Arlington, VA

by ARLnow.com Sponsor June 24, 2016 at 2:45 pm 0

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Editor’s Note: This biweekly column is sponsored by Dominion Wine and Beer (107 Rowell Court, Falls Church). It is written by Garrett Cruce, a Cicerone Program Certified Beer Server.

Dogfish HeadWhen I was 10, I toured the Coors brewery in Golden, CO with my family. I wandered among the gleaming equipment learning very little about the product that was flowing through it. My souvenir was a water bottle. It might’ve been over my head, but I knew it was a tourist destination — a stop for people who had seen the mountains and the ghost towns in Colorado. This idea of beer tourism has come a long way.

For years, craft breweries that are large enough have offered tours for the curious. But one brewery near our area is going beyond the tour to add more reasons to visit the Delaware shore. Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, which has grown significantly since 1995, is raising the stakes. With brewery tours every day of the week, a boutique motel, and two restaurants at the site of the original brew pub, Dogfish is becoming a tourist attraction on par with the beach and outlets.

If it weren’t for founder Sam Calagione’s then girlfriend, Mariah, we would be talking about Dogfish’s contributions to tourism in another part of the country. As it happened, she talked Sam into setting up his brewery near her family in Delaware. The fact that there wasn’t already a single brewery in Delaware seemed like an even better reason to open one. Well, there was a reason for the lack of competition — Prohibition-era laws prohibited it. Prior to choosing a career in beer, Sam had been on track to become a writer. He worked with lawmakers and even cowrote the legislation needed to make it possible to open his brew pub in Rehoboth. Soon, he was brewing 12 gallons of beer at a time for service in the pub.

That was then. Now Dogfish distributes to 30 states and the District and they are attracting visitors from all over the world.

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by Nick Anderson December 26, 2014 at 1:00 pm 1,410 0

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Editor’s Note: This sponsored column is written by Nick Anderson, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway).

Saving me from finding one more angle for a Christmas-themed column, I realized that the 26th will mark the last “Your Beermonger” of 2014 — which means it’s once again time for my little-anticipated, completely unscientific Beers of the Year column.

As always, this is a list of six (the list is six this year, because reasons) beers that I wouldn’t necessarily say were the “best” of 2014, but those new/new to me that I enjoyed the most and/or made the biggest impression. OK, onto the fun:

6. Abita Bourbon St. Imperial Stout: A chocolate-toned, boozy bit of decadent fun that over-delivered in every aspect. There were some criticisms that Bourbon St. was a little “thin,” but amid a sea of unbalanced, milkshake-y, rich for the sake of richness Imperial Stouts, even if Bourbon St. seemed light by comparison (I personally didn’t find it so) that isn’t necessarily a knock on it. In any event, Bourbon St. was an important shot across the bow of the beer world from Abita: the Louisiana brewery hasn’t been around for over 30 years by accident, and still has some tricks up its sleeve.

5. Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin: Sculpin may not be the perfect beer, but it’s certainly a perfect beer — representing the best in West Coast hop-obsession in an IPA that doesn’t overwhelm in terms of bitterness or ABV. Sculpin wants for nothing, and yet the addition of grapefruit rind does something magical to this beer. The grapefruit doesn’t necessarily make Sculpin better; it’s just more wonderful, more fun, more lighthearted. After trying Grapefruit Sculpin at Stone’s Anniversary Party this summer, I worried we’d never see it in Virginia. A late-December shipment barely qualifies as a cameo in terms of sating demand, but here’s hoping it’s just the first of many runs we’ll see of this delightful beer.

4. Sixpoint Sensi Harvest: 2014 was a big year for Sixpoint; a repackaging/rebranding effort saw its core beers move from tallboy can 4-packs to 6-packs of the sleek 12-ounce cans previously only used for bigger beers like Resin or 3 Beans. The new Sixpoint sixers were arriving much fresher than before, which paid off in a big way when it introduced Sensi Harvest Ale. Back in October I wrote about my love for Fresh Hop and Wet Hop beers, and it didn’t take long for Sensi to become by go-to Harvest Ale. I appreciated its combination of its 4.7 percent ABV with an intense clarity of hop character. It’s too late to catch Sensi Harvest Ale but the current Sixpoint seasonal, Global Warmer, is highly recommended.

