Now Open: Heavy Seas Ale House

Sailors tell stories... Pyrates make legends!
Now Open: Heavy Seas Ale House

Heavy Seas Ale House has upped the ante on local brewpubs. This new establishment, just north of Fells Point, has taken the popular, Baltimore-based Heavy Seas craft beer line, merged it with the historical landmark in The Tack Factory, and created a final product that is unabashedly unique.

Heavy Seas brews from Hugh Sisson’s Clipper City Brewery are certainly the main attraction of this new downtown hangout, the brainchild of his stepson Patrick Dahlgren. It is impossible not to notice the eight pirate-head taps of draft beer and the engine pump with two cask-conditioned ales right behind the bar. But the theme of the Heavy Seas extends from the brew selection to the interior decor. The hard wood floors and exposed brick walls give a raw, open, and mildly-industrial feel. There is ample seating for more than 150 with the option of a private room for 40 in the back. The bar provides a friendly atmosphere that begs for storytelling of the good old times with a crowd of fellow high seas travelers.

If you are looking for something unique to challenge your taste buds, start with the cocktails section of the menu. Yes, this is a brewpub, so why the cocktail list? A professional mixologist created a series of creative beer-cocktails that blend the best of the High Seas line with your favorite liquors. Many are customizable, like the Parrot Bite, and we suggest asking the incredibly knowledgeable servers for their recommendations. A personal favorite was the Sea Shandy, a Heavy Seas Classic Lager (5% ABV) blended with freshly-made lemonade, pomegranate juice and garnished with a branch of rosemary – it tasted like something fresh off the shore.

Don’t make the mistake of stopping in for a drink only; the eats are worth investigating. If you’re in the mood for basic bar food, look no further than the light and crisp onion rings or the perfectly seasoned french fries. But if you have the appetite, there are more exciting options to try. Vince Cassino, the general manager, touts the impressive menu as “not fine dining, and not pub fare,” but instead, a new route for restaurant food.

The goal here is not so much to pair dishes with beers but instead to integrate beer into the recipes (see the 24-hour beef short rib with Peg Leg glaze or ginger stout cake as two supreme examples). Vince says that chef Matt Seeber (former exec at Tom Colicchio’s Craftsteak at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand) “wants the menu to be evolving.” In no place is this exemplified better than the corner raw bar which allows Maryland’s freshest to fast-track from the bay to your plate. They also have a steadfast commitment to local products and companies that extends from local meats to partnering with the corner bakery to use spent grain from the beer making process for their bread and buns.

Keep an eye on this bar, as the best might still be to come. Cassino notes a beer garden will spring up in March 2012, with access from inside the pub. He is also eagerly awaiting the final decision on a new growler law in Baltimore which would allow patrons to take fresh Baltimore craft brew home.

Location is the only thing that leaves something to be desired. On the corner of Bank and Central, it’s a bit of a walk to the nearest cluster of bars, though it is just a block from the Central Ave Circulator stop. However, the atmosphere, quality of beverages, and vast selection of food will have you quickly planning your next trip back.

1300 Bank St.; 410-522-0850

Photos by Liz Rapoport

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