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Wine Spectator’s Grand Tour 2018

Wine Spectator’s Grand Tour Washington DC featured more than 200 of the world’s finest wineries pouring their best bottles at the Ronald Reagan Building. Photos: Beauty by Photography

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Nat Geo Nights: Unexpected Origins

Guests at Nat Geo Nights: Unexpected Origins interacted with National Geographic explorers about evolution and the biological origins of the world’s ecosystems while enjoying fare and craft beer and wine. Photos: Devin Overbey

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WhiskyFest DC 2018

Celebrating its 21st anniversary, WhiskyFest, which made its D.C. debut in 2016, offered attendees the opportunity to sample nearly 300 whiskies from around the world — including single malt and blended Scotch, Irish, bourbon, rye, Tennessee, Japanese, Canadian, and craft-distilled whiskies, plus high-end rum, cognac, and other spirits — and learned firsthand from the experts. Photos: Cristina O’Connell

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Pebble to Pearl at Nationals Park

While the Nationals warmed up to play the Rockies, Pebble to Pearl warmed up the crowd with R&B/pop tunes for the pregame show on Budwesier Terrace. Photos: Mike Kim

Potted Potter actors, screen writer and stage manager.
Potted Potter actors, screen writer and stage manager.

Potted Potter at Shakespeare Theatre

Theatre-goers enjoyed Shakespeare Theatre’s production of Potted Potter, including a post-show reception Fantastic Beers and Where to Find Them, featuring specialty beers from Ommegang Brewery and Harry Potter trivia. Photos: Beauty by Photography

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Yard House Opening in Chinatown

Spicy raw tuna poke nachos, pork lumpia, gourmet tacos and an orange chicken and rice meal made out of gardein – but with a twist – all can be found at a beer-lovers restaurant. Yard House just opened up in downtown DC with over 110 beers on tap, and On Tap was invited to try some of the brews and several drool-worthy menu items. The beer menu is easy to read and easy to love – going from lightest/easiest-drinking beers to the heaviest, with knowledgeable staff on site to help you through the beer-picking process. With all the drink options, there’s sure to be one perfect beverage to help you wash down your amazing street tacos or incredible pizza you’re about to indulge in. We feasted on the Vampire Taco, full of carnitas and bacon chorizo, and wrapped in a crispy cheese-crusted flour tortilla shell, and the Baja Fish Taco, which was your classic fresh-tasting, pico and guac dripping taco with sriracha aioli and cilantro. Some other pictured favorites included the Nashville Hot Chicken – fried sage, sweet potato pancakes, pickles, ranch and hot sauce – and Shrimp & Calamari Diablo, featuring jump shrimp, calamari and black spaghetti in a mildly spicy tomato sauce. The huge selection of menu items doesn’t compare to the number of beers, but there’s still plenty of deliciously unique comfort food and something for everyone at this new American hot spot. Photos: Natalia Kolenko

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Petalpalooza 2018 at The Wharf

The Wharf hosted Petalpalooza on Saturday, a National Cherry Blossom Festival official event, featuring a full day of art, music, beer gardens, a roller rink, s’mores, and family-friendly fun along the waterfront!  Photos: Cristina O’Connell

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DC Brau HopFest 2018

HopFest 2018, the only DC beer festival by local brewers, for local brewers, came back for its fourth year in a row to support the DC Brewers’ Guild. Breweries from across the DMV came together at DC Brau Brewing Company for an afternoon of hoppy beers, including old favorites, one-offs, and hard-to-find rare brews. Photos: Mike Kim

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Opening Day 2018 at Nationals Park

Every Friday home game, the best place to pre-game is at the Budweiser Terrace inside the ballpark. As the Nationals warmed up to play the New York Mets for the home opener, Jeff From Accounting played a live pregame show of 90s rock music. Photos: Mark Raker

Photos: Amanda Weisbrod
Photos: Amanda Weisbrod

Behind the Bar: April 2018

Looking for a little hair of the dog? These brunch spots offer some of the best – and most unique – brunch cocktails in the city. On Tap sat down with Green Pig Bistro, HalfSmoke and Whaley’s to find out what makes their brunch cocktails a cut above the rest.


[Pictured Above]

Alexander Taylor

Bar Manager, HalfSmoke

On Tap: What’s the story behind the Breakfast of Shaw cocktail?
Alexander Taylor: The Breakfast of Shaw was created by the owner, Andre McCain, and it’s a local take on the ostentatious Bloody Marys that have come about over the years. Ours consists of a couple of our fried goods – sweet potato tots, mac and cheese bites, Mexican corn bites, French fries – [and] we also throw some chicken wings and a sausage slider on there.

