Monday, September 7, 2015

Baltimore Bistros & Beer on Facebook

We're only three months away from 2016 so you know what that means! I'm 8 years behind the rest of the world in creating a Facebook page for my blog! Oh well, what are you gonna do? I've got one now and I just wanted to take a few minutes to let you know. If you follow me there you can expect some discussion about other articles on the internet that peek my interest, the latest and greatest news about Baltimore's food and beer scene, mini beer reviews, and other cool ideas that I plan on thinking up in the future. So please, follow Baltimore Bistros & Beer on Facebook. And for those of you that aren't inclined to use Facebook, you can always catch me on Twitter

Thanks for following, and thank you even more for reading. Cheers!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

What is a Grisette?

When I find a topic interesting there is a part of my brain that turns on and drives me to consume every piece of information possible about that subject. As a kid it wasn’t enough for me to know that Michael Jordan, my favorite athlete, once had to wear a number 12 jersey after his 23 was taken before a game. No, I had to know the team they were playing against (Orlando Magic) that game, and later learn which basketball card MJ showed up on wearing the 12 jersey (Sam Vincent). It’s why I can tell you (even though I’m sure you’ll never ask) that Elgin Baylor was hired by the Clippers as GM the day before the Bulls started their 1986 series with the Celtics in which Jordan famously scored 63 points during Game 2. I tell you this not to impress you with how much time I spent as kid reading about MJ, but to illustrate what should now be pretty obvious.  I need to know everything related to the topic of my obsession, tangential and pointless though it may be.

As I've grown older my adolescent obsession with MJ has been replaced with beer. For health reasons and due to my aforementioned tendency to consume information, I now consume beer knowledge at a frequency that greatly outpaces my actual beer consumption.  I read as much as I can stand, and while I don’t consider myself an expert by any means, I do like to think I know the basics. In other words, if I see a beer listing on a menu I don’t expect to see a style I don’t recognize.

Well, that happened to me recently and it made me quite happy because of the opportunity it provided. Tasty beers find their way to me fairly often, but it’s not common for them to be paired with the chance to learn something new. A collaboration Strawberry Rhubarb Grisette brewed by QuestBrewing and Burial Beer Co. provided such an opportunity. I’m familiar with Strawberry and Rhubarb, but a Grisette? That was a new one for me.  What is it? Naturally, I googled as soon as I had an opportunity but I was let down as there was almost no information available on the web. About the only detail I could find was the fact that a grisette is considered a miner’s version of the saisons famously brewed for farmhands. Not satisfied with so little information, I decided to reach out to the people at Quest Brewing and Sly Fox (another brewer of grisette) to see if they could help me fill in the details. Here is what I learned.

In the late 1800’s, the Hainaut province in Belgium started transforming into a mining region. Brewers, eager to satiate the locals, began producing recipes of a light gold ale aimed to quench the thirst of the miners. At the end of a shift, women adorning gray dresses commonly referred to as grisettes, greeted the miners with trays of the ale. At the peak of the Belgian mining industry there were upwards of 30 different grisettes made in the region. Today, only one brewery in Belgium, Brasserie Fraiart, markets a grisette. However, according to Phil Markowski, author of Farmhouse Ales, this is more of a pseudo brand name used for marketing than an actual representation of grisette as a traditional style.

The recipe of a grisette, much like their cousin the saison, is difficult to nail down traditionally speaking. When asked for specifics about the style, Sly Fox’s brewmaster Brian O’Reilly, thought that trying to throw grisette into a style was similar to attempting to classify free form jazz music inside a specific genre. Hard though it may be for the modern beer connoisseur to accept, Belgians by nature aren’t typically into defining styles in the same neat and tidy way an American or German brewer would. What I can tell you is that grisettes were most likely somewhere between 3-5% ABV, light bodied saisonesque beers, gold/blonde in color, and intended to be dry and refreshing.

As you can see, there isn't a ton of information available but even the short description of grisette I was able to hunt down makes me thirsty for one. Are the grisettes you'll run across traditional? Maybe, maybe not. But I can confirm that the quest the original brewers of grisette set out on, to deliver a thirst quenching ale, is alive and well even if it's a parched traveler and not tired miner on the receiving end of the pint.  

