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What’s On Tap: October 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.

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 6

D.C. United Pre-Game Oktoberfest Happy Hour
It is the last game of the season, so D.C. United is hosting the best pre-game party. Come celebrate Oktoberfest with beers, games and raffles. Your first beer is on the house. After the party, take your seats to watch D.C. United take on FC Cincinnati. 2:30-4 p.m. Tickets $25. Audi Field: 100 Potomac Ave. SW, DC; www.dcfray.com

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 8

Beer Dinner: Go Big or Go Home
Chef Bart celebrates 15 years of Belga Café. This time, the experts have dug deep in the beer cellar and have come up with a very personal selection of hard to find beers in big bottles, from 1.5 to 6 liters. Expect exceptional bottles like Gouden Carolus Van De Keizer Blauw vintage 2009 and Liefmans Gouden Band vintage 2000 and more. From the kitchen, you’ll enjoy a traditional Belgian food feast. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tickets $76.96. Belga Café: 514 8th St. SE, DC; www.belgacafe.com

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 10

Four Course Beer Dinner
Pinstripes Georgetown is bringing craft beer lovers a taste of their culinary expertise, with a special dinner inspired by, and paired with, selections from DC Brau. A DC Brau representative and Pinstripes’ chef will lead guests through a deliciously fun four-course dinner. Tickets for the event include the dinner, beer pairings, tax and service. 7-9 p.m. Tickets $60. Pinstripes Georgetown: 1064 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC; www.pinstripes.com/georgetown-washington

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 12

Bring a Guitar to the Bar: Battlecross, Gloom, Eyes of the Nile
Join bands Battlehouse, Gloom, No Tomorrow  and Iron Maiden tribute band Eyes of the Nile, as they rock out in support of the Witt Black Music Foundation’s third annual Bring a Guitar to the Bar Fundraiser. You can also enjoy craft beer, tacos and raffle prizes. Donations of gently-used guitars for at-risk kids enrolled in the Foundation’s guitar classes are also being accepted at the door. 6:30-11 p.m. Tickets $15. Atlas Brew Works: 2052 West Virginia Ave. NE, DC; www.atlasbrewworks.com

Cigar and Beer Pairing
7 Locks Brewing will transform into a cigar lounge for this one of a kind event, highlighting the first release in their new Barrel Aged Bottle Program, the Lockhouse Cellar Reserve. Enjoy three Davidus cigars paired perfectly with three 7 Locks beers. Two of the beers will be full 16 oz. pints, and the third beer is their new 26 oz. barrel aged bottle. 2-5 p.m. Tickets $45. 7 Locks Brewing: 12227 Wilkins Ave. North Bethesda, MD; www.7locksbrewing.com

Snallygaster 2019
Snallygaster is the District’s beastliest beer festival, bar none. Returning for its eighth year, festivalgoers can expect an unbelievable array of no fewer than 400 highly sought after brews on draft. There will be more than 150 of the finest American and international producers, set against a backdrop of local food trucks and two stages of live music. This awesome event will benefit the Arcadia Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a more equitable and sustainable local food system. 12-6 p.m. Tickets start at $50. Downtown: Pennsylvania Avenue in NW, DC; www.snallygasterdc.com

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 13

Granite City Presents: Kegs and Crabs
Enjoy delicious Maryland crabs and hoppy pints at Granite City’s Kegs and Crabs. The brewery has partnered with Krewe of Pyros to host this tasty event. Twenty percent of proceeds will be donated to each company’s chosen initiative. Make sure to take advantage of the cigar friendly patio while you sip on a beer. 3-7 p.m. Tickets start at $50. Granite City Food and Brewery: 200 American Way. Oxon Hill, MD; www.gcfb.com/location/national-harbor-maryland

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 17

ChurchKey’s Tenth Anniversary Celebration: Vol. 4
ChurchKey turns 10 years old this October. In true ChurchKey fashion, they’re celebrating with a series of huge events, massive tap takeovers and unbelievable beer dinners until the end of the year. Join them as they continue their 10th anniversary series with their close friends from Allagash Brewing Company. Free to attend. 4-7:30 p.m. ChurchKey: 1337 14th St. NW, DC; www.churchkeydc.com

Hop Jam
If you’re looking to expand your craft brewery experience beyond DC, head to Sinistral Brewing Company in Manassas, Virginia. Savor local Northern Virginia brews and music at a hop jam. It’s a great way to get a head start on your weekend festivities. 7 p.m. Free to attend. Sinistral Brewing Company: 9419 Main St. Manassas, VA; www.sinistralbrewingcompany.com

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 19

2nd Annual Shucktoberfest Beer & Oyster Festival
The second annual Shucktober Beer & Oyster Festival will take place in Arlington, Virginia, right in the heart of downtown Shirlington Village. At this year’s festival, you can expect more than 40 craft beer tents, double the oyster tents from last year’s event, and local food and merchant vendors. Bring your pup to enjoy the fun, because the festival is pet-friendly! 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Free to attend. Village at Shirlington: 2700 S. Quincy St. Arlington, VA; www.copperwoodtavern.com

