Birds, Brews & Baltimore

So here's a recap of all the libations and enjoyment Baltimore has to offer.

First, a little background... I spend most of my days working as a kind of jack of all trades for the family wholesale plant nursery Blue Mountain Nursery. I was in Baltimore with my father exhibiting at MANTS, one of the biggest nursery tradeshows in the US. 

After boarding our 5:30am flight out of PDX and a short layover in Denver we landed in Baltimore. I spent the next three hours at the convention center slugging potted dirt around and was ready for a brew and some food.

Oliver Brewing Co. - Noche Del Chupacabra Copper Fox Barrel Aged

Being directly across the street from the convention and just around the corner from our hotel, The Pratt Street Ale House was conveniently en-route. That night I enjoyed a hefty order of fish and chips and a very interesting brew from Oliver Brewing Co. Labeled as a Smoked Red Ale, the Noche Del Chupacabra Copper Fox Barrel Aged started out slightly bitter with a touch of mesquite smoke. It had a very subtle and mellow feel after aging in Copper Fox whiskey barrels for 6 months. At 7.2% abv it packed quite a punch and finished off with the spiciness of the chipotle and ghost peppers. After dinner my father decided we should run to the closest office supply store to grab some items for the show so we hailed an Uber. 

Within a minute or so our pilot Shawniece pulled up in her maroon SUV. Unfortunately for us this lovely young woman had two GPS units and could not seem to follow either. Proceeding to miss 3 exits as she continued to talk about how she frequented the local Walmart and blasting the heat so high that my Dad finally had to open the window we made it the 10 miles to our destination. 

Photo Credit: Laura Gentry

That afternoon I received a phone call from from my wife letting me know that Portland was getting a foot of snow. The whole area was gridlocked and she ended up spending two nights at the hospital before finally making it home on Thursday evening. 

First day of the show was busy but nothing spectacular. We grabbed dinner again at Pratt Street Ale House and since I knew this was the only night we had time available I decided it would be good to check out the local whisky bar.

After grabbing another Uber trip and we arrived at the local watering hole Birds of a Feather. At first glance the front of the building in the dark looked unassuming but upon further inspection was more old world and historic. It was smack-dab in the middle of the week and upon swinging open the door we were greeted by all the local regulars. Although somewhat intimidating for a tourist, they were all very welcoming. We bellied up to the the end of the bar and were given a primer on the place by one patron who had obviously gotten off of work early.

Owner, bartender and whisky connoisseur Alicia Horn came over and asked us what we would enjoy. As the gentleman previously suggested, I sought her opinion on the matter and was recommended Glengoyne 18 (Check out my review here) and my father a Balvenie 12. I proceeded to enjoy my dram all the while taking in the nautical themed atmosphere and the great wall of Scotch behind the bar. 

Alicia has been running the bar here for the last 36 years with her husband and lives in the apartment upstairs. Even though outside of the building they claim to have over 60 single malt scotches on hand at any one time, I personally counted over 100 different offerings from my vantage point at the bar. We spent the next hour and a half laughing at all of the incoherent conversations and apparent inside jokes only enjoyed by Baltimore's own. On our way out I made sure to grab a complimentary bite-sized Twix and thanked Alice and our fellow drink mates for their hospitality. I would definitely recommend this place as a stop and stay a while destination to anyone visiting Baltimore who enjoys whiskey and wants some lively and slightly eccentric company for the evening.

2nd day of the show over and we set up to take one of our customers out to dinner and I found out apparently that customer doesn't drink so... Cheesecake Factory and waters all around! The original party of 4 became a party of 7 with a bunch of random people and lets just say that we didn't end up paying for dinner and couldn't get back to our hotel fast enough. Unfortunately I hadn't been sleeping well and ended up with a head cold so I put together the best mind-numbing cocktail a hotel could provide...

mind-numbing cocktail

mind-numbing cocktail

Day 3 and as the show finally came to an end we grabbed another Uber to the airport. Somehow we flew through security and with 2 hours to spare found ourselves seated in The Firkin and Flyer. It was conveniently located just down the way from our gate and it had a nice view of the gradually setting sun. I knocked back a couple 20oz Samuel Adams Winter Lagers and polished off an awesome order of probably the best dang onion rings I've ever had. We jumped on the airplane and after 6 hours of flying in which i spent $14 on two mini-shots of Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 (which was disgraceful I might add), watched Ride Along 2Central Intelligence & stuck in the window-less seat (who makes a plane with no window in a spot?) with another broad-shouldered gentleman next to Dad...I was looking forward to being on the ground, home and sledding with my son in the morning.

It would be putting it lightly to state that I am not a fan of flying but Birds of a Feather in Baltimore will definitely be an annual destination for me.