Miguel at The Anthem

Miguel performed at The Anthem on September 4 as part of The Ascension Tour. Photos: K Gabrielle Photography

Photo: DJ Glisson II
Photo: DJ Glisson II

Distilling in the DMV: A Guide to Local Distilleries

It’s almost that time of year: the leaves start to change color, the days get shorter and people break out their sweaters for the first time in months. The glorious season that is autumn is returning. If you’re like us, you’ve been avoiding as many outdoor activities in the sweltering heat as possible. The good news is cooler days are soon to come, which means it’s time to venture outdoors and check out one of the many distilleries throughout the DMV.

If you’re a spirits lover or just looking to change up your usual brewery or winery outing, our list below has a distillery for everyone. From Green Hat Gin at New Columbia Distillers to Cigar Blend Bourbon at Jos. A. Magnus & Co., the options are endless. Whether you’re in the mood to visit a bustling, urban distillery like Founding Spirits or the scenic countryside at Springfield Manor, check out what the DC area and beyond has to offer. So pick a spot, kick back and relax this fall with a refreshing drink.

Catoctin Creek1Catoctin Creek Distilling Company
120 W. Main St. Purcellville, VA
540-751-8404 | www.catoctincreekdistilling.com
Approaching a decade in business, Catoctin Creek Distilling Company was founded by husband and wife duo Becky and Scott Harris in historic downtown Purcellville, Virginia. As the first legal distillery since prohibition in Virginia’s Loudoun County, Catoctin Creek honors the agrarian character of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the heritage of Virginia distilling. The Harris’ source local and organic ingredients to craft a variety of small-batch spirits, including their flagship Roundstone Rye, which holds distinction as Virginia’s most awarded whisky. For more information, including tasting and tours, visit Catoctin Creek online.

Copper Fox1Copper Fox Distillery
901 Capitol Landing Rd. Williamsburg, VA
540-987-8554 | www.copperfoxdistillery.com
Copper Fox Distillery was founded by Rick Wasmund in 2005 with the idea of making whisky differently. At Copper Fox, they start from scratch – floor-malting locally grown barley, flavoring the grain with a variety of fruitwood smoke, then aging and finishing with a progressive series of hand toasted wood chips in used bourbon barrels. Visit them at one, or both of their unique locations and experience the whisky making process first hand. Their Sperryville distillery is housed in a rustic converted cider mill in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains just seven miles from the Thornton River Gap entrance to Shenandoah National Park. Or visit their newest location and experience the transformation of the former Lord Paget motel complex in Virginia’s Historic Triangle, located one-half mile from the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center. They invite you to tour, taste and experience the flavor journey that never ends.

Dida's Distillery1Dida’s Distillery & Rappahannock Cellars
14437 Hume Rd. Huntly, VA
540-635-9398 | www.didasdistillery.com
Gold-medal winning spirits made 100 percent from grape, Dida’s distill their vodka, brandy and gin from their Virginia wines, made at their Virginia farm winery and distillery – Rappahannock Cellars and Dida’s Distillery. Rated “Virginia Brandy Distillery of the Year” by the New York Intl. Spirits Competition, they’re located seven miles south of Front Royal on Route 522, a short one-hour drive from DC/NoVA. Come experience their world-class wines, spirits and craft cocktails all in the same building. Plan a day trip to visit other nearby wineries, distilleries, breweries, the Skyline Drive and other local attractions.

Dragon Distillery1Dragon Distillery
1341 Hughes Ford Rd. Suite 108, Frederick, MD
888-678-3724 | www.dragondistillery.com
Visit Frederick, Maryland to experience the unique distillery that is Dragon Distillery. With a large product portfolio, there is certainly something for everyone, including several flagships like Basilisk Bourbon, Dragon Dog Rye, Fannie Tutt Lemon Meringue Moonshine and Canned Cocktails. Dragon is Frederick’s first and largest distillery and records a number of other firsts, including Maryland’s first distillery/brewery collaboration (with Flying Dog Brewery) and Maryland’s first canned cocktails. There is ample free parking and Dragon Distillery can be found directly across from Frederick’s Airport.

Falls Church DistillersFalls Church Distillers
442 S. Washington St. Suite A, Falls Church, VA
703-858-9186 | www.FCDistillers.com
You strive to live life to the fullest and demand satisfaction from all you experience, you yearn to breathe everything deeply into your soul and appreciate the resulting sensations – this is how the Paluzzi family lives and how they distill their spirits. Their spirits are meant to be sipped, with each drop lingering on the pallet for a fully enjoyable sensation. Falls Church Distillers is an award-winning distillery located in the Virginia suburbs just outside of the nation’s capital. As a uniquely licensed distillery, you are invited to stay awhile, enjoy a wonderful meal, plentiful and varied libations and all in the craft environment that is a small batch distillery.

Founding Spirits1Founding Spirits
600 Massachusetts Ave. NW, DC
202-798-6007 | www.foundingspirits.com
Founding Spirits is an award-winning distillery located in the heart of the nation’s capital. Enjoy a special sneak peek into their small-batch distilling process every Saturday with tours and tastes which include behind-the-scenes of the distillery itself along with tastes of their spirits. As Founding Spirits distillery is located within Farmers & Distillers restaurant, they encourage you to stay for a meal in the main dining room before or after your tour.

Jos A Magnus1Jos. A. Magnus & Co.
2052 West Virginia Ave. NE, DC
202-450-3518 | www.josephmagnus.com
In 1892, Joseph Alexander Magnus set out to create the world’s greatest whiskeys, gins and other spirits through the founding of Jos. A. Magnus & Co., and in doing so, became one of the most successful pre-prohibition spirits producers in the nation. Joseph Magnus silenced his stills when Prohibition came knocking until a bottle of 122-year-old bourbon was discovered by Joseph’s great grandson. The journey then began to bring back “remarkable spirits for remarkable people.” Proudly re-established in 2015 in DC, Jos. A. Magnus & Co. produces award winning bourbon, gin and vodka and has garnered the nation’s top awards including 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition double gold medals for Joseph Magnus Cigar Blend Bourbon and Murray Hill Club Blended Bourbon, 2018 American Distilling Institute Gold Medal for Joseph Magnus Cigar Blend Bourbon and 2018 World’s Best Navy by World Gin Awards for Vigilant Navy Strength Gin.

KO Distilling1KO Distilling
10381 Central Park Dr. Suite 105, Manassas, VA
571-292-1115 | www.kodistilling.com
Located in the historic City of Manassas, Virginia, KO Distilling operates a 30-foot tall continuous column still and a 550-gallon pot-and-column still to produce an award-winning portfolio of whiskey, bourbon and gin. Visitors can tour KO Distilling’s state-of-the-art distilling plant and barrel room, enjoy spirit tastings in their beautiful copper and oak themed tasting room and purchase bottles for offsite consumption. Their flagships include Bare Knuckle Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Bare Knuckle Straight Wheat Whiskey, Bare Knuckle Straight Rye Whiskey, Bare Knuckle American Whiskey, Battle Standard 142 Navy Strength Gin, Battle Standard 142 Standard Strength Gin and Battle Standard 142 Barrel Finished Gin. Looking to host an event? You can also rent KO Distilling’s Banquet Hall for your next get-together. Come on by, it’s worth the visit.

