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Cooler Than Thou

City Paper's Second Annual Search for the Coldest Beer in Town

M. Wartella

Sizzlin Summer 2004

Hot? Or Not? City Paper's 2004 Sizzlin' Summer Guide

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Park Life Just Another Average Summer Day in Druid Hill | By Stephen Janis

Heat Stroke Kayak Commuting Puts You Up the Inner Harbor With a Paddle | By Lily Thayer

Cruel Summer There is No Merit Badge for Torture | By Gabriel Wardell

Bogged Down Rambles Through Cranesville Swamp, Maryland's Mysterious "Little Canada" | By Brennen Jensen

Imprints in the Sand Books About Beaches to Take to the Beach

A La Curb A Guide to Dining Outdoors in Baltimore | By Richard Gorelick

Cooler Than Thou City Paper's Second Annual Search for the Coldest Beer in Town

Crunch Time Cicadas Do Not Taste Like Chicken | By Van Smith

Posted 5/26/2004

Last year, City Paper assembled a crack team of reporters to scour the city looking for the coldest draft beer in Baltimore. And so the Adult Beverage Temperature Investigation Unit, aka "The I-Team," was born. After sticking our thermometers in 100 beers, a winner was announced and 99 other establishments got pretty irked. A few bar owners told us where we could stick our thermometers in no uncertain terms, a fair number disputing what exactly is the ideal beer temperature.

This year we decided to consult an expert. And when you have a question about beer, who better to ask than Mr. Beer? We called the Tucson, Ariz.-based home-brewing company and were immediately connected to brewmaster Gene Sandoval, who confirmed our opinion: For an American lager, "I'd say close to freezing is probably best, in the 30s." The brewmaster has spoken.

So we headed out once again searching for that elusive coldest beer. We hit barstools east and west, north and south, swanky and shudder-inducing. We were cussed out. (One bartender spotted an I-Teamer hard at work and said, "If he don't like the temperature of my beer, he can kiss my ass.") We were even propositioned by prostitutes.

But it's all been worth it because we have a winner. The Rendezvous Lounge in Remington won the top prize, upsetting last year's victor, the Smokey T Beer stand at Pimlico. The Rendezvous' Yuengling—in a plastic cup no less—registered a chilling 31.3 degrees (all temperatures are Fahrenheit) and was pleasantly refreshing. Butts and Betty's in Butchers Hill runs away with most improved. Last year, it served the warmest beer in Baltimore, at 56.4 degrees; this year B&B's has the third-coldest, a considerably frostier 32.4. This year's Is It Beer or Bath Water? Award goes to the Talking Head, which practically burned our lips with a 58.9-degree Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Check out the list below to find out where the rest of the bars placed, and please remember, no scientific journal will be publishing this report any time soon. While we tried to keep things as uniform as possible, ordering Budweiser or a similar American lager when available and using the same type of digital thermometer, there are always variables. One bartender pointed out that if a tap hasn't been used in a while, the first beer may be warm because it has been sitting in the line. Still, after sucking down some 38 Buds, 29 Yuenglings, eight Coors Lights, seven Miller Lites, five Sierra Nevadas, three Bud Lights, two Rolling Rocks, two Pabst Blue Ribbons, two Michelobs, one Harp, one Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, one Pilsner Urquell, and one Prohibition Porter, we can definitively say, well, not much of anything. At least not without slurring.

All drinks are regular size and full price unless otherwise noted.


