Photo: Michael Stein

What’s On Tap: DC Beer Week 2019 Celebrates Collaborations, Comradery and Craft Beer

DC Beer Week is back with eight days of beer-themed festivities around the District, from September 8-15. From homebrew competitions and fun runs to comedy nights and crab feasts, the options are endless. We caught up with the creative minds behind Bluejacket and District ChopHouse’s beer menus about this year’s DC Beer Week lineup and the 2019 Solidarity Beer, a German kellerbier crafted at Bluejacket with nearly a dozen collaborating brewers.


Barrett Lauer
Head Brewer at District ChopHouse & Brewery

On Tap: What got you into brewing?
Barrett Lauer: I was working in the kitchen at The Wharf Rat [in Baltimore] and became friends with the brewer through our mutual love of beer and music. He offered me an apprenticeship, and I never looked back.

OT: What beers do you gravitate toward on a menu?
BL: I usually will start with a lighter, lower-ABV beer first. In the summer, I will start with a German pilsner, Vienna lager or Czech pils. If it’s chilly, I may want something more like a Scottish ale. I always like to try kellerbiers, especially at a brewery. Good, lighter beers are trickier to make because the flaws stick out.

OT: Do you sell any special bottles at District ChopHouse?
BL: We have some vintage beers that we sell. We also hold tasting events, like our upcoming cask event, where we serve some special beers from local breweries. We will also be serving the Solidarity Beer brewed for DC Beer Week.

OT: It seems like the beer industry is more collaborative than other types of businesses. Does that ring true for you?
BL: The local brewers all share the same goal of exposing more people to craft beer. If they try mine, they will go to Bluejacket, Atlas or one of the other local craft breweries and vice versa. Once you’ve had flavorful, fresh beer, it’s hard to go back.

OT: What special events do you have planned for DC Beer Week?
BL: We are hosting Cask [Day/Night] on September 6. We will line the perimeter of the brewers’ lounge with tables and patrons will be able to pour their own beers. There will be an assortment of ales and lagers and other beer styles. There will be Oktoberfest, dunkels (dark German lager), blond ale, hazy IPA and more. 

OT: What’s unique about cask ales?
BL: With a cask, after primary fermentation, it’s put in a vessel and then primed. Sometimes, you may add more hops. Some darker beers may have chocolate, toasted oak or coffee. The carbon dioxide produced by secondary fermentation is typically not as carbonated and is typically a softer texture than forced CO2.

District ChopHouse & Brewery: 509 7th St. #1, NW, DC; www.districtchophouse.com


Ro Guenzel
Director of Brewing Operations at Bluejacket

On Tap: How did you get started in brewing?
Ro Guenzel: I started as a homebrewer. My mom bought me a pale ale homebrew kit when I turned 21. My second homebrew was a German pils. They are my love. 

OT: What is one piece of advice you’d give to new beer drinkers?
RG: For most beers; drink fresh. The cellaring of beer introduces the unknown. 

OT: What inspired this year’s Solidarity Beer? What’s notable about a German kellerbier?
RG: The Solidarity kellerbier is a youngish lager beer [and] hazy amber in color. It is modestly bitter and balanced out with a touch of caramel malt. It has plenty of German hops in the flavor and nose.

OT: How did you decide on the style and recipe?
RG: When picking the beer, we try to pick something that fits in with the portfolio of the host brewery [and] that will get brewers excited, showcase what they make and be something that people will want to drink. We took the time of year into consideration. Kellerbiers are typically unfiltered, unpasteurized lagers from the German brewing tradition. The name translates directly to “cellar beer.” 

OT: Do you have any upcoming special releases or events?
RG: For DC Beer Week, we will be serving all of the collaborators’ beers at the kickoff party on September 8. Bluejacket will can about 50 cases of Solidarity Beer for sale out of the tasting room. This year for the first time, all the proceeds will be donated to the DC Brewers’ Guild. [At Snallygaster 2019 on October 12], there will be over 400 beers from 150 breweries around the world. Bluejacket will be serving cans as well as kegs. 

OT: What are you drinking now?
RG: All of this talk of German beers put me in the mood for a nice German festbier.

Don’t miss DC Beer Week from September 8-15 at various locations around DC. Visit www.dcbeerweek.net for the full lineup of events and learn more about Bluejacket and District ChopHouse below.

Bluejacket: 300 Tingey St. SE, DC; www.bluejacketdc.com

Disclosure: Dan Rozman is an investor in several breweries and The Minister
of Membership for Brewers United for Real Potables (BURP).


