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What’s On Tap: May 2019

Greetings, beer nerds! As you likely know, there are a number of fantastic spots in the DMV where you can grab a pint, and their menus are always evolving and adapting to your tastes. If you’d rather avoid the guessing game, check out what’s coming up at a few of these fine establishments.

THURSDAY, MAY 2

Caboose’s Fourth Anniversary Beer Dinner
Don’t miss this spring beer dinner in honor of Caboose Brewing Company’s fourth anniversary. The evening will include a five-course meal and beer pairing created by executive chef David Rabin and Caboose’s wonderful brewing team. 7:30 p.m. Tickets $75. Caboose Brewing: 520 Mill St. NE, DC; www.caboosebrewing.com

The Kapittel Farewell Party
Join The Sovereign as they bid a fond farewell to the beers of Kapittel. On this day, they will feature five classic ales from Watou, Belgium. All Kapittel beers will be priced individually by the glass and in 4-oz. tasting pours. 5-11:30 p.m. Free to attend.The Sovereign: 1206 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC; www.thesovereigndc.com

FRIDAY, MAY 3

Slaters Lane Socials: Spanish Tapas
Join Rustico Alexandria for their next installment of the Slaters Lane Socials series. On the first weekend of each month, the restaurant will showcase a few fun and exciting food specials paired with one of their favorite craft brewers. This month, Rustico is celebrating the cuisine of Spain with executive chef Stephen McRae’s delicious tapas menu. 5-11:30 p.m. Free to attend. Rustico Restaurant and Bar: 827 Slaters Ln. Alexandria, VA; www.rusticorestaurant.com

SATURDAY, MAY 4

Dawn Patrol Release Party on the Patio
Join Lost Rhino Retreat for a party on the patio for the release of Lost Rhino’s Dawn Patrol Session IPA. Taps open at 2 p.m. and the event will feature live music, barbecue, seafood boil, beer bucket specials and more. Join for a great opportunity to bring in the summer a little early with the release of this new brew. 2-10 p.m. Free to attend.Lost Rhino Retreat: 22885 Brambleton Plz. Ashburn, VA; www.lostrhino.com

The First Annual Brewer Spring Art and Culture Crawl
Enjoy a beverage from each of Silver Spring’s three breweries while slurping up new knowledge about the art, architecture and culture of Silver Spring’s blossoming urban community. The ticket price includes a pint of your choice at each brewery, a T-shirt and a chance to win some prizes along the way. 1-4 p.m. Tickets $50. The Rotary Club of Downtown Silver Spring: 923 Ellsworth Dr. Silver Spring, MD; www.silverspringrotary.org

Rocket Frog 1st Anniversary Party
It’s been one year since Rocket Frog opened its doors to the public. This will be a festival-style event inside the brewery. The festival features their 12 taps behind the main bar, an additional 10 taps in the brewing area, and one firkin (TBD), all with your favorite Rocket Frog beer. There will be several variations from beers served throughout the first brewery’s first year. 12-6 p.m. Tickets $30-$48. Rocket Frog Brewing Company: 22560 Glenn Dr. #103, Sterling, VA; www.rocketfrogbeer.com

WEDNESDAY, MAY 8

Calvert Woodley’s DMV Brewery Night
Join for a walk-around tasting featuring breweries from DC, Maryland and Virginia, who will be showcasing their favorite brews. Come sample their flagship offerings as well as some seasonal specials. As an added bonus, all the brews will be available for purchase at specially discounted prices. You’ll also receive a complimentary glass for the tasting. 6 p.m. Tickets $25. University of the District of Columbia Heritage Hall: 4200 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC; www.calvertwoodley.com

SATURDAY, MAY 11

Cheers for Babies
Join Sauf Haus in Dupont Circle for a happy hour fundraiser supporting the Maternity Home and Pregnancy Center programs of The Northwest Center. Since 1981, The Northwest Center has served over 57,300 women and babies in the DC area. With your help they can continue in their mission of empowering women and strengthening families. 6-9 p.m. Free to attend. Sauf Haus Bier Hall: 1216 18th St. NW, DC; www.saufhausdc.com

WEDNESDAY, MAY 15

Horizontal Tasting: Cider, Beer and Wine
Celebrate spring by exploring cider, beer and wine together! Your ticket includes a guided, five-part horizontal tasting. For each course, Capitol Cider House will pair a different cider with a similar beer or wine. To sweeten the night, the fifth and final course will pair a dessert wine with Capitol Cider’s house made North Columbia – essentially, the apple version of port wine. Capitol Cider House: 3930 Georgia Avenue NW, DC; www.capitolciderhouse.com

