Baltimore has given me a very good argument for its place as a beer destination and no other spot has made the case as clearly as Max's Taphouse. We stopped in with the kids after taking the tour of Fort McHenry and crossing back across the harbor all by water taxi. The Fells Point area is a bit like the old port of Portland, Maine with the neighbourhood bars, funky shops and interesting restaurants. Max's sits in the middle of it. I had a cask Red Sky saison from Clipper City as well as the recently released Union Duckpin Pale Ale. Liked the both. The bar service meant a chat with the tender was in order and, like most sentences he hears all day, it was mainly about the stock - cask, taps, bottles and even stored un-chilled beer. He also explained that they did off license sales in Maryland as well as growler sales. If I wanted one of the special beers to take away, they just needed a few minutes for someone to go retrieve it from storage. The free state indeed.
But it's not just this one bar. You go into most any bar and there are local beers on tap. Every few blocks in the center of town seems to have a reputable bar. We were at Joe Squared pizza for supper and there were a row of Duclaw taps. I had their double IPA as well as a blonde. Both very tasty and, at five bucks a shaker glass, not overly priced. Max's was pretty reasonably priced as well now that I think of it.
We are already planning to come back and explore the city a bit more deeply. Sure, you will get the "you watched The Wire, right" line from half the people you tell you are heading to Baltimore but for a good beer holiday with family and kids, the Inner Harbor can't be beat. Next time, the Orioles will be in town, too.