Each Wednesday evening this summer at The Wharf, you’ll hear live music on Transit Pier presented by Landshark Lager, and this week’s featured band was Louisiana variety band Dixie Power Trio. Photos: Jay Abella
As summer draws to a close and cooler months await us, it’s time to ditch the sugary, syrup-based drinks that permeate summer cocktail programs in favor of something fresher. Light enough to enjoy while the heat continues but not so summery they seem out of place, BLT Steak’s Drink Your Veggies program from beverage director James Nelson features fresh fruits and vegetables in every drink.
The result is potent and refreshing drinks without the sugar that cocktail connoisseurs know can lead to overpowering a drink’s complex flavors – or a dreaded headache the next day. And since the drinks are made on the spot with farm-to-table ingredients, you’re guaranteed vibrance in every sip.
For an elevated take on the orange juice and vodka, look no further than the What’s Up Doc. The vinegar in the carrot shrub keeps the Orange Hangar 1 Vodka-based drink refreshingly tart, while cinnamon adds a dash of fall flavor to the vividly colored cocktail.
Most of us could use some more greens in their diet. The Don’t Forget The Fennel definitely counts – it even has slivers of nutritious beets floating in it. The bite from the fennel and lime paired with Bombay Sapphire gin and refreshing cucumber will make you forget there’s even a healthy ingredient in this drink.
But the real highlight of Nelson’s menu is a wildly creative take on a simple dish that has taken breakfast menus by storm. The Have Your Toast and Eat It Too is all the ingredients of avocado toast condensed into a cocktail – a dream for any millennial and/or avocado lover.
This isn’t just a drink that relies on recreations of the flavors in avocado toast, though. Hendricks Gin is the perfect vehicle for fresh, muddled avocado. Nelson makes a tangy and refreshing tomato soda to add some effervescence to the concoction, and it’s finished with an everything bagel rim and lemon slice. The result is a creamy, bubbly drink that would beat a Bloody Mary in a contest for the best brunch drink with flying colors.
BLT Steak: 1625 I St. NW, DC; 202-689-8999; www.bltrestaurants.com/blt-steak/washington-d-c/
Every Thursday in August, The Rock at the Row Summer Concert Series at Pentagon Row features amazing local bands like Capital Sounds + Brigadier Brass from the 257th Army Band, delicious bites from local restaurant partners such as Bonefish Grill, and ice cold craft beer and wine at the pop-up bar. Photos: Devin Overbey
FRIDAY, AUGUST 17 – SATURDAY, AUGUST 18
8th Annual Cask Night/4th Annual Cask Day
Warm up for DC Beer Week with this annual tradition at the Brewer’s Lounge at The District ChopHouse and Brewery! Unlimited sampling of about 20 local cask beers, District ChopHouse Fare, tasting glass, tax and gratuity are included in the ticket price of $50. Near the end of Cask Day at 4 p.m., growler fills for $5 is open to the public. For tickets, contact Suellen, the Banquet/Events Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.347.1922 and have a credit card handy. Cask Night is Friday, August 17 from 6-11 p.m. Cask Day is Saturday, August 18 from 12-5 p.m. The District ChopHouse: 509 7th St. #1 NW, DC; www.districtchophouse.com
SUNDAY, AUGUST 19
ChurchKey Welcomes Great Raft Brewing with Founder Andrew Nations
