More than 20 years ago I was living in Dublin, Ireland and set foot in a brewery for the very first time in my life. Not just any brewery, of course, but Guinness! Unfortunately, I was not quite the legal age to actually enjoy a pint or half but just a few days ago I got the chance to make up for it.
You see the Guinness Open Gate Brewery & Barrel House just opened its doors in Halethorpe (not quite Baltimore! it's outside the city) ... and, of course, I had to check it out and enjoy a pint this time, officially anyway. Guinness Open Gate Brewery "Baltimore" specializes in Guinness Blonde whereas the classic Guinness will always (and only - according to their website) be brewed in Dublin and imported to the US. I like that, a lot actually. I tried the Hoppy Pale Ale and a few sips of my friend's Belgian-style Plum Dubbel and the latter was amazing, hands down one of the best beers I have ever had (I was born and raised in the beer country of Europe, a.k.a. Germany, so that is saying a lot!). There is also a coffee stout and an oatmeal pale ale - among others - on the menu which I will have to try next time. And there will be a next time. If you are planning to go, let me know and I will meet you there :)
The Barrel House is a bright, open and huge space with an outdoor terrace, cozy seating, a few booths and barrel tables. There is also a gigantic patio space when you first enter through the gates but it was thunderstorming the evening I was there and I am not sure if that is open every night or not. Speaking of which, the Guinness Open Gate and Barrel House closes pretty early unfortunately, 9 pm. Thus, it is more of a happy hour/after work meeting spot (one of the best though) than a Friday evening hang-out.
The Guinness Open Gate Brewery & Barrel House also has a gift shop, a restaurant that is scheduled to open at the end of September 2018 and you can go on a brewery tour, of course (get your tickets here) - it's just $10 for approx an hour long tour.
To sum up my first visit to the Guinness Open Gate Brewery & Barrel House in Halethorpe, MD:
1. my experience was as good - if not better - than my visit at the original one in Dublin many years ago
2. the space is fantastic
3. the hours at the Barrel House could/should/and hopefully will be longer eventually; at this point in time it closes at 9 pm
4. service was very pleasant
5. the atmosphere extremely welcoming and comfy
6. Bar fare looked and smelled delicious, albeit a bit on the pricey side, but I didn't get to taste it yet
7. the beer was super tasty!
Bonus: the Guinness Open Gate Brewery & Barrel House in Halethorpe (sorta Baltimore) is really good news for the region with a $80 MM investment; 160 jobs and the turning of an industrial eyesore right along Route 1 into something incredible!
Thank you Guinness! I am so glad, you are here and I will see you soon!
... now open till 10 pm on Thursday, Friday, Saturday!