Collaboration is Key at Peabody Heights Brewery

by Jennifer Waldera on Jul 27, 2015 in Beer

In a large unassuming building just off 30th street, in a neighborhood otherwise known for housing Baltimore’s beloved Book Thing, the city’s newest tasting room just recently opened its doors to the public.

Peabody Heights Brewery, situated on the property that was once home to Old Oriole Park and one of the largest breweries within city limits, has been operating since 2012. Its 50,000 square feet house not only the newly opened tasting room, but a vast space used for brewing and bottling not only their own brews, but those of smaller brewers in Baltimore and beyond.

We’ve been on more than a few brewery tours, but none quite so in-depth and informational as this one by highly knowledgeable brewer Eli Breitburg-Smith who gave us a detailed look at the facility used to brew their current five brews - Red Cent Amber (our favorite), Meal Ticket Wheat, Fair Shake APA, Knuckle Buster IPA, and Bohemian. The first four are produced under the name Public Works Ale, while the last is under the Old Oriole Park label. Beers from Monument City, Fin City, Raven Beers, Full Tilt and others are also brewed here.

As we sampled from a tank of Snow Hill Blonde Strawberry, a shandy-style brew, Eli explained their co-op business model.

“This is a place for people who want to grow and build… we like to call the place an incubator,” Eli said.

Peabody Heights Brewery collaborates with anyone from ambitious homebrewers to small startups to create recipes and produce their beer.

“The advantage,” Eli said, “is that small brewers can maintain creative control while growing the brand.”

Eli gained some of his experience in Reno at Great Basin Brewing before returning to Baltimore and working with Peabody Heights. In addition to benefiting from his experience and knowledge, brewers also have the opportunity to work with Master Brewer Ernie Igot, who spent the majority of his 36 years in the business of beer-making as the master brewer at San Miguel Brewery

But how about that tasting room?

With concrete floors, exposed bulb lighting, a long, shiny light wood bar and the names of house brews printed on images of baseballs, the large room is intended to pay homage to the property’s roots in America’s favorite pastime. It is at once stylish but comfortable and homey and is just as easy to envision as a Saturday afternoon watering-hole destination as it is a venue for parties and charity events.

Eddie O’Keefe, son of Peabody Heights Brewery owner Richard O’Keefe, as well as Marketing and Private Event Coordinator, chatted with us about the vision for the tasting room.

“We want to be a destination in the area - maybe after a trip to the farmer’s market or the Book Thing,” Eddie said. “We also want to be involved with lots of charity events. We’re already working with Roberta’s House and are intending to work with Rebuilding Together as well.”

With more than 20 constantly rotating taps, there is no shortage of options, and styles of beer on tap range from hoppier IPAs to darker stouts and porters. Beers range from $4-$5 while a flight of four samples runs $8. Though there is not food service, patrons are welcome to bring their own.

Currently, the tasting room is open Fridays from 5–7 PM and Saturdays from 11–4 PM. Also, with licensing for 12 Sundays each year, Peabody Heights hopes to open for some Ravens games to be shown on their projection television. Tours are also available (and highly recommended by us here at Drink Baltimore!) during tasting room hours.

Peabody Heights Brewery, 401 E 30th St.; 410-HOPSTER (410-467-7837)

Photos via Peabody Heights Brewery


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