Baltimore County – get ready for the lime light! The site of the former Calvert whiskey distillery in Relay, Maryland, is now being turned into the first Guinness brewery in the U.S. since 1954.
You do not need to wait until the grand opening of the main brewery on August 3 to try all the tasty brews. There’s a Test Taproom, which was opened in October 2017, and now serves a variety of beers brewed right on site.
Brewmaster Peter Wiens and Head Brewer Hollie Stephenson will lead the team in creating unique brews, some of which are currently on tap in the Test Taproom. One that caught my eye is the Guinness Crosslands Pale Ale, which is the first in the Maryland-sourced beer series. It highlights Guinness’ desire to be involved with the community in which they operate by tapping into the expertise and knowledge of local beer experts.
Photo courtesy of Guinness Open Gate Brewery & Barrel House Facebook page. FYI – the sweet shirt in the background is on sale at the Test Taproom – get yours ASAP!
For the Crosslands Pale Ale, they collaborated with two local companies, Dark Cloud Malthouse and Black Locust Hops. The menu available for viewing on the New Guinness Brewery website has quite an extensive selection of both unique and novel Maryland brews and also some old favorites imported from Dublin.
The opening of this brewery also coincides with the 200th anniversary of the Irish stout reaching America for the first time. The exact date is October 16, 1817, and marks the day eight barrels of the beer were sent from Dublin, Ireland, to South Carolina. And it has been a torrid love affair ever since. People love their stout, the U.S. being the world’s 5th largest market for the beer.
Photo courtesy of Guinness Open Gate Brewery & Barrel House Facebook page.
In addition to the taproom tastings, the brewery will offer tours as well as dining in a 270-seat restaurant. The goal is to create a holistic experience, where visitors can learn about the history of Guinness and the brewing process, while also entertaining their taste buds with unique beers.
According to the Baltimore Sun, the project aims to attract 300,000 visitors within the first year while also revitalizing the community by creating around 200 hospitality jobs. Diageo, the parent company of Guinness, and Aramark, the vendor for the future restaurant, are currently hiring talent for the Baltimore County brewery, so check out their latest jobs here!
The Guinness Open Gate Brewery & Barrel House is located at 5001 Washington Blvd., Halethorpe, Maryland 21227. The Test Taproom is open Thursday through Sunday.
Fun fact: it takes 119.5 seconds to pour the perfect pint, with that famous foamy head which is accomplished via what is known as “the surge” in the business — filling the pint glass three-quarters of the way, letting it sit so that nitrogen bubbles make their way to the top (forming the head), and then filling the rest of the pint. Makes your mouth water, doesn’t it?
Are you a fan of Guinness? Have you stopped by the Test Taproom yet at the new location? Let us know your thoughts on this project along with your favorite beer in the comments below! Cheers!