A special thanks goes to Brian O’Reilly from Sly Fox and Joe Burriss of Quest Brewing for taking the time to satisfy not only my thirst for good beer, but more importantly my thirst for beer knowledge. Cheers! Now to find a job where trays of beer are waiting for me at the end of the day.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Asheville, NC and Aspiring to become Beer City, USA

In 2009 Charlie Papazian started the Beer City USA Poll, a popular vote allowing beer drinkers to express their collective voice via an html radio button on a webpage long since gone. The goal of the poll was basic, simply giving beer drinkers an easy way to let the world know which city they thought represented craft beer the best. Asheville, North Carolina came out on top, winning or sharing the title from 2009-2012 before finally being unseated in 2013 by Grand Rapids, Michigan in what turned out to be the final running of the Beer City USA poll.

Knowing how well regarded Asheville is amongst beer drinkers, I bet it wouldn’t surprise you to hear I was ecstatic upon hearing the Beer Bloggers Conference would be held there in 2015. I was determined to attend no matter where it was located, but knowing I would get a chance to visit Asheville was icing on the cake. To call upon my inner Yoda, disappointed, I was not, and the trip down south for the conference this past July was one to remember. Rather than tell you all of the gory details of the beers I tried at each brewery and how great it was, I’m going to attempt to put together a list of key elements I saw in Asheville that helped make them Beer City USA.  And since I’m from Baltimore it only makes sense to do a little compare and contrast to see where we’re holding our own or dropping the ball in our own effort to become a countrywide beer lover’s destination. We’ll start with the proximity of breweries.

Proximity of Breweries

Wakeup in your hotel in downtown Asheville, roll out of bed, and find yourself surrounded by dozens of brewpubs and breweries. It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen. There are so many options, in fact, that within 20 minutes of my initial venture into the city I found myself starting to feel guilty about walking by multiple breweries simply because I had another destination in mind.  What kind of beer fan does that? I guess one lucky enough to find themselves in Asheville.

All of these small breweries and brewpubs clustered in such a small area is what truly separates Asheville from the average beer scene in most parts of the country. Variety is the spice of life and you just can’t put a price on knowing you have the opportunity to taste high quality beers everywhere you go. And you know what? It’s pretty damn nice knowing you can get your fill without worrying about you or your cohorts operating a vehicle.

How does Baltimore measure up?

We simply don’t have this. No two breweries are within a reasonable walking distance from one another. In fact, Baltimore City doesn’t have the biggest brewery representation in general. If we ever wanted to be considered a beer lovers destination, getting a few more breweries should be goal number one and ideally a fair number of them should be accessible by foot.

Quality & Variety

It goes without saying (SO NOW I MUST SAY IT), but without a wide variety of local beer for customers to pick from a city will never legitimately be considered a beer destination. Even more important than having any array of beer, though, is the quality with which it’s made.  Asheville had both of these facets on lock. I’ve already alluded to all of the breweries within city limits, but it’s the quality that really matters. Breweries with Belgian backgrounds, sour programs, or what I’m calling “American craft style breweries” are sprinkled about town as far as the eye can see. And what’s most impressive is how they all come together to function as a unit while still maintaining a healthy competitive individual presence.

Of course, all breweries want to stand out individually and do the best business they can, but understanding that the Asheville beer product is just as important as anything else, established brewers have been known to offer the new guys in town a helping hand to make sure the quality level stays as high as it currently is. That’s impressive and one of the biggest things I took away from the weekend I spent there. Everyone is in business for themselves, but there is strength in numbers and you’re only as strong as your weakest link. It might be cliché but it’s also true in this case.

How does Baltimore measure up?

