Posts

Photos: Amanda Weisbrod
Photos: Amanda Weisbrod

Behind the Bar: May 2018

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo the right way at brand new tequila bar Cortez and trendy mezcal mainstay Espita Mezcaleria, both located in Shaw, or at recently opened Mayahuel Cocina Mexicana in Woodley Park. Find out what the bartenders at these hip spots have to say about their mezcal- and tequila-based creations.


Cortez's Sam Helfstein (Photo - Amanda Weisbrod)

Sam Helfstein
Bartender, Cortez

On Tap: What would you say is your most popular tequila cocktail?
Sam Helfstein: The passion fruit margarita. It’s made with El Jimador Blanco tequila, lime juice, a little bit of agave, triple sec and passion fruit puree. You get the choice of a salt or sugar rim.

OT: What first attracted you to Cortez?
SH: It seemed festive, bright and fun, and I wanted to try something different. I’m used to working in whiskey bars, so this is a definite change.

OT: Do you think DC is lacking in tequila bars? Is Cortez filling that space?
SH: I think that the style of Cortez brings something different to the table because there’s fast, casual dining on the lower level and there’s not really food upstairs – it’s more for just drinking frozen margaritas and fun stuff like that. You don’t find a lot of that in the city.

OT: What do you love most about the atmosphere here?
SH: Everything. Everyone has a really positive, happy vibe. When you walk in, you see how vibrant and bright the murals are. It’s really fun. People get excited and they’re always taking pictures.

Cortez (Photo - Amanda Weisbrod)

Sam’s Pick
Classic Margarita
El Jimador Blanco tequila
Triple sec
Lime juice
Agave

Cortez: 1905 9th St. NW, DC; www.cortezbardc.com


[Pictured Above]

Jordan Utz
Bartender, Espita Mezcaleria

On Tap: Has working at Espita made you more passionate about mezcal?
Jordan Utz: Absolutely. Coming here, I got to develop a passion. I learned all of the nuances about the individual varieties. Every bottle up there has its own characteristics and I think because my background was initially more wine-focused, I can apply a lot of that to mezcal because it’s very terroir-based. Each village and each specific agave is going to have its own expression, and produce unique and specific flavors.

OT: What is Espita’s take on being authentic rather than traditional?
JU: Every ingredient, sauce and spice is made from scratch using largely authentic ingredients. As for the mezcals, we only sell responsibly sourced, traditionally made mezcals here. It’s becoming trendy, but mezcal is just not that kind of spirit. The agave takes a long time to grow. A single agave plant takes at a minimum about eight years to mature, so you can’t rush it. Mezcal shows when it’s cheaply made.

OT: Why do you think mezcal is so popular right now?
JU: Because it’s uncharted territory for a lot of people, there’s an element of curiosity. With mezcal, the reward is really high. If you can really take the time to get to know it, there’s so much depth and nuance about it.

Espita (Photo - Amanda Weisbrod)

Jordan’s Pick
Tehuana Girl (Created by Robin Miller)
Yellow chartreuse
Espadin mezcal
Wheat beer
Elderflower
Honey
Lemon

Espita Mezcaleria: 1250 9th St. NW, DC; www.espitadc.com


Mayahuel's Walter Fuentes (left) and Mynor Martin (right) (Photo - Amanda Weisbrod)

Walter Fuentes & Mynor Martin
Bartenders, Mayahuel Cocina Mexicana

On Tap: What inspired Mayahuel’s opening?
Walter Fuentes: We want to bring something new. Mezcal is something that’s going to get more and more popular like tequila did. We’re seeing a lot of people like the smokiness of the mezcal and the different layers of flavors that mezcal brings. We like mezcal because it brings you different parts of Mexico.

OT: What’s your most popular mezcal cocktail?
Mynor Martin: The Chingon is mezcal, scotch, Cocchi vermouth and Angostura bitters. It’s like a Manhattan, but Mexicana-style. The other one is the Smoked Mayahuel. It’s like an Old Fashioned with tequila, mezcal, cinnamon, simple syrup and bitters with mesquite cherry wood on fire.

