Arlington, VA

This sponsored column is written by Jace Gonnerman, 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.

Certain beers just have something about them. They can evoke a personal memory or signal the changing of the season.

This week’s return of Sierra Nevada Celebration IPA is certainly one of those for me. Brewed since 1981, its piney, citrusy goodness serves as the unofficial beer kick-off to the holiday season.

And it got me thinking, what beers from around the D.C. area do the same thing? Here’s my list of 10, no order. A couple minor ground rules. I tried to include beers that have been made more than once and are seasonal or sporadic releases.

DC Brau On the Wings of Armageddon  9.2% Imperial IPA: The original “hype beer” in the D.C. area. Coveted by beer traders and hop heads across the country. Intensely hoppy with orange citrus, grapefruit and pine. Oh, and in stock this week!

Port City Oktoberfest: Picking which Oktoberfest to use for this list was unspeakably hard. We’re blessed with dozens of worthy versions in our area. But Port City’s version is world class, as evidenced by its multiple Great American Beer Festival medals. Perfectly balanced with toasty malt and light noble hops — and the perfect transition from summer to fall.

Ocelot Talking Backwards — 11% Triple IPA: A beer that I had a hand in creating when I was at Meridian Pint — brewed once a year in late December and released around February 1. The recipe has changed slightly over the years as tastes have evolved, but it’s too drinkable for the hefty ABV and heavily charged with Citra, Mosaic and Simcoe hops.

Hellbender Dunkelweisse — 4.8% Dunkelweizen: A favorite of mine and perhaps the most unique beer on this list. Hellbender’s unique mash filter system allows them to produce beer using 100% wheat. Hugely flavorful at the minuscule ABV, with a nutty malt backbone and banana fermentation character that screams fall.

Fair Winds Hell’s Navigator — 6.5% Maibock: I’ve been drinking Charlie Buettner’s lagers since his early days at Mad Fox and this is one of his best. A strong, golden lager brewed to usher in spring. Clean with subtle citrusy hops and immense drinkability.

3 Stars Brewing Trouble in Paradise — 6.5% Mango/Guava Sour: As a rule, I tend to avoid heavily fruited sours. Too sweet, too thick. Too much smoothie and not enough beer. This is the exception to that rule. Threads the needle perfectly with balanced acidity and big, authentic, vibrant fruit. A summer cocktail in a can.

Flying Dog Barrel-Aged Gonzo — 11.3% Barrel-Aged Stout: My progression into beer sort of went backwards. I got hooked on big stouts and barrel-aged beers before making my way into lagers, IPAs, and more sessionable offerings. And as big barrel-aged beers go, this is one of the best. Full bodied with notes of dark chocolate, roast, whiskey, vanilla, oak and more. It’s not winter without some BA Gonzo on hand.

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This sponsored column is written by Steve Quartell, 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.

Well folks. It’s been quite a ride.

I always knew (as did the fine folks that hired me) that my time at Arrowine was going to be limited, but I’d always figured I’d go out like Paxton: Hard worker, hits all his marks, trustworthy in clutch moments — replaced by a Steve Kerr.

But, well… It didn’t happen that way did it? As Pearl Jam said:

Do you see the way that tree bends?
Does it inspire?
Leaning out to catch the sun’s rays…
A lesson to be applied…

And here I am saying goodbye almost just as soon as I got to know a lot of you. I knew I’d be stepping away sooner or later, but like many things during these times — hard dates went back and forth and up and down for a while.

So. Now, here we are. One last chance to make a forced reference to — er uhhh, one last column, to say goodbye.

It’s not a binder with the words “The Last Dance” scrawled over it. It’s not Phil Jackson inviting the entire ’98 Bulls team to share their thoughts and feelings and then throw them in a burn bin, and it’s certainly not Jordan’s last season in Chicago. But it’s surely akin to the cigar sitting at Jordan’s right hand at the start of my favorite over referenced ESPN documentary.

It’s time to spark that cigar and say goodbye, but let’s have some beers to go with it — a little music would be nice too.

