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This sponsored column is written by Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway). We take a break from our usual beer programming this week to tell you about a special event at the shop.

We welcome you to explore the new Arrowine and Cheese — your neighborhood store with a national reputation! Enjoy the grand reopening of the new Arrowine and Cheese now through Saturday, November 6.

What’s New

  • Authentic sweet and savory French Crêpes made to order while you wait
  • Twelve of the very best craft beers on tap for crawler and growler fills/refills
  • One of the region’s largest selections of natural, organic and biodynamic wines from producers like Jean-Francois Ganevat, Ariana Occhipinti, Domaine Cos and Herve Villemade
  • The region’s largest selection of artisan, seasonal, and specialty cheeses and charcuterie
  • An updated and expanded gourmet grocery section
  • A newly expanded Grower-Champagne selection filled with hard-to-find producers like Cedric Bouchard Roses de Jeanne, Jerome Prevost, Emmanuel Lassaigne and many more
  • A comprehensive selection of Virginia wines from Linden, Glen Manor, Chatham Vineyards and Michael Shaps to name a few
  • Timely online ordering through www.shoparrowine.com, usually ready in two hours or less

What’s Familiar

  • Our 4.8 of 5 stars Google satisfaction rate
  • Our reputation as THE Best Wine and Cheese Shop in Virginia according to DC Dining, Virginia, Northern Virginia and Arlington Magazines, and, of course, ARLnow’s Arlies
  • Our curated selection of world-class wines
  • Our legendary email sales (Be sure to sign up at shoparrowine.com to receive a 20% discount on your next in-store purchase — restrictions may apply.)
  • Your guaranteed satisfaction and our sincere appreciation of your business

The party is on! Please join us for the grand reopening festivities today, Friday, November 5.

Enjoy a 10% discount on any crêpes, free wine tasting of French favorites with Damien Lehoux of Elite Wines Imports from 4:30-6:30 p.m. and free beer tasting with Rocket Frog from 5-7 p.m.

Grand reopening festivities continue Saturday, November 6 with free samples as we slice into the world’s best 200lb Gotthelf Emmentaler Cheese with Gourmino Imports at 1 p.m., free beer tasting with Brouwerij Cornelissen from 1-4 p.m. and free Spanish wine tasting with Aurelio Cabestrero of Grapes of Spain from 1-4 p.m.

We look forward to seeing you!

Sign up for our email newsletter and receive exclusive discounts and offers. Order from Arrowine’s expanding online store for curbside pickup.

This sponsored column is written by Todd Himes, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway). Sign up for the email newsletter and receive exclusive discounts and offers. Order from Arrowine’s expanding online store for curbside pickup.

Combining two great things often yields excellent results. Think: Chocolate and peanut butter, Jordan and Pippen (been a while since da Bulls got a shoutout in this column), or Bernard Purdie and just about anyone.

For me, two of my favorites are beer (of course) and traveling. I love visiting some of my favorite breweries when I travel while also finding new ones. When you sit down at a brewery tasting room in a different city or country, it can be difficult to narrow down the choices, especially if you’re not familiar with what beers or styles the brewery is known for.

Asking your server/bartender what they are excited about is usually the easiest way to make this determination, but it can yield varying results if your tastes don’t align. Checking an app like Untappd can help you find what’s popular, but that’s certainly weighted toward extreme examples of some styles. Medals and awards are nice when they are recent or consistent, but there is always a lot that can change in a beer if a brewer leaves or recipes are changed. The one steadfast rule that has never let me down before is, when you see one, always order a Grodziskie.

I first read about Grodziskie in Randy Mosher’s book Radical Brewing. I cannot recommend this book enough if you’re interested in home-brewing or even want to learn the history of beer styles. Grodziskie stood out not only because famed beer author Michael Jackson mentions the version Mosher brewed for him in the introduction of the book, but also because it is such an obscure style and something very unique.