Join ChurchKey as they celebrate DC Beer Week with their good friends from Great Raft Brewing. On this day, they’ll pour seven different beers from the Shreveport brewery while hosting co-founder Andrew Nations! Headlining the list is The Company I Keep, a brand new American-style Pilsner that is refreshingly crisp and hoppy, with a subtle hint of fruit. This eminently crushable Lager will be served with a complimentary side of authentic Cajun cracklins, flown-in directly from Louisiana, while supplies last. Not to be outdone, they’re also showcasing Double Barrel Aged Old Mad Joy, a Baltic Porter aged twice in Bourbon barrels; Rhinestone Life, a hazy New England style IPA hopped with Citra, Simcoe and Mosaic; and Oceans Between Us, a 100% Brett-fermented IPA with El Dorado hops. All Great Raft beers will be priced individually by the glass and in 4 oz. tasting pours. THE OFFICIAL CHURCHKEY WELCOMES GREAT RAFT LIST: Commotion (Double Dry-Hopped Pale Ale), Double Barrel Aged Old Mad Joy (Bourbon BA Baltic Porter), Oceans Between Us (Brett IPA w/ El Dorado), Reasonably Corrupt (Schwarzbier), Rhinestone Life (IPA w/ Citra, Simcoe & Mosaic), Southern Drawl (Dry-Hopped German Pilsner) and The Company I Keep (Dry-Hopped American Pilsner; Cans). 11:30 a.m-1:30 p.m. Free admission. ChurchKey: 1337 14th St. NW, DC; www.churchkeydc.com
DC Brewers’ Guild/City Winery 1st Annual Lager Fest
Hey DC – it’s time for some Lager! Please join the DC Brewers’ Guild and City Winery as they kick off DC Beer Week 2018 with a celebration of the District of Columbia’s rich lager brewing history. Lager Fest is an event by the local brewing community to showcase our region’s best lagers for your enjoyment. This event will bring together more than 30 craft breweries for an afternoon of refreshing lager style beers, pilsners and related summer favorites, including hard-to-find rare brews. The event will also feature live music from some of your favorite local bands. 1-5 p.m. Tickets are $40. City Winery: 1350 Okie St NE, DC; www.citywinery.com/washingtondc
MONDAY, AUGUST 20
DC Brau’s 7th Annual Crabfest at Quarterdeck
BEHOLD!!!! THE FEST RETURNETH!!!! For the seventh year DC Brau and the Quarterdeck are teaming up for this epic annual crab-crackin’ get down. This crabfest has become a staple of DC Beer Week, a calling card of summer in DC. As you know from past years, this event always sells out so do not wait to get your tickets. Help DC Brau celebrate indigenous beer and these indigenous Mid-Atlantic delicacies at the Quarterdeck Restaurant in Arlington, VA. All-you-can-eat-crabs for $50 and DC BRAU $1 draftys/$5 pitchers! 5-6 p.m. Tickets are $50. The Quarterdeck Arlington: 1200 Fort Myer Dr. Arlington, VA; www.quarterdeckarlington.com
Right Proper Presents “A Beer and Bite Back for a Night”
Come enjoy a historic lager extinct for 78 years…until now! From the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History archives center comes a pale lager only available at Right Proper Shaw. Amsterdam, 1940 was brewed in collaboration with Lost Lagers, DC’s leading beverage research firm, and The Bruery Store. The delectable pale lager will pour alongside a historic dish also born from a recipe deep in the museum’s archives. Hear a panel featuring beer and food historians, and an award-winning chef. 6:30-9 p.m. Tickets are $22. Right Proper Shaw Brew Pub: 624 T St. NW, DC; www.rightproperbrewing.com
TUESDAY, AUGUST 21
ChurchKey Total Tap Takeover
ChurchKey will once again be devoting all 55 of its draft and cask lines to beers brewed right here in the District. This marks the fourth year they’ve turned over each and every one of their taps to the DC Craft Brewers. A true tribute to the greatness of DC’s brewing scene, they will showcase a wide array of one-offs and rarities, both on cask and draft. Featured beers by 3 Stars, Atlas, Hellbender, Bluejacket and Right Proper. 4-11 p.m. ChurchKey: 1337 14th St. NW, DC; www.churchkeydc.com
5th Annual Battle of the Barrel Aged
Brought to you by Boundary Stone Public House, local brewing legends DC Brau, Atlas, 3 Stars and Right Proper square off in a battle royale of barrel aged beers. A panel of judges as well as the popular vote from the public will decide which brewery wins the coveted dedicated draft line for an entire year! $25-$30. 5-10:30 p.m. Boundary Stone Public House: 116 Rhode Island Ave. NW, DC; www.boundarystonedc.com
The Heurich House Museum Presents “The Art of Beer”
