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November 17, 2009

Hidden gem: Brewers Hill


Neighborhood: Brewers Hill

Location: Southeast Baltimore

Average sales price: $223,000 (January-June). The cheapest home that sold was $157,000; the most expensive, $271,000.

Notable features: Ask people in the region to name a funky Baltimore neighborhood near the water, and they'll probably come up with Canton. Brewers Hill, its small next-door-neighbor to the east, gets a lot less attention. But it has neatly-kept rowhouses, cool beer-brewing history (wave hello to Mr. Boh, pictured above) and easy access to Canton hot spots without the bustling activity.

As reader EL put it when nominating this neighborhood for gem consideration, "We have all the fun of Canton, but none of the parking headaches or intoxicated frat boys."

Some of the blocks look very much like Canton:


Other rowhouses have an older-Baltimore feel to them, with neat little touches. For instance, stained glass:



Back-yard gardens:


Whimsical decorations, part I:


Whimsical decorations, part II:


And even rowhouse art:


The morning I visited to see if Brewers Hill was as nice as advertised, I stopped to chat with Henry and Judith Flores, who lived there for years. They kept their rowhouse when they moved to Baltimore County, and daughter Christina lives across the street in the house her mother grew up in, so the family has a lot of ties to the neighborhood.

Henry Flores calls it the "forgotten" neighborhood because it's so quiet. "For city living, it's an incredible place," he said. "Here we are, standing in the middle of the road!" (We had a long conversation and never got interrupted by a passing car.)

Judith Flores remembers the days when many of the residents worked at the breweries. "You could always smell the beer," she said. Now the buildings where National Bohemian once was made have been redeveloped into offices and shops that play off their brewery roots:


The mix of residents is different nowadays, too. More young professionals. Fewer families with school-aged children.

"When I was growing up, people lived here their whole lives," Judith Flores said. "Now you have a lot of young people moving in."

Former residents tend to come back to visit, though. The gathering place is often the annual summer carnival at Sacred Heart of Jesus Roman Catholic Church on South Conkling Street.

Got personal experience with Brewers Hill? Please share.

Want to see all the photos I took? Check out the hidden-gem gallery.  

Tomorrow: Havre de Grace.

(All photographs by Jamie Smith Hopkins / Baltimore Sun)

Posted by Jamie Smith Hopkins at 7:00 AM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Hidden-gem neighborhoods


Good choice. I worked in Canton until about a year ago and went through Brewer's hill regularly...definitely more young mothers pushing baby strollers around than I expected. Canton seems to have become pretty "swank" and Brewer's Hill is really just a few blocks away. A good choice if you "love city living".

I'm living in Thornliegh/Riderwood/West Towson...which I feel is a "hidden gem"...but maybe not a "deal" the way the other "hidden gem" neighborhoods are.

Nice blog.

My wife, daughter and I live in Brewer's Hill and we love it. Our neighbors are great and everyone looks out for each other. Parking has gotten a little worse as more professionals with 2 cars move in, but parking is still MUCH better than in Canton. This is our 10th year, and it keeps getting better with all the improvements to the local shopping scene. Plus we have two great public elementary schools, Hampstead Hill Charter and Patterson Park Charter!

Good article. I do like Brewer's Hill and it's true, it doesn't always get all the credit it deserves.

But I've got to say, as a proud Canton resident, I'm really getting tired of everyone constantly mentioning the supposed "frat boy" dominance of the area. I really dislike this reputation, and really don't think it's deserved.

It seems like every time Canton is mentioned or compared anywhere, someone has to mention drunken, constantly-vomiting, urinating, loud, frat boy idiots that supposedly fully make up the population of Canton.

Frankly, I for one, resent that!

Brewers' Hill? Do you mean Highlandtown? I've lived within 4 block of the Natty Boh brewery all of my life and have NEVER heard of the "neighborhood of Brewers' Hill". I am sure that has to be a real estate marketing ploy.

GK, there honestly is a Brewers Hill -- you can see it on the city's official list of neighborhoods:

It's south of Highlandtown. Neighbors say it once was part of Highlandtown but has since become its own neighborhood.

When I lived there in the 60's it was always Highlandtown. I think the Brewers' Hill name came after the Canton rennaisance. Regardless, I would like to mention the saddness I feel about the loss of the Grand Theater. That place was an architectural treasure and the O'Malley administration should be ashamed of themselves for allowing its destruction during their watch.

WOW, That is one screwed up map of the neighborhoods! I've lived on Foster+Fagley for almost 40yrs! Its always been highlandtown. Now I am Brewers Hill? And Sacred Heart of Jesus Church (Foster and Conklin) is Now in Canton??

As long as I could remember, Highlandtown went from Baltimore Street, to Odonell, from S. Haven to East Avenue.

AND FYI, my parents and grandparants have lived, and still do, here (also on Fagley/Foster) for close to 60yrs.

I guess we didn't get the memo.... Would love to know when it changed and who changed it and with input from whom?!?!

GK, it's a city-government map, so if you're really curious, you could try the city's Office of Neighborhoods (

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About Jamie Smith Hopkins
Jamie Smith Hopkins, a Baltimore Sun reporter since 1999, writes about the regional economy. Her reporting on the housing market has won national and local awards. Hopkins is a Columbia native and has lived in Maryland all her life, save for 10 months spent covering schools in Ames, Iowa.
She trained to become a wonk by spending large chunks of time as a geek and an insufferable know-it-all.
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