If you notice a flurry of beer related activity in the coming week – perhaps roving bands of brewers walking the streets – the third annual DC Beer Week is likely the reason. From August 14 to 21, spots around the city will host events including tastings, meet-the-brewer nights, pairing dinners, and the breaking open of rare and special beers. The week will see the debut party for DC’s newest commercial brewery, Chocolate City, as well as the releasing of other new beers and those not often available in this area.
As Jeff Wells, the co-founder and co-organizer of the event states, “DC Beer Week is a celebration of craft beer culture in Washington, DC and the people who make it, the places that serve it and the people who drink it. [It] is a unique opportunity to discover the flavors of Craft Beer and to celebrate its role in DC’s diverse restaurant and nightlife scene.”
The full schedule of well over a hundred different events is available (and still being added to) on the Beer Week website. Most events are free to attend, however others require the purchase of tickets – such as the Craft Beer Cruise – and the beer dinners generally require reservations in advance. The brewery night happy hour type events can get busy, so one is better-served to expect an evening of convivial beer drinking, not plan a quiet little trip to the bar.
Given the abundance and variety of events, one should be mostly directed by their own tastes, but here are some highlights I am particularly interested in myself:
Sunday, August 14:
I would start the week off with the classic combination of pizza and beer – specifically one of my favorite pizzas in DC and the beer from one of my very favorite breweries.
“It’s Summertime in Allagashington DC” – 12pm
Pizzeria Paradiso – Two Locations: 2003 P Street NW and 3282 M Street NW
Five summertime Allagash beers on draft: White, Blonde, Fluxus 2011, Victor, Victoria. $5 each for a 12oz glass.
Monday, August 15:
There are three different great-looking beer dinners this night: Granville Moore’s, Birch & Barley, and Meridian Pint are each teaming with breweries I really like. However, I had a great experience at an Ommegang (part of the Duvel group) dinner earlier this year, so I would love to see what Chef Folkman puts together. (Marissa profiled Teddy Folkman for us in March)
Duvel Moortgat Beer Dinner at Granville Moore’s
Granville Moore’s – 1238 H Street NE, www.granvillemoores.com
Join Granville’s Moore’s for an eight course mini-plate dinner developed
by Chef Teddy Folkman, National Culinary Ambassador of Brewery Ommegang, and Steven Cardello, Marketing Manager of Duvel-Moortgat USA. The dinner will feature beers from Duvel, Brewery Ommegang, Maredsou, Brasserie D’Achouffe, Liefmans, and De Koninck.
$70 per person. Reservations and more info at 202-399-2546 or www.granvillemoores.com.
Tuesday, August 16:
While I would almost certainly win at “All About Brews Trivia Night,” that would probably be unprofessional of me. Just as well, because rye + rye = double awesome.
Rye Beer and Spirits with Jack Rose and 3 Stars Brewing – 6pm
Jack Rose Dining Saloon – 2007 18th Street NW, www.jackrosediningsaloon.com
Come for a flight of rye whiskeys hand-picked by the indomitable Jack Rose team. Then stay and drink the B.W. Rye from 3 Stars Brewing Company! Meet the brewers and enjoy a guided tasting highlighting flavor profiles and key characteristics of this spicy and flavorful grain which is in so many great beers and whiskeys. Here are the whiskeys: Abraham Bowman Rye from VA, High West Rendezvous Rye from Utah, and Russels Reserve Rye from Kentucky. The price for this will be $25. Will be updated when details are finalized.
Wednesday, August 17:
When I lived in the Bay Area, I feel like I drank Schmaltz beers all the time, but I see them a little less often here in DC. Nonetheless, they put out some of my favorite beers and are a really fun, positive company. Definitely looking forward to tasting what He’Brew and Coney Island are brewing up.
