Suspended Brewing Company spent the last year looking for a commercial space to brew its beers before calling Pigtown home. Suspended recently leased an approximately 3,000 sq. ft. space at 912 Washington Blvd. where it will convert a former church into a brewery and tap room. The space is two doors down from the proposed Bath House Square redevelopment which will include eight apartments and a Milk & Honey market.
Suspended is currently run by a small team of four, Josey Schwartz, Yasmin Karimian, Amir Karimian, and Stevo Karolenko. The Karimians grew up in Baltimore and the Suspended team all attended UMBC for undergrad, giving each of them roots in the area. They originally leased a space in Rockville where they hoped to set up a brewery, but were unable to get the licensing needed to operate from the City of Rockville authorities.
The team looked to return to Baltimore, specifically neighborhoods in District 40, which permits for a Class 7 brewery license that allows virtually unlimited on-site sales and self-distribution. After trying with two other places in Pigtown, they were turned on to 912 Washington Blvd. by Pigtown Main Street’s Business District Specialist Leslie Lacy, a family friend of the Karimians, and Pigtown Main Street’s Executive Director Ben Hyman. The team thanked Lacy and Hyman for bolstering connections with the Pigtown community, Pigtown business owners, and other helpful institutions.
“We’re delighted to welcome Suspended Brewery to Pigtown Main Street,” said Hyman. “This new brewpub will anchor the west side of our Main Street with Mobtown Ballroom and the proposed Milk & Honey market. With eight new businesses opening in the last year, Pigtown Main Street is fast becoming the latest destination to shop, eat, and play in Baltimore.”
Schwartz also “can’t say enough good things about [their] new landlord coming to terms on the lease” after their long search for a permanent home. “We are excited to be in this area and around all the new businesses in Pigtown. Not only are we surrounded by other creative businesses, we also have found the community to be exceptionally receptive and inviting of their new neighbors,” Schwartz told SouthBMore.com. “We hope to bring a great community space to Pigtown.”
Suspended will be presenting at this month’s Citizen’s of Pigtown meeting.
Suspended has five fermentation tanks for its brewing system, which was made in Michigan and is capable of producing up to 20 kegs of beer at a time. The team can produce one large batch and send it to a ten-barrel (310 gallons) open-top fermentor, a five-barrel run for its closed cylindroconical tanks, or make two different two barrel sized batches at once. Schwartz told SouthBMore.com the goal is to produce 500 barrels of beer in its first year and noted they have significant room to grow in the space.
Along with brewing equipment, Suspended will have a taproom that will be open to the public with likely hours of 3pm to 8pm during the week and 3pm to 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Schwartz, who has a background in engineering and sustainability, is building the brewery’s two bar tops and tables with reclaimed wood to go alongside the tap-tower made from a salvaged electrical switchgear box. The brewery has plans to phase in solar energy and hot water technologies, and it will compost, recycle, and reuse as many products as possible.
Schwartz told SouthBMore.com they will produce progressive beers such as New England-style IPAs, kettle sours, sour mashed beers, beer and mead hybrids, and beer and wine hybrids. “We partly look for what’s absent in the market and partly scratch our own brewing itches.” He also said he’s a fan of the Baltimore beer scene where he also enjoys being a consumer.
Suspended wants to control the experience drinkers have with its beers. Most of its products will be consumed at the Pigtown brewery where the team will have control of the pour, cleanliness of draft lines, and glassware, and will be able to educate consumers firsthand on their brews. Beers will be available to-go in growlers and crowlers.
Suspended will selectively distribute beers to bars and restaurants that share its same philosophy for beer. “Any beer we send out is strategic,” said Schwartz. He also told SouthBMore.com that they will put their beer in cans when it makes sense.
Suspended will not produce its own food and snacks, but looks forward to partnering with local businesses such as Milk & Honey Market.
Schwartz told SouthBMore.com they will spend the next four to six weeks working on the design to transform the former church into the brewery, and hope to start construction soon after as they continue to work through the licensing and permit process. They have yet to set an opening date, but Schwartz said it would be “as soon as possible.”
Suspended hopes to open additional tap rooms around Baltimore in the future with production continuing in Pigtown. In the meantime the Suspended team will debut its first beer this Saturday, September 17th at their alma mater for UMBC’s 50th Anniversary celebration.
Site of the Bath House Square Development