OT: What makes Mayahuel’s cocktails stand out?
MM: We use only fresh fruit. We don’t use any sour mix or fake stuff. We care about perfect drinks.
WF: We try to keep good quality house tequila and mezcal. We don’t want to use bad quality [liquor]. We want you to come back the next day and drink again, not be hung over!

Mayahuel (Photo - Amanda Weisbrod)

Walter and Mynor’s Pick
Smoked Mayahuel
Mesquite cherry wood on fire
El Silencio mezcal
Milagro tequila
Simple syrup
Cinnamon

Mayahuel Cocina Mexicana: 2609 24th St. NW, DC; www.mayahueldc.com

Photos: Amanda Weisbrod
Photos: Amanda Weisbrod

Behind the Bar: April 2018

Looking for a little hair of the dog? These brunch spots offer some of the best – and most unique – brunch cocktails in the city. On Tap sat down with Green Pig Bistro, HalfSmoke and Whaley’s to find out what makes their brunch cocktails a cut above the rest.


[Pictured Above]

Alexander Taylor

Bar Manager, HalfSmoke

On Tap: What’s the story behind the Breakfast of Shaw cocktail?
Alexander Taylor: The Breakfast of Shaw was created by the owner, Andre McCain, and it’s a local take on the ostentatious Bloody Marys that have come about over the years. Ours consists of a couple of our fried goods – sweet potato tots, mac and cheese bites, Mexican corn bites, French fries – [and] we also throw some chicken wings and a sausage slider on there.

OT: What other drinks make your brunch cocktail menu so special?
AT: I’d say the more popular item that makes our brunch menu special is the fact that we offer free bottomless mimosas. Our mimosas are different in that we source craft bitters, and we use Triple Sec along with champagne and orange juice.

OT: What gives HalfSmoke its whimsical vibe?
AT: Our motto is “Don’t grow up – it’s a trap.” And we’re very nostalgic. You’ll find that we use Trapper Keepers as our menu binders, and we use old Disney VHS cases as our bill folders.

HalfSmoke Breakfast of Shaw (Photo by Amanda Weisbrod)

Alexander’s Pick
The Breakfast of Shaw
Tomato, lemon and lime juice
Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper
Tabasco
Tito’s Vodka

HalfSmoke: 651 Florida Ave. NW, DC; www.halfsmoke.com


Whaley's Alahin Mentado, bar manager (Photo - Amanda Weisbrod)

Alahín Mentado

Bar Manager, Whaley’s

On Tap: What is Whaley’s most popular brunch cocktail?
Alahín Mentado: The Number One, which is a rum-based cocktail. It has a little bit of St-Germain, which is a nice elderflower, and that brings some sweetness to it. It’s mixed with fresh grapefruit juice and some sparkling rosé, so you’re going to have a little bit of tartness from the grapefruit, which is a nice balance with the rum, and then a nice, sweet flavor from the sparkling rosé. It’s beautiful.

OT: Do you have any off-the-menu cocktails that guests can try?
AM: If a guest wants to try something different, our bartenders are world-trained and can make anything. We ask [our] guests about their preference of alcohol and from there, we can go make a nice cocktail for them and make them happy. I love to see smiles on people’s faces after they taste a drink. I like to experiment, and that’s a good thing about Whaley’s. You can always come back and try different things at our bar.

OT: What’s the vibe of Whaley’s rose garden?
AM: The rose garden is a unique drinking experience for the city, and an opportunity for diners to forget they are in Washington. The space is very transformative, with the pink and white umbrellas, lush greenery and amazing view of the water. We offer a dozen or so of some of the greatest still and sparkling rosé wines from all over the world – from Israel to Australia. We don’t have a specific opening date for the garden yet, but it’s looking like it should be mid- to late April, depending on weather.

Whaley's Number One2 (Photo - Amanda Weisbrod)

Alahín’s Pick
Number One
Caña Brava rum
Sparkling rosé
St-Germain
Grapefruit

Whaley’s: 301 Water St. SE, DC; www.whaleysdc.com


Tim and Starlynne Vogeley, Green Pig (Photo by Amanda Weisbrod)

Starlynne and Tim Vogeley

Assistant GM and GM & Chef, Green Pig Bistro

On Tap: What inspired the full bar menu for brunch?
Starlynne Vogeley: That’s what our guests want. Our prices for Arlington [are] pretty comparable. But one thing we do have that’s different is if the ingredients call for fresh-squeezed orange juice or lemon juice, we try to get the freshest possible. If we can make it, we do that.