MISCellaneous1MISCellaneous Distillery
114 South Main St. Mount Airy, MD
240-394-6472 | www.miscdistillery.com
MISCellaneous Distillery is an artisan distillery located on Main Street in historic downtown Mount Airy, Maryland. Their bottles are filled with only the best, using ingredients grown on local farms, milled on stone mills from the 1800s and using techniques that invite conversation. Their flagships include Risky Rum, Dew Point Rum, Popi’s Finest Rum, Restless Rye Whisky, Diametric Rye Whisky, Gertrude’s 100% Rye Whisky, Virtuous Vodka and Gregarious Gin and have won numerous awards including for the 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition where their Risky Rum was awarded gold, Dew Point Rum was awarded silver and their Restless Rye Whisky was awarded bronze. In lieu of charging for tours and tastings, they ask for a $5 donation that they pass along to a nonprofit partner. They also work with a new partner each quarter, raising funds and awareness of the important work of these organizations. Come by and taste what MISCellaneous is all about.

MurLarkey1MurLarkey Distilled Spirits
7961 Gainsford Ct. Bristow, VA
571-284-7961 | www.murlarkey.com
Starting with a meager 23-gallon copper still and a dream, second generation Irish-American cousins Tom Murray and Mike Larkin set out to create a legacy when they established MurLarkey. Distilled in traditional, small-batch, artisan fashion, their spirits are recognized and certified by the American Distilling Institute. Today, MurLarkey produces vodka, gin, aged whiskey and eight types of 100 percent all-natural infused flavored whiskeys including banana, orange, lemon, cinnamon, coffee, cocoa, honey and Three Tea. Based in Prince William Country, they also have locations in DC, Baltimore and Northern Virginia. They also invite spirit lovers to come take a tour of their distillery, sample their spirits and learn about the distilling process.

New Columbia Distillers bottles1New Columbia Distillers
1832 Fenwick St. NE, DC

202-733-1710 | www.greenhatgin.com
New Columbia Distillers invites you to kick back and relax with a handmade cocktail while listening to vinyl in their working industrial atmosphere. They encourage a friendly and relaxed atmosphere where you can enjoy any number of their flagship offerings including Green Hat Gin, Green Hat Spring/Summer Gin, Green Hat Fall/Winter Gin (“Ginavit”), Green Hat Navy Strength Gin, New Columbia Summer Cup, Capitoline White, Rose and Dry Vermouths. New Columbia have also won numerous awards for their spirits including a gold medal (SF World Spirits Competition) for their Spring/Summer Gin, a silver medal (Intl Review of Spirits) for their Green Hat Gin, a silver medal (American Craft Spirits Assn.) for their Fall/Winter Gin and a Best of Category (American Distilling Inst.) for their Navy Strength Gin. There is no charge for tastings or tours.

Springfield Manor1Springfield Manor Winery Distillery Brewery
11836 Auburn Rd. Thurmont, MD
301-271-0099 | www.springfieldmanor.com
Springfield Manor is a 135-acre estate with a convenient route 15 location that backs up to Cunningham Falls for great hiking and recreation. This country inn hosts weddings and seated events for 300 guests, overnight stays and much more. Completing the scenery are lavender fields and crops of corn for crafting farm-to-glass bourbon and rye. When you’re done taking in the natural beauty, visit their restored barn tasting room for intimate indoor and terrace seating. Their flagships include six seasonal craft beers, 12 awarded wines, they’ve been voted Frederick County’s best distillery and are a San Francisco double gold winner for their lavender gin, lavender vodka, straight bourbon, Maryland rye, rum and brandy. Come to taste, stay to enjoy wine, beer, spirit tastings, live music and food.

Virago black background1_650Virago Spirits
1727 Rhoadmiller St. Richmond, VA
804-355-8746 | viragospirits.com
Visit the Virago Spirits distillery store in Richmond, Virginia for a taste of craft cocktails and experimental offerings. They specialize in classically inspired, creatively interpreted spirits, focusing on rum, gin, brandy and herbal liqueurs. Their tour features a direct-fire, 2,500-liter Charentais-style alembic still – one of only a few operating in the United States. They also blend a deep respect for time-honored, traditional production techniques with New World creativity, ingenuity and innovation. On a tour, you’ll sample Virago’s signature Four-Port Rum with wonderful, complex and bold notes of vanilla and spice, leading to cascading waves of fig, dried coconut and crème brûlée, culminating in a pleasantly lingering, smoky finish. Virago is open to the public on Thursdays from 3-7 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays 3-9 p.m., and Sunday 12-5 p.m.

Virginia Distillery Co.Virginia Distillery Co.
299 Eades Ln. Lovingston, VA
434-285-2900 | www.vadistillery.com
Virginia Distillery Company is an American single malt whisky distillery located in Central Virginia. Courage & Conviction, their American single malt whisky product, is currently being produced onsite using malted barley from the U.S. and water from Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. The target release date is spring 2020. While it ages, enjoy their Virginia-Highland Whisky series, made from 100 percent malted barley. Virginia Distillery Company marries single malt whisky made onsite in Virginia with aged malt whisky from Scotland. A focus on cask finishing adds depth and complexity. Their visitors center is open for tours and tastings daily. The Virginia Whisky Experience Tour takes you behind the scenes to learn how whisky is made from start to finish.

A. Smith Bowman Distillery: Fredericksburg, Virginia; www.asmithbowman.com

Belle Isle Moonshine: Richmond, Virginia; www.belleislecraftspirits.com

Belmont Farm Distillery: Culpeper, Virginia; www.belmontfarmdistillery.com

Blackwater Distilling: Stevensville, Maryland; www.blackwaterdistilling.com

Bloomery Plantation Distillery: Charles Town, West Virginia; www.bloomerysweetshine.com

Blue Dyer Distilling Co.: Waldorf, Maryland; www.bluedyerdistilling.com

Cirrus Vodka: Richmond, Virginia; www.cirrusvodka.com

Cotton & Reed: Northeast DC; www.cottonandreed.com

District Distilling Co.: Northwest DC; www.district-distilling.com

Don Ciccio & Figli: Northwest DC; www.donciccioefigli.com

Faulkner Branch Cidery & Distilling Co.: Federalsburg, Maryland; www.faulknerbranch.com

Filibuster Distillery: Maurertown, Virginia; www.filibusterbourbon.com

George Washington’s Distillery and Gristmill: Mount Vernon, Virginia; www.mountvernon.org/the-estate-gardens/distillery-gristmill

Gray Wolf Craft Distilling: Saint Michaels, Maryland; www.graywolfcraftdistilling.com

James River Distillery: Richmond, Virginia; www.jrdistillery.com

Lost Ark Distilling: Columbia, Maryland; www.lostarkdistilling.com

Lyon Distilling Company: Saint Michaels, Maryland; www.lyondistilling.com

McClintock Distilling: Frederick, Maryland; www.mcclintockdistilling.com

Mt. Defiance Cidery & Distillery: Middleburg, Virginia; www.mtdefiance.com

Old Line Spirits: Baltimore, Maryland; www.oldlinespirits.com

One Eight Distilling: Northeast DC; www.oneeightdistilling.com

Patapsco Distilling Company: Sykesville, Maryland; www.patapscodistilling.com

Ragged Branch: Charlottesville, Virginia; www.raggedbranch.com

Reservoir Distilling: Richmond, Virginia; www.reservoirdistillery.com

Sagamore Spirit Distillery: Baltimore, Maryland; www.sagamorespirit.com

Silverback Distillery: Afton, Virginia; www.sbdistillery.com

Skipjack Distilleries: Annapolis, Maryland; www.facebook.com/SkipjackDistill

Spirit Lab Distilling: Charlottesville, Virginia; www.spiritlabdistilling.com

Tenth Ward Distilling Company: Frederick, Maryland; www.tenthwarddistilling.com

Twin Valley Distillers: Rockville, Maryland; www.twinvalleydistillers.com

Vitae Spirits Distillery: Charlottesville, Virginia; www.vitaespirits.com

White Tiger Distillery: Forest Hill, Maryland; www.squareup.com/store/white-tiger-distillery-llc

