Photo: Courtesy of Castle Hill Cider
Photo: Courtesy of Castle Hill Cider

What’s On Tap: November 2017

Greetings, beer nerds! As you likely know, there are a number of fantastic establishments 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 some of what’s on tap this month.

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 7

The Bruery Barrel-Aged Beer Dinner
Enjoy five exceptional beers offered by The Bruery alongside a specially designed menu by chef de cuisine Stephen McRae. Don’t miss this opportunity to try some deliciously rare treats like Black Tuesday 2017, White Chocolate and Sans Pagaie. As an added bonus, the team from The Bruery will be in the house, sharing stories behind their excellent brewery and outstanding beers. Tickets are $55. 7-9 p.m. Rustico Ballston: 4075 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA; www.thebruery.com/the-bruery-dc

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 8

After Hours DC Beer Tour by City Brew Tours
City Brew Tours DC is a tour company that offers daily behind-the-scenes access to DC and the surrounding area’s top breweries, brewpubs and beer bars. The tours are all-inclusive with beer-focused tastings for brew lovers visiting and living in the metropolitan area. Every brewery tour includes up to 15 different craft beer samples, a beer pairing dinner, VIP visits to four breweries and round-trip transportation from downtown DC. Tickets are $100. 5:30-10:30 p.m. The Portrait Gallery: 801 F St. NW, DC; www.citybrewtours.com

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 9

Highway Manor DC Launch
As part of the Sour Beer Tapping Series, Bier Baron Tavern is proud to host Highway Manor’s DC Launch Party. Highway Manor is an exclusively sour brewery founded in 2015 in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania that brews its beer with yeast harvested from a mansion built in the 1840s. 4-11 p.m. Bier Baron Tavern: 1523 22nd St. NW, DC; www.inlovewithbier.com/tavern

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 10

The Anderson Valley 30th Anniversary Party
Toast to this momentous occasion with 30 different drafts from the Boonville, California brewery. For this special occasion, Anderson Valley has showered ChurchKey with an array of special treats, including Thribble Peach, Huge Arker and Framboise Rose Gose. Birch & Barley will feature chef Bill Williamson’s five-course tasting menu paired exclusively with Anderson Valley beers. Free admission. 12-11 p.m. ChurchKey: 1337 14th St. NW, DC; www.churchkeydc.com

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 11

DC Beerathon
The DC Beerathon is an annual tradition of craft and premium beers at DC’s best bars and restaurants, now in its sixth year. The original idea behind the Beerathon was to create a marathon event in November for those of us whose enthusiasm for running includes making a beer run. So come rock out all day with beers and great food at DC’s best venues. Tickets are $65. 12-10 p.m. Buffalo Billiards: 1330 19th St. NW, DC; www.dcbeerathon.com

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 11 – SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 12

Annual Cask Ale Festival
Mad Fox Brewing Company’s annual cask ale festival is the Mid-Atlantic’s largest cask ale event. Sample more than 30 special and limited-edition, cask-conditioned ale from around the region and across the country at the two-day, indoor event. There’s live music and fantastic food as well. Admission is free. 11 a.m. on Saturday. 10 a.m. on Sunday. Mad Fox Brewing Company: 444 W Broad St. Falls Church, VA; www.madfoxbrewing.com

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 14

Cheese & Cheer: Craft Beer & Cheese Pairings
Spend an evening with Righteous Cheese in an intimate class discovering and savoring seasonal, artisanal cheeses. You’ll discover and taste four delicious cheese and craft beer pairings that will delight both newbies and cheese and beer pros alike. Fromager and beer aficionado Melissa Provinsal will delve into the story behind each cheese and beer, as well as give practical advice about selecting, serving, pairing and more. Tickets are $50. 7-9 p.m. Union Market: 1309 5th St. NE, DC; unionmarketdc.com

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 25

Thanksgiving Craft Beer & Wine Festival
The Craft Beer & Wine Festival will feature over 50 beers and wines from local breweries and wineries. Enjoy live music, local vendors, great food, contests, prizes, yard games, bratwursts, pretzels, wings, swag giveaways and much more at this dog-friendly (ask for treats or a water bowl) and kid-friendly (playground available) event. Tickets are $20- $30. 1-6 p.m. Tysons Biergarten: 8346 Leesburg Pike, Tysons Corner, VA; www.tysonsbiergarten.com

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 26

Beerasana
DC Brau hosts Beerasana the final Sunday of each month. Join for an all-levels yoga flow followed by a pint of beer. All are welcome, and no yoga experience is required. Limited to 20 guests. BYO yoga mat, and DC Brau will provide the beer. Tickets are $15. 12-2 p.m. DC Brau: 3178 Bladensburg Rd. NE, DC; www.dcbrau.com

Cider Week Virginia Edition

By Natalia Kolenko

If you’re like me, then you appreciate a good autumn beer as much as the next person, but nothing quite gets you in the fall spirit like a hard cider. As it turns out, Virginia is one of the best states to get hard cider in, as we have a long history of hard cider and apple orchards dating back to the 18th century. There’s even a week dedicated to Virginia hard cider, Cider Week VA, from November 10-19. So grab a scarf and a flannel, and hit up some cider-themed events around NoVA.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 10 – SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 12