Capital BrewFest: Fall Seasonal Beer, Wine & Music Festival
Capital BrewFest is a celebration of the very best time to drink delicious seasonal craft beer: the fall. For this year’s event, the best newly released fall brews available from your favorite breweries will be available to try. You’ll get a tasting glass, and enjoy unlimited tastings of more than 40 carefully selected beers, amazing food options, music from a DJ, games, arts, activities and more. 12:30-8 p.m. Tickets start at $17.95. The Bullpen: 1201 Half St. SE, DC; www.brewfestdc.com

Photos: M.K. Koszycki

Behind The Bar: Archipelago, Paladar and Bar Charley

Rum is so much more than the liquor component of a piña colada. We chatted with three local experts about the vibrant world of rum and tiki, and the best drinks their spots have to offer in honor of National Rum Day on August 16.


Owen Thomson - Photo by M.K

Owen Thomson
Owner, Archipelago

On Tap: Tell me about the different rums featured on your menu.
Owen Thomson: Rum is one of the most varied spirits in the world because no other spirit is produced in as many places. It’s made from sugarcane – most are made from molasses – and you’ll find a few producers making it from fresh-pressed sugarcane juice. There’s a whole manner of ways people try to classify rum, and the easiest way that I was taught has to do with colonial pieces: there’s English, French and Spanish.

OT: How do you decide which style of rum goes in which drink?
OT: Tiki has a pantheon of classic cocktails that call upon certain styles of rum, but more interesting is the fact that most of them call on multiple rums. So rather than a drink needing two ounces of Jamaican rum, you might have three different rums in a tiki drink, which creates a drink you really can’t get anywhere else.

OT: What’s your favorite drink on the menu and why?
OT: I always enjoy the Mai Tai. It is obviously an old school drink that people who don’t even work in tiki learn how to make. It was my introduction to this style of drink, so figuring out our Mai Tai blend was one of my favorites.

OT: What sets Archipelago apart from other bars that heavily feature rum-based drinks?
OT: We are the only tiki bar in the area. This time of year, you’ll see a lot of tiki menus or people will flip their outdoor bar for a summer tiki menu. A lot of people switch to rum this time of year, but we do it all year. Tiki is only partially about the drinks. It encompasses the whole vibe, [including] the décor. If you don’t have that, you don’t have a tiki bar.

Jungle Room Experience 2 - Photo by M.K

The Jungle Room Experience
Rhum agricole
Blue Curaçao
Soursop
Cachaça
Apricot
Lemon

Archipelago: 1201 U St. NW, DC; www.archipelagodc.com

Gavin Nazareth 2 Photo by M.K

Gavin Nazareth
Bartender, Paladar Tysons Corner

On Tap: Your menu features a wide array of rums, and a key to what rums are similar to other types of liquors. What inspired your expansive, detailed menu?
Gavin Nazareth: A lot of people aren’t into rums and don’t know what good rums are. If you’re a bourbon drinker, there are rums that we have that will closely mirror a bourbon flavor. Obviously, rums are a little sweeter than bourbons or whiskeys or scotches that might have a bit of a bite to them.

OT: Can you tell me about the flights you offer?
GN: We encourage people to try our rum flights because you get to taste different flavors. They’re only half-ounce pours – that way, you can get a flight or two and still be okay. You can do a Spanish, English, aged or spiced flight.

OT: What are some of the big differences between rum styles?
GN: Spanish and English styles are boiled down, so they’re close to a honey or molasses. Once you have that concentrated flavor, you add water and yeast to it. The French style is different – it’s almost like a gin. You take out the sugarcane juice and add yeast, and they’re more on the botanical side. Spanish and English are more bold and sweet, with a nice buttery finish.

OT: What’s your favorite rum drink?
GN: We showcase a different rum every month, and this month we’re doing the plantation series. Plantation rums are from Barbados. They age them in Barbados and then bring them to France for an additional step. We have something called the Plantation Jungle Burn where we use pineapple plantation rum, fresh juices [and] campari, so it has a really nice finish.

Plantation Jungle Burn - Photo by M.K

Plantation Jungle Burn
Plantation pineapple rum
Pineapple juice
Simple syrup
Lime juice
Campari

Paladar Tysons Corner: 1934 Old Gallows Rd. Vienna, VA; www.paladarlatinkitchen.com

DSCN4320

Brendan Mullin
Bartender, Bar Charley

On Tap: Tell me about the rum drinks you feature on tap.
Brendan Mullin: We have two cocktails on tap, and a whole tiki menu that contains a lot of our rum drinks. One we have on tap right now is called It’s Not a Mai Tai, It’s Our Tai. It’s white rum, curacao, pineapple, orange – a lot of tasty tropical flavors.