Woods Mill Distillery: Faber, Virginia; www.facebook.com/WoodsMillDistillery

Truxton Inn

Brilliant Bourbon: A Go-To Guide for Bourbon in the District

Happy National Bourbon Heritage Month to all you bourbon drinkers out there. We have set out to celebrate this month in style, with everything from exclusive interviews with Buffalo Trace Distillery’s CEO and master distiller to a comprehensive list of the best places to drink bourbon in DC (see below). We even featured Pearl Dive Oyster Palace’s Bardstown Derby on our cover, a fruity cocktail made with Buffalo Trace bourbon. Whether you’re a longtime imbiber of American whiskey or you’re looking to change up your usual drink order, you’re bound to find something that will excite your taste buds in the District.

Acadiana: 901 New York Ave. NW, DC; www.acadianarestaurant.com

b DC Penn Quarter: 801 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, DC; www.burgersbeerbourbon.com

Barley Mac: 1600 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA; www.barleymacva.com

Barrel: 613 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, DC; www.barreldc.com

Basin Street Lounge: 219 King St. Alexandria, VA; www.219restaurant.com

Black Jack: 1612 14th St. NW, DC; www.blackjackdc.com

Black Whiskey: 1410 14th St. NW, DC; www.blackwhiskeydc.com

BLT Steak: 1625 I St. NW, DC; www.bltrestaurants.com

Blue Duck Tavern: 1201 24th St. NW, DC; www.hyatt.com/corporate/restaurants/blue-duck-tavern/en/blue-duck-tavern-home.html

Boundary Stone Public House: 116 Rhode Island Ave. NW, DC; www.boundarystonedc.com

Bourbon: 2321 18th St. NW, DC; www.bourbondc.com

Bourbon Steak: 2800 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, DC; www.fourseasons.com/washington/dining/restaurants/bourbon_steak

Civil Cigar Lounge: 5335 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC; www.civillounge.com

Copperwood Tavern – Shirlington: 4021 Campbell Ave. Arlington, VA; www.copperwoodtavern.com

Crimson Whiskey Bar: 627 H St. NW, DC; www.crimson-dc.com

Denson Liquor Bar: 600 F St. NW, DC; www.densondc.com

The Dignitary: 901 Massachusetts Ave. NW, DC; www.marriott.com/hotel-restaurants/wasco-marriott-marquis-washington-dc/the-dignitary/5641402/home-page.mi

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

Dram & Grain: 2007 18th St. NW, DC; www.facebook.com/DramandGrain

The Gibson: 2009 14th St. NW, DC; www.thegibsondc.com

Harold Black: 212 7th St. SE, DC; www.haroldblackdc.com

Hill Prince: 1337 H St. NE, DC; www.hillprince.com

Jack Rose Dining Saloon: 2007 18th St. NW, DC; www.jackrosediningsaloon.com

Kelly’s Irish Times: 14 F St. NW, DC; www.kellysirishtimesdc.com

Little Miss Whiskey’s Golden Dollar: 1104 H St. NE, DC; www.littlemisswhiskeys.com

Lost & Found: 1240 9th St. NW, DC; www.lostandfounddc.com

McClellan’s Retreat: 2031 Florida Ave. NW, DC; www.mcclellansretreat.com

The Next Whiskey Bar: 2650 Virginia Ave. NW, DC; www.thewatergatehotel.com/the-next-whisky-bar

Occidental: 1475 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, DC; www.occidentaldc.com

The Partisan: 709 D St. NW, DC; www.thepartisandc.com

36_Bourbon_BleedFeatured Spot: Penny Whisky Bar
618 H St. Suite 200, NW, DC; 202-802-5125; www.pennywhiskybar.com
Seductively looming above H Street in the heart of Chinatown, the Penny Whisky Bar is a breath of life found in a building you’ve been walking by for years. With an exclusive whisky list and the caliber of bartending mastery that has made Washington, DC a national destination, Penny Whisky Bar is going to be your first thought for happy hour and the last name you’ll ever need to learn for quality cocktails way beyond whisky.

The Pig: 1320 14th St. NW, DC; www.thepigdc.com

Prequel: 919 19th St. NW, DC; www.prequelrestaurant.com

Reliable Tavern: 3655 Georgia Ave. NW, DC; www.reliable-tavern.com

Root Cellar Whiskey Bar: 515 15th St. NW, DC; www.pineadc.com/rootcellar

The Royal: 501 Florida Ave. NW, DC; www.theroyaldc.com

The Rye Bar: 1050 31st St. NW, DC; www.rosewoodhotels.com/en/washington-dc/dining/the-rye-bar

Shelly’s Back Room: 1331 F St. NW, DC; www.shellysbackroom.com

Smoke & Barrel: 2471 18th St. NW, DC; www.smokeandbarreldc.com

Takoda: 715 Florida Ave. NW, DC; www.takodadc.com

Truxton Inn1Featured Spot: Truxton Inn
251 Florida Ave. NW, DC; 202-733-4952; www.truxtoninndc.com
Truxton Inn, located in Bloomingdale, is the neighborhood’s premier cocktail bar. Offering original and classic cocktails, they also carry seasonal wines and a few select beers. Their happy hour specials are $6 Old Fashioneds, $5 house red and white wines, and $3 Narragansett cans offered all day on Monday and open until 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Other daily specials include $10 original cocktails on Sundays, seasonal beer-and-shot combinations on Tuesdays and half-priced wine bottles on Wednesdays. Enjoy your drink and company at the bar, at one of the tables inside or outside on the brand-new patio.


Photo: Only Todd
Photo: Only Todd

Sugar, Spice and Everything Nice: Inside Hatchie’s Sunny Debut EP

Do you remember the first time you kissed someone you were really crazy about? The kind of kiss leaving both of you a little unsure of yourselves, but nevertheless smiling after with your stomach fluttering? That’s what it feels like to listen to a Hatchie song. Well, on first play, that is.

It’s easy to get caught up in the warmth radiating from Hatchie’s music, but underneath that instrumental layer of dream pop sunshine are lyrics that often tell a story of uncertainty, remorse and feeling forgotten. It would seem right that her debut EP is named Sugar & Spice, a phrase that acknowledges sweetness can have a bite and upbeat music and melancholy lyrics can mix into something quite nice.

But an EP and accompanying North American tour – including a stop at DC9 Nightclub on Friday, September 7 – are not the only firsts for her; Hatchie is Australian singer and bassist Harriette Pilbeam’s first venture into solo artist territory.

Pilbeam wasn’t always so sure she could make a career out of music. In 2016, the then 23-year old was mostly playing in friends’ bands while she completed her degree in creative industries.

“It was a pretty unhappy time in my life,” Pilbeam confesses. “I wasn’t really doing anything that I wanted to do.”

During this time she wrote “Try,” a song she says is partially about her, but also about a friend and the idea of lifting someone’s spirit while pushing them forward.

