Hellbender2 (Photo - LT Goodluck)

What’s On Tap: April 2018

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.

TUESDAY, APRIL 3

Founders Brewing KBS 2018 Alexandria Release Party
Join Rustico Alexandria as they celebrate the annual release of the inimitable Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout. This night will feature 12 beers from the Michigan brewery, including a slew of barrel-aged beauties. One of Rustico’s very favorite releases of the year, KBS is brewed with a massive amount of coffee and chocolate, then cave-aged in oak Bourbon barrels for an entire year until it’s absolutely perfect. Be sure to come on by to taste one of the first kegs of KBS 2018. 5-11 p.m. Free to attend. Rustico Alexandria: 827 Slaters Ln. Alexandria, VA; www.rusticorestaurant.com

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 4

Allagash Beer Dinner
Join Granville Moore’s for a four-course, Maine-meets-Belgium dinner. The dishes include raw oysters, Maine lobster rolls, cod chowder with shrimp and mussels, brined duck and dessert. Each meal comes paired with a tasty brew from Allagash. 7-10 p.m. $60. Granville Moore’s: 1238 H St. NE, DC; www.granvillemoores.com

Strong Beer Tasting
Come for a very unique, sit-down beer tasting where you can meet the brewers and brewpub owners from across the region and taste their amazing Strong Beer and Ale selections. Each brewer will discuss their beer and answer any questions that you have. Don’t miss the rare opportunity to meet and talk to key individuals in the brewing industry. Mad Fox is still working on the brewery list and is focusing on 12 beers from breweries across the mid-Atlantic. 7-10 p.m. $55. Mad Fox Brewing Company: 444 W. Broad St. Falls Church, VA; www.madfoxbrewing.com

THURSDAY, APRIL 5

Port City Tap Takeover
Join Blackfinn Ameripub in Vienna, as they’ll be carrying several of Port City’s locally brewed beers plus awesome food features including the relaunch of their Craft Your Thursday, which includes a $12.99 beer and burger combo. 5-8 p.m. Free to attend. Blackfinn Ameripub: 2750 Gallows Rd. Vienna, VA; www.blackfinnameripub.com

FRIDAY, APRIL 6

The Interboro Spirits and Ales and 3 Stars Brewing Showcase
On this night, Churchkey pours 11 beers from the two breweries, including their highly touted collaboration. Headlining the list is one of the last remaining kegs of Interboro and 3 Stars Prophet of Rage, an imperial stout brewed with rye, wheat, oats and Chinook hops. Other notables include 3 Stars Sonic Hummingbird, a double IPA conditioned with agave nectar; and Interboro Yo! Play, a fruit smoothie-inspired IPA infused with blueberries, maple syrup and lactose. 4-11 p.m. Free to attend. ChurchKey DC: 1337 14th St. NW, DC; www.churchkeydc.com

SATURDAY, APRIL 7

HopFest 2018
HopFest 2018, the only DC beer festival by local brewers, for local brewers, is back for the fourth year in a row to support the DC Brewers’ Guild. Breweries from across the DMV will come together at DC Brau Brewing Company for an afternoon of hoppy beers, including old favorites, one-offs, and hard-to-find rare brews. Sloppy Mama’s Barbecue truck and other food vendors will be on site selling food, and DC Brau’s tasting room will be selling full-sized pints, six-packs and growlers. Entertainment will be provided by local musician Reed Appleseed. 1-5 p.m. $35. DC Brau Brewing Company: 3178-B Bladensburg Rd. NE, DC; www.dcbrau.com

The Sovereign’s Second Anniversary Celebration
For this very special occasion, The Sovereign will pour thre different Cantillon kegs – Rosé de Gambrinus, Kriek and Mamouche – plus De La Senne Wadesa #7, a blend of De La Senne-brewed Saison and Cantillon Lambic. Not to be out-done, folks at The Veil and Oxbow also offer special kegs for the evening including The Veil’s Escape, All That You Are and No More Sleep, and Oxbow’s Barrel-Aged FPA: Bordeaux and Gin Barrel-Aged Sasuga. All this and more. 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. Free to attend. The Sovereign: 1206 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC; www.thesovereigndc.com

SATURDAY, APRIL 14

Alumni Beer Olympics
Rep your alum in the best way you know how: out-play and out-drink your rival school. The Budweiser Beer Olympics at Dirty Water is alumni style. Teams of six are welcome to rep their alum in a variety of drinking games to determine which team went to the best beer-drinking university. 2-7 p.m. $75 per team. Dirty Water Sports Bar: 816 H St. NE, DC; www.dirtywaterdc.com

Kegs and Eggs: Up Top Acres and Bell’s Spring Rooftop Beer Garden
Come celebrate the spring with a rooftop beer garden event at Up Top Acres. Standing on a roof at a farm, you will enjoy a memorable day of good beer and delicious food. Drawing inspiration from spring produce and seasonality, Up Top Acres and Chef Colin McClimans work together to create a menu that highlights eggs. Beverage director Peter Grimm teams up with Bell’s Brewery to offer the first taste of freshly released spring seasonal beers along with some of their staples. 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. $55-$75. Up Top Acres: 55 M St. SE, DC; www.uptopacres.com

MONDAY, APRIL 16

Aslin Beer Company Dinner
On this night, Rustico offers five exceptional beers from Aslin alongside a specially designed menu by Chef de Cuisine Aaron Wright.  Don’t miss this opportunity to try some deliciously rare treats like Pisghetti Western, Awkwardly Sweet and Master of Karate. As an added bonus, the team from Aslin will be in the house, sharing stories behind their excellent brewery and outstanding beers. The Aslin beer dinner begins at 7 p.m. $60 per person. Reservations are required. Rustico Alexandria: 827 Slaters Ln. Alexandria, VA; www.rusticorestaurant.com