Philip Runco of Brightest Young Things will moderate a DC Beer Week panel discussion with the artists featured in the museum’s exhibit, “The Art of Beer.” Artists Mike Van Hall, Kendra Kuliga, Andy Sides, David Kammerdeiner and Graham Jackson design the labels, posters and logos of area breweries like Aslin Beer Company, 3 Stars Brewing Company, DC Brau Brewing Company, Ocelot Brewing Company and Stillwater Artisanal. Their works will be exhibited in the Heurich House Museum’s Carriage House Gallery from August 3 to September 29. In addition to the program, attendees will be able to view the artists’ works and drink the beers they make famous. Tickets include admission and snacks. Drinks will be available for purchase. 6-8 p.m. Tickets are $15. The Huerich House Museum: 1307 New Hampshire Ave. NW, DC; www.heurichhouse.org
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 22
Dacha Beer Club Tap Challenge
Team Dacha wants YOU to decide which beer will be making their Fall tap line up! The challenge consists of three fall-to-winter style brews and a $7 flight. Brewery reps from each selection will be in the garden handing out swag and playing games to try and win your vote while you taste and cast your ballet! The winner will be announced the following day and added to their Fall draft list. 4-10:30 p.m. Dacha Beer Garden: 1600 7th St. NW, DC; www.dachadc.com
Granville Moore’s Saison-a-thon
Granville Moore’s will be serving a selection of off-menu Saisons from local breweries and the country’s premier Belgian style breweries. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the American Brain Tumor Association. In addition, all week they will be serving the DC Brau Doctor Dubbel Trifecta, exclusive to Granville Moore’s, featuring the following: DC Brau’s Doctor’s Dubbel, Whiskey Barrel Aged Doctor’s Dubbel and Maple Whiskey Barrel Aged Doctor’s Dubbel. 5-11 p.m. Granville Moore’s: 1238 H St. NW, DC; www.granvillemoores.com
DC Brau Brewing/Jameson Game Night at the Eleanor
DC Brau and Jameson will host a Wednesday evening party at the newly opened Eleanor to celebrate their Caskmates partnership! 5-11 p.m. The Eleanor: 100 Florida Avenue NE, DC; www.eleanordc.com
Devils Backbone Tap Takeover at Blackfinn American Grill
Join Blackfinn for a Devils Backbone tap takeover celebrating DC Beer Week! Featuring Vienna Lager, Trail Angel Weiss, Pear Lager and the limited release Revenge of the Mariner-their oak-aged barleywine-while it lasts. 5-8 p.m. Blackfinn American Grill: 1620 I Street NW, DC; www.blackfinnameripub.com/washingtondc
Liquid Integrity and Right Proper Home Brew Contest
As part of DC Beer Week 2018, Home Brewers from around the DMV will unite to see which participant can best replicate Right Proper’s German Style Pilsner Solidarity Brew. 6-9 p.m. Right Proper Brookland Production Facility: 920 Girard St. NE, DC; www.rightproperbrewing.com
THURSDAY, AUGUST 23
Pizza Paradiso’s “Fresh to Death”
The finest and freshest beers of the DMV! They’ll have a full draft line-up at our Dupont location as well as two casks that will have been kegged within one week of the event. Super fresh, super delicious, super local! 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Pizza Paradiso Dupont Circle: 2003 P St. NW, DC; www.eatyourpizza.com
ChurchKey: Do What’s Right: Maine Dinner release + Fundraiser
Join ChurchKey as they host their good friends from Maine Beer Company. On this night, they’ll pour the highly elusive Dinner Double IPA on draft for the very first time in DC, while raising money for the Friends of Katahdin Woods & Waters! Considered one of the best beers in the country, Dinner is Maine Beer Co.’s most coveted release – sold only at the brewery to long lines of loyal fans. This inimitable Imperial IPA is double dry-hopped with Citra, Falconer’s Flight, Mosaic and Simcoe at a rate of 6 lbs. of hops per barrel. Most importantly, ChurchKey will be donating $1 from every Maine beer sold to the Friends of