1 Rendezvous Lounge 134 W. 25th St., (410) 467-3860 Yuengling, plastic cup, $2.25 31.3 Last year 5. 4
2 Irish Pub 418 S. Clinton St., (410) 276-1164 Budweiser, chilled mug, $.75* 31.8  
3 Butts and Betty's 2200 Gough St., (410) 276-9186 Bud Light, pint glass, $1.50 32.4 Last 100. 97
4 Sportman's Sport 501 S. Lehigh St., (410) 276-9376 Budweiser, chilled mug, $.75 32.5 Last year 24. 20
5 Smokey T Beer Pimlico Race Course 5201 Park Heights Ave., (410) 542-9400 Budweiser, plastic cup, $3.60 32.8 Last year 1. 4
6 Backstreets Pub 1901 Bank St., (410) 563-1612 Yuengling, chilled glass, $1.75 33.1 Last year 2. 4
7 Alonso's 415 W. Coldspring Lane, (410) 235-3433 Budweiser, chilled glass, $2.75 33.6  
8 Nick's Fish House 2600 Insulator Drive, (410) 563-1612 Yuengling, chilled glass, $3.00 33.6  
9 Pol's Café 2619-21 Foster Ave., (410) 732-2555 Coors Light, pint glass, $1.25 34.4 Last year 23. 14
10 Joe's Bar 6200 Reisterstown Road, (410) 358-5833 Coors Light, chilled glass, $1.65 34.6 Last year 9. 1
11 Koco's Pub 4301 Harford Road, (410) 426-3519 Miller Lite, chilled glass, $2.25 34.7  
12 Pisces Hyatt Regency Hotel 300 Light St, ., (410) 605-2835 Bud Light, chilled glass, $6.50 34.9 Last year 10. 2
13 Camden Pub 647 W. Pratt St., (410) 547-1280 Budweiser, pint glass, $3.00 35.0 Last year 20. 7
14 Davey Jones' Locker 800 S. Dean St. (410) 675-7410 Budweiser, pint glass, $1.50 35.2 Last year 16. 2
15 Enrico's Sports Bar 200 S. Haven St., (410) 327-6752 Budweiser, chilled mug, $.85* 35.2 Last year 13. 2
16 O'Brady's Crab House 3432 S. Hanover St., (410) 355-9040 Budweiser, plastic cup, $1.50 35.2 Last year 15. 1
17 Backstretch Saloon 1301 W. Coldspring Lane, (410) 889-3003 Budweiser, chilled glass, $1.00 35.6  
18 Sooner's Tavern 1600 Hazel St., (410) 355-7226 Coors Light, plastic cup, $.90 35.8 Last year 6. 12
19 Horse You Came in On 1626 Thames St., (410) 327-8111 Bud Light, plastic cup, $2.75 36.0 Last year 99. 80
20 Stadium Hideaway 1046 W. Lombard St., (410) 385-1916 Budweiser, chilled mug, $2.00 36.2  
21 Down the Hatch 1157 Haubert St., (410) 727-4707 Budweiser, chilled mug, $1.00 36.5  
22 Icon Inn 45 N. Kresson St., (410) 276-2757 Budweiser, pint glass, $1.00 36.5  
23 Mojo Room 4825 Belair Road, (410) 325-7427 Yuengling, plastic cup, $4.00 36.5  
24 Swallow at the Hollow 5921 York Road, (410) 532-7542 Budweiser, pint glass, $1.42 36.5 Last year 18. 6
25 Showalter's Saloon 3360 Chestnut Ave., (410) 889-0968 Budweiser, pint glass, $2.00 36.7  
26 Larry's Hideaway 300 Oldham St., (410) 675-8383 Budweiser, mug, $1.00 37.0  
27 Brannan's Pub 5516 Harford Road, (410) 426-7300 Budweiser, chilled mug, $1.00 37.3  
28 New Mayfield 3349 Belair Road, (410) 276-1897 Budweiser, chilled mug, $1.05 37.4  
29 Sharky's 2819 Eastern Ave, (410) 534-1051 Budweiser, pint glass, $1.25 37.5  
30 Sliders 504 Washington Blvd., (410) 547-8891 Yuengling, pint glass, $3.00 37.6  
31 Dizzy Issie's 300 W. 30th St., (410) 235-0171 Yuengling, pint glass, $1.50 37.9 Last year 88. 57
32 Capitol City Brewing Harborplace, 301 S. Light St., (410) 539-7468 Prohibition Porter, chilled glass, $5.75 38.0  
33 ESPN Zone Power Plant 601 E. Pratt St., (410) 685-3776 Yuengling, chilled glass, $3.50 38.0 Last year 25. 8
34 Hudson Street Can Co. Saloon 2624 Hudson St., (410) 522-0343 Budweiser, pint glass, $1.75 38.0  