This is probably the time to explain to you what that style is. Grodziskie is a Polish smoked wheat beer that is low in alcohol and full of smoky flavor — but it’s also very refreshing. Typically, it’s produced with 100% oak-smoked wheat malt, which, over a decade ago when I first read about it, I couldn’t even find available to buy so I could brew up my own version of the recipe in the book. That, of course, led to the build up of this beer in my mind, a mythical creature I was always on the lookout for. At least for a little while, the scarcity of the raw materials meant no one was really brewing this stuff, and it slipped toward the back of my mind lingering in relative obscurity much as it had throughout much of the 20th century in its native Poland.

I’ll point out that this style still sits in obscurity, and I can count on my fingers how many examples I’ve tried over the years. But of those literal handful of examples I have tried, they all made an impression on me.

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This sponsored column is written by Todd Himes, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway). Sign up for the email newsletter and receive exclusive discounts and offers. Order from Arrowine’s expanding online store for curbside pickup.

This year, more than ever, I’ve been fielding questions about the difference between an Oktoberfest, Marzen and a Festbier. Short answer? Not much. OK, thanks! Short column this week — I am on vacation.

Wait, you’re still here? You say: “Todd, it’s not that simple. In those small differences, there are big details and centuries of history.” OK, that is true. I guess I can get a little more into what you’re getting in the bottle, can or on tap when you see these words on the label.

First off, Oktoberfest is a celebration, tied to a time and a place, and by association, has come to describe a type of beer. The original Oktoberfest took place in 1810 to celebrate the marriage of the crown prince of Bavaria and his bride and was a five-day festival. Over the years, fairs, horse races, and many booths selling food and drink were added.

The drink most associated with the festival? Beer. In Germany, the name Oktoberfest is protected, and there are only six breweries in Munich that are allowed to serve beer at the celebration and make use of the name on their label. That name is then tied much more to the time and place than to the style of beer itself.

A photo of my last Rothaus

Traditionally, the styles served would have been Marzen, named because the beer was brewed in March before the advent of refrigeration and brewing was put on hold during the warm summer months. Now, typically when we think of Marzen, the rich amber-colored lagers of the fall come to mind. A personal favorite of mine is Port City Oktoberfest. However, if you were one of the few lucky enough to pick up some of the Rothaus Eiszäpfle when it landed, you know that German Marzen can be quite clear and golden as well.

The modern Festbier style has much foggier origins. The most repeated story leads back to Paulaner’s introduction of their strong golden Weisn style, but there is further research out there tying the introduction of this lighter style to the change from ceramic steins to clear glass. The fact of the matter is that this style is the current beer of the moment at Oktoberfest and is growing in popularity with many American brewers as well. Our friends over at DCBeer recently did a taste test of many Oktoberfest offerings, and it was interesting to note that a modern Festbier from Union was the winner.

The confusion between names and styles is understandable in many cases, so feel free to keep asking your Beermonger. Do you prefer the more American take on the Marzen style, or are you a purist who wants the modern Festbier that will flow in Munich hopefully again in 2022?

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This sponsored column is written by Todd Himes, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway). Sign up for the email newsletter and receive exclusive discounts and offers. Order from Arrowine’s expanding online store for curbside pickup.

I, for one, welcome our pumpkin beer overlords. There it is, I’ve said it. Much like Kent Brockman or perhaps later Ken Jennings, I have accepted my fate.

You would think the beer calendar was only 51 weeks because, each year, the outrage comes earlier and earlier. Yes, outrage. There is no release that draws more ire than the arrival of pumpkin beer in the middle of the summer. There is something about a 10% imperial amber ale with nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, and what is most likely frozen or canned puree from last fall that brings out the hot takes from everyone — and I mean everyone. Customers, sales reps, shop owners, cheesemongers, delivery drivers… I smile through it (you can’t always tell under this mask, but yes, there is a smile) and offer up some placation like, “Yes, it is earlier than last year,” or “You’re right, it does need to be about 30 degrees cooler before I want to drink this, too.” But occasionally I do need to assure people that pumpkin beer is not “the devil” or “only for girls.”