Mind you, if you don’t enjoy cigars or smoke, I’m not encouraging you to start now, and the opinions below reflect solely my own preferences and not those of ARLnow, Arrowine ownership, or any of the Breweries whose beers I suggest. If you’re looking for a beer that brings the smoke without the cigar — I highly suggest you pick up some Port City Rauch Marzen — in store Saturday.

But sometimes a smoke, a satisfying beer and some fantastic music are the perfect triumvirate to sit back and reflect.

Guinness Dry Irish Stout
Drew Estate Liga 9 Panatella
“If I Ruled the World (Imagine That)” — Nas featuring Lauryn Hill

If I ruled the world… Well for starters, I’d have gotten more time working with Nick Anderson and Jace Gonnerman, but I could also settle for seeing more of all this.

Sub 5 percent stouts, small gauge cigars, and much more Nas and Lauryn Hill. The only beer on this list you could finish before the song it is paired with is over — Guinness has an inverse relationship between it’s complexity and its easy drinking nature. Pairing it with a shortie like the panatella allows both of them to really shine without eclipsing the other’s talents — just like a duet between Nas and Miss Hill.

Oftentimes you don’t need a giant cigar and a huge, boozy, BA RIS — sometimes you just need to vibe.

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This sponsored column is written by Steve Quartell, 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 intended a bit of an Oktoberfest round up for the end of September but the calendar kind of goofed with that. Not only is the column off rotation from the official start of Oktoberfest (last Saturday), but my days at Arrowine are very near officially coming to an end.

I’ll be around for awhile folks, don’t worry — you’ve yet to be released from my terrible jokes and stretched references to broadway musicals, Flight of the Conchords, long dead internet memes and The Last Dance — but I’ll be moving this fall, and it’s time to pass the torch to someone that should be familiar to those of you who follow the D.C. area beer scene.

So today’s column is not an Oktoberfest column (but do check out Commonwealth’s, Sierra Nevada’s, Narragansett’s, or bundle Port City’s up with some Meat Crafters Bratwursts for dinner), today we meet your new Beermonger — Jace Gonnerman.

Jace and I have known each other for a little while, his beer program and bottle list were pretty essential study materials for me while working towards my level two Cicerone, and our shared midwest roots led me to pair up a Central Waters/Local Option Petit Mort with some Blue Cheese Mac and Cheese (check our our Dolce Gorgonzola for your own mac).

Steve: So Jace, both of us are midwest transplants. I came out here when my spouse got a job with the Federal Government — tale as old as beltway time right? What brought you to the D.C. area?

Jace: Baseball initially. I graduated from Indiana State in 2009 with a degree in Sport Management and Business Administration. I moved to Waldorf, Maryland on New Year’s Day of 2010 to work for the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs Baseball Team. About eight months later I moved into Washington, D.C. and took a position with the same health care consulting firm that everyone works for in their early 20s.

So yeah, my path to craft beer is long and weird, as most are. On top of consulting, a bartending and serving job taken to pay the rent quickly became a career when I fell for beers like Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold and Bell’s Two Hearted at Lou’s. From there I started bartending at Smoke & Barrel in early 2012. Things moved quickly from there and by mid-2014 I was serving as the Beverage Director at Meridian Pint and Brookland Pint as well.

Steve: I can’t lie, I miss pouring over the beer list at Brookland Pint for myself but also picking out beers to go with the pairing meal we offered with City Brew Tours — I kinda want to see what your ideal pairings with that plate would be — so from sweet potato wedges to buffalo wings, what do you got?

Jace: Sweet Potato Wedges — I always like something malty but still crisp here. Any darker lager is great (Vienna, Tmave Pivo, Dunkel, etc). An American Amber is a good pairing as well, especially if using a creamy/fatty dip.

Pint House Salad — The Pint House salad is classic and simple in its preparation. Mixed greens, a few veggies and a house balsamic vinaigrette. A classic, unfruited Gose (sour German wheat beer) such as Union Old Pro would be a great compliment here. A classic Witbier such as Port City Optimal Wit or Allagash White would be another tremendous pairing.

Bean and Cheese Quesadilla — A classic Pale Ale or IPA would be my first choice here. As much as I love the current soft/juicy/hazy IPA trend, the fact is they’re pretty poor food pairings. A classic example with a firm bitterness and bit of malt backbone is going to cut some of the richness of the bean/cheese/butter trio.