Flights at Fontaine with Cobbler Mountain and Foggy Ridge
Fontaine will be offering flights of Cobbler Mountain and Foggy Ridge Cider. Enjoy cider and crêpes, a classic combination. Friday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5:30-10 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5:30-10 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fontaine Café and Crêperie: 119 S Royal St. Alexandria, VA; www.fontainecaffe.com

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 11

Virginia Cider at Cheesetique
Cheesetique is hosting a Virginia cider tasting at the boutique and restaurant chosen by Northern Virginia Magazine as the “Best Cheese Shop” for the past four years. Participating cideries include Foggy Ridge, Potter’s, Blue Bee and Castle Hill. 1-4 p.m. Cheesetique: 2411 Mount Vernon Ave. Alexandria, VA; www.cheesetique.com

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 18

Alexandria Cider Festival
Enjoy a selection of ciders from more than 12 Virginia cideries on the grounds of the historic Lloyd House in Old Town Alexandria. Ticket includes tastings, a souvenir glass, live music and fun fall activities. Food truck fare will be available, plus special tastings and tasting lectures for purchase onsite. Music will be provided by the Folklore Society of Greater Washington. Reservations recommended. $45-$55. 2-6 p.m. Lloyd House: 220 N. Washington St. Alexandria, VA; www.shop.alexandriava.gov

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 19

Virginia Cider Week Tasting Event
The Lyceum is offering a cider tasting as part of Cider Week VA. Cider was a common drink enjoyed in 18th-century Alexandria, and cider is commonly made in the Caen region of France. Enjoy samples of a selection of Virginia ciders, as well as light hors d’oeuvres. $50. 7-9:30 p.m. The Lyceum: 201 S. Washington St. Alexandria, VA; www.shop.alexandriava.gov

2017 Cider Week VA runs from November 10-19. Learn more at www.ciderweekva.com.


Q&A With Castle Hill Cider

Stuart Madany, Cider Maker
Kristen Renee Hicks, Marketing Director

On Tap: How is Castle Hill celebrating Cider Week VA?
Kristen Renee Hicks: [Cider Week VA] is an incredible opportunity for newcomers and seasoned cider sippers to savor finely crafted creations from Virginia’s diverse and growing cider industry. Castle Hill Cider will be participating in a variety of events [including a] tap takeover at Firefly Restaurant, Enrichmond Foundation’s Cider Celebration and the Alexandria Cider Celebration.

OT: Is Castle Hill releasing any new ciders for fall?
Staurt Madany: 2016 Terrestrial and 2016 Celestial have both just been released in the last three weeks. These newest releases are both more complex blends, and thus more layered and nuanced than previous releases. Terrestrial remains bone dry and brightly acidic. The Celestial, a blend of seven apple varieties fermented with five strains of yeast, is slightly off-dry, but with plenty of fruit and body.

OT: What makes Virginia cider so unique?
SM: Virginia, while not by any means the largest producer of apples, has a reputation for producing some of the most highly-flavored apples in the country. I think that Virginia’s history with apple growing and cider production, as well as its recent history and development as a wine region, have contributed to the strength of the orchard cider segment of Virginia’s cider production.

OT: What sets Castle Hill cider apart?
SM: Within a couple of months, we will expand our planting to a total of 7,500 apple trees. We are also the only commercial cidery in the world (still as far as we know) that produces cider in buried terra cotta vessels called qvevri. The vessels’ shape has its effects on the fermentation, and the cider made in them has a much smaller carbon footprint compared to tank produced beverages.

Castle Hill Cider: 6065 Turkey Sag Rd. Keswick, VA; www.castlehillcider.com


Q&A With Winchester Ciderworks

Stephen Schuurman, Cider Maker and Co-Owner

On Tap: What makes Virginia cider unique compared to other states?
Stephen Schuurman: Virginia cider has a vast range of different tastes and styles to please every taste bud – from high-end, fortified ciders to mass production ciders – but both highlight the essence of apples grown here in the state.

OT: Tell us about your blackcurrant cider.
SS: 522 Blackcurrant is named after our location on state Route 522, and is an English specialty cider. Being English, I like to make ciders that remind me of home, and we love our blackcurrants (similar to Americans and blueberries). Different varieties of blackcurrant juice are added to cider to give them a fruity flavor and a lovely pinkish hue. The popularity has blown us away. It will be an annual cider, but we will have seasonal additions to 522 during 2018.

OT: Where can you find Winchester’s blackcurrant in the DMV?
SS: We are in several wine and liquor stores in DC, and on tap in several bars. In Northern Virginia, we are in all Total Wines and Wegmans in Dulles and Leesburg. From mid-November, we will be placed in many more stores, which we hope makes us the number one local craft cider in Northern Virginia.

OT: How are you celebrating Cider Week VA?
SS: We are participating in many festivals celebrating fall and cider season, along with invitations to beer festivals celebrating Oktoberfest.

Winchester Ciderworks: 2504 N. Frederick Pike, Winchester, VA; www.winchesterciderworks.com