DC Beer Week Events

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1

Porktober Fest
Mark your calendar! The second annual Old Ox Porktoberfest is happening the first day of September. Celebrate Labor Day Weekend with the release of Oxtober Bier, pretzels and pastries from The Baekehaus, a pig roast, and other delicious pork dishes from RESQ BBQ Catering. Enjoy live music from Felix Pickles and Rowdy Ace, a stein-lifting contest, and more. 4-9 p.m. Free to attend. Old Ox Brewery: 44652 Guilford Dr. Ashburn, VA; www.oldoxbrewery.com

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 7

Brews Around the World: DC International Beer, Wine & Food Festival
Join this celebration of the very best of global beer and cuisine in our nation’s capital. You’ll get your own tasting glass for unlimited tastings of more than 80 carefully selected beers in a single session. Plus, two dozen amazing wines, 10+ ciders, hard sodas, gluten free options and more. There will be a DJ playing music all day and lots of outdoor games, arts and activities. 12:30-8 p.m. Tickets $20-$69. The Bullpen: 1201 Half St. SE, DC; www.brewfestdc.com

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 11

The Area Two Experimental Brewing Showcase

Join The Sovereign as they celebrate DC Beer Week 2019 with the fine folks from Area Two Experimental Brewing. You’ll see six wild and funky beers from the brand new Connecticut brewery. Meet master brewer and co-founder Phil Markowski of Area Two, which is a sour, barrel-aging and experimental brewery from Two Roads Brewing Company. The offshoot brewery will produce a wide range of sour beers, including spontaneously fermented ales inspired by the legendary Lambics of Belgium. Headlining the list is the award-winning Hexotic 2019, a Lambic-inspired ale aged two years in oak barrels, then conditioned on mango, orange, passionfruit, guava, pineapple and guanabana. All Two Roads beers will be priced individually by the glass and in 4 oz. tasting pours. The menu is subject to change without notice. 5-11:30 p.m. Free to attend. The Sovereign: 1206 Wisconsin Ave. NW; www.thesovereigndc.com

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 14

Beer Yoga

Bring your own mat and flow through a flight of Right Proper Brewery favorites during this hour-long power yoga class. You’ll sip and stretch at Right Proper’s Production House in Brookland. Come for yoga, nama’stay for beer. One three-glass flight included in yoga class ticket purchase. Noon-1 p.m. Tickets $15. Right Proper Brewing Company Brookland Production House and Tasting Room: 920 Girard St. NE, DC; www.rightproperbrewing.com

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 21

Heurich Oktoberfest: Senate Beer Style
This Heurich Oktoberfest celebration has a new twist: The Senate Beer revival will be fully available to the public for the first time, and some new partners will help celebrate. This Oktoberfest-style biergarten festival will take place in the Castle Garden and feature Senate Beer plus brews from Sankofa Beer Company, Red Bear Brewing Co., ANXO Cidery, Silver Branch Brewing Co., Supreme Core Cider, Crooked Run Brewing and Streetcar 82. Owners and representatives of these breweries and cideries will be onsite. All tickets include unlimited tastings and full-pours, a meal and one pretzel, all locally made. 1-4 p.m. $65-$85. Heurich House Museum: 1307 New Hampshire Ave. NW, DC; www.heurichhouse.org

Oktoberfest Kick Off Party at Hops N Shine
Join Hops N Shine to celebrate the start of Oktoberfest! Participate in stein hoisting competitions, eating competitions and specials all Oktoberfest long. 2-5 p.m. Free to attend. Hops N Shine: 3410 Mount Vernon Ave. Alexandria, VA; www.hopsnshine.com

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25

Pints & Paint Nite
Grab your friends and unleash your inner artist at the Original Paint Nite. You’ll go from a blank canvas to a masterpiece of your own, with plenty of laughs along the way. Guided by a talented and entertaining artist, you’ll be amazed at what you create, and how much fun you have doing it. Instruction is provided by an expert host, so no experience is required, and everything you need is supplied. Fill up on the many Solace brews on tap. 7 p.m. Tickets $35. Solace Brewing: 42615 Trade W Dr. #100, Sterling, VA; www.solacebrewing.com

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 28

5th Annual Make It Funky Wild Beer Festival
It’s Denizens Brewing Co.’s fifth annual ‘Make It Funky’ Wild Beer Festival, which celebrates the unique and mouth-watering style of wild and sour brews. Craft beer fans from all over the DMV will gather to sample funky beers from breweries around the region while listening to live music. This year’s focus is on mixed fermentation and barrel-aged beers only, so you’re guaranteed to get the best of this style from participating breweries. 12-5 p.m. Tickets $62. Denizens Brewing Co.: 1115 E W Hwy. Silver Spring, MD; www.denizensbrewingco.com

