I had the good fortune (or maybe just “fortune”) of being sent on a work trip down to Baltimore in late July. I was to drive down on a Wednesday afternoon and come back Thursday afternoon; a frustratingly short trip, even if it is only a 2-hr drive from home.
Author’s note 2/16/17: Enjoy one of my “vintage” posts, from the time when I thought I’d start a beer blog but I never really wrote anything. I didn’t have the heart to use the WordPress “Start Over” feature and lose these little time capsules from when I was husbandless and childless and wish now I could tell myself to stop drinking so much beer because post-baby me would have so much trouble losing that beer pooch.
The meeting I was running took all day Thursday, but Wednesday night was wide open. A few days before the trip, I started my last-minute beer-finding plan. A trip to DC earlier this year yielded a quick stop at Capitol City Brewing Co for a growler to go (and some coasters I sneaked from the bar). I didn’t think the Four Points by Sheraton* at BWI airport would be a great place to enjoy good pub food and try local brews, so I was delighted to find a brewpub only 5 miles away from my hotel: DuClaw Brewing Company.
*Story-within-a-story: A Hotel Chain with an Appreciation of Craft Beer
Apparently Four Points by Sheraton has a whole thing about craft beer, and they highlight the local brews in whatever city they’ve set up shop. It’s called “Best Brews”; my room key had pints on it and the first thing on the hotel channel when I turned on the TV was a segment about the hotel bar’s craft beer selection. It’s like they knew I had just checked in! Unfortunately I didn’t have time to visit the hotel bar, but I’m definitely going to put Four Points on my hotel search list for future trips!!
After getting lost in the parking lot of the sprawling shopping center/mall/airstrip known as Arundel Mills, and after an iffy 3 minutes where I was thisclose to going to a Medieval Times instead, I arrived at DuClaw. It was a little more sleek-looking than I like in a brewpub, with a glass and metal facade and a martini-sipping happy hour crowd on the patio. But I was thirsty as all get-out and there was no stopping me now, so I did my best “I am not at all uncomfortable with the fact that I’m here alone” walk, and marched right up to a fortuitously open section of the long wrap-around bar. I realized quickly why this area was empty, as the large bank of taps created a visual barricade that made ordering my drinks/food into an awkward game of peekaboo with the barkeep. But the TVs were not obstructed and neither was the path from the glass to my mouth.
I made the decision to go for a flight, the most efficient way to maximize your beer-tasting experience. I went with the crab pretzel for my appetizer, “A Bavarian soft
pretzel smothered in our own crab dip and cheddar cheese then baked.”
I enjoyed both the pretzel and the beers along with the company of the two travelers who sat to either side of me (not Irish travelers like on My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, just business men). One was most certainly a closet cocaine fiend, as he seemed way too excited to be there, left after 10 minutes saying that he saw someone he knew, and then never returning to his beer or half-eaten burger. The other was a soft-spoken man who explained that he is constantly beckoned back to DuClaw on his frequent visits to the Baltimore area by its sheer beerlicious-ness (I feel like maybe it’s because the place is across the street from the hotel he said he stays in every other week). Either way, a good night was had by all. It was getting late and I was getting gassy (why don’t you have 6 beers and a cheese-covered crab pretzel and see how YOU feel?), so I excused myself and took my Andouille flatbread to go: “Grilled flatbread topped with andouille sausage, oven roasted tomatoes, caramelized onions and melted manchego cheese.” It was quite cold and lacking in flavor by the time I got back to my hotel room, but I’ll give DCBC a pass on that. The front desk was nice enough to keep my fancy new growler in their fridge for me, and so I left the Four Points BWI a happy camper! Once again my long winded-ness has gotten the best of me, so my beer grades and reviews will be the next post!