OT: What’s your most unique brunch cocktail?
SV:
I would say the Iced Morning Moonshine. This was actually highlighted by Belle Isle. They came here specifically and interviewed our bartender, Lily King, who is the creator of that drink. Our bartenders are very creative and very talented.

OT: Do you ever experiment with new brunch cocktail recipes?
SV: [We] experiment all the time – constantly. We have a total of six bartenders, my husband as well. I like to drink them. I call myself the official taste tester. I like to consider everybody here perfectionists, and they’re trying to perfect their craft. These cocktails are all original creations by our bartenders.

OT: What makes Green Pig Bistro a sustainable dining option?
Tim Vogeley: We buy a lot of food products from local farms – some are organic, but not all of them. We have a 60-acre farm in Purcellville, and we’re thinking of growing hops. We might even open a small brewery there. We make our own pickles, cheese and hamburger buns.

Green Pig Bacon Bloody Mary1 (Photo by Amanda Weisbrod)

Tim & Starlynne’s Pick
Green Pig Bacon Bloody Mary 
Spicy bloody mix
Vodka
Old Bay
Citrus
Bacon

Green Pig Bistro: 1025 N Fillmore St. Arlington, VA; www.greenpigbistro.com

Photo: Greg Powers
Photo: Greg Powers

New, Notable, No Longer: April 2018

On Tap keeps locals in the know about the hottest new food and drink spots around town, the top culinary news of the month and recent closings. Read on to get the inside scoop on what’s new, notable and no longer in the DC area.

NEW

Alhambra
Open: February 9
Location: Downtown
Lowdown: The new restaurant at The St. Regis Hotel is a Mediterranean concept with French influences. The space got a quick facelift to add modern touches highlighting the historic building before debuting as Alhambra, an elegant power dining spot. The menu’s signature dishes include scallops a la plancha, rockfish served over chorizo and olive, pit-roasted chicken. In addition, the restaurant partnered with Boulangerie Christophe to offer an exclusive fig and walnut bread. The sophisticated service includes several tableside preparations, like tuna tartare. The highlight for me was the eponymous dessert: chocolate gianduja, Monte Carlo mousse and strawberry sorbet. 923 16th St. NW, DC; www.alhambradc.com

High Side
Open: February 9
Location: Fairfax City
Lowdown: Craft beer and Taiwanese small plates make for an ideal pairing at High Side, Fairfax City’s new bar. The downtown spot offers 20 craft beers on tap, ranging from tart and funky sours to malty, dark roasts. There’s also a heavy emphasis on local brews. Each Wednesday, the bar serves a mystery beer, inviting nerds and novices to sample the brew and guess what it is to win an order of pot stickers. There are also four craft cider taps and a wide selection of bottled beers to provide a little variety. The food menu features “xiaochi” such as mala pickled cucumbers, sour plum sweet potato fries, Taiwanese popcorn chicken, Malaysian chicken satay and my personal favorite, a scallion pancake with stir-fried beef. There are also a few larger plates, like garlic noodles with grilled shrimp and a deep-fried pork chop with rice. 4009 Chain Bridge Rd. Fairfax, VA; www.highsideva.com

Mi Vida
Open: February 23
Location: The Wharf
Lowdown: The varied cuisines and cultures of Mexico are on display at Mi Vida, the new waterfront restaurant from KNEAD Hospitality + Design and Chef Roberto Santibañez of Fonda in New York City. Santibañez, a native of Mexico City, modeled Mi Vida’s menu after the culinary diversity of his city. Choose from dishes like ceviche de tiritas, tacos de carnitas, queso fundido, enchiladas suizas and braised short ribs from the hearth oven. Santibañez’s favorite aspect of Mexican cooking is the art of creating a rich sauce, so naturally, he spotlights Oaxacan mole negro, the most complex sauce in the country. The dark sauce gets its hue from blackened pepper seeds, along with dozens of other ingredients like fruits and nuts that give it a deep, sweet heat. In addition to showcasing time-honored traditions, Santibañez also plays with modern preparations that are unique but distinctly Mexican. The bar has a vast selection of tequilas and mezcals – more than 130 options – and fresh cocktails like a tequila take on a piña colada and a frozen mango and passion fruit margarita. Several of the drinks are served in whimsical glassware, like the Mez-skull that comes in a glass skull. The spacious 11,000-square-foot restaurant is anchored by a 19-foot clay depiction of the “Tree of Life,” and each of the three floors depicts different periods in Mexican history – from the colonial hacienda terrace to Mayan pyramid motifs in the upstairs ceiling. 98 District Sq. SW, DC; www.mividamexico.com