Katahdin Woods & Waters, a non-profit working to preserve 87,562 acres of Maine forest, including more than 30 miles of rivers, streams and crucial wildlife habitats. All Maine beers will be priced individually by the glass and in 4 oz. tasting pours. MAINE BEER COMPANY DINNER TAPPING LIST: A Tiny Beautiful Something (Pale Ale w/ El Dorado), Dinner (Double IPA w/ Citra, Falconer’s Flight, Mosaic & Simcoe), Lunch (IPA w/ Amarillo, Centennial & Simcoe), Mo (Pale Ale w/ Falconer’s Flight & Simcoe), Peeper (Pale Ale w/ Amarillo, Cascade & Centennial) and Woods & Waters (IPA w/ Simcoe, Mosaic, Columbus & Idaho 7). 4-9 p.m. Free admission. ChurchKey: 1337 14th St. NW, DC; www.churchkeydc.com
Beers and Brats at Denizens Brewing Company
Come join us at Denizens Brewing Company on Thursday, August 23rd to have beers, brats, and support the DC Brewers Guild! We are adding Bratwurst to our food menu and we want to launch our new brats during DC Beer Week. For $15 you get a pint of Denizens beer and a bratwurst. A dollar from each purchase will be donated to the DC Brewers Guild. Doors open at 4 pm and the event goes until close. 4-11 p.m. Denizens Brewing Company: 1115 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD; www.denizensbrewingco.com
Sauf Haus Presents Full Tasting Flights
In honor of #DCBeerWeek, Sauf Haus DC will give a *free* tasting flight to anyone who posts a bier photo to Instagram, tagging @SaufHausDC and #BeerWeekDC. Must follow @SaufHausDC on Instagram to be eligible. Bartender on duty will verify via Instagram app on your mobile phone. Must be able to show proof of posting at time of redemption. 4 p.m.-12 a.m. Sauf Haus: 1216 18th St. NW, DC; www.saufhausdc.com
DC Beer Week at Rocklands
Rocklands Alexandria will tap a locally brewed keg and for every beer purchased you receive a complimentary pork egg roll! 5-9 p.m. Rocklands Alexandria: 25 S. Quaker Lane, Alexandria, VA; www.rocklands.com
Roofer’s Union Presents DC Beer Royale
Six of DC’s top breweries will duke it out to determine which brews the “Most Beloved Beer” in the District. $5-$10 donation requested. Proceeds will be donated to charity. 5:30-10:30 p.m. Roofer’s Union: 2446 18th St. NW, DC; www.roofersuniondc.com
The Great Brau Cornholio: Brewers and Barflies Cornhole Tournament
Come join Moreland’s Tavern for a good ole fashion Cornhole tournament! Teams of two, single elimination. Great prizes to be won! Entry fee gets you six DC Brau drafts and entry into the tournament. 6-11 p.m. Tickets are $30. Moreland’s Tavern: 5501 14th St. NW, DC; www.morelandstavern.com
FRIDAY, AUGUST 24
Bluejacket Wedding Ale Release
Bluejacket will be releasing their Wedding Ale to celebrate DC Beer Week. 4-11 p.m. Bluejacket: 300 Tingey St. SE, DC; www.bluejacketdc.com
Devils Backbone Presents Crabs and Beer at Bier Baron
Enjoy Crabs, Devil’s Backbone Striped Bass Pale Ale, and Beers from two local Maryland craft breweries! 4 p.m.-12 a.m. Bier Baron Tavern: 1523 22nd St. NW, DC; www.inlovewithbier.com/Tavern
The Sovereign Presents an Evening with Funkwerks and Co-founder Gordon Schuck
Join The Sovereign as they celebrate DC Beer Week 2018 with their friends from Funkwerks. On this night, they’ll pour eight out-of-market drafts from the Colorado brewery and host co-founder Gordon Schuck! Founded in 2010, Funkwerks is a small, Saison-focused brewery located in Fort Collins, CO. You don’t want to miss this event; these award-winning Belgian-inspired beers are available in DC for a limited time only! Highlights from the list include Sauvin Reserve, a white wine barrel-aged Saison brewed with Nelson Sauvin hops; Saison d’Brett, a Saison aged in oak foeders with Brettanomyces and Tropic King: Apricots, a hoppy Saison infused with apricots. All Funkwerks will be priced individually by the glass and in 4 oz. tasting pours. THE OFFICIAL EVENING W/ FUNKWERKS DRAFT LIST: Pineapple Provincial (Sour Ale w/ Pineapple), Raspberry Provincial (Sour Ale w/ Raspberry), Saison (Saison), Saison d’Brett (Oak BA Saison w/ Brett), Sauvin Reserve (White Wineine BA Saison w/ Nelson Sauvin Hops), Tropic King (Imperial Saison), Tropic King: Apricots (Saison w/ Apricot) and White (Witbier). 5-9 p.m. Free admission. The Sovereign: 1523 22nd St. NW, DC; www.inlovewithbier.com/Tavern