A year later, with the encouragement of friends, Pilbeam uploaded “Try” to triple j Unearthed – basically an Australian Bandcamp. Shortly after uploading it into the world, the synth-layered, effervescent song about a relationship on the verge of falling apart catapulted into the top five songs on triple j, followed by a barrage of attention from the music industry.

Pilbeam eventually found happiness again and had the chance to dive into various new experiences that were a result of releasing “Try.” Using this period as inspiration – and influenced by shoegaze and dream pop acts like Cocteau Twins, The Sundays, Wild Nothing and Kylie Minogue – Pilbeam wrote the five songs that comprise Sugar & Spice, released in May of this year.

“Try” is easily the most popular song off the EP, but other tunes like the shimmering, sun-drenched “Sure” and “Bad Guy,” a track where the protagonist and her lover try to hash out their problems, also stand out.

While Pilbeam says the EP is mostly about the roller-coaster emotions of romantic relationships, a lot of her music explores other people’s experiences, as well as the feelings of uncertainty and growing into a young adult.

Looking back at all that has happened since the release of Sugar & Spice, Pilbeam reflected on how she has grown from the girl who needed encouragement to upload “Try” into someone eager to find her own way.

“I realized that I can be a lot more independent than I thought I could,” Pilbeam says. “A lot of things that really scared me a few years ago, don’t need to scare me so much anymore.”

And she isn’t done growing yet, she acknowledges. That includes fine-tuning her music and learning what she likes an doesn’t like. Already at work on her new album, Pilbeam says she’s taking it in a different direction from her EP; the same pop-structures will be in place but there could be new sounds like industrial tones and more refined, slower music.

But for right now, Pilbeam’s just looking forward to enjoying her first North American tour, including a “proper” visit to DC (not counting a quick day visit as a teen) to play at DC9.

“I’m really excited that I get to be able to come to places like DC,” Pilbeam says. “I never thought everything would fall into place, especially not this fast. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Catch Hatchie on Friday, September 7 at DC9 Nightclub. Doors open at 7 p.m. and show starts at 7:30 p.m. Distant Creatures open. Tickets start at $13. For more information on Hatchie, visit www.hatchie.net.

DC9 Nightclub: 1940 9th St. NW, DC; 202-483-5000; www.dc9.club

Artwork: Courtesy of Shakespeare Theatre Company
Artwork: Courtesy of Shakespeare Theatre Company

STC Opens 2018 Season with Slapstick Farce The Comedy of Errors

The gang is back together may not be the first phrase that comes to mind when describing a collective of esteemed players teeming with talent who’ve reassembled for Shakespeare Theatre Company’s season opener. But when speaking with director Alan Paul about his casting decisions for The Comedy of Errors, it sounds more like a family reunion than a formal process.

“It feels like a family of people,” he says. “I think the secret of the show is that when you get people that know each other, as well as this group knows each other and has that level of comfort and trust, it’s so much easier to be funny and collaborate.”

STC’s associate artistic director saw the remounting of this early Shakespeare comedy, also part of the company’s 2005-2006 season, as “a joyful way to bring back a lot of people that I have loved and that have been important to the audience.” Paul is particularly sentimental about the start of this season as it marks artistic director Michael Kahn’s last one with the company after 32 years. To him, it only seemed fitting to bring together some of the actors Kahn handpicked over the years to celebrate his storied career.

Paul’s production of The Comedy of Errors, at Lansburgh Theatre from September 25 to October 28, is a madcap comedy about identical twin brothers who have been separated. One brother goes on a seven-year journey to find the other, and ultimately all hell breaks loose in some absurd cases of mistaken identity. While meant to make you laugh, the director says the premise of the play is actually not funny.

“If you think about the need to find your other half, it’s an extraordinary way to begin the play,” he says. “There’s such a depth to it. I hope I capture something that is deep and real about what happens to these people, because I think the end of the play should make you cry. I just feel that underneath the comedy of this play is something really real that motivates it.”

Paul’s connection to the play goes one level deeper, as he too is a twin. He says the remarkable thing about twins is you’re always at the exact same level of development as another person. Even now as adults, he and his sister understand each other in a way that’s completely foreign to the outside world.

“It’s such an interesting play, and I think I understand it on a deep level because I’m a twin. The dramaturg [Dr. Drew Lichtenberg] who helped me put the script together is also a twin. So we have two sets of twins working on the show.”

Beyond the twin coincidences, another unique element of this remounting is Paul’s desire to make everyone in the play “a little bit more mature” than the last time around. He’s also drawing from his experience directing A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum for STC several years ago, as both plays are based on works by ancient Roman playwright Plautus and include elements of slapstick and even vaudevillian humor.

In Paul’s version of The Comedy of Errors, the players will navigate chaos in 1960s Greece. He’s asked composer and lyricist Michael Dansicker to write a half-dozen songs for the show; in the past month, they’ve been collaborating on a song for both the opening scene and the courtesan, as well as a big number for the different policemen in the show.

Perhaps the only part of the Bard’s comedy he’s not changing is his lead, Gregory Wooddell. The seasoned actor and STC-affiliated artist played the same role of Antipholus of Syracuse for the company more than a decade ago, but he says his approach this time around will be fresh.

“One of the reasons I’m drawn to doing the role again after 13 years is that I feel like I’ve grown as an actor,” Wooddell says. “I’m personally excited to attack it with a lot more experience and wisdom under my belt. I think I’ve got new ideas, and I think I can bring a greater clarity to the role and the language.”

He describes the play as a classic comedy, with a straightforward plotline that’s very accessible to an audience that might normally shy away from Shakespeare. The actor also loves the fact that he’s getting paid to tap into his silly side on a daily basis.

“It’s a treat to be able to work on a play like this where you get to show up for work and try to get people to laugh. But as wacky and madcap as it can get, we have a really accomplished cast that I can’t wait to work with.”

Wooddell and Paul both mention the bad rap the comedy sometimes gets, often disregarded as a lesser play for being one of Shakespeare’s earlier works.

“There’s a sensibility about the play that it’s unsophisticated, and I disagree with that,” Wooddell says.

Paul agrees, saying that the fifth act of The Comedy of Errors is just as perfect, whole and deep as the fifth act of Twelfth Night or The Tempest.

“I hope what I can evoke in the show besides the humor, which will be there, is that the play has elements of what you see later on in [Shakespeare’s] plays about families coming back together,” the director says. “It is about the need to belong to a family and what length you will go to make yourself whole by finding your family. That’s the whole thing and the whole satisfaction of it. It’s a theme that Shakespeare came back to all the time.”

From universal themes to a 90-minute, no-intermission run time, Paul is crafting a production to engage millennial theatergoers as much as any other audience. Most importantly, though, he’s hoping to give us a much-needed break from the outside world.

“For all of us that go home and turn the news on every night and have to grapple with the chaos of this modern world, I want to give the audience 90 minutes of just pure joy to forget about all the nonsense going on today and just have a good time.”

The Comedy of Errors runs from September 25 to October 28 at STC’s Lansburgh Theatre. Tickets are $44-$118.

Check www.shakespearetheatre.org for details about special nights and discounts.

Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Lansburgh Theatre: 450 7th St. NW, DC; 202-547-1122; www.shakespearetheatre.org

Photo: Courtesy of Wentworth Galleries
Photo: Courtesy of Wentworth Galleries

KISS Guitarist Paul Stanley Shows Artistic Flair

Members of the KISS Army know singer and guitarist Paul Stanley designed the iconic logo that has represented the rock band since the early 70s before rising to prominence and selling more than 100 million records worldwide.

