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Photo: Nicholas Karlin
Photo: Nicholas Karlin

What’s On Tap: Church Hall

After taking the dead space leftover from an indoor mall, Georgetown’s newest craft beer spot Church Hall is already turning heads with their robust selection of brews and delectable bar food. Opened in late March, this kind of spot was desperately sought after in the Northwest neighborhood by college students and residents alike. We checked in with assistant general manager Jessica Cooter to see how the new bar was fitting in on Wisconsin Avenue.

On Tap: I noticed a ton of DC beers in your rotating draft list, is that a focus for you guys to maintain a relatively local feel?
Jessica Cooter: We do like to have a focus on local beers, if we can, to highlight what people are doing in the area. That worked out well for us, our rotating menu changes pretty frequently, and some might only last a week or a couple of days. The frequency depends on the availability and how well it’s selling, and what our focus of the month is. Right now, we’re trying to do a bunch of sour beers, so it depends on what we can get and how much we can get.

OT: Being in Georgetown, in the midst of upper class people and college students, is there any difficulty to finding the right balance?
JC: Not really, most people tend to gravitate toward the same sort of selections. The college kids and older folks want to the same kind of things. A really popular order is to get a beer in a liter glass. We do that for our main draft beers, and everyone really likes to grab those. People like the look of them and just the simple fact that you can get a ton of beer at once.

OT: You have a robust craft menu, how much thought did you guys put into the menu when constructing it, and how much input do the patrons have?
JC: We sit down and do research on the kinds of beers we’re looking for. Distributors bring us samples as well, but we do a ton of that independently.

OT: I don’t know of many craft places in Georgetown before. Do you guys feel like you’re filling the craft beer void in the neighborhood?
JC: Hopefully! We like to think we’re filling that void. It’s nice to offer such a wide variety in the neighborhood and it works out for us. We’re happy to be the one fulfilling the need.

OT: How has the response been in the last three months?
JC: I would say it’s been what we expected. We’ve seen happy hour groups come in and people just responding to the look and feel of the space; those things are always nice.

Church Hall: 1070 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC; www.churchhalldc.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.

WEDNESDAY, JULY 4

Brau, Brats and Freedom 4th of July Party
Join the crew of DC Brau at Dacha Beer Garden as they celebrate with Brau, Brats and Freedom. DC Brau will be on special and Dacha will be serving up some delicious Fourth of July fare. There will be games in the garden and plenty of chances to win prizes and DC Brau swag. 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Free to attend. Dacha Beer Garden: 1600 7th St. NW, DC; www.dachadc.com

City Tap House’s 4th of July Beer-BBQ Battle
The City Tap House patio will feature breweries like 3 Stars Brewing Company, Evolution Craft Brewing Company and the Center of the Universe Brewing who will battle it out while serving up barbecue samples, potato salad and coleslaw. The brewery with the most guest votes will be crowned with the title. For more liquid delight, there will be a la carte frozen John Daly’s and beer floats. City Tap House Penn Quarter: 901 9th St. NW, DC; www.pennquartersportstavern.com

THURSDAY, JULY 5 and THURSDAY, JULY 19

Beer and Board Games at Sugar Shack
A little beer, a little sugar, classic board games and a few of your friends – it’s the perfect casual weeknight hang out every Thursday at Sugar Shack Arlington. On alternating Thursdays they’ll have a new craft brewery in house to talk beer and take over the three taps for two weeks. Flights, pints, beer glazed donut hole pairings and more. 4:30-9 p.m. Free to attend. Sugar Shack Donuts & Coffee: 1014 S. Glebe Rd. Arlington, VA; www.sugarshackdonuts.com

SATURDAY, JULY 7

5th Annual Old Town Pub Crawl at Port City Brewing Company
The annual Pub Crawl returns for the 5th time on the streets of Old Town. The Port City team will be at nine local restaurants, near the Alexandria waterfront, stamping pub crawl passes and handing out swag. Complete your Pub Crawl Pass by 5:30 p.m. and get a limited-edition pint glass. 2-6 p.m. Free to attend. Old Town Pub Crawl: Various locations in Alexandria, VA; www.portcitybrewing.com

MONDAY, JULY 9

A Superbly Off-Centered Beer Dinner at Chatter
Join for a 5-course Dogfish Head Beer Dinner with Calvert Woodley Wines and Spirits. The event includes multiple food items including grilled peach caprese salad, fried green tomatoes, crab benedict, chicken fried short rib and an espresso panna cotta. 6:30-9:30 p.m. Tickets $65. Chatter: 5247 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC;
www.chatterdc.com

TUESDAY, JULY 10

The Bluejacket Beer Dinner at Rustico Slaters
On this night, Rustico will offer five exceptional beers from Bluejacket alongside a specially designed menu by Chef de Cuisine Aaron Wright. Don’t miss this opportunity to try some deliciously rare treats from this very special Navy Yard brewery. Greg Engert, beer director for both Bluejacket and Rustico, will be back at Rustico as the host for the evening, sharing stories behind the beers, the brewery and more. 7-9 p.m. Tickets $55. Rustico: 827 Slaters Ln. Alexandria, VA; www.rusticorestaurant.com

FRIDAY, JULY 13 and FRIDAY, JULY 27

Brewmaster Tours Featuring Atlas Brew Works
Includes an hour-long guided tour of the museum and a local craft beer tasting. Receive one beer flight per person, featuring 4 ounce pours of three local beers, and experience the Brewmaster’s Castle with a drink in your hand. After the tour, guests are welcome to mingle in the Conservatory and purchase full beers if they wish. 5-6:30 p.m. Tickets $30. Heurich House Museum: 1307 New Hampshire Ave. NW, DC; www.heurichhouse.org

SATURDAY, JULY 14

Mad Fox Brewing Company 8th Anniversary Party
Come join the fun as Mad Fox celebrates eight wonderful years with eight exceptional beers at their Brewpub in Falls Church. In honor of this special occasion, they are releasing some new beers and some rare editions of their favorite beers. There will be live music and the annual Anniversary glass giveaway. Oh, and cake too. 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. Free to attend. Mad Fox Brewing Company: 444 West Broad St. Falls Church, VA; www.madfoxbrewing.com

TUESDAY, JULY 17

44 Beer Comedy Showcase
With some of the best beer in DC, what’s a better pair than comedy? Well on top of some of the lowest prices for craft beers in DC, during the show, you can also get an additional $1 off every beer. The show features five comedians, each performing 10-minute sets with their best material. 8-10:30 p.m. Tickets $10-$20. The Heights Taproom: 3115 14th St. NW, DC; www.theheightstaproom.com

Taco Beer Dinner at Gordon Biersch
Come join at Gordon Biersch Rockville for a taco beer dinner. They’ll be pairing limited-release tacos that you won’t find on the menu with a curated selection of in-house beers. 6-8 p.m. Ticket information available soon. Gordon Biersch: 200 E. Middle Ln. Rockville, MD; www.gordonbiersch.com

THURSDAY, JULY 19

Brew at the Zoo
Drink beer, save wildlife! Join friends of the National Zoo at DC’s best beer festival. Enjoy great times and great brews with unlimited beer tastings from more than 70 breweries, exotic animal encounters, live music and entertainment, and fare from popular food trucks – it’s a unique after-hours zoo experience. Proceeds benefit the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute’s mission to save species. 6-9 p.m. Tickets $65. Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute: 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC; www.nationalzoo.si.edu

THURSDAY, JULY 19

Yoga, Beer and BBQ at the Backyard Barbecue
Hill Country Barbecue Market is excited to revive the Backyard Barbecue, a summer pop-up at the National Building Museum (5th and F Streets). Backyard Barbecue is the place to chow down on authentic central Texas-style barbecue and enjoy live music. Enjoy a one-hour yoga class suitable for all levels, followed by a pint of beer from DC Brau, and dinner from Hill Country Barbecue. 6:30-7:30 p.m. Tickets $20. National Building Museum: 401 F St. NW, DC; www.nbm.org

SUNDAY, JULY 22

Shark Week Paint and Brew
Kick off Shark Week with a flight of four beers and follow step-by-step instructions to complete a Shark Week-themed painting. All supplies will be provided. 1-3 p.m. Tickets $35. Forge Brew Works: 8532 Terminal Rd. Lorton, VA; www.forgebrewworks.com

WEDNESDAY, JULY 25

Maryland Blue Crab Feast at Mad Fox Brewing Company
Say hello to summer by enjoying a family style all-you-can-eat Crab feast. Happy Hour pricing will be extended until 9 p.m. for the special occasion. Menu includes all you can eat Maryland blue crabs steamed in Mad Fox beer and Old Bay, butter poached corn on the cob, panzanella salad and famous Old Bay potato chips. 6:30-10 p.m. Tickets $55. Mad Fox Brewing Company: 444 W Broad St. Falls Church, VA; www.madfoxbrewing.com

SATURDAY, JULY 28

Riverside Beer Garden Silent Disco
Nestled between the Anacostia River and Nationals Park, home to the Washington Nationals, is the Bardo Brewery. This riverside beer garden in the Navy Yard district is about to be taken over, quietly. In true Quiet Events fashion, there will be three DJ’s creating the soundtrack to your night and hundreds of party-goers drinking and jiving. Come out, grab a beer (or several) and party under the bridge. 9 p.m. – 1 a.m. Tickets $5-$20. Bardo Brewing: 25 Potomac Ave. SE, DC; www.bardo.beer

Photo: Courtesy of Continental Beer Garden
Photo: Courtesy of Continental Beer Garden

Beer Garden Season

As the sun finally shows its face in the District and the temperature begins to rise, everyone is taking to the streets in search of ways to enjoy the sunshine and quench their thirst in the process. And with the area’s brewing game steadily growing (80-plus local breweries and counting across the DMV), it’s no surprise that beer gardens have become popular gathering spots.