Momo Yakitori
Open: February 23
Location: Woodridge
Lowdown: Momo Yakitori, the weekend-only restaurant that popped up in Woodridge earlier this year, has a laser focus on one aspect of Japanese cuisine. You won’t find ramen, rice bowls or sushi. Instead, the menu almost exclusively offers yakitori, or skewered chicken prepared on a traditional charcoal grill. You can order single skewers or platters, with options ranging from chicken breast or skin to more unusual choices like duck heart or wagyu. There are also a few salads and other veggie dishes, like shishito peppers and shiitake mushrooms. To drink, opt for sake or shochu by the glass. 2214 Rhode Island Ave. NE, DC; www.momoyakitori.com

NOTABLE

Sherry Blossom Festival
Date: Now through April 15
Location: Estadio
Lowdown: While cherry blossom trees bloom across the region, Estadio is putting their own spin on the festival by celebrating Spanish fortified wine. The restaurant’s third annual Sherry Blossom Festival features rare sherries, pintxos pairings, happy hours, sherry dinners, educational tastings and more. Every Monday, there will be an all-night Pass the Porron party where free porrons of a sherry cocktail called rebujito will be passed around for guests to enjoy. There will also be pairings of sherry with pintxos at the bar Monday through Friday from 5-7 p.m., and nightly four-course tasting menus paired with sherry. Throughout the festival, two sherry flights will be available, as well as extremely rare reserve sherries and new sherry cocktails. 1520 14th St. NW, DC; www.estadio-dc.com

WhiskyFest
Date: April 17
Location: Marriott Marquis
Lowdown: Whisky Advocate’s WhiskyFest will be hosted in DC for the third year in a row. The event, now in its 21st year, boasts nearly 300 whiskies from around the world – including single malt and blended Scotch, Irish, bourbon, rye, Tennessee, Japanese, Canadian and craft-distilled whiskies – plus rum, cognac and other spirits. It’s also a chance to learn from master blenders and whiskey experts during educational seminars and tastings. Representatives from distilleries will be on hand throughout the evening at their pouring booths. 901 Massachusetts Ave. NW, DC; www.whiskyfest.com

Now Open

Blue Bottle Coffee: 1250 4th St. NE, DC; www.bluebottlecoffee.com
Bread & Water: 1201 S. Joyce St. Arlington, VA; www.breadandwatercompany.com
Capital Burger: 1005 7th St. NW, DC; www.thecapitalburger.com
Cortez: 1905 9th St. NW, DC; www.cortezbardc.com
Fancy Radish: 600 H St. NE, DC; www.fancyradishdc.com
Frida Beer Garden: 4905 Fairmont Ave. Bethesda, MD; www.fb.com/fridabeergarden
Insomnia Cookies: 1309 H Street NE, DC; www.insomniacookies.com
Maizal: 429 L’Enfant Plaza SW, DC; www.maizalstreetfood.com
Players Club: 1400 14th St. NW, DC; www.playersclubdc.com
Sababa: 3311 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC; www.sababauptown.com
Soup Up: 1309 5th St. NE, DC; www.soupup.us
Taqueria Local: 1627 K St. NW, DC; www.localtaqueria.com
Tiki Taco: 2010 P St. NW, DC; www.tikitacodc.com

Pop-Ups

Minnie: 301 Water St. SE, DC; www.icecreamjubilee.com
Morini Piccolo: Boardwalk along the Anacostia River in SE, DC; www.osteriamorini.com

