Here’s a little fact that you may not know about us Aleheads. Contrary to popular belief, not a single one of us makes even a dime writing for this beer blog. I know, it seems hard to believe that the quality posts that you’ve come to expect from us day in and day out are done purely out of love, but it’s true. Unfortunately, this means that all of us need real jobs to help pay the enormous fees for this WordPress site (Which is free) and the countless hours of internet access (Which we steal from our neighbors) that we need to perform our tasks. I won’t bore you with the details of my job, since the details are what bore me every day, but I will tell you that a little perk is that I get to travel around this great country. And of course, with travel comes new beers and new locales from which to drink them. This past weekend I found myself in Baltimore and happened upon the lovely Pratt Street Ale House. Come take a peak to see what they have to offer.
The name might be a little confusing since the Pratt Street Ale House serves up their own Oliver Ales, but being that it’s on Pratt Street I really have no problem with the naming of this brewpub or its beautiful historic building. As is usually the case, the inside of the brewpub looks like every other brewpub. Classic wooden tables, tons of bar stools, 3 hand pumps (Yes!), and a slew of other taps behind the bar that need further inspection. I’m not here to talk about what the bar looks like though, I’m here to talk about the beer. Brewpubs can be hit or miss in terms of the quality of their brews. Granted, a bad brewpub is still probably better than most other bars in a city, but every once in a while you’ll come across a place that’s just plain boring. The Pratt Street Ale House is anything but boring.
The tap list is broken down into 4 categories – Draught Ales, Smooth Pour Ales, Hand Pumped Ales, and Guest Draughts. The Draught Ales section contains roughly 10 brews of English origin with brewpub staples like the Amber, Blonde, and Light. Nice to see that they go beyond the typical brewpub styles though with a Dark Mild and a Strong English Brown. With the Smooth Ales you’re delving into the nitro draughts, with a couple of Stouts and a Cream Ale. The Hand Pumped Ales are of course cask conditioned offerings and in typical brewpub fashion they have a rotating tap for the brewer’s choice. And then there’s the Guest Draughts, which is utterly forgettable. Usually the guest list will have a cool local tap or maybe something obscure that fits right in with the rest of the offerings. This guest list? Bud Light, Guinness, Sam Winter, Stella, and Yuengling. Seriously, if you came to a brewpub to sample handmade beers then why the hell would you bother with anything on that list? Anyway, I like the way they broke out the list and I’m impressed with the variety of their offerings. So, let’s get to a tasting note to see how this place stacks up.
I usually start a tasting note about a brewpub with “It should come as no surprise to those who know me that I went right to whatever was on cask”. This time though, I think it’s time to point out that it should come as no surprise to anyone that appreciates beer that they should be reaching for the cask first. Just put down the list, ask what they have on cask, and put a smile on your face. Are we cool with that? Good. So, since the Pratt Street Alehouse had 3 offerings on cask I actually had a chance to choose what I thought was best. Though I would have loved to have sampled a true English Bitter or their ESB on cask, there was just no way I could pass up a cask conditioned Oatmeal Stout.
At 4.6% ABV, the Bishop’s Breakfast is a standard offering at Pratt Street that was also available as a nitro draught. The reason I went for the cask, aside from the fact that it was on cask, was that they added a bit of coffee to original brew to add even more roasted flavor to this Oatmeal Stout. My Stout arrived with a smooth, light tan, impenetrable head. Dark brown in color, the nose naturally shows plenty of roasted coffee with an earthy undertone and hints of chocolate. Tons of cocoa bean hits the tongue first followed by roasted malts and a slightly bitter finish. Very cool smokiness came up as I was setting the glass down, which was very surprising. Mouthfeel is creamy for sure, but it does present a little more carbonation than I’m used to for a cask ale. Drinkability is just perfect and if I hadn’t wanted to try something else I probably would have asked for another one. Overall I’d give the Bishop’s Breakfast 3.5 Hops – One of the better beers I’ve had from any brewpub. Next time I’m in Baltimore, I’m sure I’ll head back to the Pratt Street Ale House and kick back a few more of their delicious English Ales. Cheers!