While you may find yourself “green” on the couch from too much Jameson or in full body paint for your team this March, may I suggest a better way to spend your weekends getting in the spirit of the season? How about some new and great local beer? Yes, instead of painting, drinking or literally turning green this March, why don’t we make your beer buddies “green” with envy? Grab a pen, plot the course on your GPS and head to Virginia for two (TWO, Johnny Utah!) new breweries that should be on your radar.
“Just tell your girlfriend you’re going out to walk the dog…and then walk your butt to the damn brewery.” – Roommate wisdom
NEW DISTRICT BREWING COMPANY
New District in Shirlington is a labor of love from some local ex-rock ‘n’ rollers who had a dream of putting down the drumsticks and starting their own brewery, but did so at an unbelievable, under $350K budget with the help of many, many friends and their engineering degrees. These dudes literally MacGyvered their own equipment and entire build-out on a shoestring budget to create a small up-and-coming brewery with, dare I say, Arlington’s first walk-up growler fill-up window.
While it’s only open on Saturdays, once they expand their capacity, you can expect some additional hours for enjoying their great brews, tunes and food trucks. Or bring your dog since the Shirlington Dog Park is nearby and grab a beer without the usual scolding from your partner about day drinking on a Saturday – because let’s face it, that’s why God invented Saturdays and your boss gave you off, isn’t it? It’s the American thing to do. Drink these for America.
1821 Belgian-style Saison 5.5 percent: Crisp and easy to drink, this floury, biscuity craft homage to your favorite glass of Stella Artois – only local, better and more crafty.
Rating: Just “sais” yes.
1821 Black Lager, 8.5 percent: Easily my favorite, this malty, easy drinking lager improves on the Greek family recipe with a special mystery ingredient that I still haven’t guessed yet. No worries, however, as it has a slight licorice/anisette-type dark lager feel with a bitter ending that’s delish. Rating: Smash a lager, not a plate. Yamas!
*Looking for something drinkable for the beer nube? Also try the bitter but drinkable Kolsch or the light cocoa nib First Time stout. I will always remember my first time well. Thanks Katrivanos family!
VANISH FARM BREWERY
Still need to walk “the dog” a little further? Try a new farm brewery like the epic Vanish in Lucketts, Va. Owner Jonathan Staples originally bought the farm to grow hops for his spirits at James River Distillery in Richmond. However, his friends at Flying Dog Brewing planted the brewery idea in his head (which he continued with alone after the partnership idea disintegrated), and so his rustic and historic Virginia farmland became the site and supplier for Vanish beer.
Here you’ll find an immaculate, 200+ seated tasting room and hop farming facility with a satellite kitchen for weekend BBQ, tasters around $2 and $4 to $5 pints. Plus, an outside biergarten is in the works for the warmer weather. I’d talk more about all the cool farming and local ingredient sourcing, but I’m going to let the owner’s knowledgeable staff regale you with that. I’ll just do the drinking, thank you very much!
Session IPA, 4.5 percent: One-of-a-kind flavor from rye malt and “Brett” yeast, and dry-hopped with Chinook and East Kent Golding. Citrus and dry, earthy tones. Very flavorful/drinkable. Rating: Hands down, you’ll like this beer. If not, replace your tongue (it’s broken), and repeat.
Double IPA, 8.5 percent: Imagine a lighter 75 IBU version of the Heavy Sea’s Double Cannon. Is that possible? Yes it is. Dry-hopped with slight tangerine fringe
and ever so slight dry bitterness. It’s hop heavy without weighing down your taste buds. Rating: Double the booze, singular light flavor.
Abbey Dubbel Ale, 7.2 percent: Prunes and raisins dominate the palate with a clean, full-bodied ale that warmed my ruddy facade. Perfect fit for the wet and cold weather. Rating: Plums up!
Sahti (unfinished at 8 percent): Coming soon and amazing. Juniper sourced from the farm, seeds of paradise and hops make this Finnish-style fermented ale just pop on my taste buds. Rating: The best and most unique thing I’ve tasted in the DC area in months – just amazing!
*Need something more approachable for a beer newbie? The Brown and Oatmeal pale ales are decent, too.
NEW DISTRICT BREWING COMPANY: 2709 S Oakland St. Arlington, VA; 703-888-5820;www.newdistrictbrewing.com
VANISH FARM BREWERY: 42264 Leelynn Farm Ln. Leesburg, VA; 301-471-6015;www.vanishbeer.com
Have a beer for the Bierdo to try? Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.