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Photo: Trent Johnson

What’s On Tap: Denizens’ New Riverdale Location Offers Customers A Wide Variety of Drinking Options

There is no better way to kick off the summer season than checking out Denizens Brewing Co.’s new location in Maryland’s Riverdale Park Station. The 12,000-square-foot production facility and taproom, which opened on May 25, is nestled between Whole Foods, District Taco and several other restaurants. The array of beer, cocktails and food options allows for any customer to come in and find something to enjoy, no matter their preferences. We caught up with the new spot’s general manager Coleene Rosenbach to talk about how the Riverdale location is different from Silver Spring’s and what customers can expect this summer.

On Tap: How did you decide on the Riverdale location versus other locations in the DMV?
Coleene Rosenbach:
This is a really great area. Lots of different types of neighborhoods intersect here. We’re always looking for areas where we can really be a part of a growing neighborhood. When we initially opened in Silver Spring five years ago, what we saw was an area that was just starting to become a lot more popular with the young professional groups, as well as already having an established familial suburban feel.

OT: What are some differences with the new Riverdale location compared to that Silver Spring location?
CR:
The focus at this production facility will be on our main sellers. As far as what we have to offer in the taproom, a lot of it is the same. We have far more taps here than over at Silver Spring, so we will be able to provide a larger seasonal selection once we get going.

OT: Do you think you will expand to other locations in Virginia in the future?
CR:
Opening this location was a two-year process, so we’ll probably take a little bit of a break before we open anything else. Right now we’re working with a couple of distribution companies to start being able to distribute into Northern Virginia.

OT: How do you plan to sell more beer to establishments in Northern Virginia, Maryland and DC? How much will the distribution increase?
CR:
We are hoping once we get the full production line going, it’ll probably quadruple the amount of beer we produce in a year, so we’re really trying to get ourselves out there.

OT: Which craft beer flavor is your best seller so far this summer? What are the best beer and food pairings?
CR:
From what I’ve observed, IPAs are just always going to be a thing. They’re always popular regardless. You’ll notice the trends, a lot of people are trying to focus on, like the hazy New England-style IPAs. We like to focus on lagers and more traditional takes on traditional styles of beer. As of right now, one of our more popular beers is actually a peach berliner weisse, the Georgia Ave., and it’s really light, low ABV.

OT: What are your recommendations for customers who come into Denizens and don’t love craft beer, but still want to try it out?
CR:
So one of our biggest things here is obviously we want to make beer approachable to everyone. We understand that not everyone is a beer snob and craft beer is definitely something that can be
intimidating to enter, but of course, we like to focus on what kinds of drinks people like in general.

OT: Beer marketed to women is often described as being fruity and low calorie. That being said, what tactics do you use to appeal to every customer?
CR:
We are the only fully female and minority-owned brewery, and again, as I said, we want beer for everyone. Regardless of if you’re the standard flannel wearing bearded beer aficionado or someone who really hasn’t had much of a foray into craft beers, we think we have something for everyone.

OT: There is a summer concert series at the River Park Station through August. How does that impact Denizens?
CR:
It’s been pretty great. We’ve definitely have had people hang out on our patio and hear [the concert]. I think it’s just been a really great kind of crossover. We definitely plan on being heavily involved in any kind of events that are being held in the shopping center [or] gathering area in general. Any kind of event that the Riverdale Association plans, we always try to be a part of it.

Denizens’ Riverdale Park Taproom is open from 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday and 12 p.m. – 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. For more information on the brewery, visit www.denizensbrewingco.com.

Denizens Brewing Co. Riverdale Park: 4550 Van Buren St. Riverdale Park, MD; 240-582-6817; www.denizensbrewingco.com


What’s On Tap July Listings

Greetings, beer nerds! As you likely know, there are a number of fantastic spots in the DMV where you can grab a pint, and their menus are always evolving and adapting to your tastes. If you’d rather avoid the guessing game, check out what’s coming up at a few of these fine establishments.

TUESDAY, JULY 2

Tuesday Brewsday
For the entire month of July, Kramerbooks and Afterwords café will be offering 18 varieties of half price pints and $1 wings. The 18 half price pints will include new limited and specialty run drafts and cans along with $1 wings. 7 p.m. – 1 a.m. Free admission. Kramerbooks & Afterwords Café: 1517 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC; www.kramers.com

THURSDAY, JULY 4

Mussels, Burgers & Beer: Fourth of July at the Sovereign
Celebrate Independence Day with your friends from The Sovereign. Come out and enjoy their signature 4×4 happy hour, which includes four different draft beers, cocktails and wines at $4 each. In addition, there will be two very special Independence Day-only deals, including $15 for a burger and beer or $20 for mussels and a beer. 12-8 p.m. Free admission. The Sovereign: 1206 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC; www.thesovereigndc.com

FRIDAY, JULY 5 – SUNDAY, JULY 7

Waterfront Beer Garden by Port City Brewing Company
Kick off summer at the Waterfront Beer Garden by Port City Brewing Company. Over two weekends, enjoy award-winning craft beer plus local food and entertainment, including live music and DJs. In addition to classics like Optimal Wit, Port City will highlight different beers during the weekend. Over Fourth of July weekend, attendees can enjoy beer with barbecue from Chadwicks on Friday and Saturday, Rocklands Barbeque’s food truck on Saturday and Smoking Kow BBQ’s food truck on Sunday. Cool off with treats from Dolci Gelati. Attendees can also enjoy lawn games, live music and DJs throughout. 5-8 p.m. on Friday, 12-8 p.m. on Saturday and 12-4 p.m. on Sunday. Free to attend. Waterfront Park:1 King St. Alexandria, VA; www.visitalexandriava.com

FRIDAY, JULY 5

DC Brau Half Price Pint Night
Enjoy cheap beer, tasty food pop-ups, board games and more at DC Brau’s Half-Price Pint Night. All flagship beers are 50 percent off all night. 3-11 p.m. Free admission. DC Brau Brewing Company: 3178 Bladensburg Rd. NE, DC; www.dcbrau.com

Tour de Pour Friday Night Happy Hour Rides
Come out and experience this happy hour series hosted by Bike Lane Brewing and Lake Anne Brew House. Park and gear up at Bike Lane Brewing, then take a fun group ride to Lake Anne Brew House for a beer and pretzel pit stop before returning to Bike Lane for another. Don’t have a bike? Contact Bike Lane about a test ride on one of theirs. Valet racks are provided at Lake Anne for parking. Rides are led by a Bike Lane employee. All skill levels and speeds are welcome for this casual, fun spin between Reston’s two breweries. Riders will depart promptly at 6 p.m. from The Bike Lane. Free admission. Bike Lane Brewing: 11150 Sunset Hills Rd. Reston, VA; www.thebikelane.com

SUNDAY, JULY 7

The Schneeeule Brauerei Showcase
Join ChurchKey as they feature the unparalleled beers of Schneeeule Brauerei. They will pour five of their exciting sour German brews alongside co-founder Andreas Bogk. Don’t miss the chance to try these old world and modern takes on Berliner Weisse which includes Marlene, Imgard, Kennedy and Yasmin. Not to be outdone, ChurchKey will also pour the incredibly rare August, the only U.S. keg of this one-of-a-kind sour Bock. All Schneeeule drafts are priced individually by the glass and 4-oz. tasting pours. 12-11:30 p.m. Free admission. ChurchKey: 1337 14th St. NW, DC; www.churchkeydc.com

WEDNESDAY, JULY 10

Belgium National Day Beer Dinner
Join Granville Moore’s for a four-course sumptuous dinner with Ommegang and La Chouffe inspired beer pairings. The dinner will consist of cuisines ranging from shucked PEI mussels, pan seared scallops to pan-seared lamb tenderloin, as well as Belgian chocolate and cherry tart for desert. 7-10 p.m. Tickets $60. Granville Moore’s: 1238 H St. NE, DC; www.granvillemoores.com

Summer Of Sour Series: The Classics of Cantillon
All summer long, The Sovereign is rolling out a slew of rare sour beers every week. Join as they showcase some of their favorite producers of Belgian-inspired sour beers from across the globe. The series is set to showcase the Classics of Cantillon, the legendary Lambic producer of Brussels. On this night, The Sovereign will pour four of Cantillon’s most iconic blends, including rare kegs of Fou’Foune and Kriek alongside bottles of Rosé de Gambrinus and Classic Gueuze. All Cantillon beers will be priced individually by the glass and in 4-oz. tasting pours. 5-11:30 p.m. Free admission. The Sovereign: 1206 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC; www.thesovereigndc.com

Yoga & Beer at Fair Winds
Fill your sails with this monthly mindful movement and drinking experience. Attendees will enjoy a fun hour-long yoga class and then toast to the good life with a tasty Fair Winds craft beer. The brewery and yoga studio gets warm in the summer without AC; be prepared for warm yoga, hydrate well before class. All levels are welcome, no experience needed. Bring your own mat. 7-8:30 p.m. Free admission. Fair Winds Brewing Company: 7000 Newington Rd. Lorton, VA; www.eatyogadrink.com