Port City Super Fun Party Time at Cotton & Reed
Join Port City at Cotton & Reed for this collaboration of local beer and spirits! The amazing team at Cotton & Reed will be mixing PCBC brews into their cocktails for the night. This tasty collaboration is back for the second year and promises to be twice as fun! 6-9 p.m. Cotton & Reed: 1330 5th St. NE, DC; www.cottonandreed.com
SATURDAY, AUGUST 25
Flights and Brunch Bites by Brookland’s Finest
Join diners for brunch at Brookland’s Finest Bar and Kitchen for a three-course tasting menu with selected beer pairings. 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Tickets are $35. Brookland’s Finest Bar & Kitchen: 3126 12th St. NE, DC; www.brooklandsfinest.com
City Brew Tours DC Beer Week and BBQ Extravaganza
City Brew Tours DC has partnered with Sloppy Mama’s, bringing you through some of DC’s best breweries during Beer Week, while providing you a guided tour of each brewhouse, with a VIP food pairing at each stop. Beer experts will pick you up and take care of all the driving. You drink, they drive! They will take you to three locations, elaborating on all things beer. When you get to your stops, prepare to take a dive behind the scenes, learning how beer is made at each spot, a little DC beer history, followed with a Sloppy Mamma’s Barbeque pairing at each brewery. Ticket price is all inclusive of guide, transport, flights and food. Bring along some extra cash and your growlers; they’ll have a cooler to keep things cold, but sorry, there’s no drinking on the bus! 11:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Tickets are $105. Pick-Up Location: 801 F St. NW, DC; www.citybrewtours.com
Pizza Paradiso Beer Floats with Ruby Scoops
Satisfy your sweet tooth with some ice cream beer floats with ice cream from Ruby Scoops! They’ll have four distinct ice cream flavors each paired with a beer from their DC brewery friends, DC Brau, Atlas, Right Proper and 3 Stars! They will be offering individual floats for each of the four pairings as well as a flight of four mini floats! 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Pizza Paradiso Georgetown: 3282 M St. NW, DC; www.eatyourpizza.com
Brewers on the Block
Don’t miss out on brews, food, music and more! Buffalo & Bergen and Suburbia are proud to announce the 5th Annual Brewers on the Block. The event at Union Market’s Suburbia will bring together more than 20 of the region’s top breweries, cideries and meaderies along with friends of the block from across the country. 5-9 p.m. Union Market: 1309 5th St. NE, DC; www.unionmarketdc.com
SUNDAY, AUGUST 26
Fire Works Pizza 8th Anniversary Bash and Solidarity Pig Roast
Come help Fire Works celebrate eight amazing years in Courthouse with their Solidarity Pig Roast as part of DC Beer Week. Chef Thomas’ 2nd Annual Pig Roast with Street Corn and Potato Salad. A ticket will get you get all the roast you can handle and a can of either Solidarity Pils, Right Proper Raised by Wolves or Atlas Ponzi IPA. Live music, prizes, games and just an overall awesome time! Rain or Shine! Tickets purchased day of event. 12-8 p.m. Tickets are $20. Fire Works Pizza Arlington: 2350 Clarendon Blvd. Arlington, VA; www.fireworkspizza.com
Record Fair at Right Proper Brookland
Browse through some records while you drink your favorite Right Proper beer! They’ll have some of the best record vendors in the region here along with a tie dye t-shirt station, live music and tasty treats from Nomad Dumplings. 12-5 p.m. Right Proper Brookland Production Facility: 920 Girard St. NE, DC; www.rightproperbrewing.com
Listings provided by DC Beer Week, visit the website here.