I think fall beers have definitely caught a very bad reputation and drawn a lot of ire from many — including at one point even myself — because, in part, they show up earlier and earlier each year, cutting into the summer. They also draw in many non-craft beer drinkers. (I’m not afraid to admit the early arrival of the 30 cases of Pumking bombers that I preordered in 2012 showing up in the middle of August was greeted with a string of expletives that I am not typically known for spewing.)

Pumpkins at the Columbia Pike farmers market (Flickr pool photo by Alan Kotok)

For years, I really thought I was taking some moral high ground by never putting pumpkin beer out on the sales floor until Sept. 1 — that seemed like an at least somewhat appropriate fall date. But the truth is, it didn’t matter when I put them out. They kept showing up earlier and earlier each year, and I would talk to a number of customers who were looking for them earlier. I would grab them a bottle or two from the back and tell them when it was “officially” coming out in hopes they would come back for more. But I know that wasn’t always going to be the case — I’m sure the next store they stopped in, if the pumpkin beers were out, would sell them as much as they wanted. I also know the year before, in the small edge of the suburbs town I was living in at the time, the one store that stocked Pumking marked their bottles up about 300% and was still able to sell out of their stock in about a week.

Oktoberfest beers present their own unique problems in coming to market. Here is my obligated mention that Oktoberfest doesn’t always take place in October. But that doesn’t stop people from wanting to drink these beers well into November, though, and who can blame them? The amber-hued toastiness of a Marzen is welcome many, many times throughout the year. Say nothing of the golden, bready and more hop-present Festbier style, equally at home with pretzels and almonds as it is with pizza and football games.

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This sponsored column is written by Todd Himes, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway). Sign up for the email newsletter and receive exclusive discounts and offers. Order from Arrowine’s expanding online store for curbside pickup.

“Aroma of skunk, musty, can be similar to burned rubber or cat musk.”

That definition of the lightstruck off-flavors in beer comes directly out of the Cicerone study resources.

But what is lightstruck beer? When certain hop compounds react to UV light, they create 3-methyl-2-butene-1-thiol, or MBT, which you may know as the culprit behind that odorous character often found in some “top-shelf” imported lagers — or late nights on some dark country roads.

Brown glass bottles would filter out most of that UV light where green and clear bottles would let UV wavelengths pass through with greater ease and thus green and clear bottles received a reputation for “ruining” many a beer and changing the flavor of what its brewers would have intended. For years I bought into that — it even became one of the tenets of my strong support for putting more beer into cans. If some light was bad why not eliminate all light? Somewhere along the way, though, I’ve been introduced to thinking those green bottles unfairly got a bad rap.

Storage of green bottles at Cantillon Brewery, Belgium

Many of my favorite Belgian breweries have been bottling their beers in green glass for longer than I’ve certainly been drinking them. Even after I’d learned the hardline “green is bad,” I longed to try the lambics of Cantillon, Drie Fonteinen and Boon, all of which were shipped across the sea in verdant vessels.

The first Belgian in green that crossed my lips was Saison Dupont. Upon uncorking that bottle, I was struck by the aromas that were decidedly “farmy” before farmhouse ales were truly on my radar. But nowhere was I thinking about skunks or tire fires, just-cut hay, horse stalls, and dank grasses. Saison and lambics became some of my favorite styles, and I even saw a noble art in what I saw as the unknown and unpredictable effects of wild yeasts, spontaneous fermentation and wood aging.

Despite being a popular way of packaging these types of beers in Europe, here in the United States, the classic brown bottles prevailed even as more breweries were experimenting with old traditions in brewing. That changed and much of the credit is given to Jester King in Austin, Texas, when in 2016, they began packaging some of their mainstay beers in green glass bottles for sale in their tasting room. The bottles that were destined to leave their gorgeous property were still being packaged in brown glass. (Full disclosure: Jester King’s brewery is quite possibly my favorite place in the world and that was before I got married there in 2019.)