Baltimore has some work to do if it hopes to find itself with a starring role in the major leagues of good beer. There’s obvious promise here. Union Craft Brewing owns a couple impressive medals and there are a few other breweries consistently pushing the envelope locally, but in my estimation there are few options that are standouts nationally to draw out of towners to our great city. If you’re a beer fan travelling through Asheville, you’d be absolutely crazy to leave without visiting the Wicked Weed Funkatorium. After all, stacks upon stacks of barrels aging and souring can’t be found just anywhere. Regrettably, there is no such place in Baltimore with that kind of appeal but that doesn’t mean there never will be.


So you’ve got a plethora of beers to select from and a surfeit of breweries in which to visit. The hotel leaves only a short walk to the good stuff and nobody is driving which leaves only one question; how much money is it going to cost to get a good feel for the beer scene with only a short time in this city? And the answer is, if you’re in Asheville, not very much.

I was blown away by the cheap price of beer during my visit. I’m used to paying anywhere from $6 - $8 for a typical beer, but in Asheville the average was running around $4 for a full pint. In fact, the only time I paid more than $5 for a beer was when I visited the Wicked Weed Funkatorium and got a sour beer for $6. These types of price points found everywhere in Asheville make beer approachable for any type of budget.

As great as the affordable price of beer was, my absolute favorite part of the Asheville beer scene was the availability of half pints at nearly every establishment. Yes, I know “taster flights” are pretty prevalent, but let’s be honest, those little sample glasses suck. I don’t want to taste a beer; I want to drink a beer. Half pints give you just enough to make you feel like you’re truly enjoying a beer and at $2 -$2.50 it’s easy to try a variety but still get value for your dollar. I wholeheartedly believe half pints should become a staple in every American bar/brewpub/brewery.

How does Baltimore measure up?

As I hinted at above, we don’t measure up here. It’s as simple as that. Prices for pints in Baltimore, whether at the bar or the brewery itself can be somewhat prohibitive depending upon your budget. There are reasons for that I won’t get into here, but I’ve got to think there is something that can change to allow local beer fans a little more bang for their buck.  And half pints? Make them available. If you make good beer and you’re proud it, let me have a drink because a sample just won’t do. As far as I know Pratt Street Alehouse is the only place offering half pints and I’d love it if we could have them on offer at more establishments across the area.


We all want to taste as many types of beer as we can, but at some point you’re going to need eat. Every brewpub I ate at on our trip showed the same care with food as they did with beer. That’s the way it should be. People that like good beer and care enough to travel for it are going to care about their food in the same way. Don’t just throw together a menu for the sake of having food. Wow us with your culinary skills and people will remember. Great food and great beer coming together is just smart business.

How does Baltimore measure up?

Ehh, our local food and beer options are okay. A few places such as Of Love and Regret really get it, a few miss the mark completely, and most fall somewhere in between. If we step up our food game, the beer scene becomes that much better by default. It’s a simple but often overlooked part of the beer experience and I’d like to see Baltimore do better.

Attractions Outside of Beer

What? You mean there are things to do for fun that don’t revolve around stainless steel fermentation tanks? I guess if you look hard enough you can find a few. In the case of Asheville you’ve got an excellent “shop local” small boutique kind of vibe to take in while you’re meandering from one bar to the next brewpub. You’ve also got the world famous Biltmore to check out where a day can easily be lost taking in the magnificent house and gardens. And, uh, I know I’m supposed to be talking about non-alcohol related entertainment but the Biltmore does boast their own wine and beer on the property as well. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the time to take in the outdoor activities found throughout the area but seeing people tubing down the river while on a bus ride to Sierra Nevada (oh yeah, they have a world class brewery a short drive away too) and Oskar Blues, I know exactly what I’ll be making time for should I return to in Asheville during the warm months in the future.

How does Baltimore measure up?

This is where Baltimore can stand toe to toe with Asheville. It’s beautiful here. We’ve got the Harbor, professional sports teams, different neighborhoods with their own individual personalities, history for the history buffs, and a city that makes it easy to just enjoy being outside. The draw is there. We’ve got a great city and with a few tweaks to the beer landscape Baltimore could be a huge draw.