National Night Out in Mount Vernon Triangle was a success with free live music from Justin Trawick & The Common Good, free food tastings from surrounding neighborhood restaurants, and kids activities such as a moon bounce, face painting and corn hole. Photos: Mike Kim
Each Wednesday evening this summer at The Wharf, you’ll hear live music on Transit Pier presented by Landshark Lager, and this week’s featured band was pop and R&B group Pebble to Pearl.
Every Friday evening, the Capitol Riverfront BID features live musicians such as energetic bluegrass band Trailer Grass Orchestra at Yards Park with ice old Corona and wine at the outdoor tented bar, and last week’s special show included a Pacifico airstream. Photos: LAFlicks Photography
The Wharf celebrated the 30th Anniversary of Shark Week at Shark Bites & Brews on Transit Pier with a mechanical shark and other shark themed games.. The 7 Deadlies played upbeat rock hits and the Transit Pier beer garden poured shark themed brews. Photos: John Gervasi
Swig the last gulps of refreshing summer sours and get ready for fresh autumn brews recommended by some of our favorite local retailers. If you’re not too pumped about pumpkin ales, there are plenty of other familiar flavors brewed or sold locally – from sweet beers with hints of pecan, yams or coffee to malty Belgians and crisp brut IPAs. And don’t worry, you won’t have to give up sours completely, with some fall-forward fruit options on the horizon. Learn more about what’s hot for fall from these beer experts.Julie Drews and Beth Helle
Co-Owners, The Brew Shop
On Tap: What beers are you looking forward to stocking in fall?
Beth Helle: One thing we love to do in the fall is create our own pumpkin patch, which is our own in-house, mixed six different pumpkin beers. It allows customers to have their pumpkin fix and to try a bunch of different ones without committing to a full six-pack.
OT: Which local brands are popular sellers in the fall?
Julie Drews: Port City’s Oktoberfest is always a big hit. Old Ox does a can, which is somewhat unique.
BH: Three Notch’d always does well. They always hit us up with amazing seasonals. Their seasonal gose will be pomegranate during [fall]. It’s fun to see the sour trend continuing over the fall. I’m sure that it’ll continue to be popular with the changing of fruits for the season.
OT: What brands will you have on tap?
BH: We always have a dedicated sour line, and that will continue all year. We’ll be shifting our fruited sours to more fall-forward fruits. I also think we’ll have an opportunity to play around with more brut beers versus true sours. As we move into the cooler weather, we can play around with a little more funk on that sour line.
The Brew Shop: 2004 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA; www.arlbrew.comErika Goedrich
Owner, Craft Beer Cellars
OT: When people think fall, they often think pumpkin. Is there another top flavor people overlook?
Erika Goedrich: 3 Stars’ Southern Belle imperial brown ale is year-round now, but that’s a good fall drink. Abita comes out with a pecan harvest at that time. There are different pecan beers available that I think are good for that time of year.
OT: Is there a summer beer that you think people can still enjoy in the fall?
EG: I feel like DC summers go into the fall, so are you going by weather or calendar year? [Laughs] I drink lagers and pilsners year-round – for me that’s great. The Old Pro from Union [Craft Brewing] is a gose that our customers can’t seem to get enough of. That one’s technically a summer seasonal. It goes until September I think; it’s a gose-style, which is a salt-forward sour. Again, people are looking for that year-round.
Craft Beer Cellar: 301 H St. NE, DC; https://dc.craftbeercellar.comSean Michaels and Josh Whisenant
Society fulfillment associates, The Bruery Store
On Tap: What Bruery flavors are on-trend for fall?
Sean Michaels: We actually have fall beers we carry year-round. We use a lot of yam and spices like cinnamon – a lot of the beers for fall are darker.
Josh Whisenant: I don’t think we have a specific “every fall we produce this beer” apart from The Bruery’s flagship beer, which is called Black Tuesday and comes out every October.