But what many might not realize is the legendary rocker behind such hits as “God of Thunder,” “Love Gun” and “Detroit Rock City” is just as comfortable with a paintbrush as he is with a Washburn guitar.

“I started painting about 18 years ago,” Stanley says. “It really started out as a stream of consciousness and a way to purge while I was going through a tumultuous time in my life. I never planned on showing any of my work. It was for myself.”

Inevitably, friends and family would pop over to his house and ask about the artwork, not realizing that the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer was the master behind them.

“It was about 15 years ago when a gallery owner first asked me to exhibit, and I was pretty leery of it because I never had that in mind,” he says. “Curiosity got the best of me, and low and behold, people were taking some of my pieces home. I was surprised and thrilled.”

There was so much love for his artwork that Stanley decided to put it on display more regularly. This month, his work will be showcased at the Wentworth Gallery’s two DC area locations: Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda on September 14 and Tysons Galleria on September 15.

“These are works from my entire career. It’s interesting to see the journey, so to speak. I’ve always made the rule with painting – just like everything in my life – that there are no rules. I paint from the heart and the soul.”

His collection includes paintings, mixed media, limited edition prints and hand-painted acrylic sculptures at a wide range of price points.

“I’ve had no schooling and I’m really not interested in the intricacies of documenting what I see. I’m more interested in creating an impression and letting the viewer see what they do. The one thing that all my work has [in common] is an abundance of color. I believe the more color, the more you are designing who you are and how you see the world.”

The Starchild – Stanley’s KISS persona – understands that many of those interested in his art are fans of the band, and he expects a great deal of KISS Army members to attend. But he’s also attracting those in the art world and establishing himself as something of a critical darling.

“I would be foolish to claim that KISS fans won’t come, and I welcome that and want that,” he says. “Still, the larger pieces ultimately are being acquired by collectors and many know nothing about KISS or don’t like KISS. I’m thrilled to see a piece go from the gallery to someone’s wall.”

The top collectors of Stanley’s art will have a chance to join him for dinner after each gallery show.

Paul Stanley will be exhibiting his art at Wentworth Gallery in Westfield Montgomery Mall (7101 Democracy Blvd. Bethesda, MD) from 6-9 p.m. on Friday, September 14 and from 6-9 p.m. on Saturday, September 15 at Wentworth Gallery Tysons Galleria (1807 U. International Dr. McLean, VA).

Admission is free, but RSVPs are highly suggested due to the expected large turnout.

For more information and pricing inquiries, visit www.wentworthgallery.com. To learn more about Stanley’s art, visit www.paulstanley.com/artwork.

Photo: Aja Neal
Photo: Aja Neal

A Day in the Life: Jungle Fever’s Mane Squeeze & Mista Selecta

Avanti Fernandez and Tommy Smolka’s epic warehouse parties were just the beginning of a much bigger project. When a mutual friend introduced the likeminded DJs in 2013, the pair had instant chemistry. Fernandez (Mane Squeeze) and Smolka (Mista Selecta) quickly discovered that they shared numerous traits, including a penchant for drawing inspiration from musical genres heard around the world and an affinity for dancehall and trap music. Even their DJ monikers share the same initials. Not to mention, they’re both Geminis.

The pair joined forces as Jungle Fever, curating and hosting DJ parties around the city and performing together at a range of local venues including U Street Music Hall. They’ve picked up momentum in the past five years, making waves in the DC scene that have rippled toward New York and Philadelphia where they’re now building a base. This month, they’ll be spinning at Trillectro Music Festival at Merriweather Post Pavilion. On Tap sat down with the DJ duo before their September 22 show to talk teamwork, influences, plans for Trillectro and their favorite places in DC.

On Tap: How did you choose your name?
Avanti Fernandez: Jungle Fever is a party concept we created years back. The concept is tropical vibes exuding high, intense, animalistic and wild [energy].
Tommy Smolka: It’s a combination of world dance vibes incorporated into newer rap or trap. Everything we mix together as Jungle Fever makes it really like a jungle. We get all types of people at our parties, just like a jungle has all types of animals. I think it’s one of the most diverse parties out there, and that was a goal.

OT: How would you describe your individual styles as DJs?
AF: When I first started, a lot of DJs specialized in one sound. For me, it was more about not limiting myself. I consider my style to be eclectic and I try to be as eccentric as possible. I am Jamaican and Puerto Rican, and I try to pull from my cultural characteristics – whether it be in a set, at a party or in a mix.
TS: My name [also] comes from Jamaican culture. Dancehall and reggae were in very heavy rotation early on. That was a big connection we had. But, I’ve been DJing for 13 or 14 years now, so anything goes. I can play literally anything – any style.

Avanti’s Must-Haves
My dog Pepito
My boo Kelcie
Rice and beans

OT: Who are your most major musical influences?
TS:  DJ Jazzy Jeff, Underdog, DJ Alize and
DJ Blaqstarr. I look up to M.I.A. a lot.
AF: Childish Gambino – how multifaceted he is as an artist and how he created his own path. I saw a lot of myself in that. DJ K-Swift from Baltimore was one of my greatest DJ inspirations, too. I remember going out to see her perform at The Paradox. I’d be mindblown there was a lady behind the decks. And I’d be like, “Yo, I wanna do that! I wanna be just like her.”

OT: What made you both decide to link up and DJ together?
TS: We were throwing the warehouse parties for like a year before we started Jungle Fever.
AF: I was throwing events not too far from here, at 411 New York Ave. in the warehouse. I heard Selecta was looking to DJ and I was like, “Yeah sure, bring him on through.” He came and ripped it. I was in love with his set. As soon as he dropped some reggae I was like, “Look at this boy! Who the f–k is this? What is going on?” So ever since, we vibed. [We] figured out that we were both looking for a way to express ourselves together.

OT: What’s your favorite part of working together?
TS: Since day one, it’s been easy for us to work together. We get along very well. We never planned to do this; things just came naturally.
AF: It was very organic. It’s great having somebody you can be open, honest and very transparent with, especially going through some of the obstacles we’ve gone through and dealt with together. He’s a great teammate, you know? That’s my boy.

OT: How have your styles evolved over the years you’ve been DJing together?
TS: We’ve been doing parties and stuff for six years, and I was DJing before that for eight years. I look at it as I would any other art form. You’re never going to stop evolving. You learn new techniques, you learn new sounds.
AF: It starts with learning about [DJing], emulating others, learning from others and taking what you learned. For me, it was taking what I’ve learned, building on it and developing my own style.

TS: It’s harder for me to talk about me. I’ve seen you evolve. I remember when you first started DJing. The first year or so, you were in your learning phase, but you were rockin’ though.
AF: I could see him growing and really branching into a new sound, like exploring and experimenting with new sounds. You know, things I would never hear Selecta play, now I’m like, “Whoa, this energy – it’s different!”

OT: How would you describe the DJ scene and overall music scene in DC?
AF: It’s monumental. I mean you feel it, you hear it, you see it. Every time you turn on your radio you hear GoldLink’s “Crew.” Artists are really putting on for the city and I think it’s nationwide, [even] worldwide. DC is seen as a new hub [for music]. Even travelling to New York, everyone is like, “What’s happening in DC? We love what you’re doing there. Can we bring that same energy here?”
TS: Yeah, the music scene is at an all-time high for sure. I still think we have some of the best DJs in the world. That’s why I really appreciate the people who hold us to a higher standard, because we’re some of the best. Every time we go to different cities, I really see that.