A selection of green beer bottles in stock at Arrowine

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This sponsored column is written by Todd Himes, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway). Sign up for the email newsletter and receive exclusive discounts and offers. Order from Arrowine’s expanding online store for curbside pickup.

Hey, everybody! It’s Your Beermonger here, Todd, from Arrowine.

As I write this, I sit in front of possibly one of my favorite parts of our store. You might think I, as a former cheesemonger, would gravitate toward the cheese case here, though my heart really lies toward the end of the case with all the cured meats. (If you don’t already know from our Weekly Whey-In emails, the Olympia Provisions Landrauchschinken is back in stock and still as fun to pronounce as ever!) Or, you might find me browsing the Spanish wine section and occasionally hovering around the Txakoli, dreaming about a trip to San Sebastian and eating tinned fish and Iberico ham. However, where you are most likely to find me in the store at any given moment would be here in front of our 12 taps of beer that are available to go in the familiar form of growlers and the, as I am finding out, slightly less familiar form of “crowlers.”

The crowler is a 32-ounce can we are able to fill and seal here in-store. This makes the crowler a single-use carrier and, with no way to reseal, you’ve got to enjoy all 32 ounces in one sitting. They will last a little bit longer than a resealable glass growler will before opening.

The crowler technology was first introduced by Oskar Blues back in 2013, which as you may remember, laid claim as the first craft brewery to release beer exclusively in cans. The format spread fairly quickly throughout brewery taprooms but less so into retailers. Crowlers carry many of the advantages that cans have — they are lighter weight, airtight when sealed properly, don’t allow light to reach the beer and are much less susceptible to damage. That unbreakable factor also allows a Crowler to go with you poolside, to the beach or on a hike in the woods. It does take a little bit more effort to crush a 32-ounce can, but it’s worth it to not lug an empty glass jug around with you.

The crowler is designed to be a one-time-use vessel, as opposed to the near-infinite use of glass growlers (you know, provided that they don’t fall over in your trunk and get banged all around). That also means you won’t, like me, end up with a large collection of glass growlers taking up space and collecting dust. Sure, they do make great souvenirs from breweries far away, and they can also be a great way to show support for your favorite locals. But, in many cases, you end up with way more than you can conceivably use at any time.

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This sponsored column is written by Todd Himes, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway). Sign up for the email newsletter and receive exclusive discounts and offers. Order from Arrowine’s expanding online store for curbside pickup.

Happy upcoming Fourth of July weekend, everybody! We’ve got a lot to celebrate this week, and for many of you, this will be a great chance to get together a little like old times. For me in the summer, that means breaking out the grill and having a few brews. In the spirit of that celebration and to toast the incredible fireworks show put on down the street by my neighbors, I’ve put together some beer and food pairings based on what might be on your menu this Fourth.

The classic all-American hot dog calls for another classic with the American lager. I like to keep it fairly simple and avoid anything too hoppy or complex. The Bingo Lager is an overwhelming favorite around here and would excel in this application. Based on the Helles style, you’ve got your balance and high drinkability here. Bonus points are rewarded for being a great value for a six pack of tall cans.

I love, love, love a porter with cheeseburgers off the grill. Especially if you’re cooking over charcoal, the roasty flavor of a porter pairs perfectly with the slight char of meat. The trick to this pairing is to not go too heavy and skip anything too adjunct laden. (Sorry coffee or coconut, you’re delicious sometimes, but I’m staying unburdened here.) My choice happens to come right from our backyard in the way of Port City’s Porter. Even at 7.2%, this dark ale won’t put you down for an early bedtime as long as you sip — not chug.

If veggie burgers are on the menu, it can be tough to give one recommendation that fits all the styles. If you’ve got something that looks and tastes more like meat, then I’d suggest the above porter or perhaps a dark lager. If you’re going with something that’s not hiding the fact that it’s full of veggies, a slightly more flavorful ale like a saison is a good choice. In the summertime heat, a grisette is a fantastic option, and we happen to have one that I thoroughly enjoy from Elder Pine. The Grizzette is going to be very similar in style to a saison but with generally a lower amount of alcohol for a much more sessionable choice.