FRIDAY, MAY 17

SAVOR: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience
What happens when celebrated chefs team up with some of America’s finest craft breweries? The answer: an unforgettable night of sensory delight. Set amidst the grandeur of the National Building Museum, SAVOR is the premier beer and food pairing event in the country. Discover your new favorite craft beers and pairings and meet the people behind the beer, including owners and brewers, who will be personally serving their beer. Starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $135. National Building Museum: 401 F St. NW, DC; www.savorcraftbeer.com

SATURDAY, MAY 18

Sour Mania!
Pucker up and join Mad Fox for their 2nd Annual Sour Beer Festival. Sample special and limited-edition sour ales from around the region and across the country at this indoor event. Enjoy live music and fantastic food while sipping some truly tart ales. Admission to the brewpub is free and space is available on a first come, first served basis. Please call the restaurant for table reservations. Tasting begins at 11 a.m. on Saturday. Check out the samtpler package offer available online only. 11 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. Tickets start at $20. Mad Fox Brewing Company: 444 W. Broad St. Falls Church, VA; www.madfoxbrewing.com

The Ultimate Beer Pong Tournament
Are you the master of beer pong? Do you want to help a good cause while also consuming libations? Well, this is the perfect event for you. Join Town Tavern with your best beer pong partner and drink and play for a cause. The bar is hosting a beer pong tournament to raise money and awareness for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. 6:30 p.m. Tickets $5-$25. Town Tavern DC: 2323 18th St. NW, DC; www.towntaverndc.com

SUNDAY, MAY 19

Bingo with the DC Sisters
Come to the DC Sisters’ monthly bingo night. They will be at Red Bear Brewing with games, raffle tickets for the 50/50 raffle, extra game books, and food and beverages will also be available for purchase. 1-4 p.m. $20 will get you six rounds of bingo, each with a $100 cash prize and potentially a door prize. Red Bear Brewing: 209 M St. NE, DC; www.dcsisters.org

Pups N’ Pints
Join Fairfax Dogfish Head Alehouse for a fundraiser in an effort to raise money for the HART Organization. Kick off the day with the annual 5K run and then enjoy the outdoor bar and grill. 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. 5K registration is $40. Dogfish Head Alehouse: 13041 Lee Jackson Memorial Hwy. Fairfax, VA; www.dogfishalehouse.com

SATURDAY, MAY 25

Rivershed Run
Kick off your long weekend with a fast and flat run that starts in urban Alexandria, cools down through beautiful Cameron Run Park and finishes at the Port City Brewery. After the 5K, you will have earned your fair share of calories.  So, plan to stay for the ultimate Virginia Memorial Day BBQ. Live bluegrass all afternoon, All American food trucks with a pig roast, burgers and apple pie. All that and the release of Port City’s new Rivershed Ale. 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.5K registration is $45. Port City Brewing Company: 3950 Wheeler Ave. Alexandria, VA; www.portcitybrewing.com

Stone Carving at the Brewery
New District Brewing Company has had paint nights and food pairings, but now it’s time for stone carving. Come in empty handed and walk out with a small stone creation made with your own two hands. The instructor will guide you through a class to give you the basics of stone carving while the brewery will provide plenty of beer to coax out your muse. 2 p.m. Tickets $30. New District Brewing Company: 2709 South Oakland St. Arlington, VA; www.newdistrictbrewing.com

Woodbridge Beer Fest
This beer event is taking over the main drag of Woodbridge for the second year, filling it with beer, food and even wine. There will be 12 breweries providing the best of local and regional craft breweries, food vendors, live music and other entertainment. Want to stay late? The Brew Republic taproom will host an after party. Festivities begin at 11 a.m. Tickets start at $39. Brew Republic Bierwerks: 15201 Potomac Town Pl. Woodbridge, VA; www.brewrepublic.beer

Photo: Courtesy of Chrystalle Ball

Leading Ladies of DC’s Beer Scene: Deep Roots Gain New Ground

The world of craft beer is dramatically different than it was even a few years ago. Quality beer is more readily available than ever and thanks to social media, it’s easy to keep up with new beers and breweries. Here in DC, women have a prominent place in the beer scene.

Chrystalle Ball is the founder of DC Metro Girls Pint Out, the local chapter of a national craft beer organization for women to enjoy happy hours, tastings and other events that build community around a love of beer. She joined the Arizona chapter originally, but after moving to the DMV, she found there were no chapters here. She got to work, and DMV Girls Pint Out had its first event in 2013.

“There is a stereotype that women don’t drink beer,” Ball says. “People come to our events for the first time and they’ll say, ‘Oh, I didn’t know there were so many women that drink beer in this area.’ There are, you just have to look.”

Ball says that over the past five-plus years of involvement in the DC beer community, a lot more women are beginning to actually work in beer. She notes Lake Anne Brew House in Reston, Virginia, which is women-owned and has many women brewers, and says that DC also has plenty of women industry veterans like Kristi Mathews Griner of Beltway Brewing Company in Sterling, Virginia.