THURSDAY, JULY 11

Civic Circle Happy Hour
Celebrate democracy and register to vote with bingo to benefit The Civic Circle at Denizens. Participants will have the chance to win patriotic prizes. The event also featurs voter registration by HeadCount and a non-partisan group that works with musicians to promote participation in democracy. 7-9 p.m. Free admission.Denizens Brewing Co.: 1115 East-West Hwy. Silver Spring, MD; www.denizensbrewingco.com

SATURDAY, JULY 13

6th Annual Port City Old Town Pub Crawl
Port City’s annual Pub Crawl returns for the sixth time on the streets of Old Town Alexandria. The brewing company will be at local restaurants near the Alexandria waterfront, stamping pub crawl passes and handing out swag. From 1:30-2:30 p.m. attendees will go to any of the participating locations to grab their pass. From 1:30-6 p.m.  stop at all locations, look for the PCBC team and get a stamp. Participants can stay and enjoy some brews and food specials at their favorite spots. Finally, stop by the Port City Tent from 5-6 p.m. with your completed pass and get a limited edition pint glass. 1:30-6 p.m. Free admission. Port City Brewing Company: 3950 Wheeler Ave. Alexandria, VA; www.portcitybrewing.com

Denizens Brewing Co.’s 5th Anniversary
Join Denizens in celebrating their fifth anniversary with a spectacular line up of music and dancing performances. Attendees don’t forget to dress in your best Mardi Gras outfit for a chance to win a free beer. The brewery will also have a bead contest. Don’t miss out on the fun, as this popular brewery celebrates five years in the biz. As they say in New Orleans, let the good times roll. 5 p.m. -12 a.m. Free admission. Denizens Brewing Co.: 1115 East-West Hwy. Silver Spring, MD; www.denizensbrewingco.com

Jailbreak Brewery Tour
Come take a tour with Jailbreak Brewing Company to see where the magic happens. The tour includes four beer samples and a pint to take home. 1-4 p.m. Tickets $10. Jailbreak Brewing Company: 9445 Washington Blvd. North Laurel, MD; www.jailbreakbrewing.com

Yoga & Beer at New District Brewing
Roll out your yoga mat at New District Brewing Company for a luscious, hour-long vinyasa flow led by a talented, registered yoga instructor. After class, stay for a refreshing craft beer and great company. This mindful movement experience is accessible to all levels, beginners to advanced. Bring your own mat. 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. $20 online tickets include yoga and a beer ticket; $25 for walk-in tickets if space is available. New District Brewing Company: 2709 South Oakland St. Arlington, VA; www.newdistrictbrewing.com

THURSDAY, JULY 18

Brew at the Zoo
Hold onto your brews. This year the friends of the National Zoo are turning DC’s best beer festival into a prehistoric party. Attendees will journey to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo for unlimited beer tastings from 70-plus breweries, live music, food truck fare and much more. It’s three fantastic hours of dino drafts and fossil food. Guests can show their support for Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ) and the Zoo’s shared species-saving mission at Brew at the Zoo, where beer finds a way. 6-9 p.m. Tickets start at $30. Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute: 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC; www.nationalzoo.si.edu

FRIDAY, JULY 19

Beer Garden Bass
Enjoy music and food at Denizens Brewing Co.’s Silver Spring location for a night of bass and beer on the patio. DJ InnoVadar will be behind the decks, so mark your calendars because you don’t want to miss it. 8 p.m. – 12 a.m. Free admission. Denizens Brewing Co.: 1115 East-West Hwy. Silver Spring, MD; www.denizensbrewingco.com

SATURDAY, JULY 20

America’s Best Brew Fest
America’s Best Brew Fest is a celebration of the very best craft beer. Guests will enjoy live music, outdoor games, amazing food vendors, arts and more. The festival features more than 80 different brews and amazing selections of wine, including a huge rosé garden, delicious varieties of cider, hard sodas, gluten-free options and much more. Tickets grant attendees with unlimited tastes of hand-picked beers, wines  and ciders. 12:30-8 p.m. Tickets begin at $17. The Bullpen: 1299 Half St. SE, DC; www.brewfestdc.com

Jazz at The Beer Garden
Enjoy the Jazz Trotters at this super beer garden. The beer garden is connected to a butcher shop, so guests can partake in quality dining alongside some outdoor fun. They are also a local, independent market who prides themselves on the fact that their focus is on quality, local products. 5-9p.m. Free admission. Westover Market: 5863 Washington Blvd. Arlington, VA; www.westovermarketbeergarden.com

SUNDAY, JULY 21

Belgian Independence Day Celebration
This Belgian Independence Day, The Sovereign is celebrating in style by popping some of their favorite bottles. The brewery will offer 21 of director Greg Engert’s personal picks at truly unbelievable prices. Highlights include some classic Belgian Gueuzes from Cantillon, Drie Fonteinen, Girardin and Tilquin, and some stunning beers from American stalwarts Oxbow, Jester King and Crooked Stave. 12-11:30 p.m. Free admission. The Sovereign: 1206 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC; www.thesovereigndc.com

Pints and Paws
Studies have shown that pet ownership and beer drinking may contribute to a longer life. In that spirit, DC Brau Brewing Company will be hosting the Humane Rescue Alliance for a meet and greet of some of DC’s most eligible kitties and canines. DC Brau will donate $1 per pint to the Humane Rescue Alliance throughout. Guests can shop for the newest pet gear and treats from The Big Bad Woof, and you may even go home with your new best friend. 12-3 p.m. Free to attend. DC Brau Brewing Company: 3178 Bladensburg Rd. NE, DC; www.dcbrau.com

MONDAY, JULY 22

Port City Joggers & Lagers
Start your week off with a Monday evening run from Port City Brewing Company. First, meet at the brewery tasting room before heading out for a one, three or five-mile run. Participants should expect a fun crowd, support from Pacers Running staff and occasionally vendors provide shoes to try out. 7-9 p.m. Free admission. Port City Brewing Company: 3950 Wheeler Ave. Alexandria, VA; www.portcitybrewing.com

WEDNESDAY, JULY 24

Pickleball & Beer Party
Get ready for some pickleball – this new sport is making a big wave! It’s super fun and easy to learn. Come out to play while having a couple of beverages and snacks on the tennis courts. This event is BYOB. 5:30-7:30p.m. Free admission. McLean Swim and Tennis Association: 1700 Margie Dr. McLean, VA; www.mcleanswimandtennis.org

 

What’s On Tap: June 2019

Greetings, beer nerds! As you likely know, there are a number of fantastic spots in the DMV where you can grab a pint, and their menus are always evolving and adapting to your tastes. If you’d rather avoid the guessing game, check out what’s coming up at a few of these fine establishments.

THURSDAY, JUNE 6

#PridePils Launch
DC Brau and The Washington Blade are thrilled to announce this year’s winner of the third annual Pride Pils Can Design competition: local DC artist Maggie Dougherty. Her vibrant and inspiring label depicting notable LGBTQ activist and prominent Stonewall figure Marsha P. Johnson, best known for her tireless work on behalf of the homeless and transgender communities in NYC, will appear on approximately 28,000 cans of specially packaged Brau Pils this summer. Head to Dacha Beer Garden to celebrate the release. 6-9 p.m. Free to attend. Dacha Beer Garden: 1600 7th St. NW, DC; www.dcbrau.com

FRIDAY, JUNE 7

Art on Tap 2019
Craft beers from local breweries have been artfully paired with selected artwork. Local restaurants have chosen a brew-and-artwork coupling to serve as their muse to create the perfect complimentary appetizer. Sample the creative combinations while drinking from a take-home Art on Tap beer tasting glass and then vote for your favorite at the end of the event. 7-9:30 p.m. Tickets $45. The Art League: 105 N Union St. Alexandria, VA; www.theartleague.org

FRIDAYS, JUNE 7, 14, 21 and 28

Tour de Pour
Friday nights just got way more fun. Join us for a weekly happy hour ride series between Bike Lane Brewing and Lake Anne Brew House. Park and gear up at Bike Lane Brewing then take a short, fun group ride to Lake Anne Brew House for a beer and pretzel pitstop before returning to Bike Lane for another. Don’t have a bike? Contact Bike Lane about a test ride on one of theirs. 6-8 p.m. Bike Lane Brewing: 11150 Sunset Hills Rd. Reston, VA; www.thebikelane.com

SATURDAY, JUNE 8

Rooftop Pride Kickoff Party
Help Red Bear Brewing kick off their very first Pride festival with an open bar and all-inclusive party on the roof of the historic Uline Arena, directly above the brewery. Drag yourself up to the roof for open-bar brews, Stoli cocktails and delicious bites. Hosted by Desiree Dik and blasting the sounds of DJ Nico DiMarco, you might feel guilty enjoying so much fun in one afternoon if you didn’t know the proceeds were going to help fund SMYAL’s work to empower LGBTQ youth and educate their local community. 4-8 p.m. Tickets $65-$95. Uline Arena: 1140 3rd St. NE, DC; www.redbear.beer