OT: What is your favorite fall beer crafted by The Bruery?
JW: We have so many different beers that come in every month. I really do like Autumn Maple; I think it’s a wonderful beer. It’s easy to drink and it’s not super heavy.
SM: I would probably go for the So Happens It’s Tuesday or [something] with coffee. It’s just a heavier, darker style that kind of gives you that fall feeling. But don’t get me wrong – you can drink it year-round.
The Bruery: 513 Morse St. NE, DC; www.thebruery.comTristan Walton
Store manager, Schneider’s of Capitol Hill
On Tap: What are some hot sellers for fall?
Tristan Walton: I’m always a big fan of the traditional German Oktoberfest – Hacker-Pschorr, Paulaner. Those are always the biggest sellers for me, the traditional styles.
OT: What about the best summer-to-fall flavor transition?
TW: You can do like a nice amber, like Chin Music from Center of the Universe [Brewing Company] is a good one. So, [beers] keeping in the amber themes.
OT: Your personal fall favorite?
TW: During the fall, I always enjoy a good Schlafly pumpkin [ale].
Schneider’s of Capitol Hill: 300 Massachusetts Ave. NE, DC; www.cellar.comShawntel Pike
Assistant manager, Total Wine Alexandria
On Tap: Tell us about your favorite fall seasonals.
Shawntel Pike: I like a lot of the more Belgian-style dark beers. Hardywood will start putting out some really nice stuff [for fall]. They do some nice Belgian-style, and they will start doing some barrel-aged, darker stuff in the fall, but they’re still on the lighter side now. I like their peach one now. I like fruity flavors for fall; I don’t think people really look for them, but I like them. Blackbeard’s Breakfast by Heavy Seas is really good – it’s very dark and boozy.
OT: What are some of your best-selling beers?
SP: I know we do really well with the pumpkin beers. They’re really popular, but those will die off around Thanksgiving. As far as the rest of the fall beers, they’re just all over the place depending on what people are looking for. Schlafly flies out of here.
OT: What do you feature in the growler station during the fall?
SP: I try to feature different beers all the time because we don’t want to do the same beers over and over – people get burnt out that way. We tend to have a couple of IPAs on tap. We’ll have a couple of darker beers like a stout or a porter. We normally keep a sour on tap, and we’ll do a couple of pale, golden wheat-style ales.
Total Wine Alexandria: 6240 Little River Turnpike, Alexandria, VA; www.totalwine.com
Lauren Winter and Sebastian Zutant are the real definition of a DC power couple, and they are far, far away from politics. Winter is the studio head for Edit Lab at Streetsense, and the creative mind behind a slew of the District’s most eye-catching restaurant layouts. Meanwhile Zutant has risen the ranks in area restaurants, leading the wine program at Proof and beverage resurgence at Rasika and opening popular spots Komi in Dupont and Red Hen in Bloomingdale. Now, the husband-wife team has joined forces to open French bistro and wine bar Primrose in Brookland, the up-and-coming neighborhood they call home. From the light and whimsical décor and disarming appeal to the unique natural wine selection and insanely talented French chef, Primrose is once again putting this couple at the top of their game. On Tap interviewed the duo on their inspiration for the charming neighborhood spot, upcoming projects and their must-haves (an obscenely priced espresso machine is on the list!)
On Tap: What brought about the concept for Primrose? Was it a specific influence or feeling of something missing in the area?
Sebastian Zutant: Originally, it was going to be a Mediterranean or Moroccan-influenced restaurant with a wine bar aspect, but I was having a hard time verbalizing my own concept, which seems odd. And then I was just thinking about it, and thought, “I’m a sommelier, and no one does wine better than France and no one does food or cheese better.” The fashion is pretty dope, so I said to Lauren, “What about French?” and she was all about it too, so we changed the concept.
Lauren Winter: I’ve always thrived on discovering what is missing in neighborhoods and pairing restaurant/bar owners with areas that might suit them. Opening a restaurant among the already established neighborhood restaurants and bars of Brookland was a recommendation from a friend who owns a nearby restaurant, saying our concept would be a welcome addition.
