Where Is It: 1700 Union Ave, Baltimore, MD
Tap Room Hours: Thurs-Fri, 5-10PM; Sat-Sun, 12-5PM
What I drank: Old Pro Gose, Foxy Red IPA, Snow Pants Oatmeal Stout
On a chill Sunday, I visited Union Craft Brewing with my dad, stepmom, and boyfriend. Tucked in an industrial building in the Hampden neighborhood of Baltimore, the brewery is on the edge of Druid Hill Park and surrounded by old mills that are beginning to see reinvented lives at health and medical companies. The place can be easy to miss the first time; it’s an unassuming brick building with not much indication of the brewery inside other than a small sign and one or two food trucks parked against the building. The first time my dad and stepmom tried to visit Union, they ended up at another brewery because they couldn’t find it. They later found out that Union was just across the street from the brewery they went to.
After turning around just once, we found it. The tap room is fairly small and L-shaped, with a gaming area in the alcove set in the back of the taproom. It was crowded, but It wasn’t packed; the four of us found enough space at the end of a table. On the wall behind us was their merchandise. The merchandise is all standard fare, t-shirts and some hoodies. There was one t-shirt is that I really liked though, a black crew neck with yellow and pink neon graphics. By our seats we could see people in the game area, working on a Jenga set or playing a game of Suspend. The tap room has casual and energetic vibe, all kinds of people grouped together and filling the space with a hum of conversation, and tours being announced over it all. The tap room also has what I think is a typical tap room style now. There is rustic wood everywhere, lightly finished, and industrial ceilings to open the room. I guess the warehouse environment inspires that aesthetic.
The first beer I had was the Old Pro Gose. I’m a big fan of sour beers, especially in warmer weather. We were not enjoying warm weather, but I was in the mood for something light but still flavorful. Union describes this beer as having a, “glowing golden color, peach & citrus nose followed by a prickly mouthfeel that leaves a gentle tartness and a dash of salt on the palate.” It did not have a gentle tartness, but I did taste the stonefruit. I liked this beer though, the tartness may not have been “gentle” but it was not harsh, just shocking and a little refreshing after spending months drinking stouts, and porters. It was a bit of a palate cleanser. I think beers like this are perfect for when you don’t want to drink something strong, and not because it only has 4.2% ABV. Light beers are always nice for that situation, but I also like light beers with flavor. The Old Pro has a lot of flavor. Mainly fruity and tart. I didn’t notice any saltiness, but I’m sure it was there, just enhancing the fruitiness of this beer.
The next beer I had was the Foxy Red IPA. I only started to get into IPAs earlier this year, so I greatly prefer ones that have a gentle hoppy quality. This beer is nice and balanced I think; it’s an IPA but it’s not too hoppy. There’s also a crispness that comes from the pine notes. I think the red IPA is nice too look at too, with the same cherry coloring as red ales. My boyfriend got the Snow Pants Oatmeal Stout, and because I love stouts, I had to take a few sips of it. It had a rich, heavy feel like any stout, but what surprised me was that I tasted a smoky flavor that is not mentioned in the website description. There are stouts that have smoky notes in them, but I don’t think I ever had an oatmeal stout with those notes before. I feel like that cut down on the oatmeal’s sweetness, but kept the smooth creaminess.
Union Craft Brewing is definitely a place worth visiting, mainly because even though the beer is fairly typical of other good breweries in taste and looks, there are subtle twists in the few beers I tried to be just a little different from the rest. Nothing too different and unique, but enough to be interesting. On a final note, the Anthem Golden Ale that stepmom ordered had some very nice lace. I always appreciate lace.