Now it may seem as if I was bit hard on Baltimore in various parts of this post, but that’s only because I care. I want to see our beer scene expand, improve, and ultimately become a beer lover’s destination. The foundation is here for us to become Beer City USA, but it's going to take a strong desire to keep moving the ball forward. A lot of collaboration among the beer community is going to be needed.  Most importantly, breweries need to come to a realization that selling beer and representing your own brand becomes much easier when you combine great beer with the power of selling the beautiful city of Baltimore. Cheers to Baltimore – Beer City USA in the making.  And Cheers to Asheville for showing me what all other beer loving cities should aspire to become.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference 2015 and Inspiration for Tomorrow

I love beer. And I relish the peace writing brings to my life. So why have I had such a difficult time putting these two things together the past few months? In the early days of this blog I felt like I could write three posts a week on the subject and read thirty others, but just like an IPA that sits on the shelf a little too long, slowly losing its’ hoppy potency, I’m not the blogger I once was.

I’m content with the change, but before I decided which direction to take on my blogging journey I decided to make a trip to Asheville, NC for the Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference hoping to discover anew that which made me want to write about beer in the first place.

Debates about Macro vs Craft, discussing metaphorical bubbles, tracking brewery growth…all of these things intrigue me in their own way, but they are dreadfully boring to talk about on a weekly basis and only serve to take me further away from what I truly love about beer. I found myself trying to write popular posts I’d find elsewhere on the web. You know the posts I’m talking about. The ever more popular amateur hour analysis of marketing in beer, artwork dissection of labels, or market saturation of certain beer styles (select IPA if you’re seeking out the hot take). And why not? It makes sense to insert myself in the hot and relevant conversations. I’m just a blogger looking for page views like the next guy or gal. However, focusing on the business side of things, I forgot what I loved about beer and began trying to fit my circle into the larger beer blogging square.

And you know what?  I can’t trick myself into having fun writing about these tangential topics and it shows in my work when I’ve tried. You guys deserve better than that and I owe it to myself to stay true to what makes me tick. Beer isn’t the label on the bottle, ingredients (okay, maybe it is), market share, or philosophical argument about the appropriate size of a company for me. Beer is the rocket ship that takes me to places I’ve yet to discover and helps me get to the places I want to go. I might have taken a trip to Germany once upon a time in hopes of finding Heaven at the bottom of a Helles, but sitting next to Lake Titisee in the Black Forest witnessing the world’s most perfect sunset is the experience I’ll never forget.  And yes, the Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference was filled with awesome trips to Oskar Blues and an Oktoberfest in July at Sierra Nevada. I could break down a brewery tour for you or describe the flavors in Sierra Nevada’s Oktoberfest, but it was furthering friendships and starting a few more that made the trip worth it in the end. The beer got me to Asheville. My friends will take me into tomorrow.

These are the things that matter to me and the stories I want to tell the most. I know that now thanks to the Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference. When you visit Baltimore Bistros & Beer in the future, you might not always walk away with a technical understanding of what beer is or where the industry could be going, but I hope that every once in a while you’ll find a story here that will help you slow down and remember why we all love beer in the first place.

Time to crack a beer and see where we’ll take off to next.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Remington Chop

This past weekend I was invited to attend The Remington Chop. Held in Millers Court, this event aimed to bring chefs and brewers from the local neighborhoods together to showcase what goes on under the hood during the day to to day operations of the various businesses. Attendees had the opportunity to participate in classes that included lamb butchery, sausage making, oyster shucking, mezcal tasting, beer brewing, and gazpacho making.

All of the classes sounded interesting, but considering I purchased a Kitchen Aid mixer with the sole aim of making sausage, I figured it made most sense for me to finally learn the art of sausage making. And learn I did. The class was taught by employees of Pen and Quill and on this day we focused on what goes in to making a North African sausage known as Merguez. They took us from the beginning where you're cutting up a mixture of lamb and pork fat to be marinated with a mix of spices including cumin, fennel, coriander, and cayenne followed by what to look for when you're grinding the meat and finally forming the sausages you'll ultimately be cooking and enjoying.