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12

Chef Egg Live: Cooking with Astro Lab Brewing
Join Chef Egg at Astro Lab Brewing for an out-of-this-world, live cooking show. The chef will set up shop in the brewery and show you how to pair vibrant recipes with Astro Lab’s craft brews. Chef Egg will cook sweet and savory recipes while giving you the culinary skills you need to succeed in the kitchen. 7-9:30 p.m. $25. Astro Lab Brewing: 8216 Georgia Ave. Silver Spring, MD; www.astrolabbrewing.com

FRIDAY, JUNE 14

Four-Course Beer Dinner
Pinstripes is bringing craft beer lovers a taste of their chef’s culinary expertise with a special dinner inspired by and paired with selections from Heavy Seas Beer. A rep from Heavy Seas and Pinstripes’ chef will lead guests through a deliciously fun four-course dinner. 7-9 p.m. $60. Pinstripes: 1064 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC; www.pinstripes.com

SATURDAY, JUNE 15

Old Ox & Friends
Old Ox turns five this June and they’re throwing a party. Come celebrate with new beer releases, old beer revivals, two awesome bands and delicious food all day long (did someone say free cake?) Plus, this provides the chance to be one of the first to see (and drink in) the new Middleburg location. 12-9 p.m. Tickets for a bus tour from the Ashburn location to Middleburg are $50. Old Ox Brewery: 44652 Guilford Dr. Ashburn, VA; www.oldoxbrewery.com

SATURDAY, JUNE 22

Silver Spring Block Party
Mark your calendars and join as Silver Branch Brewing Company releases their Gold Line Classic American Pilsner. Hill Country Barbecue Market will be on hand to serve delicious barbecue, and Hill Country LIVE will be producing live music on the plaza with The Dirty Grass Players. 12 p.m. – 12 a.m. Silver Branch Brewing Company: 8401 Colesville Rd. Silver Spring, MD; www.silverbranchbrewing.com

SUNDAY, JUNE 23

Pints and Paws
Studies have shown that pet ownership and beer drinking may contribute to a longer life. In that spirit, DC Brau will be hosting the Humane Rescue Alliance (HRA) for a meet and greet of some of DC’s most eligible kitties and canines. Join for a dog and cat adoption event. Enjoy a brew ($1 per pint will be donated to the HRA) while shopping the newest pet gear and treats from The Big Bad Woof, and maybe even go home with your new best friend. 12-3 p.m. DC Brau: 3178 Bladensburg Rd. NE, DC; www.dcbrau.com

TUESDAY, JUNE 25

Profs and Pints: The Real Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones is one of the most popular in television history. Come learn the history from which the show draws. It might not feature real dragons or Khaleesi, but it does have nearly all the violence, treachery and strange family relationships. It was called the Wars of the Roses because it involved a protracted fight for England’s throne between two branches of its royal family: one represented by a red rose and the other by a white one. 6-9 p.m. Tickets $12-$15. The Bier Baron Tavern and Comedy Loft: 1523 22nd St. NW, DC; www.bierbarondc.com

Photo: courtesy of Kendra Kuliga

Drinkable Designs

“What I’m trying to do is provoke a reaction. What I see in the world, I’m trying to reflect that back.”

Michael Van Hall describes contemporary art as reflective. His work is found in all corners of the DMV, but not in galleries or on brick walls. Rather, it’s on shelves, in refrigerators and, after encounters with thirsty observers, in trash cans.

His canvas – no pun intended – is beer cans and he’s not the only artist dabbling in the craft brew world. As beverage options crop up around the city, one way for them to stand out is by having an aesthetically appealing product beyond taste.

Michael Van Hall’s Design for Stillwater Artisanal

“There’s a fandom around beer, kind of like music,” Van Hall continues. “It’s recognized as a venue for creativity. It allows and enables. In beer, the novelty doesn’t wear off because we’re always pushing.”

Van Hall has commissioned work for a number of breweries including DC Brau, Vanish Farmwoods Brewery and Aslin Beer Company, to name a few. He views each project as a chance to create art rather than branding, which allows him to take risks others may forgo.

“One of the primary things I tell them is you’re working with an artist, not a design company. You have to be ready to take risks and do things that are seemingly in contrast with good business. No board is going to approve what I do, but the customers will approve.”

Kendra Kuliga, 3 Stars Brewing Company’s designer, established her niche in the craft brew world by working on murals at Meridian Pint before moving onto posters, branding and labels. When 3 Stars founder Dave Coleman decided to begin bottling and canning their beer, he reached out to Kuliga to collaborate on the look.

“I wanted to see how the new craft beer scene was trying to identify itself as more independent and less corporate,” Kuliga says. “It was very clear that the canvas for a label was extremely art-friendly. You can make cartoons or intense battle scenes. It’s really up to you. It’s about finding a balance in detail and something that captures a customer’s eye.”

Unlike Van Hall, Kuliga works almost exclusively with 3 Stars as far as can design, so each creation carries an aesthetic she and Coleman developed and built from scratch.

“[Coleman] gives me ideas for what he wants. He’ll explain and then I’ll do the research and add details. There are label artists who are sought out for their art, but at the end of the day, I want to represent the people I’m working for. It takes a lot of people to come up with a beer and a label, and I want everyone to feel good.”

While Kuliga and Van Hall have made can design part of their careers, crating both one-off releases and year-round staples, there are other avenues for beer can art.

Image: courtesy of Maggie Dougherty

This month, DC Brau is set to distribute their third annual Pride Pils just in time for the District’s Capital Pride celebration. Like previous iterations of the limited brew, the famed beer company held a contest for what design would adorn the aluminum containers. This year’s winner was local artist Maggie Dougherty.

“I have been following the competition the last few years and I had a sketched design for the past two competitions, but I didn’t submit it,” Dougherty says. “With this year’s theme about Stonewall and its 50th anniversary, I thought it was a challenging mechanism to tell a story.”

Dougherty’s bright yellow design displays different colored flowers, each carrying its own significance, wrapped around an illustration of notable transgender activist Marsha P. Johnson. As with any artistic depiction of a weighty subject, Dougherty spent countless hours reading and learning. 

“I’m really honored to be the third design in this line, and I did feel the pressure to represent a community that I’m an ally to,” she says. “I wanted to highlight the life of someone who gave their life to this in a way I couldn’t possibly understand.”

But getting creative with cans isn’t exclusive to the craft industry. Pabst Blue Ribbon has held their annual Art Can contest since 2014 in an effort to inspire creative cans for their iconic beer. One of this year’s winners was DC visual artist Tenbeete Solomon, perhaps best known as Trap Bob.

“I was hoping to get my name in front of them, not even considering actually winning,” Solomon says. “I’ve never designed a beer can before but I am a beer drinker, so I’ve always wanted to.”

Her design will adorn 5 million of the company’s 24-oz. cans distributed starting on October 1. Rather than the traditional ribbon look, these special editions feature a more science fiction appeal featuring a spaceship and a large hand reaching out. 

Image: courtesy of Tenbeete Solomon

“Hands and space [and] aliens have always been major inspirations for me,” she says. “I wanted to really get out of the box and weird with my design, because I knew that was something not only PBR would appreciate but also people just walking through the grocery store. The design on a beer can is the most distributed form of branding for a [beer] company so having something creative, eye-grabbing and on top of that, supportive of the creative community, is the best branding you can have.”

Both Daugherty and Solomon indicate that designing a beer can was an enjoyable experience and one they’d revisit. Just as there are countless brewers behind the scenes working on new ways to bring you explosive flavors on the inside, there are now just as many hungry artists looking to make a splash on the outside.

Van Hall has noticed the growth in the medium and is on board for more people joining him in pushing the boundaries. For him, it’s justification for the work he’s become known for.

“It’s a magnet for artistic creativity and in a way, that’s very harmful to my business but I love it,” he says. “When I come up with a good label, it’s because I’m being pushed by the industry. There are so many people that are doing very good work, and that brings everybody up.”

Maggie Dougherty: @dockerty_creative; www.dockertycreative.com
Kendra Kuliga: @cielo.productions; www.cieloproductions.com
Tenbeete Solomon: @trapxbob; www.trapbob.com
Michael Van Hall: @opprobriations; www.opprobriations.com

Photos: Courtesy of Wolf Trap

Caboose Brewing Company’s Wolf Trap Summer Ale Makes Its Return

There is something about seeing a concert in the outdoors that makes a show so much more enjoyable. Maybe it’s because there’s more room to breathe and dance around, or perhaps it’s because an open-air show is a sure sign that summer has arrived. Whatever it is that draws you to an outdoor gig, the promise of new drinking options makes Wolf Trap the place to go this summer.

The music venue is prepping the rollout of the newly updated Wolf Trap Summer Ale, a fairly light pale ale made for easy summertime drinking in collaboration with nearby Caboose Brewing Company. The partnership has been going strong since early 2016, not long after Caboose first opened its doors in Vienna.

