Max’s Belgian Beer Festival is a really fun weekend in the Fell’s Point neighborhood of Baltimore. It runs Friday through Monday and hours go from 11 a.m. until 2 a.m. each day. The BEST thing about this festival is the incredible number of imported beers available to sample! Max’s Belgian Beer Festival features as many as 200 Belgian beers on tap plus another couple hundred rare Belgian imports in bottles.
Beer choices range from popular wheat and blondes to dark beers, fruit-flavored framboise, and even sour beers for those with rare taste. Serious Eats has a great quick study Beginner’s Guide to Belgian Beer Styles if you are new to this type of beer. Beeradvocate is also a great resource for Belgian beer ratings if you need help narrowing down your selections. This is also helpful in reviewing alcohol percentage.
About Max’s Taphouse
Max’s Taphouse has been around for many years and is known as Baltimore’s biggest beer bar. It has added on to the main bar over time and now has a sprawling main bar area, a sidebar with televisions and seating space, a dart room, and an upstairs known as the Mobtown Lounge.
The main bar has pretty much every beer on the list. The sidebar has a decent selection of the most popular beers. The upstairs has a more limited selection and there is also a little bar under the stairs that tends to offer different choices than the other menu.
Max’s Taphouse is also a top-ranked restaurant on TripAdvisor and has been cited with a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence. The charming bar sits on the corner of Lancaster Street and South Broadway just one block from the Fells Point waterfront.
This bar attracts patrons from around the world. Max’s Belgian Beer Festival is heavily attended by beer critics and vendors across the nation.
Our Experience at Max’s Belgian Beer Festival
We randomly discovered Max’s Belgian Beer Festival 12 years ago and got a seat right at the bar on Saturday night! Nowadays, at 11 am on a Friday morning, you need to be someone important to get a seat at the bar!
One thing is for sure though, their bartenders are hardworking long-timers that are well educated about the beer they serve and care about your happiness no matter how busy they are! Do you believe the SAME bartenders are still working the Belgian Beer Festival that served us over a decade ago?! That is dedication!
Know before you go! Here are my hard and fast rules for doing Max’s Belgian Beer Festival right!
- Be patient. Expect a line. There is no cover charge and this festival gets more popular every year!
- Do your homework. Check out the beer list in advance. There are usually some copies circulating through the line or you can just go in with a game plan for the type of beer you are looking for so when you get inside, you can order quickly.
- Trust the system! It works! Use the postcards to communicate beer needs, food orders, and whether you want to close out the tab. It’s loud in there and your bartenders appreciate clear written instructions!
- Be ready to order. Have your postcard fully filled out along with a back-up plan in case any kegs are out. Have your money ready or start a tab. Bartenders REALLY appreciate being able to help you quickly so they can move on to the next thirsty customer.
- Stay connected. While wifi is slow when it’s jam-packed with drunks, Mobtown1 is the internet password.
- Have fun, but pace yourself! Belgian beers can be pretty high in alcohol content! Many Belgian beers have a higher alcohol percent than your typical U.S. beer. The menu lists alcohol percent, so make sure you pay attention if you are new to this type of beer!
- Max’s Belgian Beer Festival is just a short, chilly walk from the Fells Point Water Taxi stop. The free Charm City Circulator bus also services Fells Point on the Green and Purple lines. There is also plenty of metered parking available or you can pay a flat fee at a nearby parking garage. The parking garage is your best bet if you plan to drive since those Belgian beers pack quite a punch and you may be surprised how quickly the time flies when you’re having fun!
- Know where the bathrooms are! I mean, you ARE drinking beer after all! In the main bar, head back towards the Ravens bus. This is a multi-stall bathroom. In the sidebar and upstairs in Mobtown Lounge, there are single stall bathrooms.
- Make notes for next time! Untappd is a great app for keeping track of what you like and don’t like. I always like to pick a few samples at a time to sip on. I mix up some favorites along with some new brews that I have not tried before.
- Order some food to nosh on. There is a special Belgian food menu that includes some exotic cheeses, sandwiches, and classic Belgian frites (crispy thin french fries). Order early and expect a bit of a wait because in the blink of an eye, the bar will get crazy busy! If the wait is too long or if you’ve had enough of the noise, check out our tips below for other places to continue your party in Fells Point!
Max’s Belgian Beer Festival Weekend Getaway
This festival draws people from all over the world. It can be a fantastic getaway over President’s Day weekend. There are three different places to stay right in Fells Point – all within walking distance to Max’s Taphouse:
- Admiral Fell Inn is the best place to stay within walking distance. This pet-friendly, historic inn offers an authentic Fells Point experience and a special Max’s Belgian Beer Festival Package.
- The Inn at Henderson’s Wharf is a small boutique hotel located under a half of a mile from the beer festival. They also offer several vacation packages and plush rooms with beautiful harbor views.
- Sagamore Pendry pier-front property is a historic landmark building that once welcomed immigrants to Baltimore and was later featured in the television show Homicide: Life on the Street. This luxury hotel has 128 rooms and suites, plenty of upscale amenities, and special offers.
Other Places to Party in Fells Point During Max’s Belgian Beer Festival Weekend
If the crowds or beers become overwhelming, there are several other great places to go in Fells Point to continue the party!
- The Horse You Came In On Saloon may not look like much from the outside, but it is rumored to be haunted and is known to be the last place Edgar Allen Poe had a drink. The drink of choice here is flavor infused Jack Daniels. They serve up some good food too!
- Alexander’s Tavern offers a gluten-free menu, several creative styles of tater tots (over 3MM sold), and my personal favorite mac & cheese pizza with Nino’s locally made dough.
- One-Eyed Mike’s is a more cozy bar just a few blocks off from the main Fells Point strip! It is the first and largest Grand Marnier Club, with signature cocktails and food options.
Other Fun Events at Max’s Taphouse
If you can’t make it to Max’s Belgian Beerfest this year, mark your calendar for President’s Weekend in 2019 or attend one of their other popular events throughout the year. They hold several other beer festivals including Oktoberfest, American Craft Beer Week, and an Italian Beer Festival.
Make sure you also stop in at Max’s Waxhouse to buy some beer-inspired candles. With scents including Vanilla Stout and seasonal selections like Spiced Pumpkin Ale, this is a great place to shop for a cause! Beer bottles are repurposed and handcrafted by local workers into candles that burn for 200 hours! Their candles can also be found in over 200 gift shops worldwide. Plus, Max’s Waxhouse donates a portion of proceeds to Believe In Tomorrow National Children’s Foundation. This wonderful non-profit provides hospital and respite housing for critically ill children and their families.