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City That Drinks

Globe-Trotting at World of Beer

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Globe-Trotting at World of Beer

1724 Whetstone Way, (410) 752-2337, wobusa.com

Here at Baltimore’s Most Baltimore-Centric Alternative Weekly, we tend to support locally owned businesses. But if you’re willing to overlook the fact that World of Beer is a franchise—and that it’s part of McHenry Row, a suburban-looking, mixed-use condo development plopped down in the middle of Locust Point—the craft brew emporium is well worth a visit both for seasoned drinkers and people curious about sampling new labels.

We stopped by on a recent Wednesday and the L-shaped space was still packed around 7 p.m.—so much so that we couldn’t find a seat at the bar until after our first drink. As the name suggests, World of Beer’s calling card is its deep and varied beer list, which features more than 50 draft selections and around 500 bottles, sorted by country and, for U.S.-brewed beers, by state. It can be pretty intimidating to navigate for the non-beer snob crowd, and the first three of pages of the bottle menu, containing descriptions of different types of ales and lagers, feels more confounding than helpful. It helps that the coolers behind the bar are clearly labeled and arranged geographically as well, with special shelves calling attention to new arrivals and Maryland-made beers (there were 24 in all on our visit, including seven from Flying Dog).

Most importantly, the staff is very attentive and helpful in selecting a beer that fits. Noticing a few offerings from Schlafly, we asked if they carried the Missouri brewery’s pumpkin ale. They didn’t, but our bartender offered Southern Tier’s Imperial Pumking ($6) instead, which he let us sample first. It had a similar seasoning and flavor to the Schlafly, with the slightest smoky aftertaste, which was enjoyable. When we later asked for something similar to a Bass Ale, we were brought three samples from which to choose. In a nice touch, the bartender later followed up to see if she hit the mark with the beer we settled on, a Palm Ale ($5). With a slight fruity flavor and a taste that wasn’t overly hoppy, it was a great match.

World of Beer’s space is well-lit and plenty handsome, with a big wooden bar, exposed brick walls, seating in a tented patio, and beer ephemera hanging on the walls (not TGI Friday’s-level cheesy, thankfully). Still, there are times when the bar definitely carries a bit of a sterile or corporate vibe, aided by the fact that some of the patrons look like they just knocked off after a long day at T. Rowe. But what World of Beer lacks in Baltimore corner-bar charm, it makes up for with great selection and exemplary service.

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