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This sponsored column is written by Steve Quartell, 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.

A fair amount of people can probably guess what makes a good beer. Quality ingredients, technical skill, patience, a little creativity helps of course, but what about the best beer you ever had?

What makes a beer reach that level of greatness? Sure — it had to be a beer of some quality to begin with, but it’s like a good run, or a good meal, or a good — you get it. So many things come together for that perfect beer drinking experience. Location, some place new, some place familiar, the vibe, music or nature? Could be solitude, could be with friends, could be with thousands of strangers and one special person.

Some of my best beers? A lot of them have been some of the most simple beers. Zeroing in on a home brew recipe I’d been working on for years over several batches — that was a pretty good beer, it was a simple but good wheat beer but the build up, the anticipation and the satisfaction with every sip — superb

Enjoying my grandfather’s favorite amber lager out of a frosted mug around Christmas… that is definitely a top 5 beer — one of those “you’re in the grown-ups club” moments that tend to happen around the holidays and maybe a couple months before statute…

I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of sipping on the national beer of Cuba, Cristal — a pale but malty lager with imported Czech hops — while laying on the wall of a Spanish Fort in Havana while a local wailed Hendrix from his guitar as the sun went down… that was a pretty darn good beer.

But none of those were the best beer I ever had. Best beer I ever had, I’m not sure if I’ll ever have again. For years, I’ve told this story hoping someone like-minded would know what I was talking about, but to no avail.

The best beer I ever had… Was Zwickl Rot. Yeah, you see how that’s not helpful right?

We were on vacation in Vienna, the first time I’d been to Europe and it was a near literal midsummer night’s dream, perfectly warm and sunny with a few clouds as we went from afternoon into early evening — we came upon a festival in the Rathausplatz.

I made my way up to a beer truck and decided, with my limited German, to order the beer on offer I recognized the least — “zwei Zwickl Rot bitte.”

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This sponsored column is written by Steve Quartell, 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.

“Phew!” Was not a thousand percent sure I’d finish the column by Friday.

Took a day off (well, from the store) this week and… ya know how three day weekends often just mean fitting a 5 day work week into one less day? Well.. yeah. I’m there. But we did it. It’s finished, you’re reading it as a finished piece right now. And listen, this may come as a shock to you, but I will often have a beer open as I finish this column.

I’ll pause a moment for many of you to unclutch your pearls.

We’re adults here obviously. This is a beer column. While coffee is in charge when for editing, whilst writing, well… a picture speaks a thousand words.

And that Vleit Pilsner is really true to form, more often than not it’s a lager. I can pop one open as an idea that’s been bouncing around in my head takes more solid form, and one sip after another, one very rough paragraph begins to form, and then another and then a few sentences.

Before I know it I’ve finished a lager, but… boy I still need to see through that last thought. So, that first beer wasn’t bad, I may as well have one more for dessert. Most columns are a two beer write up — I think I’ve had one column that was a three beer job, and that required a full pot of coffee for editing the next morning. But finishing a column feels great — I wish I could do the same more often with books.

Listen, I am great at buying books. I’m pretty good at starting them even — Finishing them however?

The above was an attempt by me to get so many books at once that I’d almost certainly pick one up and finish it. It was a blind box purchase from Capitol Hill Books and to their credit I’m really interested in all these titles. To my credit I polished off one in a single afternoon — The Nose by Nikolai Gogol… yeah… it’s 45 pages.

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This sponsored column is written by Steve Quartell, 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 Smarch 136th.

I’m told this used to be called mid-August, which means from Yakima Valley to the patios of local breweries to maybe even your friends’ backyards, hops are nearly ready to be picked for the 2020 crop.

Bines have been creeping and climbing all summer. And the other day I came across a photo that just… hit me.

Photo via Kent Falls Brewing Co. Instagram

Just a single, not-quite-mature hop cone from Kent Falls Brewing Company in Connecticut. I have no connection to them at all… but man did it touch on something.

Because believe it or not, we are less than 40 days from the end of Summer. So despite everything that’s happened this year — harvest season is coming.