Tommy’s Must-Haves
My dogs

OT: What are some of your most memorable experiences while DJing?
AF: I think we have the same one because we always talk about it.
TS & AF (in unison): Afropunk.
AF: It was that weekend! Trillectro on Saturday and Afropunk on Sunday.
TS: That was in 2014. That’s probably our best shared experience, besides all the Jungle Fever parties. Every Jungle Fever party is like my favorite party, and your warehouse parties.
AF: Oh yeah!
TS: The parties she used to throw that I DJed at were like the craziest, literally. We’ll never get to do anything like that again.
AF: It definitely was an era.

OT: What do you guys like to do when you’re not DJing?
AF: Travel. That’s kind of broad, but I’d rather just work, stack my money and travel. I like learning about myself and different cultures and broadening my horizons. I just got back from New Orleans, which was pretty cool. I’ve been back and forth between cities [like] New York. I was in Costa Rica this June. Whenever I can, I try to get out of here [and] live a little.
TS: I like to watch movies, and I have another creative side that most people don’t know. I do photography, video and graphic design.
AF: That’s the beauty of it. A lot of the work, we do ourselves behind the scenes like the graphics, the photos and the videos.

OT: What are some of your favorite spots around DC?
AS: For food I like Silvestre Chicken. I’m actually a pescatarian so I go there for the charbroiled shrimp. I also like Oohh’s & Aahh’s, Po Boy Jim [Bar and Grill] and Wiseguy [Pizza].
TF: Wiseguy is number one, and DCity Smokehouse.
AS: For concert venues, I like 9:30 Club, Flash and U Street Music Hall.
TF: Flash, 9:30 and Velvet are my three favorites.

OT: How are you preparing for Trillectro?
TS: We’re getting our special guest in order, and theatrics.
AF: We want to outdo ourselves from the last times we performed.

Jungle Fever Must-Haves
Good sound system
Positive environment
Open-minded people
Energy (the more people, the more energy)

OT: Who are you guys most excited to see perform this year?
AS: SZA for sure. She’s definitely the first female headliner. All the ladies that are rocking: Rico Nasty, The Internet, Sheck Wes and Carnage.
TF: I’m definitely excited for The Internet, Playboi Carti and Snoh Aalegra.

OT: What’s coming up for you two?
AF: We’re going to take this party on the road. We’re excited to have Jungle Fever in New York.
TS: Yeah. Jungle Fever is expanding. It’s going to be a regular in New York now, because we have a 50-50 base here and in New York and Philly. We’re going to keep expanding it. Other than that, definitely a lot of music, I know I’m about to put out a lot.

Catch Jungle Fever spinning at Trillectro on Saturday, September 22 at Merriweather Post Pavilion. Doors at noon, tickets start at $60. For updates on Jungle Fever, follow Mista Selecta and Mane Squeeze on Instagram at @mistaselecta and @manesqueeze.

Merriweather Post Pavilion: 10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy. Columbia, MD; 410-715-5550; www.merriweathermusic.com

Photo: Courtesy of Professional Bull Riders
Photo: Courtesy of Professional Bull Riders

Not Your Average Rodeo: PBR Rolls Through NoVA

You may have seen the slogan on the Metro buses taking you in and out of the city lately. The large sign reads, “And You Thought This Town Couldn’t Handle Any More Bulls#*t,” and with the most recent political developments, it seems like the marketing ploy couldn’t be more timely.

However, the bull advertised isn’t the kind peddled by politicians or reported in news stories. It’s real and it involves actual bulls, riders and extensive pyrotechnics. The Professional Bull Riders (PBR) tour is here, and it’s time to take notice.

“You can expect there to be a lot of action,” PBR rider Cody Nance says. “It’s a ton of fun and it’s funny. If you like exciting things, you’re coming to the right place. You see the top guys in the world against the best bulls in the world.”

The PBR rolls through Northern Virginia on September 22 and 23 for the U.S. Border Patrol Invitational at EagleBank Arena in Fairfax, Virginia. The stadium where George Mason athletics take place will be completely transformed into what sounds like a rodeo atmosphere on steroids.

“For years we said, ‘It’s not a rodeo, but a one and only PBR,’” production manager Jim White says. “We’re a full entertainment package, and even have bands on occasion. We have the same sound systems as most rock ‘n’ roll bands, and our lighting is a lot like those concerts as well. It’s bull riding. It’s Americana. Anyone can enjoy it. It’s two-and-a-half hours of nonstop action.”

Though the spectacle is not a rodeo, it does mirror more than a few of the same aesthetics including 300 tons of dirt stretched over 40 yards, loads of steel for pins and barriers, and of course, gigantic athletes weighing in at nearly 2,000 pounds each.

“They’re just like any other kind of athlete,” PBR stock provider Mike Miller says about the bulls. “It’s about diet and exercise. We feed them twice a day: low fat and high protein. We try to get them as much exercise as possible to build their lung capacity and muscles up.”

Miller says that much like the riders who train to be flexible and durable for the strenuous task of riding atop a bull, the bulls themselves are bred to be athletes – part of the spectacle.

“We look for intensity – how high they jump in the front and how hard they kick in the back,” Miller says of identifying the best bulls. “I guess if you’re in the business, you can notice [the difference between them] a little easier, and that’s your job to kind of know what the bull is and what the best bulls look like.”

According to the PBR website, a bull ride in the league is an “eight-second contest of strength, balance, endurance and effort between the world’s best bull rides and the world’s best bucking bulls.” In order to score, riders must have one hand on the bull rope and one in the air, and if he makes it for eight seconds, he’ll receive a score up to 100 total points with a possible 50 points awarded to each the bull and the rider.

“Most people think we’re crazy,” Nance says. “But once you explain what it’s about, they understand. It’s just a cowboy thing. A lot of people don’t understand how much goes into raising a bull. To be able to compete with a bull at that level is like playing in the [NFL] Pro Bowl.”

Nance was the fifth ranked PBR rider in the world standings and the top ranked American as of August. Despite his unusual career path, he says it was one he yearned for from an early age as his stepdad rode bulls and served as a judge after he gave up the trade.

“I got on bulls through high school at different levels, but couldn’t join the PBR until I turned 18,” Nance says. “In 10 years of riding, a lot can change. You get the heck beat out of you. Sometimes it’s a little more physically challenging, but mentally you go about it the same way.”

Miller says that while the bulls themselves may not be aware they’re competing with one another, each has a unique personality. So temperamental bulls may be more challenging than others.

“They’re like me, you or your friends,” Miller says. “Some are nice to be around, and some are really ignorant to be around.”

So, if you’re into lights, music and cowboys riding atop giant, potentially annoyed animals, the PBR is right up your alley. And we promise we’re not just saying that, because frankly, that would be bulls#*t.

“The newcomers in Virginia, they’re going to see Western lifestyle in a way that they’ve never seen it before,” White says. “It’s like a rock show with meat.”

Don’t miss PBR’s U.S. Border Patrol Invitational at EagleBank Arena on Saturday, September 22 at 6:45 p.m. and Sunday, September 23 at 1:45 p.m. Tickets start at $71. Learn more about Professional Bull Riding at www.pbr.com.