“People want to be outside in the city,” says Ryan Roller, general manager at The Brig. “It goes to show when there’s one weekend in January when it’s 60 degrees and we have people calling to make sure we’re open; we’re open year-round.”

Since opening in 2016 in the thriving Capitol Riverfront neighborhood, The Brig has become a local favorite. The massive outdoor beer garden serves up a variety of 23 brews on tap – along with a Tito’s cocktail available this summer – and is able to seat over 200 and nearly 300 standing outdoors (think an entire section of Nationals Stadium!)

“With beer gardens, as long as you offer something for everyone, they are going to work,” Roller says, noting that he tries to keep beers on tap for everyone’s palate, whether they are looking for a light lager, traditional IPA or testing the waters with something stronger.

“I’ve got this delicious, unfiltered, raspberry sour IPA that literally pours pink out of the tap, and people see that pink coming out and they’re like, ‘Wow!’”

Over on Georgia Avenue, entering Midlands Beer Garden feels much like an escape, with a welcoming outdoor space of communal picnic tables and wooden trellises decorated with lighting to take you away from city life for awhile.

On any given evening or weekend, you can find groups gathered to enjoy one of the 22 beers on draft, including a fair share of local brews, East Coast favorites, and German and Belgian varieties. A limited menu serves up giant pretzels and sandwiches, including a tasty bánh mì, but guests are also welcome to bring in their own food or order delivery.

The popularity of beer gardens in an urban environment like the DMV can also be attributed to the neighborhood feel they provide. Over in the Arlington neighborhood of Rosslyn, Continental Beer Garden does exactly this, with a large open space of high communal tables, lounge chairs and patio sofas along with bocce courts, creating a fun, recreational outlet among the high-rises and busy street traffic.

“We often heard that Rosslyn was missing an outdoor space,” says Katie Smith, Continental’s general manager. “A term I’ve heard is a third place – not a home or work – but another place that people will spend a lot of time. Our vibe is so relaxed even though it’s in the middle of so much activity. We’re an oasis that’s around the corner versus having to travel to enjoy being outdoors.”

Open seasonally when the temps rise above 60 degrees, Continental offers up German Weihenstephaner beers, as well as local craft varieties. A colorful mural by artist Jason Woodside brightens up the outdoor space, while lights strung around create a warm ambiance for when the sun goes down.

Also located in Arlington, Westover Market and Beer Garden is another outdoor beer drinking location to check out. Westover opened in 2009, and happens to be the DC area’s first-ever beer garden. While the market is renowned for its in-house butcher and incredible beer selection, the outdoor garden space has grown in popularity for its unique personality and neighborhood vibe.

The gated stone patio has several picnic tables, surrounded by lush green trees and plants, with live music when the weather prevails. During the summertime, they also offer up tasty barbecue along with burgers and sandwiches, all utilizing local, grass-fed meats. Be sure to chase it down with the variety of beers offered in the garden, including a highly recommended (and refreshing!) mango white ale for the summertime.

Learn more about these area beer gardens below. Cheers!

The Brig: 1007 8th St. SE, DC; www.thebrigdc.com
Continental Beer Garden: 1901 Fort Myer Dr. Arlington, VA; www.continentalpoollounge.com
Midlands Beer Garden: 3333 Georgia Ave. NW, DC; www.midlandsdc.com
Westover Market and Beer Garden: 5863 Washington Blvd. Arlington, VA; www.westovermarketbeergarden.com

Photo: Courtesy of Supreme Core Cider
Photo: Courtesy of Supreme Core Cider

What’s On Tap: Supreme Core Cider Opens Taste Room in District

The story of Supreme Core Cider comes with cider love at first sight – or something close to that. After meeting on a message board and bonding over their adoration for niche cideries on the Left Coast, Will Sullivan and Kyle Crosby figured they’d bring the craft beer aesthetic with a twist to the District. After three years of hard work, architectural investigations and a ton of science experiments involving apples, Supreme Core Cider opened the doors to its taproom on May 12. Just weeks after they began welcoming cider diehards and neophytes into their Ivy City location, we caught up with Sullivan to discuss all things cider.

On Tap: How did you and Kyle meet? When did the idea of a cidery come up?
Will Sullivan: We actually met on a local cidermakers’ chat forum – basically, a place where weirdos hang out and make ciders, and talk recipes, equipment and procedures. I put it out there that I was going to start one in DC, and we started chatting and got together. He ended up having a similar vision, and we had a good alignment there. We’re both craft beer guys at heart, and we wanted to approach cider like craft beer is approached. Our mission is [to use] available input to put out high-integrity, all-natural ciders. We try to source locally. We use real fruits, and our barrel programs are all from local producers.

OT: What do you mean by “real stuff” when it comes to cider?
WS: I’ll start by saying that the cideries we look up to are in the Pacific Northwest in Washington and Oregon, like 2 Towns Ciderhouse and Schilling Hard Cider. They come from a great craft beer culture, and they’re making really great products. Our goal is to hit the sweet spot and work with orchards throughout the season – be less like a winery and more like a brewery, in terms of how you feel when you’re inside and the palate we’re carving out.

OT: What can people expect from the drinks you offer? How did locals respond to your official opening?
WS: People really seemed to like it. We’ve been in the market since September, producing offsite while we waited for the taproom. The fact that we’re hitting the market with something that just wasn’t here – people are excited about that. We’re not for you if you’re into super sweet, but we’re the guys who are making cider without a crazy reliability on sugar. We’ve participated in a bunch of events. We did Snallygaster and different cider festivals. We were involved in a big festival at Nats Park. We do a ton of tastings to introduce people to our ciders, neighborhood by neighborhood.

OT: Now that you’ve accomplished opening the tap room, what’s next for you guys?
WS: Total and complete global domination [laughs]. We’re lucky to get in the market and interact with people. Our goal is to get people to our facility, and a big part of what we’re doing here is educational and cultural. We’re always going to have more than what’s on our website at the taproom. We want people to come and see our crazy experiments. Cider can be a cool beverage, but it can also anchor a culture like craft beer does.

Supreme Core Cider’s taproom is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 12-8 p.m. Follow them on social media at @supremecorecider.

Supreme Core Cider: 2406 T St. NE, DC; 202-215-5029; www.supremecorecider.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.

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6

The Reverie Beer Dinner
Join Rustico Ballston for an unforgettable evening of beer and food with their friends from Reverie Distribution. Taste featured beers from five different breweries from Reverie’s portfolio alongside a specially designed menu by chef de cuisine Stephen McRae. 7-9 p.m. Reservations are required. $55. Rustico Ballston: 4075 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA; www.rusticorestaurant.com

THURSDAY, JUNE 7

Beer and Board Games at Sugar Shack
A little beer, a little sugar, classic board games and a few of your friends – it’s the perfect casual weeknight hang out every Thursday at Sugar Shack Arlington. On alternating Thursdays they’ll have a new craft brewery in house to talk beer and take over the three taps for two weeks. Flights, pints, beer glazed donut hole pairings and more. 4:30-9 p.m. Free to attend. Sugar Shack Donuts & Coffee: 1014 S. Glebe Rd. Arlington, VA; www.sugarshackdonuts.com

FRIDAY, JUNE 8

Lagunitas Beer Dinner
Join Wildfire for a summer beer dinner when Wildfire’s executive chefs prepare a four-course custom menu paired with craft brews from Lagunitas Brewing Company. William Stanfield of Lagunitas Brewing Company will join as guest speaker for the evening. The dinner begins with a reception of passed appetizers and the first pairing at 6:30-8 p.m. $60. Wildfire at Tysons Galleria: 2001 International Dr. 3rd floor, McLean, VA; www.wildfirerestaurant.com/mclean