The class was fun in that it was informative and not something visitors to a restaurant get to see on a regular basis. It was also interactive as the leaders of the class took questions throughout and even allowed anyone who wanted to get their hands dirty to try and form a few sausages of their own. I didn't take them up on that, but I did enjoy the sausages they cooked for us (and a few more that they sent us home with a little later) and now have the confidence that with the purchase of a few extra kitchen aid add-ons and a little patience I can reproduce this delicious Merguez sausage for myself.

Outside of the class we were able entertain ourselves  in the courtyard with a glass of mead from Charm City Mead (the basil lemongrass was delicious), a beer from Monument City, and snack on some munchies from a variety of local businesses. I really enjoyed the atmosphere. I'm used to always being packed in amongst a mass of humanity when I'm attending events like this but I never felt that way at The Remington Chop. The class sizes were 20-30 people large and there was plenty of room to spread your legs when you were ready to enjoy a drink after all of the learning was done. I'm not sure if The Remington Chop has anything like this planned for the future, but let me just say that I'd love to see this event continue on. Not only do you get to enjoy the delicious offerings of local business but you're learning along the way and that's something very few events can claim.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

My Beer Mount Rushmore

You’re in your house at 7PM on Thursday night, ready to unwind after a long day of work.  Normally, you’d turn the TV on and get ready to watch the local team play, but on this night your only goal is a night of relaxing in your recliner, legs kicked up, and a beer in your right hand to keep you company while you bask in your silence.  Once settled into the chair your hand brings a pint towards your mouth where you contentedly take your first swig of the night and let out the clichéd “ahhhhh”.

We've all had that night, and we've all shared that beer even if the particulars are varying from story to story.  And most likely when we've had encounters with a beer as satisfying as the one described we feel the urge to thank someone for that beer.  Perhaps you want to thank the individual who brewed the beer you’re drinking. Maybe you want to thank the individual responsible for coming up with a style of beer altogether.

It’s these thoughts I kept in mind when I was asked to come up with my list for a personal Beer Mount Rushmore.  Where do I get the most satisfaction out of beer? And whose face should I turn to stone for creating such excellence?

Jim Koch, Founder of Boston Brewing Company

I selected Jim Koch with quite a bit of hesitation. It’s not that I think he’s lacking credentials; I simply didn't want to go the obvious route. Well, that and I didn't want to perpetuate the idea that beer fans my age only see the beer world within the vacuum of the past 30 years. But when it comes to Mount Rushmore the faces displayed on the mountain should be obvious and there are none more obvious than Jim Koch. For without him, there is a 99% chance my interest in beer wouldn't be what it is and this post wouldn't even exist. Small breweries, beer with more flavor, and the variety we’re surrounded by might not be possible without his influence on beer these past few decades. For that, I’m turning his face into a big rock.

Albert IV, Duke of Bavaria responsible for German Beer Purity Law

The name Albert IV may not be as familiar as Jim Koch within the modern beer world, but I’m sure you've heard of the phrase Reinheitsgebot a time or two. Also known as the German Beer Purity Law, Albert IV helped make this law a thing way back in 1487. For those unfamiliar with this law, the Reinhetsgebot states that beer can only be made with water, barely, hops, and yeast.  Now I’m sure there are detractors of the Beer Purity Law, claiming that it reduces brewer’s creativity, and while that may be true, it’s the sense of history associated with the beer I’m drinking that makes me appreciate Albert IV and the Reinheitsgebot he created. There’s something satisfying in tasting a beer and knowing that what I’m experiencing is vaguely familiar to something people were drinking hundreds of years ago. Most impressively, today, over 500 hundred years later many German brewers still adhere to the law. That’s impact, and that earns Albert IV a mountain face.

Josef Groll, creator of Pilsner beer.

The last face to be etched in the Baltimore Bistros and Beer Mountain is none other than Josef Groll. One word.  One beer. Pilsner.  And Josef Groll was responsible for it’s creation in 1842 when he brewed the first batch of Urquell at Bürgerliches Brauhaus in Pilsen, Bohemia. People loved it and we haven’t stopped drinking Pilsner the world over ever since.  When I think beer, I think Pilsner, and when I think Pilsner I think Josef Groll.  For that, his head shall reign in rock.

