17 October 2012

"b"/Baltimore Sun Selects "Maryland's 20 Best Beers"

If you're out getting the usual free weekly papers, you'll notice that the City Paper has the usual center insert pull-out with an almost-complete Baltimore Beer week schedule.

Not to be outdone, the Baltimore Sun's "b" weekly freebie features a cover story listing its editors' picks of the 20 "best Maryland beers"; it's also available as an online "slide show" here.

Disclaimer: I was asked, late in their selection process, to review their preliminary list, and found a great many beers they had missed or had forgotten about.  We also had a discussion regarding their restricting the list only to beers that were bottled.  Ultimately, it's their list and their methodology ("we kept this list to beers you can find in stores"), so find all the fault you want with them. They honored Oliver Ales/Pratt Street Ale House with a mention with regards to the lack of draft-only beers, but it still seems an afterthought.

On the one hand, they were smart enough to summarily rescind National Bohemian to "Honorable Mention" status because it's no longer brewed in Maryland.  However, they included the recently-revived National Premium (#14), which is brewed at Fordham Brewing in Dover, Delaware.......

The print edition also includes a "Pumpkin Pick," Heavy Seas Great Pumpkin, which edged out its only real competition, Evolution Jacques au Lantern and Heavy Seas' Greater Pumpkin (the bourbon-barrel-aged version of the Great).

Ultimately, any such list, be it by a college newspaper or the Great American Beer Festival, is subjective, and there's enough there to please just about anyone and turn off someone or another.  Beer geeks and aficionados may have rated "fancier" or hoppier beers higher and other beers lower, but all in all it's not too bad.  I would have subbed Raven Lager for National Premium just on the technicality of the brewing location, but......

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