Tinner Hill Blues, Brews & BBQ Block Party
Join as Mad Fox closes the Market Square, fires-up the smoker and kicks-off Falls Church’s Tinner Hill Blues Festival with their inaugural Blues, Brews and BBQ Block Party. They will have live Blues music, great food and award-winning Mad Fox beer. 4-10 p.m. Outdoor Block Party ends at 10 p.m. but the restaurant will still be open for even more fun and beer. $7-$10 (beer and barbecue not included). Mad Fox Brewing Company: 444 West Broad St. Falls Church, VA; www.madfoxbrewing.com

FRIDAY, JUNE 8 and JUNE 15

Brewmaster Tours
Spend your evening like a brewmaster! Admission includes an hour-long guided tour of the museum and a local craft beer tasting. Receive one beer flight per person featuring 4-oz. pours of three local beers, and experience the Brewmaster’s Castle with a drink in your hand. This month, the tours will feature a special tasting of Aslin beer. Guests must be 21+ to attend. 5-6:30 p.m. $30. Heurich House Museum: 1307 New Hampshire Ave. NW, DC; www.heurichhouse.org

MONDAY, JUNE 11

Dynamic Duos Aslin and Southern Grist: 20 Rare Drafts
ChurchKey welcomes Aslin Beer Company and Southern Grist Brewing to pour 20 different beers from the two incredible breweries. Rarely available in DC, Southern Grist has sent an unbelievable lineup of beers, including their collaboration with Aslin, Pushing Buttons. This Sour IPA was brewed with oranges, lemons, limes, lactose, vanilla and Jasmine tea. Not to be outdone, the friends at Aslin have sent a slew of specialties, including Cotton, an Imperial Pastry Stout finished with vanilla beans, cocoa nibs, coffee, coconut flakes, marshmallow and macadamia nuts. All Aslin and Southern Grist beers will be priced individually. 4-11 p.m. Free to attend. ChurchKey: 1337 14th St. NW, DC; www.churchkeydc.com

THURSDAY, JUNE 14

The Decadent Ales Showcase
ChurchKey welcomes the fine folks from Decadent Ales with pours of seven hard-to-find beers from the upstate New York brewery and host founder Paul Pignataro. Located in Mamoraneck, New York, Decadent Ales is known for brewing juicy, hazy IPAs and rich, dessert-inspired pastry stouts. Only recently available in the DC metro area, we can’t wait for you to taste these incredible beers. 4-11 p.m. There is no admission fee for this event. All Decadent beers will be priced individually by the glass and in 4-oz. tasting pours. ChurchKey: 1337 14th St. NW, DC; www.churchkeydc.com

The Power of Positive Drinking
The Power of Positive Drinking is back with more great, free comedy featuring some of the best up-and-coming comedians in the DMV. All performers pair nicely with Port City Brewing Company’s delicious craft beer. They will be offering beer in pitchers, so you and your friends won’t miss the show. Doors at 6:30 p.m., event from 7-9 p.m. Port City Brewing Company: 3950 Wheeler Ave. Alexandria, VA; www.portcitybrewing.com

FRIDAY, JUNE 15 – SATURDAY, JUNE 16

Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival
Get ready for two big days of beer sipping, bourbon tasting, music listening and barbecue eating. Your admission buys you a sampling glass so you can enjoy an all you can taste samplings of beer and bourbon. Some of the best barbecue vendors will be onsite if you get hungry, in addition to enjoyable seminars in the tasting theater and live music all day. Featuring 60-plus beers, 40 bourbons and tons of barbecue. 6-10 p.m. on Friday, 2-6 p.m. on Saturday. $45-$120. The Plateau: 300 Waterfront St. National Harbor, MD; www.beerandbourbon.com

SATURDAY, JUNE 16

Bluegrass and Crawfish Boil with Rare Craft Beers
For those who haven’t experienced the fine tradition of a Southern Lowcountry boil, this is just the event for you. Join in the outdoor courtyard, where Rustico Ballston’s own chef de cuisine Stephen McRae will be serving up a feast of fresh Louisiana crawfish, Andouille sausage, corn on the cob and red potatoes. No crawfish boil is complete without a cold beer in-hand, so four Virginia breweries will be there to make sure your glasses don’t go empty. Enjoy everything from lawn games to live bluegrass performances from The Grandsons and Jonny Grave. 12-7 p.m. Free to attend. Rustico Ballston: 4075 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA; www.rusticorestaurant.com

Pedals ‘N’ Pints: June Short Ride
Are you a bicyclist who loves beer and lives in the DMV? Be a part of Port City’s Pedals ‘N’ Pints June Short Ride. Come gather for coffee and donuts before departing for a ride, then return to plentiful brews and The Big Cheese food truck. It will be a little more than a 10-mile route from the front door of the tasting room out to the park, up to Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC) and back. 10:45 a.m. – 12 p.m. Port City Brewing Company: 3950 Wheeler Ave. Alexandria, VA; www.portcitybrewing.com

THURSDAY, JUNE 21

Heavy Seas Beer Tasting
Be the first to the fiesta with a tap takeover with Flying Dog Brewery. Each ticket grants you three different tastes, complimentary house-made chips and more. Additional beers can be purchased for $5 during happy hour until 7 p.m. After, draft beers are $7. 4-10 p.m. Station Kitchen & Cocktails at The Embassy Row Hotel: 2015 Massachusetts Ave. NW, DC; www.destinationhotels.com/embassy-row-hotel

SATURDAY, JUNE 23

Beer 101 at Mad Fox Brewing
Learn all about your favorite craft beers from production to taste characteristics at the Mad Fox Beer 101 class lead by CEO and executive brewer Bill Madden, who is a veteran of the brewing industry. The ticket price includes a brewery tour with a Q&A, a beer sampler handpicked by the brewers themselves, a discussion and a bar snack. There are only 20 slots available for each class. 4-5:30 p.m. $15. Mad Fox Brewing: 444 W. Broad St. Falls Church, VA; www.madfoxbrewing.com

It’s Raining Cats and Dogs: Derecho Party
Celebrate the return of summer and Derecho Common with a party in the Port City parking lot and fundraiser for Friends of Puerto Rico. Port City has also invited Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation to host a pet adoption from 2-4 p.m., so grab a pint and go home with a six-pack and a puppy (please only adopt a puppy if you have time and a loving home for them). Starting at 5 p.m., enjoy live music all night from Levi Stephens and Rabid Flash MoB and friends. Two food trucks will be onsite to satisfy your hunger, Rocklands BBQ and DC Slices. 12-10 p.m. Port City Brewing Company: 3950 Wheeler Ave. Alexandria, VA; www.portcitybrewing.com

MONDAY, JUNE 25

Nama’stay for Beer
Roll out your mat on a deck overlooking the DC horizon for an exhilarating yoga experience under the beautiful sky. You will spend your first hour moving and breathing mindfully in a vinyasa flow, then walk to the tasting room of Heritage Brewing Co. at Market Common for post-class libations. Meet on the top deck of the Fillmore St. Parking Garage (across from Heritage) by 6:45 p.m. to set up your mat. 6:45-8:30 p.m. Each ticket includes an all-levels yoga class and your first drink after class. BYO mat. $20-$25. Heritage Brewing Co. Market Common Brewpub & Roastery: 1300-1398 N. Fillmore St. Arlington, VA; www.heritagebrewing.com

SATURDAY, JUNE 30

Red, White & Brew Festival
Show your patriotic colors while you kick back with friends, food, tunes and a sweet selection of reds, whites and brews. There’s no better way to raise a flag (and a toast) to Uncle Sam than by drinking in America’s fruits of the vine and amber waves of grain. Every ticket purchase gives you unlimited full pours of American beer, unlimited tastings of 100-plus wines, craft beers and ciders, plus access to area food trucks, a local artisan market, live music and entertainment all day. 1-9 p.m. (Session 1 from 1-4 p.m. and Session 2 from 6-9 p.m.) $29-$89. Akridge Lot at Buzzard Point: 1926 2nd St. SW, DC; www.rwbrewfest.com

Photo: Trent Johnson
Photo: Trent Johnson

What’s On Tap: May 2018

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.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 2

Dacha Beer Club
Join Dacha for New Belgium Brewing Company’s release of the self-proclaimed “World’s Dankest Ale” Hemperor HPA release party. Come learn about what makes up the Hemp IPA and play plinko for some New Belgium swag. Also on tap: the Tartastic Strawberry Lemon Ale and Citradelic Tangerine IPA. 4-10:30 p.m. Free to attend. Dacha Beer Garden: 1600 7th St. NW, DC; www.dachadc.com