OT: What are your favorite drinks on the tiki menu?
BM: The Frog Smoking a Comically Large Cigar is massive, fun and has a ridiculous garnish in it, and has a blend of mezcal and rum. Our Zombie is also fantastic, but my favorite cocktail is the classic Mai Tai. In my opinion, that’s the best American cocktail. It’s a great way to try different rums.

OT: What about the non-tiki rum-based drinks?
BM: On our house cocktail menu, we have the You Can’t Do That on Television that has three different types of rum. One [rum] is infused with jalapeño and [the cocktail] also has a pistachio orgeat, so it’s kind of a riff on a Mai Tai. You Can’t Do That on Television was a show on Nickelodeon back in the day, and the drink is green and looks like slime and is reminiscent of the 90s.

OT: What food pairs best with tiki or tropical drinks?
BM: The best thing on our food menu to have next to our rum drinks is the pupu platter. It has a bunch of different food options like pork belly, wagyu beef skewers, half-smoke pierogies and crab tater tots. Anything that’s salty and has a tropical flavor to it will go really well with a sweeter tiki drink.

OT: What sets Bar Charley apart from other bars with tiki menus and large rum selections?
BM: I’d say just how comprehensive we are. People ask us if we’re a classics bar, a tiki bar or a wine bar. The answer is “Yes” across the board. We have a great wine selection, we have classics and we’re creative on our own. We can also do tiki!

You Can’t Do That On Television
Havana Club rum
Clément V.S.O.P.
Chacho
Dry curaçao
Lime juice
Pistachio orgeat

DSCN4325

Bar Charley: 1825 18th St. NW, DC; www.barcharley.com

Photo: Courtesy of Urbana

DC’s Sustainable Dining Scene

Order up a drink at Hank’s Cocktail Bar and you may notice something’s missing when you take that first sip. The reason? This Petworth hangout, along with its five sister restaurants, only provide straws when requested. This shift is just one way the bar and its parent company, JL Restaurant Group, have been moving to improve sustainability.

“We work really, really hard to use things multiple ways and be as zero waste as possible there,” says beverage director Jess Weinstein, who oversees the bar program at all Hank’s properties.

For example, orange trimmings from the bar’s old-fashioned garnishes are saved and reduced down with sugar into a syrup that’s then used to make a Trash Gimlet cocktail. They dehydrate partially used limes from a night of service for use in future drinks rather than using fresh ones. Weinstein even uses liquid runoff from roasted red peppers in her negroni riff, the Bittersweet Surrender.

These steps toward sustainability might seem small, but they can noticeably improve a business’ carbon footprint and bottom line. And Hank’s is not alone in its quest to become greener. Last year, DC was named the first LEED “Platinum City,” a nod to its leadership in this area.

Urbana in Dupont Circle is the first DC restaurant to use a machine called a Bio-Digester, which converts food scraps into grey wastewater that is then transported for treatment through existing drain systems. Five to One, a craft cocktail bar on U Street, has opted to ditch garnishes entirely. The Dabney recycles all of its oyster shells through Oyster Recovery Partnership.

At Kyirisan in Shaw, chef and owner Tim Ma uses scraps and peelings from vegetables to create stocks for upcoming dishes. He is also one of three national chefs participating in the BlueCart Zero Waste Kitchen initiative, which uses technology to track food waste and map out improvement over time. Ma says thinking about sustainability and efficiency has always been a part of his day-to-day operations – both from an environmental and practical point of view.

“All my restaurants were very small, and it was only just me as the owner, so every percentage point counted to me,” he says.

Being nimble with menu development wherever possible can also pad profit margins as well as help the environment. Kyirisan gets regular emails from producers selling unwanted “ugly” vegetables, often at value prices. Urbana makes use of its rooftop garden for seasonal produce – it sourced 1,500 pounds from onsite growing in 2016.

Weinstein and the rest of the Hank’s Cocktail Bar team also look to the kitchen for ways to use surplus ingredients that would otherwise get thrown out. It’s all part of the push to make each dollar go further in a small profit margin world, while also being a good environmental steward.

There’s still work to be done, of course. Not all restaurants buy exclusively local produce or second-rate vegetables. And when it comes to balancing hospitality with sustainability, some guests still prefer a plastic straw or fresh citrus in cocktails – and may still be new to understanding the sustainability movement.

“That’s something that we are starting to see change in the food and beverage world,” Weinstein says. “But it’s not changed yet.”

Learn more about these eco-friendly spots below.


Dabney: 122 Blagden Alley, NW, DC; www.thedabney.com
Five to One: 903 U St. NW, DC; www.fivetoonedc.com
Hank’s Cocktail Bar: 819 Upshur St. NW, DC ; www.hankscocktailbar.com
Kyirisan: 1924 8th St. NW, DC; www.kyirisandc.com
Urbana: 2121 P St. NW, DC; www.urbanadc.com