3. Anderson Valley Blood Orange Gose: This summer’s release of Anderson Valley’s The Kimmie, The Yink, And The Holy Gose delivered an unexpected hit from the stalwart California brewery. As the summer ended, I figured that was that and we’d have to wait until next year for more — and then the brewery posted a picture of Gose cans ready to be filled, with the words “Blood Orange” added to the labeling. The Blood Orange variant of Anderson Valley Gose isn’t just a tart, light, addictively easy-drinking Session Ale; it’s become the palate-cleanser beer of choice for bottle-shares all-around. A recently-arrived batch of the standard Gose has ignited hopes that one or both beers may go year-round; we can only hope. (more…)

by Nick Anderson May 9, 2014 at 2:30 pm 0

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Editor’s Note: This sponsored column is written by Nick Anderson, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway).

SAVOR, the Brewer’s Association’s annual showcase event focusing on craft beer and food pairing, is back in D.C. where it belongs for 2014. The event itself kicks off tonight, and by the time this column runs, many of the great local bar/restaurant events planned for “SAVOR Week” will have already taken place.

That doesn’t mean you’ve missed all the fun, though: SAVOR tickets may be difficult or impossible to come by, but there will be special beer events in our area through Sunday. The gang at DC Beer have done a great job compiling a list of SAVOR-related events, along with brewery profiles for nearly all of this years’ participants.

I was originally planning to attend SAVOR, but a scheduling conflict means I’ll be missing out this year. If you are attending, consult the DC Beer profiles to see which breweries pique your curiosity the most, and here is a list of the breweries whose tables I had put on my “must-see” list, in alphabetical order:

Allagash: If you’re attending SAVOR, you are probably as familiar with Allagash as I am. Their table made my list because Rob Tod is a really good guy who is always great to chat with, and because they’re bringing their Coolship Red to sample along with their new Saison. The Coolship beers have all been outstanding so far and the Red — aged in wine barrels with raspberries — sounds like another great Sour Ale.

Elysian: Elysian has been around for a while, and is available in Maryland and the District, so perhaps it’s old hat for some of you but outside of a couple collaboration beers I haven’t been able to try anything of theirs. Their Dragonstooth Stout sounds like a treat, but it was the Dayglow IPA with its Mosaic, El Dorado, and Centennial hops that I was looking forward to trying.

Funkwerks: If you’re into Belgian-style Ales and you aren’t familiar with Funkwerks yet, get familiar — this Fort Collins, Colo., brewery is on the rise. I got to try their Tropic King Saison a couple months ago with some friends and fell hard for it; the beer had a beautiful, complex yeast character that never felt too rich or overpowered the rest of the beer. If you find your way toward them at SAVOR, you’ll get to try their Saison and a Cognac barrel-aged version of Deceit, a strong Belgian-style Ale featuring a great deal of Pilsner malt.

Great Raft: Prior to opening Great Raft Brewing last year in Shreveport, Louisiana, Andrew and Lindsay Nations lived here in the area, where Andrew was an editor for DC Beer. Great Raft’s SAVOR offerings are a pair of Lagers, the hoppy Southern Drawl Pale Lager and Reasonably Corrupt Schwarzbier. Andrew and Lindsay are good people making, by all accounts, some great beer. Seeing them with a table at SAVOR is pretty damn cool.

Kuhnhenn: I’ve only known Michigan’s Kuhnhenn Brewing by its reputation as a brewery unafraid to try anything, and usually make something great out of whatever it tries. From Raspberry Eisbock to Imperial Crème Brulee Java Stout, Kuhnhenn takes chances for the fun of it, and many consider them to be the best brewery in Michigan — high praise. SAVOR attendees will be able to sample their Fourth Dementia Olde Ale and DRIPA–Double Rice IPA, paired naturally with rice pudding. (more…)

by ARLnow.com November 7, 2013 at 2:15 pm 0

Barrett Elementary School polling placeIn the Virginia gubernatorial race, Democrat Terry McAuliffe defeated Republican Ken Cuccinelli by a margin of about 56,000 votes. Arlington, meanwhile, contributed about 33,000 surplus Democratic votes to that total.

Arlington’s importance to securing Democratic victories in statewide races cannot be underestimated, county Treasurer Frank O’Leary told the party faithful at last night’s Arlington County Democratic Committee meeting.

“We are exporting votes that are desperately needed… throughout Virginia,” he said, lauding the party’s get-out-the-vote efforts, which helped lead to McAuliffe’s 72 percent to 22 percent shellacking over Cuccinelli in Arlington.