FRIDAY, MAY 4

Tröegs Beer and Victory Beer Craft Beer Party
Join for the first Craft Beer Garden Party on Kingbird Terrace to celebrate the opening of this new beer garden. From 5-7 p.m., enjoy bottomless draft pints from Tröegs Independent Brewing and Victory Brewing Company. After 7 p.m., drinks will be available for purchase by the glass. Tickets are $25. The Watergate Hotel: 2650 Virginia Ave. NW, DC; www.thewatergatehotel.com

SUNDAY, MAY 6 and MAY 20

Sun, Salutations and Suds
Who can resist the combination of sun, salutations, and suds? Denizens Brewing Co. is taking its monthly yoga series back outside in the beer garden so you can enjoy all three! Join for an all-levels yoga class in the sunshine, followed by a pint (or three) in the beer garden. No previous experience necessary. Class will be led by Stephanie Nale of Gingerbean Health & Wellness. Starts at 10:30 a.m. Tickets are $18. Denizens Brewing Co.: 1115 East-West Hwy. Silver Spring, MD; www.denizensbrewingco.com

TUESDAY, MAY 8

Beer Dinner with DC Brau
Craft beer is a passion, an obsession and a journey. Join the team at DC Brau for a beer dinner. From hoppy to malty to sour, take a trip through all the flavors. You’ll enjoy a welcome reception with passed bites and a glass of Brau Pils before moving to a seated dinner featuring four brews and four courses from Executive Chef Stuart Ameter. 6-8:30 p.m. Tickets are $65. Matchbox Vintage Pizza Bistro: 521 8th St. SE, DC; www.matchboxrestaurants.com

WEDNESDAY, MAY 9

The Allagash Brewing Coolship Bash
Join The Sovereign as they welcome the fine folks from Allagash Brewing Company. On this night, they’ll showcase 20 different beers from the Portland, Maine brewery, including rare kegs of Coolship Red, Belfius and Saison Gratis. Back in 2007, Allagash became the first American craft brewery to install their very own Coolship. This unique fermentation vessel – shaped like a wide, shallow brownie pan – is most famously used to produce the legendary Lambics of Belgium. 5-11 p.m. Free to attend. The Sovereign: 1206 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC; www.thesovereigndc.com

Bell’s Brewery Presents Hops, Hops and More Hops
Join Rustico Ballston as they host the team from Bell’s Brewery. On this night, they’ll pour 10 different drafts from their good friends from Michigan, including rare kegs of Double Two Hearted and Hopsolution. Headlining the list is Double Two Hearted Ale. Don’t miss this intensely hoppy brew, bursting with notes of grapefruit and pine. 5-11 p.m. Free to attend. Rustico Ballston: 4075 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA; www.rusticorestuarant.com

THURSDAY, MAY 10

The Founders Brewing Beast Feast
Join B Side and Red Apron Butcher as they celebrate their partnership with the North Carolina Hog Grower’s Association and their beautiful Berkshire Hogs with a no-holds-barred Beast Feast. The party kicks off at 6:30 p.m. with a live butchering demo and cocktail hour featuring Red Apron charcuterie and Founders Solid Gold. Afterward, guests will sit down with a four-course meal showcasing the different cuts of the pig paired with Founders Brewing Company beers. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tickets are $60. B Side: 8298 Glass Alley, Farifax, VA; www.bsidecuts.com

THURSDAY, MAY 10 and MAY 24

Beer and Board Games at Sugar Shack
A little beer, a little sugar, classic board games and a few friends – it’s the perfect casual weeknight hang every Thursday at Sugar Shack Arlington. On alternating Thursdays, they’ll have a new craft brewery in-house to talk beer and take over three taps for two weeks. Enjoy flights, pints, beer-glazed donut hole pairings and more. 4:30-9 p.m. Free to attend. Sugar Shack Donuts and Coffee: 1014 S Glebe Rd. Arlington, VA; www.sugarshackdonuts.com

SATURDAY, MAY 12

Bleu & Brew Festival
Don’t miss the Bleu & Brew Festival, where you can drink beers paired with gourmet cheeses specially selected by the Culpeper Cheese Company. The event features over 18 breweries and cideries with more than 44 beers on tap. Come for the beer and stay for the music, as live bands are set to perform throughout the day. Food trucks will also be onsite. 12-6 p.m. $60-$70. Old Bust Head Brewing Company: 7134 Farm Station Rd. Warrenton, VA; www.oldbusthead.com

Eat Your Pizza Four Seasons Beer Festival
Spring Fest will be hosted at Pizzeria Paradiso’s location in Hyattsville, Maryland with a mobile pizza oven, local vendors and independent breweries. All proceeds from Spring Fest will benefit the local Hyattsville nonprofit ArtWorks Now. Beverage Director Drew McCormick has selected Mid-Atlantic breweries including local breweries DC Brau and Right Proper Brewing Company to pour at Spring Fest. 12-5 p.m. Tickets are $20-$25. Pizzeria Paradiso Hyattsville: 2034, 4800 Rhode Island Ave. Hyattsville, MD;
www.eatyourpizza.com

FRIDAY, MAY 18

Port City Debut of Ideaal Tripel
Port City is unveiling its latest addition to their lineup of Belgian-style ales: the Ideaal Tripel. Honey gold with a thick cap of mousse-like foam, Ideaal Tripel’s deceptively dry body provides a perfect playground for spicy Belgian yeast character, marrying complexity and approachability. Ideaal will be available on draft and in six packs to take home. 3-11 p.m. Free to attend. Port City Brewery: 3950 Wheeler Ave. Alexandria, VA; www.portcitybrewing.com

SATURDAY, MAY 19

Sour Mania Beer Festival at Mad Fox
Pucker up and come help Mad Fox celebrate all things sour at the brewing company’s first-ever sour beer festival at Market Square in the City of Falls Church. Mad Fox’s team is searching high and low for an excellent selection of sour beers. They will be grilling some awesome food and will have live go-go band music too. 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tickets are $25-$65. Mad Fox Brewing Company: 444 West Broad St. Falls Church, VA; www.madfoxbrewing.com


A Destination Worth Visiting: Farm Brew Live

Farm Brew LIVE is an immersive experience for anyone in search of a catch-all outdoor hangout spot. At the center of this 10-acre operation in Manassas, Virginia is 2 Silos Brewing Company, a local brewery specializing in delectable beers that are exclusively found at Farm Brew. 2 Silos is accompanied by Yard Stage, where local musicians play in front of folks enjoying food and beer from The Pit BBQ or treats from the La Gringa food truck.

“Every part of this whole campus is the experience,” says Meredith Arnest, Villaglo Hospitality Group’s Director of Brand Development. “We want to bring people here, whether they’re coming for the live music and they get a beer or they’re here to drink and they see the music. Our shows are free, so you can come enjoy the music while enjoying the craft beer or craft food and make a real experience out of it. It’s a great place to hang out. Pets are welcome as well.”

The brewery has been thriving since its October 2017 opening, and is even expanding. With added equipment in the form of tanks and barrels, 2 Silos is set to unveil more beer varieties and quantities.

“The response has been absolutely wonderful,” Arnest says.

Another feature set to debut later this year is The Black Sheep Whiskey + Wine + Noshery, which is the now-renovated original Thomasson Barn, including exposed-beam vaulted ceilings. The vintage locale will also serve as an additional space for entertainment and provide private dining rooms.

“We’re bringing it back to life,” Arnest says. “We took pictures of everything to make sure we preserved the integrity of the building. There will be locally sourced whiskeys, and it’ll feature a great wine menu as well.”

The barn itself served as a major draw when scouting locations for the campus, Arnest says. Despite its distance from the District, cofounders Forrest Morgan and Marcus Silva were confident that people would make the trek if they knew quality awaited them.

“It’s a great location and is very visible,” Arnest says. “A lot of the vision was that this would be a true destination. We have to make people want to come out here to see live music and have craft beer. Every time you come here, it’s something unique.”

Cohesion is a big part of the experience that Farm Brew LIVE is creating, with brew styles meant to accentuate the food menus and vice versa. Because all the meats are smoked in-house, and all of the brews are executed in the neighboring building, collaboration between the creatives lends itself to memorable mixtures.

“There are so many options,” Arnest says. “[We] have a full-service restaurant, barbecue and a food truck all right here in the backyard.”

She says the response for the beer in particular has been very positive.

“Our flagships (Virginia Cream Ale, Commonwealth Black IPA, NOVA White Belgian and Old Dominion Imperial Stout) provide a good array in levels of ABV, taste and flavor. All of our bartenders are well-versed in beer and are excited to talk about it.”

Virginia Cream Ale is Arnest’s favorite, but like everything else at Farm Brew LIVE, there are numerous options so you have the ability to choose more than one aspect to enjoy.
For more information about Farm Brew LIVE’s beers, music calendar and upcoming additions, visit www.farmbrewlive.com.

