Hidden Gem: Brewers Hill

Neighborhood offers housing close to Canton's night life without hot spot's issues

November 22, 2009|By Jamie Smith Hopkins | jamie.smith.hopkins@baltsun.com

Neighborhood: Brewers Hill

Location: Southeast Baltimore

Average sales price: $223,000 (January-June)

Notable features: Ask people in the region to name a funky Baltimore neighborhood near the water, and they'll probably come up with Canton. Brewers Hill, its small next-door-neighbor to the east, gets a lot less attention. But it has neatly kept rowhouses, cool beer-brewing history and easy access to Canton hot spots without the bustling activity.

As Real Estate Wonk blog reader EL put it when nominating this neighborhood for the hidden-gem list, "We have all the fun of Canton, but none of the parking headaches or intoxicated frat boys."

Some of the blocks look very much like Canton, with identically pristine red brick exteriors. Other rowhouses have an older-Baltimore feel to them, with neat little touches. Stained glass. Backyard gardens. And whimsical decorations, from stars along the rooftop of one home to hand-painted art at the foot of another.

The morning I visited to see if Brewers Hill was as nice as advertised, I stopped to chat with Henry and Judith Flores, who lived there for years. They kept their rowhouse when they moved to Baltimore County, and daughter Christina lives across the street in the house her mother grew up in, so the family has a lot of ties there.

Henry Flores calls it the "forgotten" neighborhood because it's so quiet. "For city living, it's an incredible place," he said. "Here we are, standing in the middle of the road!" (We had a long conversation and never got interrupted by a passing car.)

Judith Flores remembers the days when many of the residents worked at the breweries. "You could always smell the beer," she said.

Now the complex where National Bohemian once was made has been redeveloped into offices and shops that play off their brewery roots. The iconic, mustachioed Mr. Boh looks genially out from the top of one of the buildings.

As the economics of the neighborhood changed, so has the mix of residents. More young professionals. Fewer families with school-age children.

"When I was growing up, people lived here their whole lives," Judith Flores said. "Now you have a lot of young people moving in."

About this series
With help from readers, The Baltimore Sun's Real Estate Wonk blog selected 10 nice, affordable and off-the-radar places as "hidden-gem neighborhoods." This is one of the 10.

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