35 Kelly's 2108 Eastern Ave., (410) 327-2312 Yuengling, pint glass, $3.50 38.0 Last year 91. 56
36 Sports Café 1226 S. Clinton St., (410) 342-9105 Budweiser, mug, $1.00 38.1  
37 Funk Box 10 E. Cross St., (410) 625-2000 Yuengling, plastic cup, $4.50 38.2  
38 Hubcap Inn 6003 Belair Road, (410) 325-3450 Yuengling, chilled glass, $2.00 38.2  
39 Sid's Tavern 1100 Washington Blvd., (410) 727-0885 Budweiser, pint glass, $1.00 38.2  
40 Dougherty's Pub 223 W. Chase St., (410) 752-405 Coors Light, pint glass, $1.75 38.4 Last year 86. 46
41 Simon's Pub 2031 E. Fairmont Ave., (410) 522-4477 Yuengling, pint glass, $3.50 38.6 Last year 83. 42
42 Dimitri's Tavern 3820 Falls Road, (410) 889-9545 Budweiser, half-pint, $1.10 38.6 Last year 17. 25
43 Marshall's Banshee 2351 Washington Blvd., (410) 646-0133 Coors Light, chilled mug, $1.00 38.7  
44 American Harry's Bar 625 S. Luzerne Ave., (410) 276-9654 Michelob, pint glass, $1.25 39.3 Last year 19. 25
45 Cobber's Pub and Café 1218 N. Charles St., (410) 727-0713 Budweiser, chilled glass, $1.50* 39.3  
46 Lucille's, Power Plant Live! 26 Market Place, (410) 539-5353 Yuengling, frosted glass, $3.50 39.3  
47 Stock Market Bar 3538 S. Hanover St., (410) 355-9735 Budweiser, plastic cup, $1.00 39.3 Last year 14. 33
48 Grand Cru Belvedere Square, 527 E. Belvedere Ave., (410) 464-1944, Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, pint glass, $4.00 39.9  
49 Ottobar 2549 N. Howard St., (410) 662-0069 Sierra Nevada, pint glass, $2.00* 40.0 Last year 93. 44
50 Bud and Patt's Fillin' Station 2501 Washington Blvd., (410) 525-8360 Budweiser, chilled mug, $1.00 40.3  
51 Frazier's on the Avenue 919 W. 36th St., (410) 662-4914 Budweiser, pint glass, $2.00** 40.6 Last year 74. 23
52 Kooper's Tavern 1702 Thames St., (410) 563-5423 Yuengling, chilled glass, $3.25 40.8 Last year 84. 32
53 Purple Goose Saloon 2625 Washington Blvd., (410) 644-0807 Rolling Rock, chilled mug, $1.25 40.8  
54 Mum's 1132 S. Hanover St., (410) 547-7415 Sierra Nevada, pint glass, $2.75* 40.8 Last year 98. 44
55 Thumper's 4600 Curtis Ave., (410) 355-9715 Michelob, chilled mug, $1.50 40.9 Last year 7. 48
56 Baltimore Eagle 2022 N. Charles St., (410) 823-2453 Coors Light, chilled mug, $2.00 41.0  
57 Calvert House 347 N. Calvert St., (410) 539-3627 Coors Light, frosted mug, $2.00 41.0  
58 Xando Coffee and Bar 3003 N. Charles St., (410) 889-7076 Sierra Nevada, pint glass, $3.00 41.0 Last year 8. 50
59 Owl Bar Belvedere Hotel 1 E. Chase St., (410) 347-0888 Miller Lite, pint glass, $3.23 41.1 Last year 21. 38
60 Max's on Broadway 737 S. Broadway, (410) 675-6297 Yuengling, pint glass, $4.00 41.1 Last year 96. 36
61 Park Avenue Café 8 Park Ave., (410) 637-3265 Budweiser, pint glass, $2.10 41.1  
62 Hon Bar 1000 W. 36th St., (410) 243-3001 Yuengling, pint glass, $3.25 41.5 Last year 3. 59
63 Celebrities 8 E. Pleasant St., (410) 576-1200 Yuengling, chilled glass, $2.75 41.5  
64 L.P. Docks 1476 Reynolds St., (410) 539-1110 Budweiser, mug, $0.25** 41.7 Last year 4. 60
65 Captain Larry's 601 E. Fort Ave., (410) 727-4799 Miller Lite, pint glass, $2.50 41.7  
66 Thunder Dome 3612 S. Hanover St., (410) 354-4700 Budweiser, plastic cup, $2.00 41.7  
67 JT's Saloon 6319 Belair Rd, (410) 444-1633 Budweiser, chilled glass, $1.75 42.0  
68 James Joyce Irish Pub 616 President St., (410) 727-5107 Yuengling, pint glass, $4.25 42.1  
