz said, you’d probably never tasted a drop of it–until now. Co-founder Yasmin Karimian, did most of the pouring during my Friday night tour last week.
Suspended started 2018 with a private beer dinner and has been running a solid slate of weekend tours since the first of the year. While the liquor board hearing to fully open the taproom for pints is scheduled for February, it could easily be another six weeks or more before it’s fully operational in the way you expect a taproom to be.
This is a cozy space for a brewery right on Washington Boulevard in the former Playwright’s Theater, and they only started brewing around Thanksgiving. Their starting offerings are solid, although it’s tough for a big ABV milkshake lover like me, since their lineup ranged from 4.1% to a whopping 5.25%.
My first swing was a ‘Shake the Dust’ New England IPA–bold and bursting with dry hops that belied its 5.25% alcoholic goodness. I used to judge a brewery by their IPA or their Pale, but I think I’ve evolved to judging a new brewery by their East Coast IPA. If that’s the case, then Suspended is off to an early lead.
Their West Coast IPA, “Uncommon Sense”, is also a winner with exceptional balance and 4.1% ABV. The Hazy IPA, “Metamorphosis”, at 4.7% was a floral bouquet and excellent in its own right. It didn’t need the passionfruit offered on another tap. And as long as we’re talking about fruits, I am personally tired of grapefruit until at least April, so I enjoyed the straight-up Uncommon Sense West Coast IPA over its citrus companion.
Suspended is in an interesting spot. When the Ravens or Orioles aren’t scheduled to play, you can easily snag a parking space a block away—-or maybe right out front. When the teams are playing, non-residential parking doesn’t exist. It’s a decent walk from the Orioles-Ravens Megaplex, and it’s not too deep into Pigtown to scare pedestrians off. With a capacity just over 100, I expect this place to be jammed and steamy on any given summer night. I think my camera phone filled up, because I failed to get photos of the chandeliers throughout the facility. They give off a glitzy vibe and suggest a date destination, as is becoming the trend with breweries. For me, it simply doesn’t stink of malt and yeast enough yet, but that always comes with time. Let’s help them out with that by drinking their beer and forcing them to make it again and again and again.