In search of a middle-of-the-road beer that wasn’t like anything else they offered, Wolf Trap Director of Food & Beverage TJ Pluck worked with Caboose’s co-owner Matt Greer to create a brew that used the venue’s outdoor elements to inspire the Summer Ale’s flavor profile. In early discussions, Pluck, Greer and Wolf Trap Executive Chef Chris Faessen would talk “about the Wolf Trap experience and what’s unique here.”

“You’re sitting in this oasis of trees in nature in the middle of the city,” Pluck says of the venue.

With the abundance of cedar trees, pines and Faessen’s bee apiaries in mind, the brew was born. As for changes to the batch available for the 2019 season, Pluck and Greer agreed to tone down the bitterness of last year’s recipe.

“We typically bitter with Warrior [hops], but we’ve reduced that quite a bit and introduced some Falconer’s Flight into the mix, which is another kind of aromatic hop,” Greer says. “But other than that, the base malt build has pretty much stayed the same.”

He adds that these changes will make the 2019 batch an ale that is more with the times but anticipates that the team will continue to tweak the ale as they go. While Pluck had long envisioned serving a proprietary beer at Wolf Trap, it was not until Caboose opened its flagship location that he felt he had found the right brewery to work with.

The timing was perfect as Wolf Trap was looking to focus their beer program on local brews, now including Starr Hill and Devils Backbone. Greer adds that a collaboration with Wolf Trap made perfect sense on Caboose’s end – as soon as he and Pluck’s team sat down to talk, the two groups just clicked. Since then, the national park and brewery have only grown closer.

“They are literally a mile-and-a-half down the street from us,” Greer says. “We talk all the time and I’m constantly going to shows. TJ [Pluck] could call me tomorrow and say ‘Matt, I love this beer I had a dream about and I need to make it,’ and of course I would make it for him. It’s become more of a friendship than a business situation.”

Not to mention that as a brewer, Greer is always looking for new projects to work on with local groups.

“Honestly, we live for collaborations. It’s a lot of fun.”

With the summer ale collaboration going so well, Greer and Pluck both mention there’s a good chance the collaboration could grow in the future. While nothing is set in stone, Pluck says the two groups have started talking about potential projects down the line – including adding more Caboose beer at Wolf Trap as the brewery has recently started canning their beer and using the honey produced by Wolf Trap’s bees.

“We’re all hyperlocal, we like participating in each other’s events and we’re just really blessed with having so many like-minded people in the area,” Greer says.

The revamped summer ale isn’t the only drinking option to look forward to at the park this year. Wolf Trap will also be offering Richmond-based Väsen Brewing Company’s Guava Otter Gose.

“[Väsen’s] beers are all named after animals because they’re all about the outdoors, which fits in with us being a national park,” Pluck says. “We’ll actually be one of the very few places in Northern Virginia to have it in cans.”

Devils Backbone’s new Hibiscus Hard Lemonade will be offered, as well as two new cocktails created by Wolf Trap – vodka-and-orange puree concoction the Blood Orange Breeze, and cucumber and Spindrift cucumber sparkling water combo the Cucumber Refresh. On the nonalcoholic side, the national park struck up a collaboration with Caffe Amouri in Vienna to create the Wolf Trap coffee blend – a mix of artisan coffee beans from Papua New Guinea and Guatemala – served hot or iced and sold in to-go bags in the gift shop.

Whatever you’re looking for in an outdoor concert venue, Wolf Trap has something for everyone with their numerous local drink options, natural beauty, and stellar lineup of bands and performances.

“There’s nothing better than great music [and] beer together in one place,” Greer says. “I’m just excited that we’ve got this national resource right next to us.”

Wolf Trap’s summer season kicks off on Thursday, May 23 with a three-night lineup of The Avett Brothers, coinciding with the release date of the revamped Wolf Trap Summer Ale. For more information about the venue’s summer season, visit www.wolftrap.org. For more on Caboose, go to www.caboosebrewing.com.

Caboose Commons: 2918 Eskridge Rd. Fairfax, VA; www.caboosebrewing.com
Caboose Tavern: 520 Mill St. NE, Vienna, VA; www.caboosebrewing.com
Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts: 1645 Trap Rd. Vienna, VA; www.wolftrap.org


Artist Picks

Concertgoers aren’t the only ones who like to enjoy a beer during – or before or after – a show. Check out what a few artists coming to Wolf Trap this summer like to sip on during a performance and how they celebrate post-show.

Lake Street Dive
Drummer Mike Calabrese

Favorite pre-show drink:

Honestly, water. Pee clear, sing clear, drink after.

Go-to beer on tour:

Some [members of the band] are IPA people, or NEIPA people. Others prefer something yellow, like a classic German lager or pilsner.

Post-show spot:

The bus! The venue usually hooks up the local stuff for us backstage and then we go into the lounge and ask the bigger questions about life, love and Game of Thrones.

Lake Street Dive plays Wolf Trap Saturday, June 8. Gates open at 6 p.m. Tickets start at $35. Learn more about the band at www.lakestreetdive.com.

Toad the Wet Sprocket
Bassist Dean Dinning

Go-to beer on tour:

I enjoy a Toad the Wet Hop Ale from Green Man Brewery. Either that or a nice, light Mexican beer like Modelo with a squeeze of lime.

Favorite pre-show drink:

I enjoy a shot of decent tequila like Maestro Dobel or Casamigos with a squeeze of lime – never heavy, always refreshing.

Post-show spot:

I always go to [U Street soul food spot] Oohh’s & Aahh’s when I’m in DC. Never miss the opportunity!

Catch the band at Wolf Trap on Sunday, June 30. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. Tickets start at $25. Learn more at www.toadthewetsprocket.com.

What’s On Tap: May 2019

Greetings, beer nerds! As you likely know, there are a number of fantastic spots in the DMV where you can grab a pint, and their menus are always evolving and adapting to your tastes. If you’d rather avoid the guessing game, check out what’s coming up at a few of these fine establishments.

THURSDAY, MAY 2

Caboose’s Fourth Anniversary Beer Dinner
Don’t miss this spring beer dinner in honor of Caboose Brewing Company’s fourth anniversary. The evening will include a five-course meal and beer pairing created by executive chef David Rabin and Caboose’s wonderful brewing team. 7:30 p.m. Tickets $75. Caboose Brewing: 520 Mill St. NE, DC; www.caboosebrewing.com

The Kapittel Farewell Party
Join The Sovereign as they bid a fond farewell to the beers of Kapittel. On this day, they will feature five classic ales from Watou, Belgium. All Kapittel beers will be priced individually by the glass and in 4-oz. tasting pours. 5-11:30 p.m. Free to attend.The Sovereign: 1206 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC; www.thesovereigndc.com

FRIDAY, MAY 3

Slaters Lane Socials: Spanish Tapas
Join Rustico Alexandria for their next installment of the Slaters Lane Socials series. On the first weekend of each month, the restaurant will showcase a few fun and exciting food specials paired with one of their favorite craft brewers. This month, Rustico is celebrating the cuisine of Spain with executive chef Stephen McRae’s delicious tapas menu. 5-11:30 p.m. Free to attend. Rustico Restaurant and Bar: 827 Slaters Ln. Alexandria, VA; www.rusticorestaurant.com

SATURDAY, MAY 4

Dawn Patrol Release Party on the Patio
Join Lost Rhino Retreat for a party on the patio for the release of Lost Rhino’s Dawn Patrol Session IPA. Taps open at 2 p.m. and the event will feature live music, barbecue, seafood boil, beer bucket specials and more. Join for a great opportunity to bring in the summer a little early with the release of this new brew. 2-10 p.m. Free to attend.Lost Rhino Retreat: 22885 Brambleton Plz. Ashburn, VA; www.lostrhino.com

The First Annual Brewer Spring Art and Culture Crawl
Enjoy a beverage from each of Silver Spring’s three breweries while slurping up new knowledge about the art, architecture and culture of Silver Spring’s blossoming urban community. The ticket price includes a pint of your choice at each brewery, a T-shirt and a chance to win some prizes along the way. 1-4 p.m. Tickets $50. The Rotary Club of Downtown Silver Spring: 923 Ellsworth Dr. Silver Spring, MD; www.silverspringrotary.org

Rocket Frog 1st Anniversary Party
It’s been one year since Rocket Frog opened its doors to the public. This will be a festival-style event inside the brewery. The festival features their 12 taps behind the main bar, an additional 10 taps in the brewing area, and one firkin (TBD), all with your favorite Rocket Frog beer. There will be several variations from beers served throughout the first brewery’s first year. 12-6 p.m. Tickets $30-$48. Rocket Frog Brewing Company: 22560 Glenn Dr. #103, Sterling, VA; www.rocketfrogbeer.com