Bingo Brewing’s Dry Crispy

Grilled chicken is another fantastic Fourth of July option. It also lends itself to a number of different preparations. If you’ve got a simple grilled chicken breast, I like an American wheat beer, particularly with a little citrus to brighten things up, and I’d recommend grabbing the Lost Coast Tangerine Wheat. Maybe you’re thinking of adding a sweet barbecue sauce to some grilled thighs in which case I’d switch over to a classic California Common or Steam beer. When in doubt, I say go for the classic Anchor Steam (now in cans with the divisive new labels as well!). If wings or any other liberal use of the Buffalo-style sauce is in the plans a West Coast IPA is going to help accentuate that heat, and I couldn’t recommend the Front Royal Gracious Living any more highly.

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This sponsored column is written by Todd Himes, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway). Sign up for the email newsletter and receive exclusive discounts and offers. Order from Arrowine’s expanding online store for curbside pickup.

In my last column, I mentioned one of the great things about getting people back into the store has been the questions I’ve been fielding from all of you, and the conversations it has allowed me to get started.

My weekly beer newsletters I send out frequently feature a section belovedly titled “Arrowine House of Lagers,” and that is driven, in part, by the increase in both supply and demand. But honestly, I’d be doing it even if it was just for my own personal amusement. There is, over and over, one subsect of lagers that seems to beguile folks: the Kellerbier. Even a few years ago the style remained relatively obscure here in the U.S., and traditional German versions rarely traveled this far.

Let’s make one thing clear: All Kellerbiers are not created equal. Kellerbier means simply “cellar beer,” and it is a style of lager that would have traditionally been matured (or lagered) inside of an oak cask stored in a cave or cellar. Inside of that cask, the beer would remain unfiltered and unpasteurized. and in this case, it would have had its bunghole (yes, they really call it that) left open to the surrounding cellar air. It would have carbonated itself gently and naturally but not to the level that it would have if it had stayed in a closed container trapping the CO2.

While this openness does allow the flow of air from inside the cave, it is completely different from an open or even spontaneous fermentation, so don’t expect fruity open-air pale ale esters or the wild funk of a lambic. Served directly from the cask, this beer would be cloudy, lightly carbonated and perhaps softer than a longer aged traditional lager. Outside of that requirement, any lager could be considered a Kellerbier if it was served in this method, right?

So wait, does that mean that my New England unfiltered hazy IPAs could all be considered Kellebiers as well? Nope — completely different styles. What about a cask of English Best Bitter? That’s closer, but Germany’s brewing traditions utilized their many natural caves for lagering as opposed to the British traditions of warmer fermenting ales. Perhaps you’re inducted into the Cult of Rothaus and love their unpasteurized Pilsner. You might be thinking unpasteurized, lager this HAS to qualify — but alas no. That doesn’t mean this increasingly more popular style isn’t without its variances.

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This sponsored column is written by Todd Himes, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway). Sign up for the email newsletter and receive exclusive discounts and offers. Order from Arrowine’s expanding online store for curbside pickup.

We’ve been having a busy few weeks here at Arrowine since we’ve opened back up our doors. We’ve seen (the top half of) so many familiar faces coming through the doors, and the response has been incredible.

Our online ordering system is still up and running, and I want to take a moment to thank everyone who has been using the website to place orders. We will not be making any changes to the online ordering system, so if that’s what you’re comfortable with, please continue to place your order online.

However, I know many of you are visual shoppers. I’ve been hearing it all day for the past few weeks — how great it is to be able to come in and check out all the beers, look at the cheeses (in general, if I get free second in the store, it’s probably spent looking in the cheese case) and browse through the wines. There is just something about seeing all of your options right in front of you that the online shopping experience cannot offer. Most of all the in-store experience allows me to do what I do best — which is monger.

