Introducing Bawlmer Craft Beers, Baltimore's newest brewery
Since Baltimore can never have too many local breweries (and for the past few years hasn't had nearly enough), it is with great pleasure that I share this news:
There's a new brewery in town. It's called Bawlmer Craft Beers, and it's based in the old Crown Cork & Seal building in Highlandtown.
At the moment, Bawlmer has two bottled beers ready to hit bars and liquor stores: Amber's Ale and Formstone Ale.
Bawlmer Craft Beers is the brainchild of John O'Melia, a 46-year-old who lives in Towson. Before getting into the beer business, he worked as a consultant for water treatment engineering.
Sounds like a radical career swap, doesn't it? ...
"I decided my skill set was exactly right," he said. "Brewers are glorified janitors. The key is, everything has to be clean, all the time. It's very much like making water."
O'Melia quit consulting three years ago to work on Bawlmer full time. He was a home brewer for years, and got his wholesaler's license last week. He has about 1,000 cases of beer ready to go, which he plans to distribute independently.
The recipes for Formstone and Amber's Ale are O'Melias; he also has a strong dark ale in the works, called Crabby Abbey. All three are high-gravity brews -- Amber's Ale is a little more than six percent alcohol, and Formstone Ale is a little more than seven percent.
"We've got a taste I'm really proud of," he said. "These are beers that have a significant amount of body."
O'Melia is a fan of Belgian ales, and particularly loves American micro brews. He praised Hugh Sisson's Heavy Seas and the Brewer's Art's Resurrection Ale.
"That's a great example of an American micro brewery making some of the best beers in the world," he said of Brewer's Art. "There's no beer in the world where you can say, 'That's a better beer than Resurrection.'"
Currently, Bawlmer has the capacity to make 160 barrels of beer every two weeks (one barrel holds about 31 gallons). I'll keep you posted on where you'll be able to buy the first two brews.
For more on the story, check out Scott Dance's piece in the Baltimore Business Journal and Alexander D. Mitchell IV's piece on Beer in Baltimore.
(Photo courtesy of bawlmerbeer.com)