It’s something to keep in mind for sure when we sit down around the dinner table. Human hands still bring more food to our table than we generally ever think about, and hop harvesting is intensely manual. Something to be grateful for — and also as the time of year is upon us, maybe even hopeful?

Every year the jokes are the same, “Oktoberfest? It’s September! (Or August! Or July!?)”

“Pumpkin beer? Already? Again?”

But what if we took a different tack? We can look back on last year and roll our eyes at ever more seasonal creep, but I look forward to featuring a few good pumpkin beers, and more than a few good and great Oktoberfest beers. And as the leaves eventually change — toward wet hop beers, even more ambers and brown ales — sipping on a nice stout by a fire.

So, what if instead, we looked forward? What if we hope for something coming over the horizon?

The word “hope” almost catches in my throat. But there has got to be something to look forward to. Maybe you look forward to wet hopped, fresh from the harvest IPAs and Pale Ales. Maybe it’s Oktoberfest and the clean but slightly sweet finish of a Bavarian Helles, or the perfect balance of noble hop, and munich malt of a Marzen.

It’s almost like the serotonin boost you get from just planning a vacation. I know the thought of a great Marzen has gotten me through this summer and boy, dropping a few barspoons full of my wife’s homemade eggnog in a snifter of Kentucky Christmas morning might pull me through the rest of the year.

Because, whether it’s early or not for pumpkin ale — the beers appearing on the scene right now start my favorite three or four months of beer — Oktoberfest, Pumpkin beers and wet hop beers all around.

I find brown ales, amber ales and oatmeal stouts really hit just right as the leaves change and it’s all capped off by fresh Sierra Nevada Celebration and the countdown to Hardywood Gingerbread Stout and variants

So with that in mind, let me know in the comments what you most look forward to this time of year and beyond — you may find they’re some of the beers and styles I’ve mentioned throughout the column — if so, go ahead and take 10% off on me with promo code FORWARD.

Cuz we could all use something to look forward to right?

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This sponsored column is written by Steve Quartell, 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.

My last Beer Newsletter for the shop was titled “Beer for you — Here for you” it’s something that’s been on my mind a lot. Frankly it’s on all our minds here at Arrowine and other small businesses working to make adjustments for community safety while still serving that same community.

And yeah, we all remember the phrases we heard ad nauseam at the start this — “Now more than ever” or “We’re all in this together.” Let me tell you, as much as I grew tired of hearing it from multinational corporations, it really hits home for a small business. We really are in this together — and our commitment to service, quality and safety is important — now more than ever.

So we are very much “Here for you” more over, I’ve come to appreciate my go-to beers that beckon “Here for you” from the cooler more and more these dog days of summer (or is that beer for you — sometimes can’t hear over the phones).

“New” is so integral to craft beer culture, but for a lot of my professional drinking career, I’ve stuck with some of the same standbys and go-to beers more often than not. We talked 312 last time and that beer honestly took me all the way through 2011. I really didn’t need another one, until the flavor profile changed and left me coming up short.

Thankfully, this coincided with the start of new breweries right at home — and I quickly settled into some new go-tos from the brewers that were just opening in the D.C. area — Port City, DC Brau and oh so many now that came to follow.

I still go back to a lot of those beers that helped establish the area’s first breweries since Christian Heurich shut down operations. There’s just that comfort in cracking open a beer and knowing what road it’s gonna take you down. Like re-watching your favorite tv show, putting your favorite song on repeat, or putting on that ten part basketball documentary series you dig as background noise while finishing work on something.

My go-to beers don’t take me back anywhere in particular — really they put me right where I am. They give me a little reminder that you’re alright just where you are, just take a breath for a minute, and then keep pushing on.

So call them what ya like, “Go-to beer” “Lawnmower Beer” “Background Beer” below are the beers that are “here for you” at least for me — you’ll find them all online at shoparrowine.com and at 10% off with code HereForYou. I’ve even included some glassware recommendations.

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This sponsored column is written by Steve Quartell, 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’ve been thinking — when you can’t go places in space you can always go places in time. Beer is a lot of things to a lot of people and call me sentimental or overly nostalgic, but I’ve always seen it as a time machine. It slows down time, it steals away time from tomorrow if you have one too many and it takes you back.