So there you have it. These are the names that come to mind when I think of those that have had the biggest impact on how I interact with beer today. Yes, there are only 3 names and Mount Rushmore has four faces, but I didn't want to force a fourth and come to regret it later. Etching faces in mountain sides is tough work so you better mean it. Whose face makes your Beer Mount Rushmore?

This post is part of multiple essays from Mid-Atlantic beer bloggers discussing those they believe should be remembered for all time thanks to the influence they've made on the beer drinking world. 

Make sure to check out these posts, too:

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Samos: Home to My Favorite Sandwich in Baltimore

Long before this blog was in existence you could find me perusing the internet looking for ideas of places to visit, hoping I could find a bite of food that might be considered a step above the usual. And on one such occasion I was fortunate enough to have discovered a restaurant that has become one of my all time favorites. This restaurant is small, a little off the beaten path, and home to my favorite sandwich (is a wrap a sandwich?) in all of Baltimore. I’m talking about Samos of Greektown.

In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.
-Benjamin Franklin 

With all due respect to Mr. Franklin, I’m going to need to modify this famous quote to represent one of my own universal truths. In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death, taxes, and Baltimore’s favorite food blogger ordering Hummus and Pita with a Grilled Chicken Pita Wrap at Samos.

One of my pet peeve’s in life is the type of person who only ever orders the same exact thing at restaurants, visit after visit. How boring, right? But if you try to get in the way of my Hummus and Grilled Chicken Wrap while at Samos, we’re going to have a serious problem. It’s just that good. And when you come across something as delicious as this wrap, you just leave well enough alone and savor one of the best parts about living in our city.

What makes the wrap great is the simplicity of the ingredients involved. There’s pita, grilled chicken, tomatoes, onions, and tzatziki sauce. You can’t get much more straight forward than that, but every ingredient is cooked and served perfectly. The pita is served hot which helps keep biting through easy since it’s so tender. Inside the pita is OVERFLOWING with tender chunks of chicken, onion and tomato, and the best tzatziki sauce I’ve ever come across. The sauce is so thick and tangy, full of fresh cucumbers and herbs, and served cool. The drastic temperature difference between the hot pita and chicken versus the cool tzatziki is a fun contrast to experience. Most importantly, the wrap boasts one of the most important traits every truly inspired sandwich must have…it’s a dripping, sloppy, mess.

If you've never been to Samos or perhaps permitted a little too much time slide by between visits, be sure to hunt down a parking spot in Greektown, hop in line, and order a wrap. You've no longer got an excuse for letting such an awesome spot go without your business any longer.

Samos on Urbanspoon

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Bald, Beerded, and Burrito'd Tour: First Stop La Tolteca

When you've maintained a food and beer blog a few years you reach a point where you need a little excitement to keep you going. I've been thinking long and hard about what I could do at Baltimore Bistros and Beer to keep the ball rolling, and with the help of fellow blogger I think I've finally got something we can all get excited about. In an effort to keep beer fun, Jake (Hipster Brewfus) and I will be taking you on the Bald, Beerded, and Burrito’d Tour.

The premise is simple. Find a restaurant that serves burritos, take a drive, eat the burrito, pull the cheese out of our beard, chug a beer, and then do our best to let you know how we feel about the overall beer and burrito experience so that your future Mexican endeavors are happy ones.  What are the rules for the tour? There are no rules. Really, our sole goal for the series is to have fun with friends over a burrito and beer.  Keep in mind that the tour will take place in alternating posts, hopping between this blog and Hipster Brewfus. Be sure to keep an eye out at both sites for all your burrito needs.

Our first stop landed us in Bel Air, MD at La Tolteca. After a morning spent tasting beers across the MD/PA border at South County Brewery our stomachs were in serious need of filling.  Fortunately, the burrito selection was pretty vast at La Tolteca. So much so that all 3 of us in attendance (my beard free wife attended) were able to order something different.