No Longer

Ardeo in Cleveland Park
Capitol City Brewing Company in Shirlington
Del Campo in Penn Quarter
Geranio in Alexandria
Las Canteras in Adams Morgan
Mason Dixie Drive Thru in NE, DC
Old Glory BBQ in Georgetown
Tortoise & Hare in Crystal City

Photo: Courtesy of The Watergate Hotel
Photo: Courtesy of The Watergate Hotel

Beyond the Mimosa: Unique Takes on Brunch Bubbles

I’d never recommend turning up your nose at a good mimosa or bellini, and there’s certainly no shortage of them throughout the DMV. But there’s also something to be said for mixing things up and getting out of your brunch beverage comfort zone every so often. If your brunch routine is starting to feel a bit stale, check out these spots for innovative weekend sips.

BUBBLES AND A FLICK at iPic Pike & Rose
It’s like drinking at home, if home has reclining leather seats, a huge movie theater projection screen and in-seat dining service. Reserve seats for the latest movie with a friend and order a bottle of Chandon Brut to share during the film – it’s a traditional method sparkler from Napa Valley that’s fruity, crisp and delicious. You can order food during the movie (with more gourmet options than your regular theater fare) or get to the theater early to grab brunch at the attached restaurant, CityPerch. Added bonus? You can also take drinks from CityPerch into your movie. 11830 Grand Park Ave. North Bethesda, MD; www.ipictheaters.com

Champagne on Ice at Succotash
Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! Inspired by trips to the south of France, where sweltering summers routinely encourage people to enjoy their bubbles over ice, Moët & Chandon’s winemaker created Moët Ice, a champagne that’s slightly sweeter, richer and able to stand up to the dilution of ice. Succotash, a relative newcomer to Penn Quarter, will be adding Moët Ice bottle service to their brunch offerings this spring. Each bottle will come to the table with self-serve ice cubes and garnishes like fresh berries and mint. 915 F St. NW, DC; www.succotashrestaurant.com

Classic with a Twist at Stable
This new Swiss-American restaurant on H Street is worth a trip for the “Raclette Experience” alone. However, I’d argue that the only way to improve melty, cheesy goodness is to pair it with something bubbly and refreshing – cue sparkling wine! There are plenty of options on the brunch drink menu to satisfy your sparkling desires, including creative cocktails and mimosas spiked with elderflower for a burst of floral complexity. If you’re going the Raclette or fondue route (and I suggest you do), the lively effervescence and hints of citrus bitters in the Aperol spritz are the perfect complement. 1324 H St. NE, DC; www.stabledc.com

Go Big or Go Home at Barley Mac
This Rosslyn spot may be better known for its selection of bourbons and whiskies, but they’re certainly not cutting any corners in the mimosa category. There’s a sparkling selection for every thirst size, so if you’re sipping slowly this weekend, try one of the amped up mimosas flavors – including black raspberry, passion fruit, strawberry basil and blueberry. If it’s a party weekend, order the king-sized “make your own mimosa,” which comes with a magnum bottle (the size of two regular bottles) and two flavors of your choosing. You’ll definitely want to order a side of their addictive crispy dough appetizer, coccoli, alongside your bottle. 1600 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA; www.barleymacva.com

I Scream, You Scream…for Champagne Sorbet at Blue Duck Tavern
This gem tucked inside the Park Hyatt in Georgetown is known for their rotating menu of seasonal, farm-to-table dishes. The food is always stellar, but you’ll be equally smitten with their often-changing sorbet mimosa, available during weekend brunch. Chef’s seasonal sorbet is topped with a French crémant (“CRAY-mont”–that’s a traditional-method bubbly from a region in France other than Champagne). If you want to continue your sparkling theme, try the smoked citrus-cured salmon, accompanied by a champagne gelée. 1201 24th St. NW, DC; www.blueducktavern.com

Weekend Afternoon Tea at The Watergate Hotel
If you’re in the mood for something a bit more high class (or if you’ve just been binge watching Downton Abbey), make a reservation for afternoon tea at Kingbird Restaurant inside The Watergate Hotel. Held every Saturday and Sunday between 2-3:30 p.m., the event is billed as “a traditional tea with a retro twist.” Enjoy a complimentary glass of bubbles as an aperitif to a selection of teas, savory finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and sweet treats. $50 per person, reservations required.  2650 Virginia Ave. NW, DC; www.thewatergatehotel.com


Soon enough, the weather will improve, patios will open and official springtime brunch will be upon us. No matter where your brunch experiences take you this year, remember to drink well. You know what they say: a brunch without bubbles is just a sad, late breakfast.