OT: What other drinks make your brunch cocktail menu so special?
AT: I’d say the more popular item that makes our brunch menu special is the fact that we offer free bottomless mimosas. Our mimosas are different in that we source craft bitters, and we use Triple Sec along with champagne and orange juice.

OT: What gives HalfSmoke its whimsical vibe?
AT: Our motto is “Don’t grow up – it’s a trap.” And we’re very nostalgic. You’ll find that we use Trapper Keepers as our menu binders, and we use old Disney VHS cases as our bill folders.

HalfSmoke Breakfast of Shaw (Photo by Amanda Weisbrod)

Alexander’s Pick
The Breakfast of Shaw
Tomato, lemon and lime juice
Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper
Tabasco
Tito’s Vodka

HalfSmoke: 651 Florida Ave. NW, DC; www.halfsmoke.com


Whaley's Alahin Mentado, bar manager (Photo - Amanda Weisbrod)

Alahín Mentado

Bar Manager, Whaley’s

On Tap: What is Whaley’s most popular brunch cocktail?
Alahín Mentado: The Number One, which is a rum-based cocktail. It has a little bit of St-Germain, which is a nice elderflower, and that brings some sweetness to it. It’s mixed with fresh grapefruit juice and some sparkling rosé, so you’re going to have a little bit of tartness from the grapefruit, which is a nice balance with the rum, and then a nice, sweet flavor from the sparkling rosé. It’s beautiful.

OT: Do you have any off-the-menu cocktails that guests can try?
AM: If a guest wants to try something different, our bartenders are world-trained and can make anything. We ask [our] guests about their preference of alcohol and from there, we can go make a nice cocktail for them and make them happy. I love to see smiles on people’s faces after they taste a drink. I like to experiment, and that’s a good thing about Whaley’s. You can always come back and try different things at our bar.

OT: What’s the vibe of Whaley’s rose garden?
AM: The rose garden is a unique drinking experience for the city, and an opportunity for diners to forget they are in Washington. The space is very transformative, with the pink and white umbrellas, lush greenery and amazing view of the water. We offer a dozen or so of some of the greatest still and sparkling rosé wines from all over the world – from Israel to Australia. We don’t have a specific opening date for the garden yet, but it’s looking like it should be mid- to late April, depending on weather.

Whaley's Number One2 (Photo - Amanda Weisbrod)

Alahín’s Pick
Number One
Caña Brava rum
Sparkling rosé
St-Germain
Grapefruit

Whaley’s: 301 Water St. SE, DC; www.whaleysdc.com


Tim and Starlynne Vogeley, Green Pig (Photo by Amanda Weisbrod)

Starlynne and Tim Vogeley

Assistant GM and GM & Chef, Green Pig Bistro

On Tap: What inspired the full bar menu for brunch?
Starlynne Vogeley: That’s what our guests want. Our prices for Arlington [are] pretty comparable. But one thing we do have that’s different is if the ingredients call for fresh-squeezed orange juice or lemon juice, we try to get the freshest possible. If we can make it, we do that.

OT: What’s your most unique brunch cocktail?
SV:
I would say the Iced Morning Moonshine. This was actually highlighted by Belle Isle. They came here specifically and interviewed our bartender, Lily King, who is the creator of that drink. Our bartenders are very creative and very talented.

OT: Do you ever experiment with new brunch cocktail recipes?
SV: [We] experiment all the time – constantly. We have a total of six bartenders, my husband as well. I like to drink them. I call myself the official taste tester. I like to consider everybody here perfectionists, and they’re trying to perfect their craft. These cocktails are all original creations by our bartenders.

OT: What makes Green Pig Bistro a sustainable dining option?
Tim Vogeley: We buy a lot of food products from local farms – some are organic, but not all of them. We have a 60-acre farm in Purcellville, and we’re thinking of growing hops. We might even open a small brewery there. We make our own pickles, cheese and hamburger buns.

Green Pig Bacon Bloody Mary1 (Photo by Amanda Weisbrod)

Tim & Starlynne’s Pick
Green Pig Bacon Bloody Mary 
Spicy bloody mix
Vodka
Old Bay
Citrus
Bacon

Green Pig Bistro: 1025 N Fillmore St. Arlington, VA; www.greenpigbistro.com