Y is for Yeast
Baltimore Brewing Company · Big Sky Bread Co. · Stone Mill Bakery · Ellicott Mills Brewing Company · Capitol City Brewing Co.
OK, so we've been known to quaff a few. All right, maybe more than a few. But with all those suds comes so much wisdom--such as knowing to avoid the every-bar-has-it fare (nachos, blackened tuna) on the menu at Baltimore Brewing Company (104 Albemarle St.,  837-5000) and opting instead for the Teutonic cuisine favored by the joint's owner, Theo DeGroen. The three-sausages platter (your choice of weisswurst, bratwurst, knackwurst, or nurnburger) tantalizes, as do its accompanying freshly made sauerkraut and roasted potatoes. Kassler Rippchen goes perfectly with either the smoky rauchbock or the malty or the märzen. Now, if they'd just open a BBC near our office.
Among its many charms, Roland Park is home to two great bakeries. For sandwich-making bread, we recommend Big Sky Bread Company (509 W. Cold Spring Lane, 662-6070), which turns out mighty fine Wyoming sourdough, honey whole wheat, cinnamon raisin walnut, challah, and more. The loaves change day to day, so call ahead if you're set on one flavor. Stone Mill Bakery (5127 Roland Ave.,  532-8669), just a stone's throw away, makes great fancy, grown-up breads. We've never made it all the way home without tearing a hunk off a well-textured just-bought baguette. Stone Mill also boasts a café, where you can order chicken salad, roast turkey, and various sandwich stuffs served on fresh-baked bread. Both places made their name with bread, but both also turn out fine muffins, danishes, and assorted goodies (don't miss Big Sky's great granola).
When it comes to that ubiquitous '90s gift to drinking, brewpubs, it can be hard to separate the hops from the chaff, but the pilsners, stouts, and ales at the Ellicott Mills Brewing Company (8308 Main St., Ellicott City,  313-8141) are worth a trip to the Howard County seat's antique-shop-laden main drag. Ellicott Mills has won much praise for its Alpenhof Dunkel, and deservedly so--this medium-bodied dark beer is one of the smoothest microbrews we've ever sampled. When the weather turns warmer, though, switch over to the light, yeasty Hellas brew.
Baltimore has always been gallons ahead of Washington on the brewpub front. So when a branch of D.C.'s Capitol City Brewing Co. (301 Light St. [Harborplace],  539-7468) landed at the Inner Harbor, some local beer nerds turned up their noses with outrage. They should have opened their mouths instead. Not only does Cap City crank out some tasty beers (the Blackout Stout is the next best thing to Guinness), but the menu is diverse and pleasing, from a fat bratwurst sandwich to various fancy-pants salads.
812 Park Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21201