Photo: Courtesy of Ana at District Winery
Photo: Courtesy of Ana at District Winery

Brunch Buzz: Top 25 of 2018

Socially, Washington is held together by the glue of brunch. More than the city’s other social institution – the happy hour – brunch allows for extended, leisurely bonding without a set agenda. And the District can never get enough of new culinary adventures – so we compiled our favorite newbies from the past year. These are wonderful places to hang out, see, be seen, and roll out refreshed and ready for the work week.

1. Ana at District Winery

Between high ceilings and massive windows, dining at the District’s only winery feels like dining outside. The cocktail menu is limited, but the menu features the winery’s growing range of house wines. District Winery sources grapes from across the U.S. and then produces wines that highlight the flavor profiles in America’s different growing regions. 385 Water St. SE, DC; www.districtwinery.com

2. Baba

This Turkish hot spot in Clarendon serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays (9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.), offering heavenly crafted bowls of oatmeal, egg dishes and pastries, along with high-quality coffee drinks. Enjoy unlimited brunch for $34/person, with music and a buffet section of handmade Turkish pastries, salads, sandwiches and more, along with made-to-order Balkan eggs, sliders and smoked salmon crêpe. And $1 mimosas, bellinis and Bloody Marys. 2901 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA; www.baba.bar

3. Bar Elena

Comfort food and arcade games is one form of brunch heaven. Add in a sophisticated seafood menu for a lux touch, and you have a formula that will endlessly appeal to DC’s trendy young professionals. 414 H St. NE, DC; www.barelenadc.com

4. Bindaas at Foggy Bottom

This casual take on Indian street food with a flavorful twist is the newest location from Chef Vikram Sunderam of Rasika. Brunch runs from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. on the weekends, offering an array of dishes that mix sweet and savory. Try the avocado golgappa with sweet yogurt and chutney, the lamb kathi roll with roast masala and fennel seed, or the Parsi fried chicken roadside sandwich with spiced fried chicken and beef tomato chutney. 2000 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, DC; www.bindaasdc.com

5. Bluestone Lane

Every library should have an airy, light-filled Australian café attached. DC’s West End Public Library is wrapping up its renovation, and diners can take their coffees into the library’s reading area. Order a flat white and an avo toast (easily the best in DC) – but note the café has no liquor license, so plan to air your liver out. 1100 23rd St. NW, DC; www.bluestonelane.com

6. Brothers and Sisters in the LINE Hotel

If you love Maketto, you’ll adore Erik Bruner-Yang’s newest adventure. Brothers and Sisters also occupies a unique space – a neoclassical church with most of its original architectural elements preserved – and has a similar buzzy energy. Brothers and Sisters serves American classics with East Asian influences, as well as a collection of unique cocktails. We recommend “It’s Not Just for Osaka Anymore” (Cocci rosé, gin, red shiso syrup, vitamin C powder). 1770 Euclid St. NW, DC; www.thelinehotel.com/dc/venues

7. Burmese Bodega at Union Market

There’s always something new going on at Union Market, and grazing at different food stalls has become a beloved DC brunch option. We are intrigued that beloved local Peregrine no longer has the coffee market cornered (welcome, Blue Bottle Coffee!), and our favorite newcomer is the Burmese Bodega – lots of rich, earthy Southeast Asian flavors underscored by very fresh ingredients. 1309 5th St. NE, DC; www.unionmarketdc.com

8. Chloe

Chloe’s eclectic brunch menu (available Saturday and Sunday) pays homage to Chef Haidar Karoum’s Lebanese roots and world travels. Start with the sheep’s milk ricotta with raw honey, rosemary and grilled house-made bread, or the crispy churros with bittersweet chocolate ganache. Then go for the Ivy City smoked salmon tartine or the poached eggs with warm scallion biscuit and shiitake mushroom mornay sauce. Grab a house Blood Mary, or mimosas by the carafe to wash it all down. 1331 4th St. SE, DC; www.restaurantchloe.com

