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

What’s On Tap September 2018: Sankofa Beer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 3

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

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 8

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

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 9

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

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 13

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

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 14

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

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

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 15

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

End of Summer Beer Garden & Hoedown
Come celebrate the spring with a rooftop beer garden event at Up Top Acres. Standing on a roof at a farm, you will enjoy a memorable day of good beer, delicious food and live music. So bring your friends and come and enjoy an afternoon at the farm and drink and eat until the sun sets over the city. Each ticket grants entrance to the venue and unlimited samplings of four beer and food pairings. 4-7 p.m. Tickets $35-$45. The Farm at 55 M Street: 55 M St. SE, DC; www.uptopacres.com

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18

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

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

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 22

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

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29

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

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

Dc Beer Week

What’s On Tap: August 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, AUGUST 1

My Imaginary Girlfriend at Lost Rhino Brewing Company
Join Lost Rhino Brewing Company for the release of their My Imaginary Girlfriend IPA. The brewery will have special pricing, giveaways and an opportunity to show off your gaming skills. There is a limited amount of M.I.G. available in cans at the brewery – only 300 cases are available. Festivities start at 1 p.m., free to attend. Lost Rhino: 21730 Red Rum Dr. Ste. 142, Ashburn, VA; www.lostrhino.com

Summer of Sour Series: De Leite
The Sovereign is thrilled to pour six drafts from one of their favorite lesser-known brewers in Belgium: Brouwerij De Leite. Highlights include Cuvée Jeune Homme, a perfectly balanced bitter-sour gem, and Cuvée Soeur’ise, in which a base tripel is soured with lacto then rolled into wine barrels with whole sour Polish cherries for six months. They will also have some Fils a Papa V, a strong ale aged in Bruichladdich Scotch barrels. 5-11 p.m. Free to attend. The Sovereign: 1206 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC; www.thesovereigndc.com

Unibroue Beer Dinner
Featuring salmon tartare, filet mignon and house made cheesecake, Granville Moore’s is offering a wonderful food lineup for the Unibroue beer pairing. All guests will receive the official Unibroue cookbook and glassware. Unibroue is located in Chambly, Quebec and is world-famous for their adaptation of traditional Belgian ales of the Trappiste varieties and food pairings with traditional French and Belgian cuisine. 7-10 p.m. $60. Granville Moore’s: 1238 H St. NE, DC; www.granvillemoores.com

THURSDAY, AUGUST 2

CyberBrews
Join for an evening of networking, conversation and drinks with industry peers. We’re talking all things cyber and folks from the Fifth Domain’s award-winning editorial team will be there to chat with you. Oh, and beer, of course. 5:30-7:30 p.m. Free to attend. Tysons Biergarten: 8346 Leesburg Pike, Tysons, VA; www.tysonsbiergarten.com

FRIDAY, AUGUST 3

Lost in the Wilderness at ChurchKey
ChurchKey will tap six exceptional beers from the two hard-to-find West Coast brewers. Headlining the list is a rare keg of the Lost Abbey Falling Rock, brewed for legendary beer bar Falling Rock Tap House’s 21st anniversary. This special brew is a blend of a sour blonde ale with nectarines, a cherry-infused sour red ale and a tequila barrel-aged beer. There is no admission fee for this event. All beers will be priced individually by the glass and in 4-oz. tasting pours. 4-11 p.m. Free to attend. ChurchKey: 1337 14th St. NW, DC; www.churchkeydc.com

SATURDAY, AUGUST 4

DC Country Crawl
The DC Country Crawl is the largest, wildest and rowdiest country-themed bar crawl in the city. Put on your boots and Daisy Dukes because it’s time to saddle up to the best bars on U Street. With admission, you’ll receive a signature country mug, rowdy party favors, cover free access to the U Street corridor’s best venues, specials, pictures and a raffle entry for prizes. DC Country Crawl: Various locations on U Street in NW, DC; www.projectdcevents.com

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 8

Guided Cider Tasting
The District’s newest cidery, Capitol Cider House, is opening up on a Wednesday for a special treat: a grand tasting with the cider maker. You’ll learn about how cider is made and get a tour of the production area. The best part: you’ll be able to taste 10 Mid-Atlantic ciders. Following the tasting, the venue will remain open for those wishing to partake in the rest of the menu. 6-9 p.m. Tickets $20. Capitol Cider House: 3930 Georgia Ave. NW, DC; www.capitolciderhouse.com

SATURDAY, AUGUST 11

Port City Beer Event Featuring King Street Bluegrass and Big Timber
Join Port City Brewing Company at Union Stage for this free event featuring an extensive tap list of the brewery’s best beers, plus a full menu. The event will also feature music from King Street Bluegrass, a traditional blues/folk band from DC, and Big Timber. Drinks at 5 p.m., music at 7 p.m. Free to attend. Union Stage: 740 Water St. SW, DC; www.unionstage.com

MONDAY, AUGUST 13

Summer GAINs: 5K and Beer Tasting
Start your week off with a Monday evening run from Port City Brewing Company, now back to runs every Monday evening. Runners meet at the brewery tasting room before heading out for a one, three or five-mile run (it’s an out-and-back route so really, it’s as long as you care to make it). It’s a pleasant route through a park, then picking up a paved path along Holmes Run. 6:30-9 p.m. Port City Brewing: 3950 Wheeler Ave. Alexandria, VA; www.portcitybrewing.com