Schmaltz Rare and Obscure Night at ChurchKey – 6pm
ChurchKey – 1337 14th Street NW, www.churchkeydc.com
Jeremy Cowan, founder of Schmaltz Brewing, will holding court for a night while talking about his He’Brew and Coney Island portfolio! ChurchKey will pour casks, multiple vintages of some brews, barrel-aged goodies, and even debut the collaboration between Terrapin Brewing Company and Schmaltz Brewing on draft in Washington, DC: Reunion Ale ‘11: A Beer for Hope! This is the third Reunion collaboration from Terrapin, and their first with Schmaltz; the beer is a 7.6% dark ale brewed with cocoa nibs (from Olive & Sinclair Chocolate Company), vanilla and chili peppers! As always, proceeds from the Reunion brew benefit the Institute for Myeloma & Bone Cancer Research. There will be no fewer than 15 Schmaltz brews (He’Brew and Coney Island Ales and Lagers) available on this evening. Each Schmaltz draft and cask will be priced individually in 4 oz. tasters & full glass pours. There is no admission fee for this event.
Thursday, August 18:
Chocolate City, the city’s newest brewery, is long-awaited and hotly anticipated – and they are publicly launching during DC Beer Week.
Chocolate City Brewing Preview Party!
RFD – 810 7th Street NW, www.lovethebeer.com
Come meet the brewers behind DC’s newest brewery and sample some of the tasty offerings they’ll have on tap in the DC area soon! More details to follow
Friday, August 19:
Throughout the week Smith Commons is doing these clever regional-theme nights and they all look pretty good. Friday’s West Coast focus includes another one of my faves, The Bruery, but also some breweries like Stone and Lagunitas that I am less-apt to pick up. I think it will be a good event to force myself to try some things I might otherwise not order and maybe find something new to like.
West Coast Brewery Night at Smith Commons – 5pm
Smith Commons – 1245 H Street NE, www.smithcommonsdc.com
Smith Commons will be featuring breweries from a different region of the country for four different nights during DC Beer Week. Friday will feature breweries from the west coast. $5 pints, $15 bombers, and $5 regional themed small food pairings. The tentative brewery list for Friday includes:
California: Anderson Valley Brewing Co., Bear Republic Brewing Co., The Bruery, Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Moylan’s Brewery, Lagunitas Brewing Co., North Coast Brewing Co., Speakeasy Ales & Lagers, Stone Brewing Co.
Oregon: Rogue Ales, Widmer Brothers Brewery
Saturday, August 20:
Picking my highlight for this night was the easiest of all: Vegan. Beer. Dinner. As a non-meat-eating beer writer, you cannot imagine how happy seeing this event makes me. No having to call ahead, explain the situation, see if accommodations can be made, asking if the beer will have been clarified with fish bladders… Just a dinner I can invite any of my friends to join me at (vegan, vegetarian, or omnivore) and we can all enjoy together. Major thank yous to Bread & Brew for this!
Vegan Beer Dinner – 7:30pm
Bread & Brew – 1247 20th Street NW, www.breadandbrew.com
Bread & Brew is thrilled to announce that they will be hosting a five course vegan dinner paired with five vegan craft beers on Saturday, August 20th. This exclusive one-night only menu will be crafted by B&B’s chefs using the freshest local, organic produce. Arrive at 7:30pm to mingle with a beer before the first course is served at 8pm. Tickets are $50 and seating is limited. They will be taking reservations with a credit card by calling 202-466-2676. MENU TBA.
Sunday, August 21:
Yes, a Beer Week has eight days. Things do wind down on the 20th, though, which seems like the perfect time for a low-key beer brunch. (If you prefer a fancier brunch, the St Gregory Hotel has you covered with more local beers than you can shake a can at.)
Trusty’s Beer Brunch – 10am
Trusty’s – 1420 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, www.trustysdc.com
Grab some craft beers cans from Avery Brewing, Butternuts Beers and Ales, Oskar Blues Brewery, 21st Amendment Brewing and local favorites DC Brau to finish off DC Beer Week. The outdoor upper deck and bus bar as well as the original Trusty’s level will be open at 10am