DC Beer week is upon us and beer lovers are presented with a plethora of excellent events to attend. While nearly every single one is appealing, you’re only one person and can only attend so many. Hence, I’ve created a handy guide to help you choose what to do and where to go. My guide is by no means exhaustive and I’d encourage you to check out the full list of events before you decide where to go. There are some really great options, and all that really matters is that you go to at least one of them. But, should you choose to heed my advice, I’ve got three rules to make this Beer Week perfect: attend a beer dinner, find the values, sample the rare goods. I’ve selected a few events to coincide with each rule to help you decide what to attend.
Attend a Beer Dinner:
Ok, sure, beer dinners can get a bit pricey, but from my experience, they’re worth every penny. You just need to be selective about which one you go to. These are the ones that I think look the best:
Liberty Tree, Smuttynose New England Beer Dinner – Wednesday August 25
I’m a New England boy, so this one appeals particularly to me. Chef Graig Gulfing will create a four course meal of New England staples to pair with some of New Hampshire based Smuttynose Brewery’s beers. The food at Liberty Tree is authentic and Smuttynose is an entirely decent brewery, so this dinner is definitely worth considering.
Granville Moore’s, Beer Dinner – Monday August 23rd
Granville Moore’s has long been regarded for its selection of rare Belgian beers, along with it’s excellent Belgian food. For beer week, they’re hosting a five course pairing dinner with Susan Green of the Global Brewer’s guild. Expect a series of spot on pairings with beers you’ll have trouble finding anywhere else.
Find the Values:
Let’s face it, Beer Week can get expensive. With most events averaging in the $40-$60, it can take a pretty heavy toll on your wallet. Wanting to get the most beer for your buck means you need to be strategic about which events you attend. My plan is to select one or two pricier events to attend and then move around the less expensive tastings, so as to literally drink up as much of beer week as my finances will allow. Here are some good values::
Little Miss Whiskey’s, Beer Tasting – Sunday August 22nd
Little Miss Whiskey’s is an unsung beer nerd place and owner Mark Thorp has called in Bernie van Order of Great Lakes Brewing Co. to highlight an awesome selection of nine German style beers. You’ll be able to get your hands on the likes of Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold, Schneider Aventinus (one of my all-time favorites) and Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock. With a $20 price tag, this is a good option. The only catch is you have to go to Little Miss Whiskey’s in advance to buy a ticket.
Breadsoda, Opposite Day – Monday, August 23rd
You get free beer. The gist is when you order one of Breadsoda’s draft beers, they’ll give you a shorter 8 oz beer for free that’s the exact opposite of your order. For example, if you order a hoppy IPA, you might get served a maltier hefe. Or maybe you’ll get a dark stout, who knows? It’s a nice way to branch out. Oh, and get free beer.
Justin’s Cafe, Racing Dangerously – Tuesday August 24th
Beer and pie are probably two of the top 10 most awesome things in the world, and Justin’s cafe is bringing them together. Pair a glass of the super hoppy Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA with a slice of pie from Dangerously Delicious Pies for $10. If you’re not an IPA fan, they’ll give you the same deal on any of their drafts. Good beer, good pie, good value.
Sample the Rare Goods:
Half the fun of Beer Week is getting to try beers you’ve never tasted before. There are plenty of beers that I’ve seen around but never tasted, and I do enjoy getting the opportunity to drink those, but what’s really exciting are the beers I’ve never tried because I’ve never actually been able to find them. This year, Beer Week is bringing in some excellent brewers with some of their most exclusive brews. They are absolute must attends.
Churchkey, Heavy Seas Oak Cask & Firkin Bonanza - Wednesday, August 25th
Trust Greg Engert to bring in some rare beers. He’s hosting Heavy Seas / Clipper City at Churchkey and will showcase a number of cask aged versions of their beers. Particularly exciting is the Bourbon Barrel Aged Hang Ten, a highly alcoholic weizenbock, and the Below Deck barley wine. Throw in a few uniquely spiced versions of Heavy Seas favorites, and you’ve got a pretty interesting night of beers you won’t get anywhere else.
The Big Hunt, Michigan Rare Craft Beer Blowout – Friday, August 27th
If you don’t go to anything else during Beer Week, go to this event. Michigan is a bastion of good brewing, and the best of the best will be at the Big Hunt next Friday. Founders Brewery is bringing along a keg of their Canadian Breakfast Stout, which is ranked as the 19th best beer in the world on Beer Advocate. More over, it’s impossible to find (I’ve seen it once). On top of Founders, Bell’s Brewery will be there with a “special surprise.” They’ve got so many amazing limited releases that it’s definitely worth checking out. New Holland and Jolly Pumpkin will also be there with some unusual offerings.