FRIDAY, AUGUST 17

8th Annual Cask Night at District ChopHouse
Don’t miss the eighth annual cask night at District ChopHouse featuring “Casks and Classics.” This tasting event features 20 local casks, abundant ChopHouse food offerings and a professional glass. 6-11 p.m. $50 per person. District ChopHouse and Brewery: 509 7th St. NW, DC; www.districtchophouse.com

SATURDAY, AUGUST 18

Paint Your Glass Off
At this beer-themed Paint Your Glass Off party, you will receive two glasses to paint (pilsner or stein), a glass of beer, all the supplies needed to paint your glass off, chances to win prizes, music, and of course, the opportunity to purchase amazing, delectable, scrumptious and savory food at happy hour prices. 1-3 p.m. Tickets $35. Brew Republic Bierwerks: 15201 Potomac Town Pl. Woodbridge, VA; www.brewrepublic.beer

Pizzeria Paradiso Summer Fest
This season’s beer fest will take place at Pizzeria Paradiso’s Dupont Circle location, which includes the spot’s lovely patio. Enjoy unlimited pizza and beer, included in ticket purchase for the four-hour event. The summer fest will also feature a draft line of rare and exception beers from several breweries. 11:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Tickets $80. Pizzeria Paradiso: 2003 P St. NW, DC; www.eatyourpizza.com

TUESDAY, AUGUST 21

5th Annual Battle of the Barrel Ages
Brought to you by Boundary Stone Public House, local brewing legends DC Brau, Atlas, 3 Stars and Right Proper square off in a battle royale of barrel-aged beers. A panel of judges as well as the popular vote from the public will decide which brewery wins the coveted dedicated draft line for an entire year. 5:30-10:30 p.m. Boundary Stone: 116 Rhode Island Ave. NW, DC; www.boundarystonedc.com

Tap Challenge at Dacha
When talking about a new Double IPA on tap, Dacha Beer Garden thought, “Our beer club members could help!” This week, Dacha will feature three mystery Double IPAs and ask customers which one tastes best. Buy a flight and vote for which beer you think should be the beer garden’s newest tap line. 4-10:30 p.m. Free to attend. Dacha Beer Garden: 1600 7th St. NW, DC; www.dachadc.com

Sneak Peek: DC Beer Week 2018

The week-long celebration of the DMV’s craft beer scene is back once again. Presented by the DC Brewers’ Guild, the 10th annual DC Beer Week is set to run from Sunday, August 19 to Sunday, August 26. Throughout the week, local breweries, restaurants, bars and community partners are set to offer unique tastings, collaborations and events. Taste delicious brews and learn all about the world of craft beer at educational seminars. Below is just a taste of what you’ll see, as events are still being planned for the week. Be sure to check out www.dcbeerweek.net for more information as the dates draw near.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 19

DC Brewers’ Guild/City Winery Lager Fest
Lager Fest is an event planned by the local brewing community to showcase this region’s best lagers for your enjoyment. This event will bring together more than 30 craft breweries for an afternoon of refreshing lager-style beers, pilsners and related summer favorites, including hard-to-find brews. The event will also feature live music from some of your favorite local bands. 1-5 p.m. $40. City Winery DC: 1350 Okie St. NE, DC; www.dcbeerweek.net

TUESDAY, AUGUST 21

DC Beer Week: The Art of Beer
Phil Runco of Brightest Young Things will moderate a panel discussion about the current state of art, design and the beer industry. This event will focus on the work that goes into the designs featured on the labels, posters and logos of area breweries. Learn more about the process of art design in the beer industry while drinking some local brews. 6-8 p.m. Tickets $15. Carriage House Gallery: 1921 Sunderland Pl. NW, DC; www.heurichhouse.org

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 22

DC Brau Brewing/Jameson Game Night at the Eleanor
DC Brau and Jameson will host a Wednesday evening party at the newly opened Eleanor to celebrate their caskmates partnership. 5-11 p.m. The Eleanor: 100 Florida Ave. NE, DC;
www.eleanordc.com

SATURDAY, AUGUST 25

5th Annual Brewers on The Block
Don’t miss out on brews, food, music and more. Buffalo & Bergen and Suburbia are proud to announce the fifth annual Brewers on the Block at Union Market’s Suburbia, bringing together more than 20 of the region’s top breweries, cideries and meaderies along with friends of the block from across the country. 5-9 p.m. Union Market: 1309 5th St. NE, DC;
www.unionmarketdc.com

SUNDAY, AUGUST 26

Fire Works Pizza 8th Anniversary Bash and Solidarity Pig Roast
Celebrate Fire Work’s anniversary and DC Beer Week 2018 with a solidarity pig roast. Chef Thomas will be firing up the grill and serving roasted pig, street corn and potato salad, plus enjoy live music, drink specials, prizes and giveaways. Be the first in Virginia to taste the DC Brewers’ Guild collaboration, Solidarity Pilsner, in cans. The price of a ticket gets you all-you-can-eat, plus one can of Solidarity Pilsner, Right Proper Brewing Raised by Wolves or Atlas Ponzi IPA. 12-8 p.m. $20 per ticket. Fire Works Pizza Arlington: 2350 Clarendon Blvd. Arlington, VA; www.fireworkspizza.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