9. Del Mar

Wharf restaurants take full advantage of the water views – with lots of windows and cathedral ceilings – and Del Mar pairs its prime real estate with perfect service, a buzzy atmosphere and an extensive menu of authentic, carefully prepared Spanish dishes. Order a carafe of sangria roja (red wine, brandy, vermouth, orange) for the table and enjoy the buzz. 791 Wharf St. SW, DC; www.delmardc.com

10. Delirium

When Belgium beer makers Delirium decided to open their first-ever U.S. restaurant/bar location, they ran several analyses and settled on Leesburg, Virginia as the perfect location. And lucky for us, because their 300-plus beer list and epic brunch offerings are amazing. On Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., dishes include fresh waffles that can be piled with ice cream and fresh strawberries, poutine with classic brown gravy and house-made farmers cheese (add that fried egg!), and scrambled salmon with cream cheese and fresh herbs. Grab a beermosa featuring delirium tremens or a mimosa (by the glass or carafe). 101 South King St. Leesburg, VA; www.deliriumcafe.us

11. Heritage Brewing Co. Market Common Brewpub and Roastery

This brunch is for beer and coffee enthusiasts alike, as Heritage Brewing Co. beers and Veritas Coffee Co. nitrogen-infused cold press coffee are on full display, along with elevated pub fair. On Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., grab the $25 brunch special, which includes a main course, two 13.5-oz. flagship beers and a dessert. We recommend the heavenly, thick-cut brioche French toast with salted caramel maple sauce or the eggs Benedict served on cheddar and scallion scones. Go with the coffee stout chocolate brownie for dessert. 1300-1398 N Fillmore St. Arlington, VA; www.hbcmarketcommon.com

12. Hummingbird

Inspired by popular traditions of clam bakes and oyster boils, this Alexandria waterfront restaurant and bar offers a daily breakfast (6:30-10:30 a.m.) and brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 7 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Start the table with a brunch bread basket, and then move on to the crab and corn fritters with chipotle aioli or the crispy fried oysters. You can’t go wrong with the French toast or our favorite, avocado toast with an added fried egg. Other notable dishes include the eggs Benedict with the option for a crab cake or lobster tail, and the Irish smoked salmon platter.220 S Union St. Alexandria, VA; www.hummingbirdva.net

13. Joselito Casa de Comidas

We adore this bit of Spain in DC, complete with an Iberico ham cart. And while the mimosa-bellini-Bloody Mary bar is perfect, we prefer the delightful sangria – served with a lovely, enormous, fruit-filled ice cube. 660 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, DC; www.joselitodc.com

14. Kith and Kin

When Kwame Onwuachi’s overly-ambitious Shaw restaurant crashed and burned, no one envisioned his Phoenix moment. Onwuachi landed at the Wharf’s new Intercontinental Hotel, where he has created a menu that blends Nigeria with the Bronx. Note that it’s technically a breakfast menu – but you just need to grab the cocktail list to make it a smashing brunch. 801 Wharf St. SE, DC; www.kithandkindc.com

15. Lucky Buns

Influenced by Southeast Asia, Australia and the UK, brunch offerings include such sandwiches or “buns” as the Proper Bacon Bun with bacon rashers, brown sauce, and charred tomato on sourdough (add on the cheese, avocado and egg!) Other dishes include the Full Monty English breakfast and smashed avocado toast on sourdough with cotija and roasted tomato. Grab a side of proper chips with malt vinegar mayo to round things out. Brunch offered all weekend starting at 11:30 a.m. 2000 18th St. NW, DC; www.luckybunsdc.com

16. Pamplona

Named after the town in Spain where the famed running of the bulls occurs, Pamplona serves up unlimited Spanish tapas and mimosas during their bottomless brunch for $35 per person on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Choose from dishes like the chorizo biscuits, lamb burgers and serrano ham benedict. Mimosa flavors include classic, grapefruit or apple, with a two-hour limit on bottomless. 3100 Clarendon Blvd. Arlington, VA; www.pamplonava.com