Oktoberfest Outdoor Party at Port City
Port City’s most popular limited release beer, Oktoberfest, deserves its own party. There will be games, prizes, competitions such as stein hoisting and costumes, music, food and plenty of beer. Don’t miss out on their biggest event of the year. Enjoy food from Pizzeria Paradiso, Village Brauhaus, Borinquen Lunch Box Kitchen and Daddy G’s Craft Salsas. Noon-10 p.m. Port City: 3950 Wheeler Ave. Alexandria, VA; www.portcitybrewing.com

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 8

DC Beer Week Fun Run
Kick-start DC Beer Week 2019 by participating in the inaugural DC Beer Week Fun Run. Registered participants will receive a free beer at the starting point Right Proper Brookland Production House, and then a free beer at the end of the run at Red Bear Brewing Co. Race proceeds benefit the DC Brewers’ Guild. All are welcome for this 2-mile course down the Metropolitan Branch Trail between Right Proper and Red Bear. Register in advance or at the starting point at Right Proper. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tickets $10-$25. Right Proper Brewing Company Brookland Production House and Tasting Room: 920 Girard St. NE, DC;  www.dcbeerweek.net

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 9

3 Stars Home Brew Extravaganza
Celebrate DC Beer Week by competing in this year’s 3 Stars Brewing Homebrew Extravaganza. Clone this year’s Solidarity Beer – a kellerbier, Double IPA and wild American sour beer. Entries are due no later than 9 p.m. Monday, September 2. Visit dcbeerweek.net for awards and category details. 6-9 p.m. $5 per entry. 3 Stars Brewing: 6400 Chillum Pl.NW, DC; www.dcbeerweek.net

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 10

DC Total Tap Takeover at ChurchKey
ChurchKey will once again devote all 55 of its draft and cask lines to beers brewed right here in the District for the fifth straight year. A true tribute to the collective greatness of DC’s brewing scene, they’re showcasing a wide array of one-offs and rarities, both on cask and on draft. Birch & Barley will feature executive chef Jarrad Silver’s four-course tasting flights paired exclusively with DC-brewed beers. All beers will be priced individually by the glass and in 4 oz. tasting pours. 4-11:30 p.m. Free to attend. ChurchKey: 1337 14th St. NW, DC; www.dcbeerweek.net

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 12

Women in Beer at Red Bear Brewing
Celebrate women in the craft beer industry with a panel discussion of all things beer, why the brewery industry is a great place for women to work and more. The event will also include a special beer release, brewed in collaboration with the Pink Boots Society – a Belgian blonde. Proceeds of beer sold benefit the local DC Pink Boots Chapter. You’ll hear speakers Leah Cheston from Right Proper, Melissa Ramano from Pink Boots, Katie Marisic from the DC Brewers Association and more. 6-8 p.m. Red Bear Brewing Company: 209 M St. NE, DC; www.dcbeerweek.net

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 13

Yacht Rockin’ & Brau Poppin’ DC Beer Week Sunset Beer Cruise
Sail into the final weekend of DC Beer Week on the Potomac Riverboat Company’s Miss Mallory for the inaugural Brau Poppin’ & Yacht Rockin’ sunset cruise. Ride along the Potomac sipping on DC Brau and listening to yacht rock curated by the Brothers Brau. Ticket includes a two-hour sunset cruise departing from The Wharf’s Transit Pier in Southwest DC, heavy hors d’oeuvres and a DC Brau. Additional beer and other beverages will be available for purchase on board. For the full details on tickets, visit www.potomacriverboatco.com. 6-8 p.m. Tickets $75. The Wharf: 970 Wharf St. SW, DC; www.dcbeerweek.net

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 14

Brewers On The Block
Brewers On The Block is back for its sixth annual cele-BREW-tion. Sponsored by DCBeer.com, join the fun as Suburbia hosts 40+ local brewers at Union Market, where hopheads and brewers can meet and drink. You’ll hear live music from Big Bad JuJu. General admission includes unlimited tastings, conversations with local brewers, souvenir tasting glass and live music starting at 3 p.m. The VIP ticket includes hour ahead event access, extra face-to-face time with the brewers, UNICORN beers and frozen hoptails from Suburbia. 2-6 p.m. Tickets $55-$75. Union Market: 1309 5th St. NE, DC; www.dcbeerweek.net