69 Murphy's Neighborhood Bar and Grill 5847 York Road, (410) 323-9049 Budweiser, pint glass, $1.50 42.4  
70 Catch 22 Saloon 6000 Eastern Ave., (410) 633-7465 Rolling Rock, pint glass, $1.75 42.4  
71 Mama's on the Half Shell 2901 O'Donnell St., (410) 276-3160 Pabst Blue Ribbon, pint glass, $2 42.5  
72 Starters 3311 Annapolis Road (410) 355-8514 Budweiser, plastic cup, $1.25 42.6  
73 Cat's Eye Pub 1730 Thames St., (410) 276-9085 Yuengling, pint glass, $3.75 42.9  
74 One Eyed Mike's 708 S. Bond St., (410) 327-9823 Yuengling, pint glass, $3.00 43.2  
75 Super Star Inn 5603 Pulaski Highway, (410) 483-2575 Budweiser, chilled mug, $1.25 43.2 Last year 12. 63
76 Central Station Pub 1001 N. Charles St., (410) 752-7133 Pilsner Urquell, pint glass, $3.75 43.5 Last year 89. 13
77) Geckos 2318 Fleet St., (410) 732-1961 Budweiser, pint glass, $2.50 43.7 Last year 81. 4.
78 One World Café 100 W. University Parkway, (410) 235-5777 Yuengling, pint glass, $3.00 43.9 Last year 90. 12
79 Sean Bolan's Irish Pub 1236 Light St., (410) 837-4440 Yuengling, pint glass, $2.50* 44.0 Last year 75. 4
80 Ryan's Daughter Belvedere Square, 600 E. Belvedere Ave., (410) 464-1000 Harp, pint glass, $4.73 44.6  
81 John Steven Ltd. 1800 Thames St., (410) 327-5561 Yuengling, pint glass, $2.86 44.6 Last year 76. 5
82 Nick's Inner Harbor Seafood 1065 S. Charles St., (410) 685-2020 Budweiser, plastic cup, $2.00 44.9 Last year 11. 71
83 Islander Bar 1928 Fleet St, (410) 342-8718 Yuengling, pint glass, $2.50 45.0  
84 Mike McGovern's Bar 1129 S. Clinton St., (410) 534-2200 Sierra Nevada, pint glass, $3.75 45.4  
85 Little Havana Restaurante y Cantina 1325 Key Hwy., (410)837-9903 Miller Lite, pint glass, $3.00 45.6 Last year 80. 5
86 J. Patrick's Irish Pub 1371 Andre St., (410) 244-8613 Miller Lite, pint glass, $1.90 45.8 Last year 95. 9
87 Hard Rock Café Power Plant 601 E. Pratt St., (410) 347-7625 Yuengling, $5.45, pint glass 46.4  
88 Duda's Tavern 1600 Thames St., (410) 276-9719 Yuengling, pint glass, $1.05*** 46.5 Last year 79. 9
89 Fields Old Trail 5723 York Road, (410) 433-1220 Budweiser, pint glass, $1.50 47.1  
90 Club Zissimos 1023 W. 36th St., (410) 467-4707 Coors Light, pint glass, $1.50 47.8 Last year 73. 17
91 Fletcher's 701 S. Bond St., (410) 558-1889 Budweiser, chilled glass, $3.50 48.1 Last year 85. 6
92 Sidebar Tavern 218 E. Lexington St., (410) 659-4130 Yuengling, pint glass, $3.00 48.4 Last year 77. 15
93 Dreams Inn 525 E. Patapsco Ave., (410) 355-0848 Budweiser, plastic cup, $0.80 48.6  
94 Jimmy O'Donnell's 4528-30 Harford Road, (410) 426-8700 Miller Lite, chilled mug, $1.05 49.2  
95 Peter's Pour House 111 Mercer St., (410) 539-5818 Sierra Nevada, pint glass, $3.50 49.4 Last year 22. 73
96 Mick O'Shea's Irish Pub 328 N. Charles St., (410) 539-7504 Miller Lite, pint glass, $1.50* 50.0 Last year 87. 9
97) Magerk's 1061 S. Charles St, (410) 576-9230 Yuengling, pint glass, $1.50* 52.6  
98 Friends at Fells Point 1634 Aliceanna St., (410) 732-3885 Yuengling, pint glass, $3.75 53.6 Last year 97. 1
99) Tug's Bar and Grille 222 St. Paul Place, (410) 244-7300 Yuengling, chilled glass, $4.20 56.2  
100 Talking Head 203 Davis St., (410) 962-5588 Pabst B. Ribbon, pint glass, $3.25 58.9 Last year 78. 22
         
*Happy Hour price
**Tuesday night special
***Monday night special

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