WEDNESDAY, MAY 8

Calvert Woodley’s DMV Brewery Night
Join for a walk-around tasting featuring breweries from DC, Maryland and Virginia, who will be showcasing their favorite brews. Come sample their flagship offerings as well as some seasonal specials. As an added bonus, all the brews will be available for purchase at specially discounted prices. You’ll also receive a complimentary glass for the tasting. 6 p.m. Tickets $25. University of the District of Columbia Heritage Hall: 4200 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC; www.calvertwoodley.com

SATURDAY, MAY 11

Cheers for Babies
Join Sauf Haus in Dupont Circle for a happy hour fundraiser supporting the Maternity Home and Pregnancy Center programs of The Northwest Center. Since 1981, The Northwest Center has served over 57,300 women and babies in the DC area. With your help they can continue in their mission of empowering women and strengthening families. 6-9 p.m. Free to attend. Sauf Haus Bier Hall: 1216 18th St. NW, DC; www.saufhausdc.com

WEDNESDAY, MAY 15

Horizontal Tasting: Cider, Beer and Wine
Celebrate spring by exploring cider, beer and wine together! Your ticket includes a guided, five-part horizontal tasting. For each course, Capitol Cider House will pair a different cider with a similar beer or wine. To sweeten the night, the fifth and final course will pair a dessert wine with Capitol Cider’s house made North Columbia – essentially, the apple version of port wine. Capitol Cider House: 3930 Georgia Avenue NW, DC; www.capitolciderhouse.com

FRIDAY, MAY 17

SAVOR: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience
What happens when celebrated chefs team up with some of America’s finest craft breweries? The answer: an unforgettable night of sensory delight. Set amidst the grandeur of the National Building Museum, SAVOR is the premier beer and food pairing event in the country. Discover your new favorite craft beers and pairings and meet the people behind the beer, including owners and brewers, who will be personally serving their beer. Starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $135. National Building Museum: 401 F St. NW, DC; www.savorcraftbeer.com

SATURDAY, MAY 18

Sour Mania!
Pucker up and join Mad Fox for their 2nd Annual Sour Beer Festival. Sample special and limited-edition sour ales from around the region and across the country at this indoor event. Enjoy live music and fantastic food while sipping some truly tart ales. Admission to the brewpub is free and space is available on a first come, first served basis. Please call the restaurant for table reservations. Tasting begins at 11 a.m. on Saturday. Check out the samtpler package offer available online only. 11 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. Tickets start at $20. Mad Fox Brewing Company: 444 W. Broad St. Falls Church, VA; www.madfoxbrewing.com

The Ultimate Beer Pong Tournament
Are you the master of beer pong? Do you want to help a good cause while also consuming libations? Well, this is the perfect event for you. Join Town Tavern with your best beer pong partner and drink and play for a cause. The bar is hosting a beer pong tournament to raise money and awareness for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. 6:30 p.m. Tickets $5-$25. Town Tavern DC: 2323 18th St. NW, DC; www.towntaverndc.com

SUNDAY, MAY 19

Bingo with the DC Sisters
Come to the DC Sisters’ monthly bingo night. They will be at Red Bear Brewing with games, raffle tickets for the 50/50 raffle, extra game books, and food and beverages will also be available for purchase. 1-4 p.m. $20 will get you six rounds of bingo, each with a $100 cash prize and potentially a door prize. Red Bear Brewing: 209 M St. NE, DC; www.dcsisters.org

Pups N’ Pints
Join Fairfax Dogfish Head Alehouse for a fundraiser in an effort to raise money for the HART Organization. Kick off the day with the annual 5K run and then enjoy the outdoor bar and grill. 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. 5K registration is $40. Dogfish Head Alehouse: 13041 Lee Jackson Memorial Hwy. Fairfax, VA; www.dogfishalehouse.com

SATURDAY, MAY 25

Rivershed Run
Kick off your long weekend with a fast and flat run that starts in urban Alexandria, cools down through beautiful Cameron Run Park and finishes at the Port City Brewery. After the 5K, you will have earned your fair share of calories.  So, plan to stay for the ultimate Virginia Memorial Day BBQ. Live bluegrass all afternoon, All American food trucks with a pig roast, burgers and apple pie. All that and the release of Port City’s new Rivershed Ale. 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.5K registration is $45. Port City Brewing Company: 3950 Wheeler Ave. Alexandria, VA; www.portcitybrewing.com

Stone Carving at the Brewery
New District Brewing Company has had paint nights and food pairings, but now it’s time for stone carving. Come in empty handed and walk out with a small stone creation made with your own two hands. The instructor will guide you through a class to give you the basics of stone carving while the brewery will provide plenty of beer to coax out your muse. 2 p.m. Tickets $30. New District Brewing Company: 2709 South Oakland St. Arlington, VA; www.newdistrictbrewing.com

Woodbridge Beer Fest
This beer event is taking over the main drag of Woodbridge for the second year, filling it with beer, food and even wine. There will be 12 breweries providing the best of local and regional craft breweries, food vendors, live music and other entertainment. Want to stay late? The Brew Republic taproom will host an after party. Festivities begin at 11 a.m. Tickets start at $39. Brew Republic Bierwerks: 15201 Potomac Town Pl. Woodbridge, VA; www.brewrepublic.beer

Photos: Courtesy of SweetWater

SweetWater’s New Guide Beer: New Four Percent Lager Gives Back to Nature’s Best Stewards

Freddy Bensch first rolled through Atlanta in the summer of 1996 to find the city at a vibrant peak while hosting the Olympic Games. With a freshly inked environmental sciences degree in his pocket, Bensch embarked upon a cross-country road trip, leaving University of Colorado Boulder with his friend Kevin McNerney and dog Badger. When their truck broke down in Atlanta, the crew decided to stay and play.

Enamored with Atlanta’s glittery city appeal and Southern downhome charm, their stay kept getting extended. The one thing lacking? A great craft beer scene. Bensch and McNerney had worked in breweries while in college in Colorado and saw an opportunity to introduce Atlanta to the tasty West Coast-style ales they loved. One small business loan later, and SweetWater Brewing Company was born.   

Craft enthusiasts are likely familiar with SweetWater’s 420 Extra Pale Ale – the first batch was brewed 22 years ago on April 20 – and their heady, hoppy portfolio of IPAs. This year, the Atlanta-based brewery introduced a lighter lager to the mix: Guide Beer. At 4 percent, it’s a crisp and refreshing cooler-filler, with all the robust flavors you’d expect from a craft.

But it’s more than just a great liquid: Guide Beer has a greater mission. Of Guide Beer’s profits, 11 percent will be given back to nature guides in need, whether they’ve suffered devastation from a hurricane, a broken limb, an illness or anything that keeps them from working. Why guides? 

“SweetWater has always been about creating a company and brand that exudes the same core values we hold as individuals, and that includes a deep love of all things outdoors,” Bensch says. “Whether it was water conservation, habitat protection or just straight-up stocking streams, this was who we were and this was what we were going to support. Guide Beer has become a natural extension of this philosophy: a light, easy drinking lager specifically designed for days in the outdoors that also gives back to the best stewards of the great outdoors – guides.”

Bensch says he and McNerney developed a great sense of gratitude for the guides they befriended along the way.

“Always taking a sliver of information or heightened respect from each experience, we came to understand that these guys and gals are the true stewards of nature. Guides are the keys that unlock outdoor experiences for the greater masses.”

He points out that the past several years have seen devastation to the guide community from Hurricanes Irma, Florence and Michael.

“It hit me that we as a company need to step up and formally give back to guides who’ve impacted so much of who we are as a company and frankly, who I am as a person and outdoorsman,” he says. “That’s what Guide Beer is: in honor and support of those who show us the way.”

In order to make Guide Beer an authentic representation of the folks it’s meant to honor, SweetWater worked with guides from all over the nation to develop it.

“We reached out to some of the nation’s most well-known and revered guides and started asking them, ‘What kind of beer do you like to drink after a long day out guiding?’” says Guide Beer Brand Director Tucker Berta Sarkisian. “The answer was nearly unanimous: a crisp, light, easy drinking, low-ABV beer.  We continued to work with the guides to develop the liquid and the concept around it – getting their input on everything from cans versus bottles to artwork to a philanthropic program that would be authentic to SweetWater and this new beer.”  

What guides told SweetWater they wanted aligned with industry stats: a shift toward a lighter profile among craft drinkers and proven success in the top 10 drinkable styles. It also brings to the table new consumers: craft enthusiasts looking for a crisp 4 percenter, plus a new base of lighter profile beer consumers who may be new to SweetWater but appreciate the outdoors and aspirational nature of the guide lifestyle. Men’s Journal recently named Guide Beer one of the “Five Best Lagers for Day Drinking.” 

“Our hope all along was that Guide Beer would spark conversation and inspire people to get outside and enjoy all that nature has to offer,” Sarkisian says. “And we’re seeing that, from consumers talking about the maps on the cans and the locations they’ve visited or want to visit to planning an excursion with a guide.”   

Check out videos from guides, booking links and more at www.guidebeer.com and follow Guide Beer on Instagram @guidebeer. Find out where to pick up the brew in the DMV at www.sweetwaterbrew.com/find-sweetwater.