EagleBank Arena: 4500 Patriot Circle, Fairfax, VA; 703-993-3000; www.eaglebankarena.com

Photos: Lizzie Sorkin
Photos: Lizzie Sorkin

Crafting Community at Streetcar 82

The genesis of Streetcar 82 Brewing Co. is not unlike many other microbreweries that now heavily populate the DMV. What was born of a humble homebrewing project among a group of friends and Gallaudet graduates evolved into a brick-and-mortar brewery in the heart of downtown Hyattsville.

Streetcar 82, newly opened in July, is named for an actual streetcar that connected bustling neighborhoods through DC and Maryland during its 70-year run. While the streetcar itself is now defunct, the brewery’s namesake serves as a fitting metaphor for its ability to connect multiple communities in one place – over delicious beer, of course.

The space aims to create connections among Gallaudet grads, the larger deaf community, Hyattsville residents and craft beer enthusiasts, to name a few. But  what really sets co-owners Mark Burke, Jon Cetrano and Sam Costner apart is the fact that they place as much emphasis on creating a welcoming space for people from different communities as they do on their carefully crafted beers.

“The sense of community that we hope to foster has been a driving factor in the creation of Streetcar 82,” Cetrano says. “Having a sense of place is very important. Gallaudet University is the only university in the world for deaf people, and the sense of community and bond that one gets there is very powerful. As a deaf person, it is an instant connection. Whether you attend there – or are just visiting campus to see and be in a place that welcomes you – [it’s] powerful.”

Their communities were integral in the actual creation of the brewery. The co-owners explain they were encouraged by a professor in Gallaudet’s Department of Business to open their own brewery, and even went on to win a fan favorite award at a university-hosted business pitch competition.

Social media also proved to be an important aspect of the launch. They posted updates on the brewery’s progress via their Instagram account while preparing to open, including ways for thirsty future patrons to contribute to their launch through a Kickstarter page. That alone was indicative of the area’s desire for a space like this. Streetcar 82 raised over $25,000, surpassing their goal before the campaign even closed.

Burke says they also received an outpouring of support from the Hyattsville community, including Kickstarter contributions and help from the Hyattsville Community Development Corporation to get the business up and running. He describes Hyattsville as a place where “we felt comfortable starting a business because we knew the community there would help us thrive.”

Still, the support they received didn’t make them immune to the growing pains many new businesses face and the challenge of a more limited budget than they had hoped for. Costner explains that while they obtained loans in addition to the funding from their supporters, they still had to dramatically readjust their expectations.

“We had to plan on doing a lot of the work ourselves to save money,” Costner says. “We did all the demolition work, a lot of physical labor and all the cosmetic work.”

Their efforts included painting, building the bar and installing the walk-in refrigerator, all as a way to conserve funds.

“In the end, this turned out to be a boon because we moved along a lot faster than if we waited for contractors to do the work. So not having all the money we wanted turned out to be a blessing in disguise.”

Streetcar 82 has felt support from other local breweries and members of the DMV beer community. The teams at Shaw’s Right Proper Brewing Company and Baltimore-based Suspended Brewing, and local brewer Matt Humbard (formerly of Handsome Brewing Company), have offered their professional opinions and even lent equipment when needed. Streetcar’s brewers have also forged a friendship with their neighbors at Pizzeria Paradiso and are currently planning the release of a coffee stout with Hyattsville roasters Vigilante Coffee Company.

As for beer options, the co-founders consider Streetcar to be Belgian-inspired due to the prevalence of Belgian yeasts in their brews. While you can find those varieties shining in their interpretations of New England and farmhouse IPAs and a Belgian dark strong ale, don’t expect only one style from Streetcar 82. The trio is plotting to add Märzens and Oktoberfest-style beers to their roster this month and aim to have at least half a dozen beers on tap on any given day.

And while their ties to the deaf community are strong and the presence of American Sign Language is apparent, Streetcar 82 is a place for everyone to call their own.

“We worked hard to develop a place that is diverse, neighborly and intimate,” Cetrano says. “Our brewery is a place where people can really chat with each other and see people with their kids and dogs. When you’re there, you feel like you belong.”

Check www.streetcar82brewing.com for more information about Streetcar 82. Follow them on Instagram at @streetcar82brewingco and Facebook at @Streetcar82 for the brewery’s most updated hours.

Streetcar 82 Brewing Co.: 4824 Rhode Island Ave. Hyattsville, MD; www.streetcar82brewing.com

Streetcar 82 2 (Photo - Lizzie Sorkin)

Photo: www.facebook.com/sankofabeer
Photo: www.facebook.com/sankofabeer

What’s On Tap September 2018: Sankofa Beer

Ever heard of Sankofa Beer? With how large the DC brewing scene has gotten, it’s possible these brewers slipped through the cracks. However, just because they’re new and relatively small doesn’t mean their beer has failed to drum up interest. West African founders Amado Carsky and Kofi Meroe received almost $29,000 from a Kickstarter campaign last year, including donations from around the globe. Sankofa’s flagship Hypebiscus, a hibiscus pale ale, is now available in several DC locations. With two more beers on the way, On Tap decided to chat with Meroe about the pair’s unique influences, the international support they’ve received and what’s next for them.

On Tap: What West African influences did you draw from?
Kofi Meroe: The things we experimented with were cool and different and things we’d grown up with. We’ve done cola nuts, something that’s native to West Africa. [It’s] basically just a bigger nut with caffeine, so we’d use that to make porters and stouts. We used hibiscus because we wanted to experiment with that. Obviously, we’ve used spicy foods and peppers. We get these inspirations from our upbringings and it was easy for us, because it’s who we are. Sankofa is the Twi language of Ghana, and it means to go back and take. It’s not taboo to take your past to reinforce the future. You can’t have a strong future if you don’t know where you came from. For us embarking in this new industry, we wanted to be authentic.

OT: How did you get started in brewing?
KM: I relocated to DC after I graduated. I left college with a passion for exploring craft beer. I started homebrewing, thinking I could save some money as opposed to going to stores to buy six-packs. It just so happens that my business partner, who is also my cousin [Carsky], was living here as well. We were brewing a German hefeweizen and we loved that process, and the beer came out pretty good. Since then, we’ve been homebrewing together for eight years. We never really intended to have a company, but two years ago we decided to go for it.

OT: What spurred you toward turning your hobby into a business?
KM: Essentially, we thought our beer was really good, and we were finally starting to make relationships with brewers and people in the industry. We finally got to the place where we thought it was good enough to put out there. We tried to hedge our process by taking little steps. First was to establish the business, second was to share our beer to people who matter and getting feedback from professionals. For most of 2017, we took our homebrews on tour and found private events and folks who didn’t mind if we set up in the corner and did tastings. We created the hashtag #SankofaSummer, but that excitement that we generated led us to the next step, which was figuring out what we needed to start a business.

OT: Your next step was starting a Kickstarter campaign for your business. How did raising almost $29,000 change things for you and Amado?
KM: I had to ship a Kickstarter award to Denmark and other places I hadn’t been. At the end of the day, our friends really came through for us in ways that I wouldn’t have been able to imagine. Even if they couldn’t give, they were spreading the word and they were very fervent about doing that. We had a lot of help in facilitating that campaign. It was also scary, because we raised this money and now we have to do something. We have to go out and do what we know we can do. We’re excited.

OT: Why do you think you were able to get so many donations from around the world? What about your product and background do you think resonates with so many beer drinkers?
KM: We have generated a following. There’s not a lot of people that look like us in beer who own craft beer brands. A lot of people get excited when they see us for that reason. And the beer, on top of that, is really good. We’ve gone to a lot of cultural events, and we’re always in places with cultural diversity, so we’re starting to build followings in these other communities. If anything, it’s an homage to the regions here – that someone in another state or country would pick our beer up.