In Tasting Beer, (cicerone alert) Randy Mosher talks about the neuroscience behind taste and smell and the double redundancy of the nerves transmitting taste sensory information to our brains. And how beer hacks directly into that hardwiring. It’s a connection so potent you can hold it in your hand every time you open a bottle. I love beers that bring you back. There’s a lot we have in store right now that fire synapses for me immediately — but there’s one that I can’t ever get in store or ever again.

Fall 2007, Chicago. About 11 at night and eleven friends and I are walking out of a theatre in Roscoe Village after having talked our way into a sold-out show called “The Magnificents,” presented by the truly amazing House Theatre Company. Nine theatre majors in town for auditions near the midpoint of senior year, high on a show that lived up to its name, en route to a bar around the corner called The Hungry Brain.

The night air is cool and damp as an evening thunderstorm rolls in. We turn the corner from Western to Belmont headed towards the lake. The wind and rain pick up, and we huddle together, walking faster and laughing at the timing of this cool shower during our five minute walk.

The Hungry Brain is familiar and new all at once. I quickly scan the familiar beer brands but pause a moment on a distinct telephone tap handle; it’s calling me.  I take my first sip of Goose Island 312 and am blown away by how different it is from what I’m used to. Fruit, lemon peel and light pepper notes with an aromatic sensation I’d only picked up on hikes and walking along midwestern prairies — earthy, floral, piney but not aggressively so.

I snap out of my beer inspired reverie and a friend asks what I’m drinking. To date, my go-to beers had been Keystone and Bud, so lacking any distinct descriptors I holler, “Dunno, but we’re drinking it all night!”

We take turns bringing pitchers of that unfiltered wheat ale back to mismatched leather couches. Playing quarters, laughing at jokes that made more sense freshman year and putting on songs we’ve listened to before, but not in this place, not in this time. We talk about what, where and who we will be after graduation, and we hold on to what we are now.

We all have stories like this one, “Fall 2007. Chicago” — a memorable experience paired with the perfect, memorable beer. These beers turn into time machines in miniature, they take us back to moments when all we needed was the pint in front of us and the people around us.

Opening up a 312 was dialing in “Fall 2007. Chicago.” no matter where I was. The smell of fall leaves on the sidewalk, a thunderstorm coming in, the electricity of friends going from one incredible experience they watched as an audience — to another they lived as a community of twelve.

I can’t dial up that time machine ever again, at least not easily. There are worse things a brewery can do than get bought out, but that doesn’t change the fact that the recipe for 312 is forever changed. It took six batches of homebrew to zero in on something that “hit” like the original, and I just don’t have the energy for that anymore.

And, to throw salt in my wounds, the Hungry Brain as I briefly knew it closed in 2014.

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This sponsored column is written by Steve Quartell, 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.

Surprise.

If there is one element of beer culture that keeps me engaged, it’s surprise. That moment when I am seized with delight by what I encounter from a new beer, a new brewery or by someone new to beer (or perhaps new to me as a beer drinker).

If my preconceptions about something or someone aren’t being rattled, I start to worry — so that surprise is nearly always welcome.

My late mother-in-law, Kathie, surprised me with her love for dark beers, once exclaiming about my home brewed porter “OOH — and It’s a Dark Beer — Yea! Yea!” You of course can’t hear it, but that “yea, yea” came out of her petite frame with an uncharacteristically deep mezzo that had us calling her Raekwon for the rest of the weekend.

She, perhaps surprising my wife and I both when she suggested we “Meet up in Asheville, cause I wanna try some good beers.” This was the summer of 2014 mind you, when Burial had ping pong tables and Igloo cooler mashtuns sitting where their gorgeous foeders now rest, so Kathie was ahead of the game on a lot of y’all.

We made stops at Burial, Wicked Weed and Green Man, amongst others, and I was floored seeing a side of my mother-in-law I’d never gotten to know. While we were getting to know each other better in the hills of the Blue Ridge mountains, Kathie became acquainted with dark beers during that quintessential German beer drinking event — chaperoning her daughter’s high school bus trip through Europe. One of the many dark beers she discovered on that trip, Ayinger’s Celebrator Doppelbock — was the last beer we shared together.