O’Leary said the nearly 67,000 votes cast in the governor’s race in Arlington were a record, smashing the previous record of about 57,000 and pointing to an overall upward trend in overall turnout for statewide, congressional and presidential races in Arlington. (Turnout in purely local elections — County Board, etc. — remains flat.)

Frank O'LearyEspecially important to the get-out-the-vote efforts of Arlington Democrats, O’Leary said, was absentee voting.

Arlingtonians cast about 7,250 absentee ballots this year, a record for a non-presidential year. The previous record was 7,077, set in 2006. While some of the increase can be attributed to a broader upward trend in absentee voting, O’Leary said the federal government shutdown also played a significant role.

“An interesting thing happened in early October,” O’Leary said. “A whole lot of people were furloughed… and they were mad as hell and weren’t going to talk it any more.”

“My theory that the absentee vote was swollen by angry federal workers, using their unappreciated furlough to come in and vote, may be sustained by the fact that McAuliffe received 79.5% of their vote versus 70.6% in the 52 precincts,” O’Leary said in a subsequent email. “Thus, McAuliffe garnered 650 more votes at the absentee level than might have been expected based on his performance in the precincts.”

The Libertarian candidate running for governor in Virginia, Robert Sarvis, captured about 6.5 percent of the vote statewide, and about 5.8 percent in Arlington. Contrary to the conventional wisdom of some Virginia political watchers, who argued that Sarvis largely siphoned off votes that would have otherwise gone to Cuccinelli, O’Leary said he has reason to believe Sarvis actually hurt McAuliffe in Arlington.

“In my opinion, Mr. Sarvis actually cost our gubernatorial candidates some votes,” he said.

by ARLnow.com December 30, 2011 at 1:15 pm 3,018 0

Editor’s Note: This sponsored column is written by Nick Anderson, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway).

Our “Beer 101” session continues this week and I felt that we should address the big issues first so let’s start with hops. Hops are a critical element in what we know today as beer, but have had a difficult relationship with American beer drinkers over the decades. Now, I could wax academic about the history of hops and their cultivation and use, but I feel like we should focus on what you need to know as you enter the wild world of craft beer. Here are the basics:

1. Hops make beer bitter. Yes, hops contribute bitterness to beer. Before hop usage became commonplace in the 11th century, various herbs and spices were used in an attempt to balance the inherit sweetness in malts. Hops however proved to have the required acids to not only balance malts, but to add a refreshing backbone to beer. Hops were also found to be a natural preservative for beer; in fact, when British colonists found that their Pale Ales were dying on the long trip to India, they added extra hops to the barrels making the long trip. This stronger, more intensely hoppy style became known as India Pale Ale, or IPA (see — beer is history). Throughout the 20th century, in the Age of the American Macro Lager, the bitterness associated with hops was played up to the public at large as a flaw. This was a pure marketing move; an attempt to establish any ‘bitter’ beers as flawed and inferior to their plainer, lighter product.

The irony, of course, is that hoppy beers are what drove the great American microbrew revolution. Almost all American craft beer enthusiasts come into the fold through the discovery of intensely hoppy, flavorful Ales. I know I did. From there, there is a whole world of styles and flavors to discover, but from Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale to Sam Adams Boston Lager to Dogfish Head’s extreme IPAs, hoppy beers are the first step on the journey for beer people coast to coast.

2. “Hoppy” doesn’t necessarily mean “bitter.” Hops express themselves in beer much the same way oak usage does in wine. It’s a flavor that can be either a welcome addition or a distraction. It all comes down to the discretion of the brewer. There are just as many beers that feature hops but have great balance as there are “hop bombs” that appeal to only a small section of drinkers. Unfortunately, they rarely garner the attention they deserve. These beers don’t necessarily have to be IPAs or Pale Ales, mind you: Some of the best Lagers and Pilsners made today use hops to add a sharp streak to liven up a style that otherwise can be kind of plain.

3. You don’t have to love hops to love beer. This is something everyone needs to hear at some point as they get into beer. We all have a limit; a line we have to draw where we say “okay, that’s enough.” It’s okay to find yours. There are plenty of beers and styles where hops play a critical role without overshadowing other elements. Beer is all about finding your where your palate is, and what you like. Again, never let anyone tell you what to like or dislike.

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