“Women are popping up all over the area in brewing roles, and it needs to keep happening,” she says, noting that the Pink Boots Society, which helps women advance their careers in the beer industry, is an important resource. “Women are pigeonholed toward wine, but women love beer – and women were the first brewers of beer.”

Sara Bondioli, president of the DC Homebrewers Club, says that the long tradition of women brewers also helped inspire her to try it herself.

“I was reading a book that had a section on the history of brewing, and for most of history, women were the main brewers,” Bondioli says. “It’s only more recently that it’s been seen as a male profession. It hadn’t occurred to me that homebrewing was even an option until then, but I did a lot of baking from scratch and I thought I would try making beer from scratch.”

Fast forward to about seven years later, and she’s now running the club and helping other women get into homebrewing, too. Women club members started the Homebrewing Outreach and Participation Sisterhood (HOPS), which has women-focused brew days, happy hours and speaking events. Bondioli says that through homebrewing, women and men alike have freedom to create funky combinations while enhancing their appreciation of the brewing process.

“I’ve had some really creative beers through the homebrew. Someone made a pickleback beer, but they did it in a very restrained way that worked out really well. Especially with the club, you get to see what other people create and it gives you ides of things to try as well.”

Her signature beer? A strawberry rhubarb saison. This creative spirit is everywhere in the beer world, from the beers themselves to their labels. Chelsea Bailey, who runs the @21stamendmentgirl beer Instagram account and works in DC Brau’s tasting room, says she originally started the account to highlight the beauty of beer design.

“Honestly, I started drinking craft beer because I love the labels,” she says. “I challenged myself to drink a whole bottle of whatever I chose [to feature], I developed a palate and it grew into this whole other world.”

Bailey landed her job at DC Brau thanks in part to her social media presence, and it’s given her “a chance to meet other people who are like-minded and passionate.”

“There are people who have heard about my Instagram account, and I’m excited to go in and talk about beer with them.”

All three women say that there’s a number of things happening in the DC beer world to look forward to this spring. This month, ANXO Cidery & Pintxos Bar is exclusively pouring ciders, wines, beers and cocktails from female-owned and operated businesses. On the homebrewing front, the DC Homebrewers Club is now accepting entries for its annual homebrewing competition, the Cherry Blossom Challenge. And DMV Girls Pint Out will soon host its fifth annual Girl Scout Cookie and beer pairing event; check website for updates.

“If someone wants to get into beer and has experienced that whole beer snobbery thing, I would love for them to come to our events and just try things,” Ball says.

That’s the main theme that seems to unite area breweries and beer enthusiasts: condescension and pretentiousness are out, and inclusiveness and community are in.

“Overall, the DC beer scene is supportive of having women involved, active and part of the group,” Bondioli says. “Most of the places out here seem to understand that they don’t have to market beer to women differently. They can just make a good beer and women and men will drink it – and everyone out here can appreciate that.” Bailey echoes that sentiment.

“Beer isn’t a man’s drink. It’s everybody’s drink.”

Follow Bailey on Instagram @21stamendmentgirl and learn more about DMV Girls Pint Out at www.girlspintout.org or on Twitter @dmvgirlspintout. Check out the DC Homebrewers Club at www.dchomebrewers.com, the club’s Cherry Blossom Challenge at www.dchbcompetition.com and the Pink Boots Society at www.pinkbootssociety.org. More on the breweries and cideries below.

ANXO Cidery & Pinxtos Bar: 300 Florida Ave. NW, DC; www.anxodc.com
Beltway Brewing Company: 22620 Davis Dr. Ste 110, Sterling, VA; www.beltwaybrewco.com
DC Brau: 3178 Bladensburg Rd. Suite B, NE, DC;www.dcbrau.com
Lake Anne Brew House: 4310, 11424 Washington Plaza W.Reston, VA; www.lakeannbrewhouse.com

Photo: Aja Neal

Fall Forecast: Fresh Autumn Brews

Swig the last gulps of refreshing summer sours and get ready for fresh autumn brews recommended by some of our favorite local retailers. If you’re not too pumped about pumpkin ales, there are plenty of other familiar flavors brewed or sold locally – from sweet beers with hints of pecan, yams or coffee to malty Belgians and crisp brut IPAs. And don’t worry, you won’t have to give up sours completely, with some fall-forward fruit options on the horizon. Learn more about what’s hot for fall from these beer experts.

Photo: Aja Neal

Photo: Aja Neal

Julie Drews and Beth Helle
Co-Owners, The Brew Shop

On Tap: What beers are you looking forward to stocking in fall?
Beth Helle: One thing we love to do in the fall is create our own pumpkin patch, which is our own in-house, mixed six different pumpkin beers. It allows customers to have their pumpkin fix and to try a bunch of different ones without committing to a full six-pack.