Farm Brew LIVE: 9901 Discovery Blvd. Manassas, VA; 703-420-2264; www.farmbrewlive.com

Hellbender2 (Photo - LT Goodluck)

What’s On Tap: April 2018

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, APRIL 3

Founders Brewing KBS 2018 Alexandria Release Party
Join Rustico Alexandria as they celebrate the annual release of the inimitable Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout. This night will feature 12 beers from the Michigan brewery, including a slew of barrel-aged beauties. One of Rustico’s very favorite releases of the year, KBS is brewed with a massive amount of coffee and chocolate, then cave-aged in oak Bourbon barrels for an entire year until it’s absolutely perfect. Be sure to come on by to taste one of the first kegs of KBS 2018. 5-11 p.m. Free to attend. Rustico Alexandria: 827 Slaters Ln. Alexandria, VA; www.rusticorestaurant.com

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 4

Allagash Beer Dinner
Join Granville Moore’s for a four-course, Maine-meets-Belgium dinner. The dishes include raw oysters, Maine lobster rolls, cod chowder with shrimp and mussels, brined duck and dessert. Each meal comes paired with a tasty brew from Allagash. 7-10 p.m. $60. Granville Moore’s: 1238 H St. NE, DC; www.granvillemoores.com

Strong Beer Tasting
Come for a very unique, sit-down beer tasting where you can meet the brewers and brewpub owners from across the region and taste their amazing Strong Beer and Ale selections. Each brewer will discuss their beer and answer any questions that you have. Don’t miss the rare opportunity to meet and talk to key individuals in the brewing industry. Mad Fox is still working on the brewery list and is focusing on 12 beers from breweries across the mid-Atlantic. 7-10 p.m. $55. Mad Fox Brewing Company: 444 W. Broad St. Falls Church, VA; www.madfoxbrewing.com

THURSDAY, APRIL 5

Port City Tap Takeover
Join Blackfinn Ameripub in Vienna, as they’ll be carrying several of Port City’s locally brewed beers plus awesome food features including the relaunch of their Craft Your Thursday, which includes a $12.99 beer and burger combo. 5-8 p.m. Free to attend. Blackfinn Ameripub: 2750 Gallows Rd. Vienna, VA; www.blackfinnameripub.com

FRIDAY, APRIL 6

The Interboro Spirits and Ales and 3 Stars Brewing Showcase
On this night, Churchkey pours 11 beers from the two breweries, including their highly touted collaboration. Headlining the list is one of the last remaining kegs of Interboro and 3 Stars Prophet of Rage, an imperial stout brewed with rye, wheat, oats and Chinook hops. Other notables include 3 Stars Sonic Hummingbird, a double IPA conditioned with agave nectar; and Interboro Yo! Play, a fruit smoothie-inspired IPA infused with blueberries, maple syrup and lactose. 4-11 p.m. Free to attend. ChurchKey DC: 1337 14th St. NW, DC; www.churchkeydc.com

SATURDAY, APRIL 7

HopFest 2018
HopFest 2018, the only DC beer festival by local brewers, for local brewers, is back for the fourth year in a row to support the DC Brewers’ Guild. Breweries from across the DMV will come together at DC Brau Brewing Company for an afternoon of hoppy beers, including old favorites, one-offs, and hard-to-find rare brews. Sloppy Mama’s Barbecue truck and other food vendors will be on site selling food, and DC Brau’s tasting room will be selling full-sized pints, six-packs and growlers. Entertainment will be provided by local musician Reed Appleseed. 1-5 p.m. $35. DC Brau Brewing Company: 3178-B Bladensburg Rd. NE, DC; www.dcbrau.com

The Sovereign’s Second Anniversary Celebration
For this very special occasion, The Sovereign will pour thre different Cantillon kegs – Rosé de Gambrinus, Kriek and Mamouche – plus De La Senne Wadesa #7, a blend of De La Senne-brewed Saison and Cantillon Lambic. Not to be out-done, folks at The Veil and Oxbow also offer special kegs for the evening including The Veil’s Escape, All That You Are and No More Sleep, and Oxbow’s Barrel-Aged FPA: Bordeaux and Gin Barrel-Aged Sasuga. All this and more. 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. Free to attend. The Sovereign: 1206 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC; www.thesovereigndc.com

SATURDAY, APRIL 14

Alumni Beer Olympics
Rep your alum in the best way you know how: out-play and out-drink your rival school. The Budweiser Beer Olympics at Dirty Water is alumni style. Teams of six are welcome to rep their alum in a variety of drinking games to determine which team went to the best beer-drinking university. 2-7 p.m. $75 per team. Dirty Water Sports Bar: 816 H St. NE, DC; www.dirtywaterdc.com

Kegs and Eggs: Up Top Acres and Bell’s Spring Rooftop Beer Garden
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 and delicious food. Drawing inspiration from spring produce and seasonality, Up Top Acres and Chef Colin McClimans work together to create a menu that highlights eggs. Beverage director Peter Grimm teams up with Bell’s Brewery to offer the first taste of freshly released spring seasonal beers along with some of their staples. 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. $55-$75. Up Top Acres: 55 M St. SE, DC; www.uptopacres.com

MONDAY, APRIL 16

Aslin Beer Company Dinner
On this night, Rustico offers five exceptional beers from Aslin alongside a specially designed menu by Chef de Cuisine Aaron Wright.  Don’t miss this opportunity to try some deliciously rare treats like Pisghetti Western, Awkwardly Sweet and Master of Karate. As an added bonus, the team from Aslin will be in the house, sharing stories behind their excellent brewery and outstanding beers. The Aslin beer dinner begins at 7 p.m. $60 per person. Reservations are required. Rustico Alexandria: 827 Slaters Ln. Alexandria, VA; www.rusticorestaurant.com

For the Love of Beer and Whiskey
Join Bluejacket as they celebrate their love of whiskey and beer with master distiller Dave Pickerell and beer director Greg Engert. On this night, they’ll host an intimate five-course beer and whiskey dinner hosted by these two luminaries of the beverage industry. In honor of the occasion, executive chef Marcelle Afram has designed a unique menu to pair distinctly with each beer and whiskey offering. 7-10 p.m. $125. Bluejacket: 300 Tingey St. SE, DC; www.bluejacketdc.com

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18

Founders Brewing Breakfast Stout Bash
An absolute classic, Founders Breakfast Stout is an imperial stout brewed with an abundance of flaked oats, bitter and imported chocolates, and two types of coffee. There will also be pours of hard-to-find, barrel-aged versions of Founders Breakfast Stout, including CBS, aged in maple syrup-soaked Bourbon barrels and Kentucky Breakfast Stout, aged in Kentucky Bourbon barrels. Other highlights from the list include Fuzzy Sweater, a small batch IPA hopped exclusively with Cashmere, and Backwoods Bastard, a Wee Heavy aged in Bourbon barrels. 5-11 p.m. Free to attend. Rustico Ballston: 4075 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA; www.rusticorestaurant.com

Union Brewing Beer Dinner
Join for an evening of great food and great beer provided by one of Maryland’s favorite breweries. Enjoy a three-course dinner served with four pours from Union Brewing’s tasty range of craft beers. $15 from each ticket sold will be donated to the Silver Spring Warriors Youth Lacrosse team. 7:30-10 p.m. McGinty’s Public House: 911 Ellswhorth Dr. Silver Spring, MD; www.mcgintyspublichouse.com

THURSDAY, APRIL 19

Scouts Honor: Girls Pint Out’s Fourth Annual Beer and Cookie Pairing
Join the DC area chapter of Girls Pint Out and their friends over at Little Miss Whiskey’s Golden Dollar for what is sure to be a delicious evening. The event will take place in the upstairs bar, and tickets are limited. No tickets will be sold at the door. The $15 ticket price includes admission, samplings of all six beers and free cookies. 7-9 p.m. $15. Little Miss Whiskey’s Golden Dollar: 1104 H St. NE, DC; www.facebook.com/dcmetrogirlspintout

SATURDAY, APRIL 21

2018 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. Two sessions: 12-3 p.m. and 5-8 p.m. $45. Nationals Park: 1500 S Capitol St. SE, DC; www.dcbeerfestival.com


Q&A with Hellbender Brewing Company

Ben Evans, CEO and Head Brewer

On Tap: Where does Hellbender Brewing get its name?
Ben Evans: We’re named after the Hellbender salamander, which is indigenous to this region. We have a very strong focus on sustainability, so it made sense for us to have an endangered species as our name. We also get to do partnerships and fundraisers for the National Zoo to help them raise money for endangered Appalachian salamander habitats, and we thought the name sounded tough and cool.

OT: How does Hellbender help save salamander habitats?
BE: We try to raise awareness and do events to raise money to protect them directly in their natural habitat. Unfortunately, in recent history, they were much closer to DC and they’ve since moved out because their habitats have declined. Cutting down on your waste and what’s going down the drain at your brewery is a significant step toward helping species like the Hellbender.

