Peabody Heights Brewery has a rare opportunity to celebrate both Baltimore baseball history and Baltimore Beer. The brewery is located on the former site of Old Oriole Park and Terrapin Park in the Peabody Heights section of Baltimore. The brewery opened a couple of years ago in the former Beverage Capital Corporation bottling plant at 401 E. 30th Street in Baltimore and plans now are underway to celebrate the former ballpark upon which the brewery is built.
Baseball and Beer in Baltimore go at least as far back as the early 1890s when Harry Von Der Horst, son of John Von Der Horst – the owner of Von Der Horst Brewery – was President of the American Association Baltimore Orioles. In 1892, Harry Von Der Horst’s Orioles joined the National League and just two years later brought Baltimore its first baseball World Championship. The National League Orioles played their home games at Union Park, which was located just four blocks south of what is now Peabody Heights Brewery. Harry Von Der Horst was something of an innovator, not only featuring Von Der Horst beer at Union Park, but also installing what perhaps was the first beer garden to be located in a Major League ballpark.
When it comes to baseball and beer, Richard O’Keefe, the owner of Peabody Heights Brewery, and J. Hollis Albert, III, General Manager of the brewery, are innovators as well.
In addition to building one of the finest breweries in Baltimore, O’Keefe and Albert have begun plans to pay homage to the baseball history that lies underneath its building.
The two brewery officials have enlisted the help of others, including baseball historian Bernard McKenna (McKenna was responsible recently for locating the first known photograph of the Baltimore Black Sox’s home field Maryland Park). On a rainy day last December, McKenna and yours truly met with O’Keefe and Albert to tour the facility and determine what portions of Old Oriole Park lies within the brewery grounds.
We discovered that the former site of both second and third base lies within the brewery building, as well as a portion of right field, center field, and left field. The two story fermenting tanks sit near second base and stretch into what was once right field.
The brewery’s boxing area sits in what was once left and center field.
Brewmaster Ernie Igot’s mixing tanks sit in the former right field near the first base grandsstand.
Portions of Old Oriole Park remain on the site, including a concrete support wall that runs along an alley that parallels Greenmount Avenue.
Also on the site is a section of the former left field brick fence.
The brewery’s loading docks located along the back of the building stretch from left field to center field.
The former site of Oriole Park’s home plate is located on the sidewalk that parallels Barclay Street, just south of Peabody Heights Brewery.
With the former site of Old Oriole Park as a backdrop, O’Keefe and Albert are transforming one of Baltimore’s finest breweries into a place where fans of the game can not only take a tour of the brewery, but learn first hand the story of Old Oriole Park, Union Park, and three other professional baseball parks located within walking distance of Peabody Heights.
The past is all around, you just have to know where to look.