OT: Where are you guys right now with the process?
KM: We just launched [at the end of June], and we’re still going through our first batch. We plan to brew in the next two to three weeks [late August]. What we do now is brew at Calvert Brewing Company in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. We wanted to find someone who could work with our culture, and the technical part just involved figuring out a recipe to work with their system.

For more information about future releases or to see the entire list of places Hypebiscus is currently available, visit www.sankofabeer.com.


Wild Hare Hard Cider at Herndon Labor Day Festival
Head to downtown Herndon for this annual Labor Day Festival featuring craft beers, great music, outstanding sponsors, delicious food vendors and lawn games. 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Herndon Town Green: 777 Lynn St. Herndon, VA; www.wildharecider.com


Beer Yoga
Flow through a flight of brewery favorites during this hour-long power yoga class. Come for yoga, nama’stay for beer. Don’t forget to bring your own mat. Three-glass flights included in yoga class ticket purchase. This 21-plus class is suitable for yogis of all levels. 12-1 p.m. Tickets $15. Right Proper Brewing Company Brookland Production House + Tasting Room: 920 Girard St. NE, DC; www.rightproperbrewing.com


Fairfax Beer Garden
With over 700 people in attendance at the first Fairfax Beer Garden, High Side is excited to host another round. The garden will feature a 10-tap beer trailer with an amazing lineup of brews. Try out unique Asian street food or check out what Coyote Grille’s “Roaming Coyote” food truck will be serving. Play games like life-sized Jenga, Connect Four and cornhole, and catch some football games via livestream. 12-8 p.m. Tickets $19-$23. High Side: 4009 Chain Bridge Rd. Fairfax, VA; www.fairfaxbeergarden.com


The Aslin Three-Year Anniversary Pre-Party
For those who can’t make the official anniversary party at Aslin, which will happen on September 15, come to ChurchKey on Thursday for an incredible lineup of out-of-market breweries to celebrate the third anniversary of Aslin Beer Company. ChurchKey will pour a slew of specialty beers from Aslin and friends, featuring hard-to-find kegs from nearly 15 different breweries. Highlights include Southern Grist, Dancing Gnome, Narrow Gauge, Deciduous and Resident Culture, with more to be announced. ChurchKey: 1337 14th St. NW, DC;


Fonta Flora Brewery Tap Takeover at ANXO
Fonta Flora Brewery in Morgantown, North Carolina was kind enough to send seven kegs of delicious farmhouse ales and lagers to ANXO Cidery for guests to try this month for a special event. The tasting starts at 5 p.m. along with the pintxo happy hour with pairings and flights, and continues all night until close. Don’t miss this opportunity to try some amazing beer from one of the best breweries in the country. 5 p.m. – 12 a.m. ANXO Cidery & Pintxos Bar: 300 Florida Ave. NW, DC; www.anxodc.com

Spontaneous: The Art of Natural Wine & Beer
Let The Sovereign introduce you to the incredible world of spontaneously fermented wine and beer by showcasing five natural wines side-by-side with five wild ales. The Sovereign proudly features a wide array of spontaneously fermented beers, from Belgian lambic to American wild ales, and a selection of natural wines from France, Italy and Austria. Don’t miss some fantastic avant-garde winemakers showcasing rarely seen varietals such as Negrette and Grauburgunder along with some American and Italian examples of spontaneously fermented ales. 5-11 p.m. Free to attend. The Sovereign: 1206 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC; www.thesovereigndc.com


Capital BrewFest
Celebrate local beer, wine and music at Capital BrewFest. Each ticket includes your own tasting cup where you’ll get to sample more than 50 rare and seasonal beers from the region’s very best craft breweries, 30 wines including a ton of rosé varietals, and tons of cider and gluten-free options. There will be seven amazing food options available for purchase, plus live music all day on the mainstage and inside to keep the party going, and lots of fun outdoor games, activities and arts. 12:30-8 p.m. Tickets $19.95-$59.95. The Fairgrounds: 1299 Half St. SE, DC; www.brewfestdc.com

End of Summer Beer Garden & Hoedown
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, delicious food and live music. So bring your friends and come and enjoy an afternoon at the farm and drink and eat until the sun sets over the city. Each ticket grants entrance to the venue and unlimited samplings of four beer and food pairings. 4-7 p.m. Tickets $35-$45. The Farm at 55 M Street: 55 M St. SE, DC; www.uptopacres.com


Beer Dinner & Pairing Course
Would you call yourself a foodie? Or perhaps a connoisseur of the ales? Maybe both? Heritage Brewpub will be hosting a private five-course beer dinner, handcrafted by Executive Chef Josh Ber, and expertly paired with Heritage brews by Michael Smythe. Settle in for an evening of sensory experiences as you’re taken on a journey of seasonal dishes and handcrafted treats: a total of five expertly paired courses, each accompanying an ale that was chosen to accentuate and build upon the flavors of the dish. 6-9 p.m. Tickets $88. Heritage Brewpub & Roastery: 1300-1398 N. Fillmore St. Arlington, VA; www.heritagebrewing.com

Bell’s Beer Dinner
Zaytinya is thrilled to welcome back Bell’s Brewery for an evening of beer, food and conversation. Head Chef Michael Costa has created a unique five-course menu to pair with the brewery’s delicious array of award-winning and fan favorite brews. Space is limited so be sure to book a seat soon. 6:30-9:30 p.m. Tickets $65. Zaytinya: 701 9th St. NW, DC; www.zaytinya.com


Oktoberfest at The Republic
Republic is once again bringing the world-famous German beer festival from Munich to Woodbridge. Join them for great beer, delicious German-inspired food, traditional music, cool vendors, and fun in the tap room and outdoor biergarten. There will be a Märzen competition, featuring several locally brewed Oktoberfest lagers from the best regional breweries. Enjoy the beers and then determine which is the best – the people’s champion will take home the coveted Märzen Cup and bragging rights until next year. You’ll also get a handsome commemorative glass stein to help you remember the festival, just in case the beers make it hard to do that on your own. 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tickets $5-$29.99. Brew Republic Bierwerks: 15201 Potomac Town Pl. Woodbridge, VA; www.brewrepublic.beer


Crystal City Oktoberfest
Swing by Crystal City for Northern Virginia’s largest Oktoberfest celebration. Try over 100 craft beers from over 50 regional craft breweries. And food will be more than just sausages and pretzels: satisfy your hunger with a wide assortment of food trucks from New York-style pizza to tacos and more. Tickets include 10 4-oz. beer sampling tickets (you can purchase additional beer tickets once you’re there), entry into the festival and live entertainment. 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tickets $15-$45. Crystal City Oktoberfest: 220 20th St. S, Crystal City, VA www.crystalcity.org

District Oktoberfest
Celebrate Oktoberfest in style with a beer-fueled tour of Chinatown’s best venues. A different 12-oz. Oktoberfest beer at each and every venue is included in the ticket price. Start at the check-in location and then go on to five other great venues in any order and at any pace you choose. All guests receive specials on food pairings and $4 liquor pairings, and $4 specials on additional servings of the featured Oktoberfest beers. A portion of proceeds from this event will benefit local DC charities. Cheers! Check in from 12-3 p.m. Event is from 12-10 p.m. Tickets $50. Buffalo Billiards: 1330 19th St. NW, DC; www.buffalobilliardsdc.com