OT: What’s currently on tap at Hellbender?
BE: We have a couple of year-round beers, like the German-style kölsch and the American IPA. I think the kölsch is a great, refreshing beer, especially when it’s warm out or after a long day. The IPA is clean and has a mix of new and old-school American hops in it to give it a more citrusy and tropical flavor. We have a couple of extended seasonals like our saison, and we’re bringing in a hefeweizen this April.

OT: Why brew with a Meura mash filter?
BE: Ninety percent of the beer coming out of Belgium is made with [Meura filters], so it didn’t take much to convince me once I discovered the benefits. The main question I get from American brewers is they’re worried about the process of imparting off-flavors into the beer; they aren’t used to crushing grain so fine without getting the grain into the boil, which can cause astringency in your beer. The short answer is we’re using about 30 percent less water and about 15-20 percent less grain per batch to get the same result. We’re also brewing from start to finish significantly faster, so we can make a lot more beer in a given amount of time than a similar-sized brew house with a traditional system.

OT: Why do you think it’s important for breweries to be environmentally conscious?
BE:
Because breweries can put out a lot of waste. At the end of the day, whether you’re conscious of the environment or not, all these options we’ve chosen are actually saving us money. You’re being business savvy by choosing these options; it’s not just a romantic notion that you need to save the environment. These are things that will cut down on your bottom line, and you’re also making good decisions as a person.

Hellbender Brewing Company: 5788 2nd St. NE, DC; www.hellbender.com

Photo: SweetWater Brewing Company
Photo: SweetWater Brewing Company

Green Brewing Options

With thousands of options out there, make your choice matter by opting for a brew from one of these eco-friendly and sustainable breweries. From clean water initiatives to preserving the Appalachian Trail, these 11 breweries each have their own approach to doing what they can for the environment. Check out our list below to find a brewery with a cause that speaks to you. And who knows, maybe you’ll even find your new favorite beer while you’re at it.

Abita Brewing Company

As the first brewery in North America to install an energy-efficient Merlin Brewhouse system, Abita has a long history of protecting the environment and serving the surrounding New Orleans community. The Merlin, which reduces boiling time and carbon dioxide emissions, uses 70 percent less energy than traditional brewing methods. Plus, Abita’s glass bottles are endlessly recyclable, their trucks run on emission-decreasing accelerated processing units (APUs) and their used grains find their final resting place in the troughs of local farms. From beginning to end, Abita is brewing green. Try their seasonal Mardi Gras Bock or one of their many year-round mainstays – the Purple Haze never disappoints. www.abita.com

Atlas Brew Works

DC’s own Atlas Brew Works won the 2016 Department of Energy & Environment Sustainability Award for claiming the title of the District’s first and only solar-powered craft brewery. In addition to their massive 67.5-kilowatt solar array, Atlas also tries to recycle as much as possible during the brewing process by recapturing water for reuse and donating saturated grain as feed to local farms. If you’re into sours, check out their seasonal Blood Orange Gose – it’s to die for. www.atlasbrewworks.com

Deschutes Brewery

Lovers of this Oregonian brew are in luck; Deschutes recently opened a tasting room in downtown Roanoke with a brewery to follow suit in the next few years. In 2016, the Business Intelligence Group awarded Deschutes with a sustainability award for renewable energy usage and their partnership with Deschutes River Conservancy to restore a billion gallons of water to the Deschutes River each year. Try their year-round Fresh Squeezed IPA or their seasonal Red Chair NWPA. www.deschutesbrewery.com

Devils Backbone

Appalachian Trail hikers call them “trail angels” for a reason. Ever since Devils Backbone Basecamp Brewpub & Meadows settled into the valley only a few miles from the Appalachian Trail’s Reed’s Gap trailhead, they’ve been a welcoming spot for hikers and adventurers alike. In 2018, Devils Backbone became an official sponsor of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) in order to help preserve and maintain the trail. With every purchase of Trail Angel Weiss, their award-winning, Bavarian-style Hefeweizen brew, Devils Backbone donates to the ATC. www.dbbrewingcompany.com

Great Lakes Brewing Company

In February of last year, this Cleveland-based brewery installed a 62-panel photovoltaic array to soak up the sun for some sweet solar energy. These panels offset 13 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year, which is like planting 200 trees. Great Lakes also created the Burning River Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to improving, maintaining and celebrating Cleveland’s freshwater resources. Together, they host Burning River Fest, an annual summertime celebration to spread awareness about the importance of keeping our freshwater resources clean. With crisp, bright flavors and a hint of citrus and pine, the Burning River Pale Ale is the perfect way to toast the Great Lakes. www.greatlakesbrewing.com

Hardywood Park Craft Brewery

After a decade of brewing experience, lifelong friends Eric McKay and Patrick Murtaugh came together with a mission to brew with purpose by minimizing environmental impact and giving back to the community. Their vision came to life in 2011 when they founded Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, Virginia’s first brewery to use 100 percent renewable power. Take a day trip to the Richmond-based taproom to try their flagship pilsner – and check out their gorgeous tap handles crafted from fallen trees while you’re at it. www.hardywood.com

Milkhouse Brewery at Stillpoint Farm

Milkhouse Brewery is the pinnacle of local sustainability, with an onsite supply of Maryland hops from its family-owned and operated farm in Mount Airy that visitors are welcome to explore. Pick a warm spring afternoon to drive out to the countryside and enjoy a picnic at Stillpoint Farm with a pint of Milkhouse’s Homestead Hefeweizen. www.milkhousebrewery.com

New Belgium

They aren’t trying to fool anyone. They know they pollute; they even admit it on their own website. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t do anything about it. New Belgium tackles this reality head on by diverting 99 percent of their waste, using solar thermal and solar photovoltaic energies, reducing their carbon footprint and conserving water. With their profound self-awareness, New Belgium has perfected the most efficient way to make a damn good beer. Try their year-round, Belgian-style Fat Tire or opt for a special seasonal brew like the Tartastic Raspberry Lime Ale. www.newbelgium.com

Sierra Nevada

With their local landscapes in mind, Sierra Nevada takes great care to reduce the amount of waste and pollution their brewery emits by recovering 99 percent of their total solid waste through reusing, recycling and composting. When they opened their Mills River brewery in North Carolina, their first move was to restore the surrounding forest to its former glory by hiring a team of natural resource specialists. This proactive approach to saving the environment one step at a time is admirable – and so is Sierra Nevada’s newest beer: the hop-heavy Hazy Little Thing IPA, brewed with hops grown onsite at their brewery in Chico, California. www.sierranevada.com

SweetWater

During their annual Save Our Water campaign, SweetWater donates $100,000 to five nonprofit organizations dedicated to maintaining, improving and cleaning freshwater resources. This year, SweetWater fans can even lend a hand by picking up a Protect Natural Habitats Variety 12-pack, which features favorites like 420 Extra Pale Ale, Goin’ Coastal IPA with pineapple, TripleTail tropical IPA and their brand new summer seasonal, Tropical Lover Berliner Weisse. A portion of sales from this variety pack will go toward the campaign, so you can feel good about contributing to a great cause while cracking open a summer seasonal beer. www.sweetwaterbrew.com

Wild Wolf

For the third consecutive year, Wild Wolf Brewing Company earned the Virginia Green Travel Alliance’s Green Brewery of the Year Award for their top-to-bottom environmentally conscious practices, including water and energy conservation, recycling and composting. They also grow their own hops in an onsite, chemical-free hopyard where free-range chickens and ducks roam around to their heart’s content. And by packaging their beer in the lighter option of cans rather than bottles, they use less fuel when shipping specialty brews like Blonde Hunny, a refreshing, Belgian-style blonde ale. www.wildwolfbeer.com

hot beer spots dc
Photo: Trent Johnson

What’s On Tap

Greetings, beer nerds! As you likely know, there are a number of wonderful establishments 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 some of what’s coming up On Tap at these beer hot spots.

Red Derby
Beverage Manager Nick Schiever

On Tap: What new beers are you guys carrying in February?
Nick Schiever: A couple of new things that we’ll be bringing on are ANXO Cidery cans and Republic Restoratives Borough Bourbon, and we’ll be pairing that with Atlas Brew Works District Common Beer.

OT: What’s exciting about them?
NS: They’re both local, and we’re supporting local businesses. A lot of people want it, and it’s a trend that I’m seeing. I think a lot of other places are keeping it local as well.

Red Derby: 3718 14th St. NW, DC; www.redderby.com


ChurchKey
General Manager Kevin Ramsey

On Tap: What new things do you have coming up in February?
Kevin Ramsey: Probably the thing we’re most excited about is the Melvin 2×4 on February 4. Melvin Brewing Company is from Wyoming, and this is a double IPA from them. It’s won a number of awards, including the Alpha King championship, and it’s citrusy and hazy.