I surprised myself and ordered the Gordo Burrito.  It’s not surprising that I wanted the biggest burrito on the menu, but it is a bit shocking that I made my selection knowing chicken was the main protein. Chicken cut up in those small bits tends to be dry and boring, but what convinced me that this was the burrito I wanted to spend the next 25 minutes with was the fact that it’s completely covered in queso dip. In addition to chicken the burrito was also filled with chorizo, fried beans, rice, and pico.

I loved that fat little burrito and ate every bit of the Gordo with gusto. Maybe it was the fact that this was my first taste of meat in 30 days but more than likely I came away satisfied because it was a burrito filled to the brim with meat and smothered in cheese. Food drowned beneath cheese? I’d probably eat a cardboard burrito if you threw enough cheese on it.  The chicken gets a little lost with everything else going on, but when you evaluate the burrito based on the sum of all the parts you've got a winner with the Gordo. It’s big, meaty, a little smoky thanks to the chorizo, and between the smooth beans and queso you don’t have to worry about dry chicken at all. And La Tolteca doesn't call it the Gordo Burrito for nothing. It was so big and filling that I skipped dinner that night….and breakfast the next day. Gordo, indeed.

Jake went a different route and ordered the Burro Grande, but instead of me telling you what he thought, let’s hear from the man himself.

Jake here! Many moons ago when Doug proposed the idea for the Bald, Beerded, and Burrito’d Tour, I knew I couldn't say no. Some of you may know who I am and realize "Oh, It's that Hipster Brewfus guy who says a lot of dumb stuff, and also talks about burritos more than is probably normal (or healthy)." Well, you're right, it is I. I love burritos; From an aesthetic view, from a carnivorous view, from an engineering view. They are perfect. So for the foreseeable future, at least once a month Douglas and I are going to bring you the latest in our "local" burrito findings. And by "local" we mean, as reasonably far as our wives will let us drive for a burrito on a weekend. And you know what? Sometimes our wives will even be joining us. Both for the indulging of burritos, and the writing.

Now, I'm no stranger to La Tolteca. My wife and I frequent the one in Salisbury each time we make the drive out to the Eastern Shore, so I was pretty excited. On this day, I ordered the Burro Grande (or the Big Donkey) and I was beyond excited. What arrived at my table was a gigantic plate, with a burrito hidden under a mess of iceberg lettuce, sour cream, and guacamole. Oh, and one crappy little tomato. I could have done without the massive amounts of lettuce, but with a burrito full of marinated steak, and grilled vegetables (onions, bell peppers, and tomato), I wasn't about to complain. On the side I had a pile of fried beans, and rice. It had everything.  Each bite was a perfect measure of meaty and vegetably goodness.

Best part? I couldn't even finish the damn thing. It was as big as my head, and for a little over $11, I was ecstatic with the replay value on this particular burrito later that night.

So with all that said, I am excited about the future of this particular series. It speaks to my SOUL! And now I pass the mic back to Doug.

I think it's pretty clear that Bald and Beerded of the group were quite pleased with their burritos. As for my smooth faced wife, she went with the Burrito Deluxe option and also left a stuffed and happy camper. The Burrito Deluxe is essentially two smaller burritos, one with chicken/beans and one with beef, both topped with all of the same items as the Burro Grande. So as you can see, if you're looking for a burrito La Tolteca has an option for almost everyone.

And what did two beer bloggers think of the beer selection? Was their anything to be "fussed" over? Not really. The options consisted mostly of American Lite Lagers and a selection of Mexican Cerveza , but that didn't derail our lunch at all. In fact, when you're eating something with the bold spices of a burrito, a Tecate with a lime shoved inside is just the ticket to cleanse your palate and have you ready for the next bite.

All in all, the Bald, Beerded, and Burrito'd Tour got off to a stellar start with our visit to La Tolteca. Is it the best burrito around? Only time will tell, but I'll guarantee you (and Jake will back me up on this) if you give them a shot you're going to be one happy, stuffed, burrito eating fool.

La Tolteca on Urbanspoon


Enjoyment of Burritos and Beer is best experienced accompanied by male pattern baldness and a bearded face. However, this is not a requirement. Please consult your doctor before growing a beard and eating burritos to ensure your safety.