A monger is, depending on your definition, either someone who is a broker or dealer of things or someone who promotes a specific activity, especially one that’s undesirable. That’s your difference between a fishmonger and a warmonger. I hope I get lumped in with the former, but to say Carrie Nation or John Lithgow’s Rev. Moore from “Footloose” being a beermonger is definitely the latter.

Our cheesemongers probably have it a little easier by comparison. (The pure joy on most people’s faces when you tell them you’re employed as a cheesemonger is truly a sight to see and almost makes me miss being back there slinging goudas and brie.) The truth of it is, though, that most of the mongers I know do so much more than that. When we’re not actively helping customers, we are constantly honing our crafts, which means learning everything we can about our products and making sure they are kept in the best condition possible.

With the return of in-store shopping I get to answer all those questions that can be hard to find online like, “Which of these beers have Citra hops in them?” or “Do you have any beers with a fish on the label?” and “What beer goes best with mulligatawny soup?” By the way, the answers are “lots,” “yes,” and “I like a dark lager.” Most of those fall flat in the online space and certainly don’t allow for much in the way of follow-up.

As far as keeping beers in the best condition, you’ll see me rotating products so nothing is sitting around for too long, and one of my favorite new things using the extra space in our keg cooler for cold back-stock storage. This allows for many of the beers that come into the store cold to stay cold until you buy them. This is extremely important for many of the hazy IPAs and sours with fruit purees added that are so popular these days. It also keeps the growing supply of unfiltered lagers that we are able to get our hands on cold at all times.

I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible for in-store shopping soon. Please bring me your best questions (nothing too tricky though — Your Beermonger hasn’t had a week off work in almost two years now!) or just come in and tell me about the beers you’ve been drinking!

Hope to see you soon.

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This sponsored column is written by Todd Himes, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway). Sign up for the email newsletter and receive exclusive discounts and offers. Order from Arrowine’s expanding online store for curbside pickup.

This week I was lucky enough to find myself over at Nationals Park to watch a game and, for professional purposes, to have a hot dog and beer.

It wasn’t my first trip to the stadium this year, but it was the first time I sat up in the newly reopened 300 level, which was much closer to where I’d say my usual seats are (also from where I saw T-Swizzle back in 2015.) However, the closest District Drafts stand was all the way down by the 100s, and because this beer purchase was for Professional Research Purposes™, I made the walk down and back up, which gave me time to think about sessionable beers.

Session beers are hard to nail down in an exact definition. Originating in British and Irish drinking culture, these beers are characterized by being low in ABV (at Arrowine, we’re aiming for sub 5%) and high in flavor and refreshment. You might find stories of workers being allowed drinking “sessions” while working, a “session” meaning anytime you get together to have more than one beer. And you might think that concept exists so ubiquitously that it doesn’t need to have its origins pinpointed. For many folks in the U.S., before the growth of craft beer in America, this is what all beers were. Even now many of the imperial stout and double IPA drinkers I know will reach for light lagers when extended days of drinking are on the docket.

The walk back up the twisting switchback ramp was even more inspiring with a Port City Optimal Wit and a Right Proper Raised by Wolves in hand. My wife and I always toast Opening Day with an Optimal Wit, since the story goes that it was Port City’s Bill Butcher who did some heavy lobbying to get the District Drafts stands into the park. Plus, it is a delightful beer that I could drink anytime, anyplace. The Raised by Wolves stands out as being packed with flavor, extremely aromatic and, because I had sessions on my mind, the 5% ABV really swayed me. Maybe it was because it was a weeknight. Maybe it was because I was ordering the 23-ounce large size of each. Or maybe it was because of the time I spent this week tagging items in our online store to build out the session beer section of our website. Whatever the reasons, drinking something delicious but not Barrel-Aged-Imperial-Coffee-Marshmallow delicious was the raison d’etre.