OT: What about this is exciting?
KR: For the event, Melvin is encouraging bars around the country to make it ninja/Wu-Tang Clan style.

ChurchKey: 1337 14th St. NW, DC; www.churchkeydc.com


Jack Rose Dining Saloon
Beer Director Nahem Simon

On Tap: What new beers are you guys carrying in February?
Nahem Simon: I’m excited to get the Off Color Dino S’mores. It’s one of those rare beers that isn’t produced in massive quantities, and it’s incredibly tasty and sought after. It’s the perfect beer for chilly February days.

OT: Any brews you’re bringing back from last year?
NS: We are going to carry a special batch of Space Reaper 2.0 from DC Brau, where they aged it in one of our cask barrels. It ended up amazingly. They’re almost done with the final carving of the keg, and it’s really fantastic. It takes all of the elements of the beer, but it kind of imparts this deep, dark wood character. It’s almost as if sequoia had a flavor. One of the beers that I’m really enjoying right now is the Van Steenberge Gulden Draak Nitro Ale.

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


Kingfisher
General Manager Sam Buis

On Tap: How do you guys select beers?
Sam Buis: I definitely try to acquire the more unique, interesting beers that I think people will really enjoy. I come from 10 years of working in craft beer bars. I’m fully aware of what good beer is, and what beer nerds like, so I try to achieve what they want. We’re all cans here, so that limits our ability to get certain beers, but it also helps us get others that aren’t as common.

OT: How often do you reach out to distributors to get new stuff in?
SB: Constantly. I only get a few cases of any beer I choose, so I’m always on the lookout for new beers. I’m always pestering my reps to find new things, and they put their weight on breweries to find out what they have in cans. If enough people request a can of a certain beer, they’ll make it.

OT: What are some beers you’re looking forward to carrying in February?
SB: Union Rye Baby IPA because Union always makes great beers, and this one has a great peppery resin quality with a super smooth mouth feel. Another is Evil Twin Mission Gose – it’s salty, sour and funky. Always happy to see good sours in cans, and so will my regulars. And last is Old Ox Black Ox Porter. I love me some dark beer, doesn’t matter what time of year, but it’s even better when it’s a cold day in February. Plus, it has great malty, roasty flavors balanced with some rye to give it a crisp finish.

Kingfisher: 1414 14th St. NW, DC; www.kingfisherdc.com


Smoke & Barrel
Beverage Director Jace Gonnerman

On Tap: What new beers do you have coming up in February?
Jace Gonnerman: We will have year two of our Triple IPA with Ocelot Brewing Co. called Talking Backward. It’s a collaboration with our three restaurants, and it’s an 11 percent IPA with citrus and mosaic hops. On February 7 at Meridian Pint, we’ll be hosting Firestone Walker, and it’ll be a bunch of rare beers that they have. We’re also revamping our cocktail and liquor list, which will be inspired by Frank Mills. He’s made a big name [for himself] in the city. That will be released on February 6.

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

Photos: Charlotte Geary Photography and Nick Hard
Photos: Charlotte Geary Photography and Nick Hard

Celebrate Virginia Craft Beer Month at Three New NoVA Breweries

Summer is almost over, so don’t miss your chance to visit some great breweries in NoVA that have recently opened their doors and patios. Here’s a short list of three new ones to try during Virginia Craft Beer Month.

Barnhouse Brewery 
This cute farm brewery in Leesburg recently reopened after expanding and relocating their facility not far from Vanish Farmwoods Brewery (also a personal fave of mine). Down a dirt road tucked between two quaint wineries, you will find a beautiful wooden farmhouse with a dog-friendly patio perfect for a quick beer with your boo in between winery visits.
  • Banshee Irish Red, 5.5 percent: This one’s for you, Dad. No seriously. My dad loves his George Killian’s Irish Red, and similarly, this one reminds me that some beers are just drinkable. No bells and whistles, just a red with hints of caramel malt that I could drink all day with my pops. Rating: Sharing is caring!
  • Shenandoah Stout, 7 percent: A milky, flavorful stout with hints of cocoa and coffee beans, this is the one I keep going back to for another sip. And it’s the chocolate that lingers on your tongue like that last spoonful of ice cream. Savor it. Rating: Shenan-WHOA-a!
Barnhouse Brewery: 43271 Spinks Ferry Rd. Leesburg, VA; www.barnhousebrewery.com

Mustang Sally Brewing Company
This Chantilly-based brewing company is the perfect pit stop on the way to Jiffy Lube Live for a concert or a good excuse to “stop for gas” off of I-66. Good tunes, cool facility and delicious beer.
  • Mustang Sally IPA, 6.5 percent: If you’re looking for a strong, firm and bitter IPA, look no further than this baby. Packed with two-row pale, rye and Columbus hops, this guy will give you the Popeye face. Rating: Bitter, baby! But well-crafted.
  • Mustang Sally Porter, 6 percent: This bold and traditional English porter has more smooth cocoa nibs than coffee, and is my go-to beer at Mustang Sally because I love malts – especially chocolate ones. Rating: Perfect beer to “take the load off, Sally!” 
Mustang Sally Brewing Company: 14140 Parke Long Ct. Ste. A-C, Chantilly, VA;www.msbrewing.com

Lake Anne Brew House

Lake Anne Brew House is a modern nanobrewery in Reston. Just look for the orange sign and enjoy a brew on the amazing patio. This brew house is a hidden secret and a treat!
  • Reston Red Ale, 5.5 percent: This tasty brew is hopped like pale ale, so it’s got some residual bitterness to go with a caramel malt backbone. A tasty red indeed. Rating: One red to rule them all.

Lake Anne Brew House: 11424 Washington Plaza W, Reston, VA;www.lakeannebrewhouse.com

Have a beer for the Bierdo to try?  Drop him a line at  beer@ontaponline.com.

Photos: Charlotte Geary Photography and Nick Hardt

VACraftBeerMonth

Lowdown on Local Brews: On Tap’s Virginia Craft Beer Guide

Virginia Craft Beer Month presents the perfect time to acknowledge how the craft brew scene continues to explode throughout the state. No, these proverbial bursts aren’t of the catastrophic nature, but rather an accurate representation of the fiery rise in popularity these niche beverages are experiencing statewide. If you peruse the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild website, you’ll see a legion of these breweries all working toward the same mission – delivering delicious tasting beer.

According to www.CraftBeer.com, now is the best time to be a fan of this grain-based alcoholic beverage, due to the colossal number of breweries popping up throughout the nation. There’s a litany of reasons to hoist a cold one in Virginia, as the state routinely ranks in the top half of the country regarding this particular topic.

In case you’re unaware, the Brewer’s Association defines a craft brewer as small, independent and traditional. Virginia has a number of craft breweries in spades, as 124 are housed within state lines, ranking 13th in the United States according to the association. The state for lovers also clocks in at 19th overall for barrels of craft beer produced per year with an astonishing 274,111.

So, while there’s definitely the supply for a host of brews, this is only possible because of a staunch demand for such product. The average Virginian of age consumes 1.4 gallons of craft beer per year, which doesn’t seem like a lot, until you remember that beers consumed from the neighboring DMV areas don’t count toward the total, so the number is likely much higher.

The steady fascination didn’t always exist, as the numbers of barrels of beer increased by about 350 percent from 2011 to 2015, according to the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. Last month, even Governor Terry McAuliffe voiced support for the expanding market.

“Listen, I’m a huge supporter of our craft brew industry,” McAuliffe told WHSV TV-3. “We have 275 wineries, and we have about 40 cideries now, so we are really taking off, but the craft brewery industry here in Virginia is taking it to another level.”

The boom isn’t a secret. With the numbers and public statements from high-ranking officials, the word is out about how stupendous the scene has become, and the industry is only growing, if not evolving.

What can you do to participate? Navigate a craft brew trail such as the Brew Ridge, or take a day trip to Devils Backbone Brewing Company in Lexington, Beer Hound Brewery in Culpeper, or Blue Mountain Brewery in Afton and Arrington. If you’d rather stay close to the District, visit Port City Brewing in Alexandria, Ocelot Brewing Company in Dulles, Aslin Beer Company in Herndon, Old Ox Brewery in Ashburn or dozens of other locations around NoVA.

Salivating for brews yet? Then be sure to pay a visit to the Virginia Beer Museum this fall, located in Front Royal and opening on September 24 in conjunction with the Brew and Blues Festival. Also, don’t miss the Virginia Craft Brewers Fest at Devils Backbone on August 20. Before you add these to-dos to your calendar, read about  a few tastemakers in Virginia’s craft beer world.

Learn more about Virginia Craft Beer Month at www.virginiacraftbrewers.org.


