Ministry of Brewing – Baltimore, Maryland - Gastro Obscura

Gastro Obscura

Ministry of Brewing

An abandoned church gets a second life as a massive beer hall and event space. 

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Opened in 1857, St. Michael’s Church served the massive influx of German Catholics into East Baltimore. Before it was abandoned in 2011, it was in fact the oldest still-operating Redemptorist church in the city. It’s now one of Baltimore’s newest breweries.

After a $2.4 million renovation, a sprawling, hand-restored fresco of Jesus floating into the heavens now looks down on a 20-barrel brewing system at the former site of the altar. The wood from the altar was reclaimed to make tables, around which the pews are now situated. With impressive, vaulted ceilings, centuries-old features from stained glass windows, and the original organ, it almost feels like a brewery stumbled into a fully functioning church. 

The brewmasters offer an array of frothy beverages, from pilsners, pale ales, and saisons to ciders and craft sodas, all of which you can order from a 40-foot bar encrusted with discarded oyster shells, in case you forgot you were in Baltimore. 

Beyond the shock-and-awe of a church-turned-beer-sanctuary, the brewery hopes to be a resource for the community, hosting public fundraisers, monthly gatherings, and even a summer course teaching high schoolers lab skills. 

With more than a dozen drinks on tap, it’s never been easier to make it to church.

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