This article is sponsored by Virginia Eagle Distributing Company.

What’s On Tap: April 2019 Beer Listings

Greetings, beer nerds! As you likely know, there are a number of fantastic spots in the DMV where you can grab a pint, and their menus are always evolving and adapting to your tastes. If you’d rather avoid the guessing game, check out what’s coming up at a few of these fine establishments.

THURSDAY, APRIL 4

Beer Tasting at the GAHM
Enjoy a taste of Germany with different kinds of German beer, including limited seasonal specialties, German sausage, potato salad and pretzels. In the mood for something different? Try a Bavarian biergarten specialty called obatzda. In addition, learn about the long history of Germans in the United States, their surprising contributions which go well beyond beer and bratwurst, and the strong connection that exists still today between the two countries. 6:30-9 p.m. $30-$55. German-American Heritage Museum: 719 6th St. NW, DC; www.gahmusa.org

Flying Dog Presents Unfiltered for Your Pleasure
Join ChurchKey as they celebrate all things IPA with their friends from Flying Dog. This night features seven beers from the brewery, including three unfiltered twists on Flying Dog’s flagship IPAs. Whether you love them or hate them, unfiltered hazy IPAs are here to stay. Try Snake Dog, Double Dog and The Truth side-by-side and decide which you like best. 4-7:30 p.m. Free to attend. ChurchKey: 1337 14th St. NW, DC; www.churchkeydc.com

Ithaca Beer’s 20th Anniversary Party
Rustico Ballston is set to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Ithaca Beer Company. In honor of this momentous occasion, the restaurant will pour 10 exciting beers from the New York brewery, including rare kegs of Anniversary 20 and Anniversary 20/20: Hindsight. The team at Ithaca Beer Co. is bringing a remarkable lineup for the event, headlined by the two aforementioned brews. 5-11:30 p.m. Free to attend. Rustico Ballston: 4075 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA; www.rusticorestaurant.com

FRIDAY, APRIL 5

Port City’s Ideaal Tripel Release Party
Join Port City Brewing as they tap the Ideaal Tripel. From the Flemish term meaning “quintessential or exemplary,” Ideaal is a classic Belgian-style tripel. Honey gold with a thick cap of mousse-like foam, Ideaal Tripel’s deceptively dry body provides a perfect playground for a spicy Belgian yeast character, marrying complexity and approachability. Ideaal is the perfect companion for spring in the DC area and a must have for patio season. 3-10 p.m. Free to attend. Port City Brewing: 3950 Wheeler Ave. Alexandria, VA; www.portcitybrewing.com

SATURDAY, APRIL 6

Capital BrewFest: Blossom Bash Beer
DC’s outdoor festival season is set to kick off with Blossom Bash. Your ticket to Blossom Bash gets you three hours of unlimited tastes of more than 65 delicious craft beers, 10-plus tasty ciders and more. You’ll also enjoy the best of DC’s food trucks, live music and fun games. 12:30-8 p.m. $30-$60. The Bullpen: 1299 Half St. SE, DC; www.brewfestdc.com

New Beer’s Eve
Celebrate your new favorite holiday: New Beer’s Eve. On April 7, 1933, beer production was once again made legal in the U.S., marking the imminent end of prohibition. Join at the Dumbarton House with local beer historians in tasting a wide variety of local beers, ciders and snacks. This is the day to honor your right to pursue happiness and a refreshing cold one. 3-7 p.m. $35-$40. Dumbarton House: 2715 Q St. NW, DC; www.dumbartonhouse.org

The Sovereign’s Third Anniversary Celebration
The Sovereign is celebrating its third anniversary with a huge selection of 25 world-renowned beers including favorites from Cantillon, Hill Farmstead, Allagash and more. The day brings three extremely rare Cantillon kegs, including the DC debut of Carignan.  In addition, Hill Farmstead and Allagash sent an amazing collection such as Hill Farmstead’s Convivial Suarez and Clara, as well as Allagash’s Coolship Red and Coolship Resurgam. In addition, there will also be a spontaneous collection of fermented beers. 11 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. Free to attend. The Sovereign: 1206 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC; www.thesovereigndc.com

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 10

Zlaty Rhino Beer Release
Lost Rhino Brewing Company is bringing this back for a release in April. Zlatý Rhino (pronounced “zlah-tee”) is a classic Bohemian-style pale lager and takes its name from the Czech word for “golden.” This beer balances the delicate bitterness of 100 percent Czech Saaz hops against a sweet malty backbone, thanks to the use of a painstaking traditional decoction mash and long kettle boil. Zlatý Rhino is equally at home alongside a hearty meal or fueling a long night at the pub with friends. The tap opens at 11:30 a.m. Free to attend. Lost Rhino Brewing Company: 21730 Red Rum Dr. #142, Ashburn, VA; www.lostrhino.com

THURSDAY, APRIL 11 – SUNDAY, APRIL 14

The DC Easter Keg Hunt 2019
Celebrate Easter early this year with the first ever DC Easter Keg Hunt. Join ChurchKey, Bluejacket, The Sovereign and The Partisan for a craft beer-themed scavenger hunt across the District. The hoppy hunt is on. Each location will have a different clue hinting at a special beer on the draft list. Find the secret beer at all four locations by Sunday and win a free limited-edition commemorative DC Easter Keg Hunt 2019 hooded sweatshirt (retail value $45). Winners are automatically entered into a drawing for one of the five grand prizes. Various times. Free to participate. DC Easter Keg Hunt: Various locations in DC; www.dcbeer.net

SUNDAY, APRIL 14

The Stillwater Preternatural Cuvée Tasting w/ Brian Strumke
The Sovereign is welcoming Brian Strumke of Stillwater Artisanal Ales to host an intimate tasting of all five beers from the Preternatural Cuvée Project, a series of his most intriguing and special barrel-aged beer-wine hybrids. In 2014, Stillwater Artisanal procured a truckload of freshly emptied California wine barrels and filled them with a mix of blond and dark saisons. After three years in oak barrels, roughly two years of bottle conditioning, and many blending and tasting sessions, Stillwater is finally ready to release these five beautiful beer-wine hybrids. 12-2 p.m. Free to attend. The Sovereign: 1206 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC; www.thesovereigndc.com

THURSDAY, APRIL 18

Profs & Pints: Founding Fathers in the “Friend Zone”
Presented with Cassandra Good, assistant professor of history at Marymount University, this discussion focuses on several of America’s earliest leaders and how they formed close, egalitarian relationships with women. Among them, Thomas Jefferson had warm ties with Abigail Adams, and she called him “one of the choice ones on Earth.” George Washington found a home away from home with Philadelphia’s Elizabeth Powel. These weren’t romantic love affairs. They were friendships built on emergent ideas of women as the spiritual and intellectual equals of men. 6-9 p.m. $15. Bier Baron Tavern: 1523 22nd St. NW, DC; www.inlovewithbier.com/tavern

SATURDAY, APRIL 20

DC Beer Fest
The DC Beer Festival returns to Nationals Park, bringing together dozens of craft breweries and featuring spring seasonal beers. Taking place throughout the stadium’s concourse including Centerfield Plaza, Budweiser Brew House, Bud Light Loft and Budweiser Terrace, the DC Beer Fest will have over a dozen food trucks throughout as well as lawn games, DJs and more. 12-8 p.m. $45-$75. Nationals Park: 1500 S. Capitol St. SE, DC; www.dcbeerfestival.com

Ocelot 4th Year Anniversary Party and Spring Market
After the success at Ocelot’s Oktoberfest Flea Market, the brewery decided to bring back a bunch of vendors for their 4th anniversary. So we’ll be setup out back again with tables and a cash bar, a slew of great local vendors, music by Mobius Records, food trucks and more. 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Free to attend. Ocelot Brewing Company: 23600 Overland Dr. Sterling, VA; www.ocelotbrewing.com

THURSDAY, APRIL 25

Diamondback Brewing Co. Tap Takeover
Join Lost & Found in celebrating Baltimore’s Diamondback Brewing Co. with a 10-tap takeover of old favorites and new releases. Diamondback was established in 2016 brewing small batch beer skewed towards one-off styles in the Baltimore metropolitan area. In the past two years, Diamondback Beer has started to mature and develop a firmer grip its core offerings, monthly one-offs and barrel aging experiments. 4-11 p.m. Free to attend. Lost & Found: 1240 9th St. NW, DC; www.lostandfounddc.com

Photo: Nicco Page

Red Bear Brewing Co. Open To All

At the grand opening of Red Bear Brewing Co. last month, patrons exploring the space echoed the same sentiment: NoMa’s new brewery has a philosophy of being open to all.

“It’s a place that really has something for everyone,” says Liz Cox, Red Bear’s taproom manager and veteran manager of the DC restaurant and bar landscape. “[Red Bear] erases that stigma of brewery culture.”

In other words, this isn’t just a bunch of white bearded guys sitting around drinking micro brews. This is an environment for people of all races, genders and sexual orientations.