OT: Why Brookland and what does Primrose bring to the neighborhood?
LW: Brookland has always been special to us because our kids go to school in that neighborhood and we recently moved there to be close to the school. We think the natural wine focus and French food fills a gap in Brookland. The corner lot was ideal and having operable windows on two sides was the main draw to the space. The size, location and space just seemed too perfect for what we wanted, so we couldn’t pass it up.
SZ: We love the neighborhood. We live there – it’s quirky and super artsy with funky houses and the people that live there are super neat. We just wanted to bring a cool neighborhood wine bar and bistro [to the area]. Ultimately, our goal was to open a little wine bar, but fortunately the space is larger than a wine bar. We are trying to keep it humble [with] a neighborhood vibe, so anyone feels they can walk in any time of day or night and grab a glass of wine and pâté and be on their way or stick around and relax.
OT: What is the daily grind like for you all?
LW: Sebastian does the day-to-day in the restaurant with our amazing management team. I still hold my day job in the design world and try to do some upkeep for the restaurant on the weekends relative to the furniture, lighting and plants. With two little boys, keeping our private lives busy, it’s important to balance out home and work life.
OT: What makes Primrose stand out from other wine bars? What is distinct about it?
SZ: I would argue right off the bat that the physical presence of the place is very different. Lauren really knocked this one out of the park. Everyone focuses on the feathers and chandeliers, but for me, it’s that turquoise back bar that sets it apart. You walk in and it’s a breath of fresh air in terms of overall design. And 90 percent of our wine list is natural – the grapes are grown organically . [It is] minimalist winemaking to its cleanest core that doesn’t take anything out of the wine. And our chef definitely sets it apart. He was at The French Laundry [in California] a couple years ago and cooked at Daniel [in NYC] for a year and has some serious chops.
LW: Sebastian has always looked to push the envelope, offering wines that are reasonable priced and accessible. I think the most unique aspect is that we feature the Lightwell Survey Wines that Sebastian and his partners make locally.
A really good wine key
Properly temped wine refrigerators
A stereo system that only functions on one channel, so I can literally plug in my phone and press play
An espresso machine that I spent an ungodly amount of money on, and my partners and wife were like, “Wtf?” and I said, “This thing is amazing, and it will keep me running forever.”
Respect for different types of people and personalities
A familial atmosphere with great lighting
Wine poured at the proper temperature
A maintenance program
Plenty of laughter, like the loud belly laugh or snort that you sort of get embarrassed about (but not really)
OT: Sebastian, how does Primrose play a role in the evolution of wine drinking in the area?
SZ: I think we are in the chat when it comes to best wine bars in the city. It’s a fun, small crowd of wine bars and we all vibe together and know each other. My style is very different than everyone else’s – totally left of center. I’m selling a sauvignon blanc that is nothing like a sauvignon blanc. It’s funky and really rich. I have a fun staff that gets really nerdy and excited about wine who thinks that is so cool, and I educated my staff to educate the consumer. Our approach is more about information and changing people’s minds.
OT: Lauren, tell us about the fantastic design of Primrose and how it came about?
LW: The space was naturally light and airy, so there was no way to fight that with anything dark or heavy. We pulled a lot from our visit to France – items like the entryway with the restaurant’s name and logo – and the zinc bar was a must-have statement piece that we fell in love with when in little Paris bistros. There are other items that aren’t specifically French, but a nod to French design: the ostrich feather chandeliers, the floor-to-ceiling graphic wall covering and tiles in the restroom, and the Haint blue bar, which was pulled from the French side of New Orleans porches.
OT: Any projects coming up that you can tell us about?
SZ: Lightwell Survey will be doing a collaboration with Right Proper Brewing, where we will take the yeast from the wine and age one of the beers on it and then do a riesling/beer mash-up. Expect that to come out some time in September. And we’ve got some other projects in the works but can’t talk about that just yet.
Learn more about Primrose at www.primrosedc.com.
Primrose: 3000 12th St. NE, DC; 202-248-4558; www.primrosedc.com