OT: Which local brands are popular sellers in the fall?
Julie Drews: Port City’s Oktoberfest is always a big hit. Old Ox does a can, which is somewhat unique.
BH: Three Notch’d always does well. They always hit us up with amazing seasonals. Their seasonal gose will be pomegranate during [fall]. It’s fun to see the sour trend continuing over the fall. I’m sure that it’ll continue to be popular with the changing of fruits for the season.

OT: What brands will you have on tap?
BH: We always have a dedicated sour line, and that will continue all year. We’ll be shifting our fruited sours to more fall-forward fruits. I also think we’ll have an opportunity to play around with more brut beers versus true sours. As we move into the cooler weather, we can play around with a little more funk on that sour line.

The Brew Shop: 2004 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA; www.arlbrew.com

Photo: Fareeha Rehman

Photo: Fareeha Rehman

Erika Goedrich
Owner, Craft Beer Cellars

OT:  When people think fall, they often think pumpkin. Is there another top flavor people overlook?
Erika Goedrich: 3 Stars’ Southern Belle imperial brown ale is year-round now, but that’s a good fall drink. Abita comes out with a pecan harvest at that time. There are different pecan beers available that I think are good for that time of year.

OT:  Is there a summer beer that you think people can still enjoy in the fall?  
EG: I feel like DC summers go into the fall, so are you going by weather or calendar year? [Laughs] I drink lagers and pilsners year-round – for me that’s great. The Old Pro from Union [Craft Brewing] is a gose that our customers can’t seem to get enough of. That one’s technically a summer seasonal. It goes until September I think; it’s a gose-style, which is a salt-forward sour. Again, people are looking for that year-round.

Craft Beer Cellar: 301 H St. NE, DC; https://dc.craftbeercellar.com

Photo: Fareeha Rehman

Photo: Fareeha Rehman

Sean Michaels and Josh Whisenant
Society fulfillment associates, The Bruery Store

On Tap: What Bruery flavors are on-trend for fall?
Sean Michaels: We actually have fall beers we carry year-round. We use a lot of yam and spices like cinnamon – a lot of the beers for fall are darker.
Josh Whisenant: I don’t think we have a specific “every fall we produce this beer” apart from The Bruery’s flagship beer, which is called Black Tuesday and comes out every October.

OT: What is your favorite fall beer crafted by The Bruery?
JW: We have so many different beers that come in every month. I really do like Autumn Maple; I think it’s a wonderful beer. It’s easy to drink and it’s not super heavy.
SM: I would probably go for the So Happens It’s Tuesday or [something] with coffee. It’s just a heavier, darker style that kind of gives you that fall feeling. But don’t get me wrong – you can drink it year-round.

The Bruery: 513 Morse St. NE, DC; www.thebruery.com

Photo: Fareeha Rehman

Photo: Fareeha Rehman

Tristan Walton
Store manager, Schneider’s of Capitol Hill

On Tap: What are some hot sellers for fall?
Tristan Walton: I’m always a big fan of the traditional German Oktoberfest – Hacker-Pschorr, Paulaner. Those are always the biggest sellers for me, the traditional styles.

OT: What about the best summer-to-fall flavor transition?
TW: You can do like a nice amber, like Chin Music from Center of the Universe [Brewing Company] is a good one. So, [beers] keeping in the amber themes.

OT: Your personal fall favorite?
TW: During the fall, I always enjoy a good Schlafly pumpkin [ale].

Schneider’s of Capitol Hill: 300 Massachusetts Ave. NE, DC; www.cellar.com

Photo: Aja Neal

Photo: Aja Neal

Shawntel Pike
Assistant manager, Total Wine Alexandria

On Tap: Tell us about your favorite fall seasonals.
Shawntel Pike: I like a lot of the more Belgian-style dark beers. Hardywood will start putting out some really nice stuff [for fall]. They do some nice Belgian-style, and they will start doing some barrel-aged, darker stuff in the fall, but they’re still on the lighter side now. I like their peach one now. I like fruity flavors for fall; I don’t think people really look for them, but I like them. Blackbeard’s Breakfast by Heavy Seas is really good – it’s very dark and boozy.

OT: What are some of your best-selling beers?
SP: I know we do really well with the pumpkin beers. They’re really popular, but those will die off around Thanksgiving. As far as the rest of the fall beers, they’re just all over the place depending on what people are looking for. Schlafly flies out of here.

OT: What do you feature in the growler station during the fall?
SP: I try to feature different beers all the time because we don’t want to do the same beers over and over – people get burnt out that way. We tend to have a couple of IPAs on tap. We’ll have a couple of darker beers like a stout or a porter. We normally keep a sour on tap, and we’ll do a couple of pale, golden wheat-style ales.

Total Wine Alexandria: 6240 Little River Turnpike, Alexandria, VA; www.totalwine.com