Red Bear is the brainchild of three friends who were living in Seattle – Bryan Van Den Oever, Cameron Raspet and Simon Bee – all looking to change careers. Van Den Oever came from the healthcare world, Raspet has a military background and was a flight test engineer for Boeing, and Bee worked in property management.

“They wanted to do a nano-brewery but knew they shouldn’t in Seattle because it had the most brewpubs per capita,” Cox says. “They felt bringing the West Coast style to the East Coast would work and chose DC to get it started.”

Although all three owners are gay, they decided early on that Red Bear wasn’t going to be “a gay bar” but rather ultra-inclusive, encompassing more than just the LGBTQ community.

“We try to be disability-friendly, accessibly friendly, a safe space for women [and] people of color,” Cox says. “We even have a bartender who is an ASL interpreter and we are all trying to learn from him as well [to welcome the deaf community and students from nearby Gallaudet University]. The idea was to create a safe space for everyone.”

The trio also wants the establishment to embrace the outdoors and adventure, hence the brewery’s name. The bear is a central theme of the space, and the logo features an ursine figure and Washington state’s Mount Rainier in front of DC’s stars and stripes.

“Visually, our bar is very appealing, and we stick to the theme of bringing outdoors inside,” Cox says. “We have patio string lights out. Simon built a mountain range that lines the bar. The bar is very large and creates two zones; we call one the front yard and the other the back patio.”

Red Bear serves predominantly West Coast-style ales and beers from 24 tap lines in a 7,000-square-foot space.

“Simon is our brewmaster and classifies offerings in three styles,” Cox explains. “[There’s] the old, nostalgic-style beers such as an ESB, which you don’t find a lot of in DC as it’s a very West Coast, Pacific Northwest-style beer. There’s the beers you should enjoy drinking and then experimental beers.”

For example, the pub will be introducing a brut kölsch later this summer. Current on tap offerings include a Belgian wit called Marmalade Skies, Cammy Cam-Cam’s ESB, American porter DC Dirt, the pale ale Polar Bear, American amber Skookum Red Ale, American IPA Mystic Storm and American double IPA Twinsies. Seasonal offerings include Cupid’s Black Heart, a chocolate-strawberry bock, and Swampoodle, an imperial oatmeal Irish stout. In the months ahead, the bar will offer a hibiscus American wheat (Delicate Prissy Flower), cherry almond sour (Manhattan Project), rosemary saison (Something About Rosemary) and a NoMa-based SMaSH (Single Malt and Single Hops) brew.

As a brewpub, Red Bear is licensed to sell food and has a small kitchen that is currently being readied to open sometime this summer. In the meantime, the owners are bringing in pop-up food places such as Roaming Rooster and D’s Fish Truck to offer visitors some menu items.

“We also have a stage for live performances and a patio that will be up and going once it gets warmer,” Cox says. “And we’ll be building out our drop lines. We opened with eight beers and have 15 beer lines and two nitro beer lines.”

Red Bear also offers cider, cocktails, wine and a full liquor menu. At the grand opening, all three owners got their pick of one special element for the night, so the party included a drag queen (Kitti Chanel Fairfield), an ice sculpture and live music.

“We’re all about having a good time and everyone here is excited about what’s to come,” Cox says. “NoMa has a ton of people but not a lot of bars, and we want people to feel comfortable here.”

Learn more about Red Bear at www.redbear.beer and follow the brewery @redbearbrewing.

Red Bear Brewing Co.: 209 M St. NE, DC; 202-849-6130; www.redbear.beer

Photo: Courtesy of Chrystalle Ball

Leading Ladies of DC’s Beer Scene: Deep Roots Gain New Ground

The world of craft beer is dramatically different than it was even a few years ago. Quality beer is more readily available than ever and thanks to social media, it’s easy to keep up with new beers and breweries. Here in DC, women have a prominent place in the beer scene.

Chrystalle Ball is the founder of DC Metro Girls Pint Out, the local chapter of a national craft beer organization for women to enjoy happy hours, tastings and other events that build community around a love of beer. She joined the Arizona chapter originally, but after moving to the DMV, she found there were no chapters here. She got to work, and DMV Girls Pint Out had its first event in 2013.

“There is a stereotype that women don’t drink beer,” Ball says. “People come to our events for the first time and they’ll say, ‘Oh, I didn’t know there were so many women that drink beer in this area.’ There are, you just have to look.”

Ball says that over the past five-plus years of involvement in the DC beer community, a lot more women are beginning to actually work in beer. She notes Lake Anne Brew House in Reston, Virginia, which is women-owned and has many women brewers, and says that DC also has plenty of women industry veterans like Kristi Mathews Griner of Beltway Brewing Company in Sterling, Virginia.

“Women are popping up all over the area in brewing roles, and it needs to keep happening,” she says, noting that the Pink Boots Society, which helps women advance their careers in the beer industry, is an important resource. “Women are pigeonholed toward wine, but women love beer – and women were the first brewers of beer.”

Sara Bondioli, president of the DC Homebrewers Club, says that the long tradition of women brewers also helped inspire her to try it herself.

“I was reading a book that had a section on the history of brewing, and for most of history, women were the main brewers,” Bondioli says. “It’s only more recently that it’s been seen as a male profession. It hadn’t occurred to me that homebrewing was even an option until then, but I did a lot of baking from scratch and I thought I would try making beer from scratch.”

Fast forward to about seven years later, and she’s now running the club and helping other women get into homebrewing, too. Women club members started the Homebrewing Outreach and Participation Sisterhood (HOPS), which has women-focused brew days, happy hours and speaking events. Bondioli says that through homebrewing, women and men alike have freedom to create funky combinations while enhancing their appreciation of the brewing process.

“I’ve had some really creative beers through the homebrew. Someone made a pickleback beer, but they did it in a very restrained way that worked out really well. Especially with the club, you get to see what other people create and it gives you ides of things to try as well.”

Her signature beer? A strawberry rhubarb saison. This creative spirit is everywhere in the beer world, from the beers themselves to their labels. Chelsea Bailey, who runs the @21stamendmentgirl beer Instagram account and works in DC Brau’s tasting room, says she originally started the account to highlight the beauty of beer design.

“Honestly, I started drinking craft beer because I love the labels,” she says. “I challenged myself to drink a whole bottle of whatever I chose [to feature], I developed a palate and it grew into this whole other world.”

Bailey landed her job at DC Brau thanks in part to her social media presence, and it’s given her “a chance to meet other people who are like-minded and passionate.”

“There are people who have heard about my Instagram account, and I’m excited to go in and talk about beer with them.”

All three women say that there’s a number of things happening in the DC beer world to look forward to this spring. This month, ANXO Cidery & Pintxos Bar is exclusively pouring ciders, wines, beers and cocktails from female-owned and operated businesses. On the homebrewing front, the DC Homebrewers Club is now accepting entries for its annual homebrewing competition, the Cherry Blossom Challenge. And DMV Girls Pint Out will soon host its fifth annual Girl Scout Cookie and beer pairing event; check website for updates.

“If someone wants to get into beer and has experienced that whole beer snobbery thing, I would love for them to come to our events and just try things,” Ball says.

That’s the main theme that seems to unite area breweries and beer enthusiasts: condescension and pretentiousness are out, and inclusiveness and community are in.

“Overall, the DC beer scene is supportive of having women involved, active and part of the group,” Bondioli says. “Most of the places out here seem to understand that they don’t have to market beer to women differently. They can just make a good beer and women and men will drink it – and everyone out here can appreciate that.” Bailey echoes that sentiment.

“Beer isn’t a man’s drink. It’s everybody’s drink.”

Follow Bailey on Instagram @21stamendmentgirl and learn more about DMV Girls Pint Out at www.girlspintout.org or on Twitter @dmvgirlspintout. Check out the DC Homebrewers Club at www.dchomebrewers.com, the club’s Cherry Blossom Challenge at www.dchbcompetition.com and the Pink Boots Society at www.pinkbootssociety.org. More on the breweries and cideries below.

ANXO Cidery & Pinxtos Bar: 300 Florida Ave. NW, DC; www.anxodc.com
Beltway Brewing Company: 22620 Davis Dr. Ste 110, Sterling, VA; www.beltwaybrewco.com
DC Brau: 3178 Bladensburg Rd. Suite B, NE, DC;www.dcbrau.com
Lake Anne Brew House: 4310, 11424 Washington Plaza W.Reston, VA; www.lakeannbrewhouse.com

Photo: Daniel Lempres

What’s On Tap: ANXO cidery & PintXos Bar’s Rachel Fitz Celebrates Women in Food and Drink

When ANXO Cidery & Pintxos Bar opened in Truxton Circle, they were the only sit-down restaurant in the neighborhood. Co-owner Rachel Fitz says the grid couldn’t handle a business of ANXO’s size – her team had to increase power and water for the entire neighborhood – but it was important for them to operate in the District and support the local community. A former social worker, Fitz’s commitment to community engagement has translated to her role at ANXO. After the resounding success of the cidery’s collaboration with Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington on International Women’s Day last year, Fitz decided to extend and expand ANXO’s celebration of women. For Women’s Month 2019, ANXO is featuring women in the industry throughout March at special events, and everything poured at the cidery is provided by women-owned or women-run breweries. Plus, happy hour profits for the entire month are going to DC’s Planned Parenthood office.