Special Advertising Section

Bold Rock Hard Cider
1020 Rockfish Valley Hwy., Nellysford, VA; 434-361-1030
www.boldrock.com

Flagship Beers
Enjoy complimentary tastes of the Virginia Apple and Virginia Draft hard ciders when you visit the Bold Rock Cider Barn but don’t miss out on the white hot India Pressed Apple (IPA), Premium Dry or Pear Cider. Bold Rock also offers a rotating seasonal cider selection.

Awards
Bold Rock has been internationally, nationally and regionally recognized for our hard ciders including a Silver Medal for our India Pressed Apple in the 2016 Virginia Governor’s Cup Awards.

What To Expect
The Bold Rock Cider Barn is a gorgeous timber-framed Cidery and Tap Room perched on a ridge overlooking the aptly named Bold Rock Meadow. Enjoy close up views of the bottling line and cozy up to our large fireplace in the winter or kick back on our expansive patio during the warm months.

Planning Your Visit
The Tap Room is open daily at 11 a.m. and offers complimentary tours and tastings as well as pints, flights, food, merchandise and cider-to-go for purchase. Make sure to stop by for live music on most Sunday afternoons!

Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
2408 Ownby Lane, Richmond VA; 804-420-2420
www.hardywood.com

Flagship Beers
Singel, Pils.

Awards
Hardywood’s beers have earned medals at the World Beer Cup and Great American Beer Festival, a rare 100 rating by BeerAdvocate, Virginia’s Top Brewery by RateBeer.com users and was recognized as Virginia’s Best Brewery by Thrillist.The company was awarded the Greater Richmond Chamber 2013 Business of the Year Award.

What To Expect
Hardywood focuses on brewing soulful, innovative beers using high quality ingredients while supporting their local community of artists, growers and musicians. Sourcing 100 percent of its power from renewables, including solar, biomass and wind, Hardywood is committed to minimizing its impact on the environment. The taproom has both an indoor and outdoor space with a relaxed, family friendly environment. They host a wide array of local and national musicians ranging from punk and indie rock to jazz and country.

Planning Your Visit
Tours are offered Saturdays and Sundays. Contact tours@hardywood.com to schedule one. The taproom offers flights and 12 ounce pours to enjoy at the brewery as well as bottles and growler fills to go. Live music Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Visit the website to join their  mailing list and stay up to date on upcoming events.

Heritage Brewing Co.
9436 Center Point Lane, Manassas, VA; 571-358-8463
www.HeritageBrewing.com

Flagship Beers
American Expedition, Freedom Isn’t Free and Kings Mountain.

Awards
AC Beer Fest 2nd Place Brown Ales for Kings Mountain, 1st Place TML Battle of the Brews Champion.

What To Expect
We are a veteran owned and operated microbrewery in Manassas, VA. As veterans and patriots, we find that we owe it to our patrons to only produce the finest beer made with the best ingredients with the same level of attention to detail and passion that we brought to serving our country. You will find our space to be industrial yet inviting with everything being made from repurposed materials to create a handmade Americana Vibe to the space.

Planning Your Visit
We do experimental beers every Saturday so there is always something new in the tasting room to enjoy. We have live music a few times a month and you can have BBQ delivered to your seat from The Bone. Tap Room Hours: Thursday and Friday 5 – 9 p.m., Saturday 12 – 9 p.m., Sunday 12 – 6 p.m. Brewery Tours: Saturdays 12 p.m. & 1 p.m. and are $5 (includes flagship flight).

Old Ox Brewery
44652 Guilford Dr., #114, Ashburn, VA; 703-729-8375
www.oldoxbrewery.com

Flagship Beers
Alpha Ox Session IPA, Golden Ox Belgian-Style Golden Ale and Black Ox Rye Porter.

What To Expect
Old Ox is a family owned and operated commercial brewery with a fun and friendly tasting room.  We brew classic beer styles along with specialty brews that explore the creative side of craft. Our tasting room features cornhole leagues and unique events every month (check our events calendar). Food trucks cater in great cuisine daily.  We are located right on the W&OD Trail between mile markers 25 and 25.5.

Awards
Gold medal for Saison d’Ox and Silver medal for Black Ox at 2014 Virginia Craft Brewers Competition.

Planning Your Visit
The tasting room is open:
Tuesday – Thursday 4 p.m. – 9 p.m.,
Friday 2:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.,
Saturday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. and
Sunday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Upcoming releases
Upcoming seasonal beers include October Bier Oktoberfest Style Lager and  The Oxorcist Imperial Pumpkin Ale

Starr Hill Brewery
5391 Three Notch’d Rd., Crozet, VA; 434-823-5671
www.starrhill.com

Flagship Beers
Northern Lights IPA.

Awards
21 Great American Beer Festival, World Beer Cup and Great British Beer Festival medals. Countless local awards. Dark Starr Stout has more awards than any Dry Irish Stout in the country, including Gold at the 1999 and 2009 GABF. Whiter Shade White IPA won Gold at the 2014 World Beer Cup and King of Hop Imperial IPA was the “Best IPA in VA” at the 2014 Virginia Brewers Cup.

What To Expect
The second oldest craft brewery in Virginia, Starr Hill is all about community. We support our neighbors through local beer collaborations and hosting local music and food trucks in our Tap Room. Through our Cheers for Charity program, we donate $1 for every pint sold to a different non-profit each month. Our brewery was born in the Starr Hill Music Hall and we know how great beer and live music bring people together.

Planning Your Visit
Our Tap Room is open Tuesday – Sunday. We feature pints, growlers, crowlers and samples of 24 rotating beers. It’s the best place to get unique and limited releases. Free tours Saturday and Sunday, live music and food trucks.

Photos: Courtesy of Honor Brewing
Photos: Courtesy of Honor Brewing

The Bierdo Celebrates Independence with Honor Brewing

Happy Fourth of July, Bierdos! To honor our Independence Day and all of the great men and women of our fine military that preserve our independence every day, I headed to the best vet-owned bar I know – Dupont Circle’s Rebellion – to try and start the fireworks early. At Rebellion, I tasted some veteran-brewed and extremely drinkable craft beer that I’ve heard praise about in the beer trenches from Honor Brewing in Chantilly, Va.

The brewery is currently still under construction, but Honor beers are available around town for mass consumption (check www.honorbrewing.com for details). And of course, Rebellion had all three current beers “on duty” for me to inspect – and let me tell you, Bierdos, I inspected every last single freaking drop!

So raise your glass to honor, my friends! Founded by brewers, patriots and the families of service members who paid the ultimate price, Honor Brewing not only respects and celebrates our military through countless weekly charitable events and fundraisers (and each beer and boot-adorned label is a tribute in and of itself), but it also crafts one helluva beer.

Don’t believe me? I encourage you to strap on your drinking boots and pick up a pint. I have yet to find a local beer that is as drinkable and approachable for everyone as it is well-crafted. I salute you, Honor Brewing team, for striving to create such a drinkable salute to our soldiers!

  • Honor Golden Ale, 4.9 percent: There’s something very drinkable about this blonde golden ale. It’s almost as thirst-quenching as a pilsner or your typical carbonated light beer, but not. Prepare to drink something entirely more flavorful, yet very well-balanced and palatable. You’ll notice the pilsner/white wheat malts and hops right away, but you won’t make the old man hop face, as it delivers something dry, earthy and herbal with some residual hop bitterness. I was very surprised with this well-crafted, smooth and refreshing beer. Rating: Golden nectar of the beer gods!
  • Honor Warrior IPA, 6.2 percent: If you liked the golden ale, but craved a little more hops, you will not be disappointed by their IPA. More piney and again earthy than the typical citrus-forward and heavy IPAs that I always love, Honor Brewing flipped the switch and went in another direction, which I applaud them for. I detected caramel malts and a certain honey sweetness here followed by some residual hop bitterness. Again, a “smooth,” almost “criminal,” IPA. Rating: Annie, are you okay? Are you okay, Annie? You’ve been hit by…one smooth IPA.
  • Honor Gold Star Cherry Wheat, 5.5 percent: The Cherry Wheat is a Belgian-style American wheat beer that’s perfectly proportioned. The cherry is on the tail end, and not overpowering like every other cherry beer I’ve had in my life. It’s very light and refreshing, with the “essence” of cherry. Thanks somebody for finally getting it right. A “flavorful fruit beer” doesn’t have to be like a heavy dessert. It can be a beer with a twist. Here’s living…beer proof. Rating: A little old school, a little new school, a little bit awesome. She’s my cherry pie…cool drink of water, such a sweet surprise!

Honor Brewing: 14151 Newbrook Dr. #200, Chantilly, VA; 866-920-9463; www.honorbrewing.com

Have a beer for the Bierdo to try? Drop him a line at nick@ontaponline.com. 

Photos: Courtesy of Honor Brewing