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Call me simple, but to me Baltimore means beer, seafood, The Wire, and a place to “weekend” for folks who ordinarily can’t afford to use “weekend” as a verb. Their aquarium more or less blew my 5-year-old mind some years ago, dethroning Chuck E. Cheese‘s title as The Best Trip Ever. My cooler friends say Charm City’s great for record shopping, too.

But in this gauntlet, thrown down by a Baltimore Sun guest blogger named “Kelby Brick,” he denigrates our fair city, stamping us with not one but two four-letter words: “wine town.”

That’s right, while Baltimore is a city of freedom-loving, Rudy-watching Americans, D.C. festers with “white-glove parties” and “happy hour discussions [that] revolve around grapes.” We also brush our teeth with caviar, preferably in our limousines, which are driven by Baltimore-born chauffeurs. (OK, he didn’t say that, but I can read between the lines.)

Now, I do die a little inside when I sit down for a nice meal and have to watch my wino friends leaf excitedly through a Homeric list while I choose between Blue Moon and Amstel Light (a Negroni, please). But D.C. is a fantastic beer town, dammit. And after this egging from the Sun and some encouragement from The Atlantic, it’s time we put it on paper a blog.

So here you have it: D.C. Is a Great Beer City, Chapter 1

  • The stores. Oh good lord, the stores. Save for the beer-barren wasteland that is downtown/Penn Quarter, every Metro stop in Northwest is a short walk from a store that has good craft beer. (Yes, even Petworth.) The other three quadrants? Um…let me get back to you.
  • The bars. Yes, Baltimore, we’re aware the Brickskeller beer list belongs in the fiction section. But as destination bars go, we’ve got Birreria Paradiso, Rustico, Brasserie Beck, and Granville Moore’s, just to name a few. Did I miss some? Yeah, probably a hundred. Get the idea?
  • New beer. In the past few months, D.C. has started bringing in new offerings from the likes of Duck-Rabbit and Founders. Others in the pipeline? A little birdie tells me Blue Mountain and Lost Abbey are in the works.

That’s just Chapter 1. Of course there’s also local brewpubs, a kickin’ new stadium, and a super-nerdy e-mail list (take my word, or sign up and see).

What should be in Chapter 2? Fill up that comments section, neighbor!

Photo by Darrow Montgomery