On Tap: Tell me about your introduction to cider, and your path to opening ANXO.
Rachel Fitz:
My business partners and I traveled around Spain and fell in love with cider. I thought, “Who knew there was all this cider in the world that’s not sweet and is interesting?” We all come from a beer background and really fell in love with cider. The idea when we opened was to start as a cider bar and do a small amount of production, mostly what comes out of the barrel downstairs – that’s our sidra. [Cider] is the original beverage of the United States. We’re really just getting back to our roots, no pun intended.

OT: What exactly did ANXO do last year for International Women’s Day?
RF:
We decided to highlight female producers. We thought it was going to be a small-scale fundraiser [for Planned Parenthood], but we were blown away by the positive support from attendees and those featured. We had no idea these companies had women running or owning them. It got us thinking about how many other women there are doing amazing things, and how women are rarely in the spotlight.

OT: What inspired the longer celebration this year?
RF:
[Last year] was a huge success. We raised over $2,600 in one night and wanted to grow it, so we decided, “Why not do an entire month of celebrating?” We decided to pour only products made or owned by women. With 36 draft lines, plus liquor, wine and nonalcoholic beverages, we went into it thinking it would be challenging. Turns out, there are a ton of female producers. Every day, we come across new options.

OT: Are you doing collaborations with other brewers as well?
RF:
We did two collaborations: a brut IPA with Denizens and a cider with Eden out of Vermont called Nevertheless We Persisted. [The cider] will be released on International Women’s Day. This is the first year of doing a month-long collaboration, and we hope to do it again next year and get other places doing this. It would be great if in the District, everybody was highlighting amazing women in the industry.

OT: Why do you think it’s important to not only highlight women in the industry, but also create a space for them to connect?
RF:
I think a lot of the time there is not a comfortable space to ask questions that would really help you as a young professional. It’s hard to go up to somebody who is very established in the industry and say, “I want to make more money” or ask, “How do I get to where you are?” I wanted to create an environment where people are comfortable [doing] that, and to learn from people who have already been through that.

OT: What would you say to women interested in the cider industry who worry it’s a boys’ club?

RF: Tom Oliver, a famous U.K. cidermaker, says he firmly believes that women are going to be the future of cider. A lot of people think cider is a female beverage – it’s certainly not. But women have a lot of say in the market: in the products that are being produced, in the way that they’re presented. Women have a very powerful voice, and it’s great to see women who are growing trees, orcharding and also making cider. There are no limitations.

ANXO is exclusively pouring products from women-owned or operated breweries and distilleries for the entire month of March at their Truxton Circle location. Specifics on their other Women’s Month events are available at www.anxodc.com/womensmonth

ANXO Cidery & Pintxos Bar: 300 Florida Ave. NW, DC; 202-986-3795; www.anxodc.com


Greetings, beer nerds! As you likely know, there are a number of fantastic spots in the DMV where you can grab a pint, and their menus are always evolving and adapting to your tastes. If you’d rather avoid the guessing game, check out what’s coming up at a few of these fine establishments.

SUNDAY, MARCH 4

Women’s Month Collaboration Dinner
A group of female chefs will be taking over ANXO’s kitchen including award-winning women like Ilma Lopez, Cagla Onal and Amy Morgan. The four-course menu will be paired with ciders and wines made by women in the industry. 7 p.m. Tickets $97.50. ANXO Cidery & Pintxos Bar: 300 Florida Ave. NW, DC; www.anxodc.com

THURSDAY, MARCH 7

Beer & Donuts
With three taps, board games and donuts, Arlington’s Sugar Shack is the place to be on Thursday nights. Taps will pour the latest offerings from Right Proper Brewing Company; tap takeover nights always feature local craft brewers, donuts and a variety of board games. 4-9 p.m. Admission is free. Sugar Shack Donuts & Coffee: 1014 South Glebe Rd. Arlington, VA; www.sugarshackdonuts.com

FRIDAY, MARCH 8

ANXO’s International Women’s Day Celebration
For the entire month of March, ANXO will donate happy hour profits to the local Planned Parenthood. On Women’s Day, Elanor Leger of Eden Specialty Ciders will be at ANXO, women’s month T-shirts will be available and ANXO’s newest collaboration with Eden will be available in cans. 5 p.m. Admission is free. ANXO Cidery & Pintxos Bar: 300 Florida Ave. NW, DC; www.anxodc.com

SATURDAY, MARCH 9

Cheers & Namaste
There’s no better way to spend a Saturday morning than enjoying a flight of local beer and doing some yoga. Classes at Right Proper’s Brookland location include a flight of house favorites and an hour of yoga suitable for any experience level. Don’t forget your mat. 12-1 p.m. Tickets $15.  Right Proper Brewing Company Production House and Tasting Room: 920 Girard St. NE, DC; www.rightproperbrewing.com

DC Brewers’ Guild HopFest
The DC Brewers’ Guild is throwing its ninth annual HopFest hosted by DC Brau. The event is an opportunity to sample some of the hoppiest brews from the area’s best brewers. Beer offerings will include community favorites alongside unique HopFest creations and rare brews. Tickets include a special DC Brewers’ Guild glass and unlimited pours. 1-5 p.m. Tickets start at $35. DC Brau: 3178 Bladensburg Rd. NE, DC; www.dcbg.org

SUNDAY, MARCH 10

Records, Beer and BBQ
The only thing better than crate-digging is doing so with a fresh pint in hand. Join Hellbender Brewing for a record swap/sale in the tasting room featuring barbecue courtesy of Smoke and Ember BBQ. 12-5 p.m. Admission is free. Hellbender Brewing Company Tasting Room: 5788 2nd St. NE, DC; www.hellbenderbeer.com

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13

De Dolle Vintage Flight Night
De Dolle’s Belgian strong ales are world-renowned for their bold flavors. Many of De Dolle’s offerings age exceptionally well and thrive when barreled, though the brewery is also known for blending maltiness and acidity in its pale ales and sours. The Sovereign will offer 15 different De Dolle beers and four different vintage flights. 5-11:30 p.m. Admission is free. The Sovereign DC: 1206 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC; www.thesovereigndc.com

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 20

D&V International Beer Dinner
Enjoy fine dining and European beer pairings in the style of the Trappist monks of Belgium. Learn about featured breweries from a Belgian beer expert and taste a variety of beers in the style, many imported specifically for this event, after dinner. 7-10 p.m. Tickets $60. Granville Moore’s: 1238 H St. NE, DC; www.granvillemoores.com    

Visiting Cidery: Wild Hare Ciders
Brewed in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains with heritage apples grown in the Shenandoah Valley, Wild Hare Cidery excels at apple-only as well as botanical and other fruit-infused ciders. Tickets include a guided tasting of several Wild Hare offerings including limited releases. 7-10 p.m. Tickets $10. Capitol Cider House: 3930 Georgia Ave. NW, DC; www.capitolciderhouse.com

THURSDAY, MARCH 21

Southwest Neighborhood Happy Hour
The tap room at Union Stage invites locals to enjoy happy hour specials and mingle with other folks from the neighborhood. Union Stage features an extensive liquor list, 16 taps and house-made pizzas. 5 p.m. Admission is free. Union Stage: 740 Water St. SW, DC; www.unionstage.com

SATURDAY, MARCH 23

Peche Mortel Day
Shipped from Montreal’s Dieu Du Ciel brewpub, Peche Mortel is a standout imperial coffee stout known the world over. To celebrate their 2019 releases, Dieu Du Ciel shares special variants of its famous stout with brewpubs all around the world, including ChurchKey. This year’s offerings include seven variants of the imperial stout, some of which are aged in bourbon or whiskey barrels and finished with an array of ingredients including cherries, coffee and toasted coconut. 12 p.m. Admission is free. ChurchKey: 1337 14th St. NW, DC; www.churchkeydc.com

SATURDAY, MARCH 30

ANXO’s Women’s Month Close-Out Party
Join ANXO in celebrating the end of a successful Women’s Month. The closeout is a comedy brunch, marking the first time a comedian has performed in ANXO’s dining room. Tickets are available both with and without drink pairings. Showings at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Tickets $40-$65. ANXO Cidery & Pintxos Bar: 300 Florida Ave. NW, DC; www.anxodc.com

Spring BrewFest
BrewFest promises a day of craft beer, live music, food and more. The event will feature a variety of popular local craft beers, as well as a preview of local 2019 offerings. Virginia wineries and distilleries will also be pouring. 11-5 p.m. Tickets $10-$50. Fredericksburg Fairgrounds: 2400 Airport Ave. Fredericksburg, VA; www.fredbrewfest.com