Never really going out of style, the concept has made many a push in my time of beermongering. You have a strong British influence that was present in corners of the aughts, the rise of session IPAs that followed the “extreme beer” era and even now the number of large craft producers introducing low calorie, sub-4% IPAs geared toward expanding the audience of craft. Add on top of that the rise of craft lagers that are following the hazy IPA wave that has been washing over the industry, and we might be poised to enter a session renaissance.

If you’ve got a favorite sessionable beer, drop a comment below and look out for it possibly coming to our shelves.

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This sponsored column is written by Todd Himes, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway). Sign up for the email newsletter and receive exclusive discounts and offers. Order from Arrowine’s expanding online store for curbside pickup.

One thing you might not always think of when you finally get the chance to step back into our store here at Arrowine (it is coming soon, I promise!) is that we sell agricultural products. The milk for our cheeses comes from well cared for and respected grazing animals, and the wines we sell are made great by growing high-quality grapes in the vineyards — not in a lab where they can be manipulated and fussed with (highly technical terms).

With Earth Day having passed us this week, I thought it might be interesting to take a look at a number of the environmental initiatives our brewery friends are undertaking to have a positive impact on our world ecosystem.

Two somewhat newer things you might notice on a label or package these days are Certified B Corporations and 1% for the Planet. Some of the 1% for the Planet member breweries we stock are Maine Beer Company, Vasen Brewing and Bearded Iris Brewing. These companies not only make  financial donations and adhere to sustainable practices in the brewhouse, but they also volunteer their time to different environmental initiatives.

Certified B Corps undergo a certification process that looks at not only their environmental impact but also their social impact. We have beers on shelves from Certified B Corps Allagash Brewing and North Coast Brewing, but you’ll also see the B logo in our freezer from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams and in the cheese case on Vermont Creamery products. Allagash also recently started up a recycling co-op for some of the waste products of the brewing process that require special processing. Maine Beer Company and Bissell Brothers, located in the immediate area, also joined in. This echoes a similar program that Bell’s Brewery announced earlier this year that will hopefully inspire more of these collaborations.

Many of our local breweries also make use of local ingredients in order to drive home their commitment to reducing environmental impact. If you’ve recently held a can or bottle of Port City Optimal Wit, you may have noticed that it’s brewed with 100% Virginia wheat grown in the Northern Neck. You’d be forgiven if you haven’t stared at the breakdown of estate-grown vs. regionally sourced malts on any of the bottles from Wheatland Spring Farm + Brewery — the beers alone are worthy of all your attention — but if you’re going to geek out a little over that information then we are going to get along great.

One of my favorite locavore beers, though, has to be Salts from Black Narrows. This gose-inspired tart wheat ale harvests natural yeast from oyster shells and also combines a portion of oyster liquor into the brew. The results are not only bright, briny and refreshing, but it also changes throughout the seasons to truly reflect the terroir of Virginia’s Eastern Shore.

Another essential input to the brewing process that doesn’t even end up in the beer is energy. In cities such as D.C., it can be difficult to grow your own ingredients for your beers — but that doesn’t mean you can’t create your own resources. Atlas Brewing’s cans proudly state that they are “Solar Powered Beer,” and if you ever visit their Ivy City taproom, you can see a display on the wall that shows what power is being harvested from the sun, what is being used by the brewery and what is going back to the grid. Their uptown neighbors Right Proper’s Brookland production facility reduced its energy use by installing LED lights and offset half its energy consumption with a solar canopy out front and an array of panels on the roof. In Vermont, Hermit Thrush Brewery uses wood pellets to power its brewhouse created from sawdust from the local timber industry that would otherwise be considered waste.

Port City’s Optimal Wit in their “Beer Grown Here” branded glasses

I’ve got a collection on the Arrowine online store of all the products covered here. Apologies to anyone I may have missed, but thank you for doing your part as well. If you know anybody I’ve overlooked, please let me know in the comments! Whether it’s a brewery we carry here at the store or not, it’s great to point out and applaud these breweries for their efforts. Cheers!

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