17. Quinn’s

This Rosslyn sports bar boasts that it’s the longest brunch in Arlington, running 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on the weekends. Start with the French toast sticks and then move on to the cheddar bacon Belgian waffle, served with two eggs sunny side up, or go for the crab cake BLT. Be sure to save room for the Reese’s sundae for two, and don’t forget the $1 bottles of champagne (per person with brunch item order). 1776 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA; www.quinnsonthecorner.com

18. The Salt Line

A popular happy hour spot for Nationals fans, this New England-style seafood restaurant serves up an amazing brunch complete with gorgeous Capitol Riverfront views. Classic dishes include the clam chowder and fried clam bellies, while brunch staples include a heavenly lobster omelet, decadent king crab mac and cheese, and an unexpected but completely welcome duck confit French toast. Wash it all down with one of several signature brunch cocktail creations – our go-to is the Seaside Spritz. Brunch is served 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. all weekend, with cocktails going until 5 p.m. 79 Potomac Ave. SE, DC; www.thesaltline.com

19. Sfoglina

The Trabocchis’ posh pasta palace refocuses its menu for a glorious weekend experience. We love the Maine lobster skillet pancake alongside the eponymous Sfoglina (vodka, elderflower shrub, prosecco), which tastes like summer and joy. And don’t be fooled by the white tablecloths – the service is warm and friendly. 4445 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC; www.sfoglinadc.com

20. Siren

Located in the Darcy Hotel, this latest addition from Chefs Robert Wiedmaier and Brian McBride take the freshest seafood and put it center stage. Brunch runs 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. and for $35 per person, you can enjoy a raw bar, salad and dessert buffet spread in the lower lounge of the Darcy, with à la carte menu items available. For those looking to take it up a notch, order from the caviar service, which comes with crème fraiche, red onion, chive and egg. 1515 Rhode Island Ave. NW, DC; www.sirenbrw.com

21. Sunday in Saigon

Sunday in Saigon has masterfully blended East and West in its beautiful brunch menu. The picky eaters should order malted milk pancakes and mimosas, while the more adventurous can explore the approachable menu of pho noodle soups and bahn mi sandwiches. Do not miss the small but creative brunch cocktail menu – we heart the Pink Expat (charred pineapple and chili-infused tequila, guava nectar, lime, prosecco). 682 N St. Asaph St. Alexandria, VA; www.sundayinsaigon.com

22. Supra

DC’s first Georgian restaurant (the country, not the state) is helmed by the Embassy’s former chef, and shows off a national cuisine that’s a natural fit for brunch (think lots of beautiful carbs and cheese). Georgian cuisine also inspires the drinks menu – we love the Bloody Mariami (vodka, red Georgian plum sauce, red ajika seasoning, lemon, cilantro syrup, svanuri salt). 1205 11th St. NW, DC; www.supradc.com

23. Tiger Fork

This Blagden Alley restaurant takes Hong Kong culture and mixes it with hints of Asian, European and Islamic flavors. Their “Dim Sum and Then Some” brunch menu on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. features a variety of small plates including broccolini with house-made oyster sauce, Chinese bacon with pickled radish salad, and Hong Kong style French toast with burnt coconut cream and a cute smiley face, of course. For cocktails, you can’t go wrong with the gin-based All the Pretty Flowers. 922 N St. NW, DC; www.tigerforkdc.com

24. Tulips

Champagne brunch in a charming Dupont Circle rowhouse? Yes, please. The extensive renovation converted the old Irish Whiskey into a haven of brick and chandeliers and chintz. Order bottomless for the table, and you’ll get a steady stream of mimosas, bellinis, oysters and beignets. 1207 19th St. NW, DC; www.tulipsdc.com

25. Unconventional Diner

Diners love classics (example: pancakes) like kids love candy – and we love this diner’s unconventional take on the classics (example: lavender-ginger pancakes with vanilla mascarpone). And we love the Unconventional because it really does live up to its name. Our inner fat kid is happy. 1207 9th St. NW, DC; www.unconventionaldiner.com

Photo: Courtesy of Urbana
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

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