For the Love of Beer and Whiskey
Join Bluejacket as they celebrate their love of whiskey and beer with master distiller Dave Pickerell and beer director Greg Engert. On this night, they’ll host an intimate five-course beer and whiskey dinner hosted by these two luminaries of the beverage industry. In honor of the occasion, executive chef Marcelle Afram has designed a unique menu to pair distinctly with each beer and whiskey offering. 7-10 p.m. $125. Bluejacket: 300 Tingey St. SE, DC; www.bluejacketdc.com

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18

Founders Brewing Breakfast Stout Bash
An absolute classic, Founders Breakfast Stout is an imperial stout brewed with an abundance of flaked oats, bitter and imported chocolates, and two types of coffee. There will also be pours of hard-to-find, barrel-aged versions of Founders Breakfast Stout, including CBS, aged in maple syrup-soaked Bourbon barrels and Kentucky Breakfast Stout, aged in Kentucky Bourbon barrels. Other highlights from the list include Fuzzy Sweater, a small batch IPA hopped exclusively with Cashmere, and Backwoods Bastard, a Wee Heavy aged in Bourbon barrels. 5-11 p.m. Free to attend. Rustico Ballston: 4075 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA; www.rusticorestaurant.com

Union Brewing Beer Dinner
Join for an evening of great food and great beer provided by one of Maryland’s favorite breweries. Enjoy a three-course dinner served with four pours from Union Brewing’s tasty range of craft beers. $15 from each ticket sold will be donated to the Silver Spring Warriors Youth Lacrosse team. 7:30-10 p.m. McGinty’s Public House: 911 Ellswhorth Dr. Silver Spring, MD; www.mcgintyspublichouse.com

THURSDAY, APRIL 19

Scouts Honor: Girls Pint Out’s Fourth Annual Beer and Cookie Pairing
Join the DC area chapter of Girls Pint Out and their friends over at Little Miss Whiskey’s Golden Dollar for what is sure to be a delicious evening. The event will take place in the upstairs bar, and tickets are limited. No tickets will be sold at the door. The $15 ticket price includes admission, samplings of all six beers and free cookies. 7-9 p.m. $15. Little Miss Whiskey’s Golden Dollar: 1104 H St. NE, DC; www.facebook.com/dcmetrogirlspintout

SATURDAY, APRIL 21

2018 DC Beer Fest
The DC Beer Festival returns to Nationals Park, bringing together dozens of craft breweries and featuring spring seasonal beers. Taking place throughout the stadium’s concourse including Centerfield Plaza, Budweiser Brew House, Bud Light Loft and Budweiser Terrace, the DC Beer Fest will have over a dozen food trucks throughout as well as lawn games, DJs and more. Two sessions: 12-3 p.m. and 5-8 p.m. $45. Nationals Park: 1500 S Capitol St. SE, DC; www.dcbeerfestival.com


Q&A with Hellbender Brewing Company

Ben Evans, CEO and Head Brewer

On Tap: Where does Hellbender Brewing get its name?
Ben Evans: We’re named after the Hellbender salamander, which is indigenous to this region. We have a very strong focus on sustainability, so it made sense for us to have an endangered species as our name. We also get to do partnerships and fundraisers for the National Zoo to help them raise money for endangered Appalachian salamander habitats, and we thought the name sounded tough and cool.

OT: How does Hellbender help save salamander habitats?
BE: We try to raise awareness and do events to raise money to protect them directly in their natural habitat. Unfortunately, in recent history, they were much closer to DC and they’ve since moved out because their habitats have declined. Cutting down on your waste and what’s going down the drain at your brewery is a significant step toward helping species like the Hellbender.

OT: What’s currently on tap at Hellbender?
BE: We have a couple of year-round beers, like the German-style kölsch and the American IPA. I think the kölsch is a great, refreshing beer, especially when it’s warm out or after a long day. The IPA is clean and has a mix of new and old-school American hops in it to give it a more citrusy and tropical flavor. We have a couple of extended seasonals like our saison, and we’re bringing in a hefeweizen this April.

OT: Why brew with a Meura mash filter?
BE: Ninety percent of the beer coming out of Belgium is made with [Meura filters], so it didn’t take much to convince me once I discovered the benefits. The main question I get from American brewers is they’re worried about the process of imparting off-flavors into the beer; they aren’t used to crushing grain so fine without getting the grain into the boil, which can cause astringency in your beer. The short answer is we’re using about 30 percent less water and about 15-20 percent less grain per batch to get the same result. We’re also brewing from start to finish significantly faster, so we can make a lot more beer in a given amount of time than a similar-sized brew house with a traditional system.

OT: Why do you think it’s important for breweries to be environmentally conscious?
BE:
Because breweries can put out a lot of waste. At the end of the day, whether you’re conscious of the environment or not, all these options we’ve chosen are actually saving us money. You’re being business savvy by choosing these options; it’s not just a romantic notion that you need to save the environment. These are things that will cut down on your bottom line, and you’re also making good decisions as a person.

Hellbender Brewing Company: 5788 2nd St. NE, DC; www.hellbender.com

mm

Amanda Weisbrod

Amanda is currently a senior at Ohio University, and will graduate with a bachelor's degree in journalism, news and information in December 2018. She has written for multiple professional publications including Cincinnati Magazine, CityBeat and Athens Messenger. Amanda loves to play the saxophone, watch cult classic movies, and hang out with her handsome cat, Darko.