Kathie’s discoveries in the late 80s mirror my experience in the early 10’s on a trip to central Europe that was a real landmark in my beer education. One of my first delightful surprises in beer was in the first polotmavý and tmavý beers I tried on the Prague/Bratislava leg of that trip.

Even on the hottest day in central Europe that year — every dark lager (tmavý ležák) or “half-dark” lager (polotmavý ležák) I tried was satisfyingly rich while still being completely refreshing. Had I known enough back then I’d have visited the longstanding and much lauded U Fleků — a pivovar in the Tmavy brewing (and only Tmavy) business for the last 500 years — but U Medvídků and U Tri Ruzi especially had pretty darn stand up offerings as well.

Kathie left us too soon. She still surprises me in that I miss her more than I ever imagined, and I savor dark beers just a little more now. It was never big huge dark beers for her either. While she was no stranger to Chimay Blue or Allagash Curieux — bocks, porters and dark lagers were much more her style. Thankfully for all of us this is a style seeing a growing surge in popularity nationally making more and more American interpretations available to try seemingly every week.

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This sponsored column is written by Steve Quartell, 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 of the singular breweries in our area, one that I always enjoyed touring while working with City Brew Tours — is Right Proper Brewing in Washington, D.C.

Like Arrowine, they are a community staple, uncompromising in quality, and have a pretty great cheese counter if I’m being honest. One thing Right Proper has that Arrowine lacks though — is a great name — and I don’t mean the business name. I mean their co-founder…

Thor. Cheston.

His first name is Thor, his last name — just to drive the point home — is CHESTON. *pause for polite laughter from bachelorette party on tour*

I caught up with Thor about running a business and household (with his wife and co-owner Leah Cheston) during our current situation and how things look going forward. Having known, and briefly worked for — story for another column, Thor over the last few years, I still giggle at how awesome his name is. SO, this column will be in Q&A format so I can use that name as much as possible.

Steve: Thor, can I call you Thor?

Thor: You… already do?

Steve: Excellent, thank you. So, Thor, through all this mess, Right Proper has been operating a production brewery, a brewpub, distribution throughout the mid atlantic, and a robust farmer’s market presence — what has this balancing act been like?

Thor: Operating during the outbreak has been bonkers to say the least. Since all draft beer sales dried up overnight, we started taking some of our fun one-off beers and packaging them in bottles and cans.

Steve: That’s how I was lucky enough to grab a few bottles of the Barred in DC Collab — a twitter poll created Ruby Saison. Pretty seamless from ordering to enjoying.

Thor: Yep, We launched a new website and focused all of our efforts on driving business there. The brewpub has slowly been growing their sales and we’re now getting ready for Phase Two.

Steve: With D.C. entering Phase Two, what has been the bigger challenge — the storm of shutting things down, or the Jurassic Park style turning things back on again in the right order, phase by phase?

Thor: Honestly the shut down was easier. When there is only so much you can do and so much you cannot do your focus is narrowed and you do not end up being pulled in so many directions. The multi-phase reopening is extremely challenging as we are juggling customers’ expectations, our staff members’ concerns and the increased cost of doing business with no real promise of revenue.

Steve: I wager I can empathize. Recent uptick in foot traffic even considered though, I was able to pick up my beer at the Shaw Brewpub pretty easily (Missed out on the Black Beer Movement, Cuffing Saison, collab unfortunately) I imagine the Brookland production facility has been quieter?

Thor: You would imagine correctly sir, to the point that our brewery cat Prima has substantially extended her domain.

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This sponsored column is written by Steve Quartell, 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.

Words often fail.

But I’m not here to share my words today. I need to listen.

Listen, and read, and watch, and learn and grow. Because I don’t know about you all but I have always been drawn to beer because it is so absolutely human. It is so bound in community. Bound in what we owe to each other. I grow personally as the scope and diversity of my community grows — I hope you feel the same way.

Growth and change are rooted in better understanding, some of that needs to be rooted in today — we’ll get to that with the black voices below that give me continued insight into experiences outside my own — but so much is rooted in understanding our history.

I’m currently a few chapters into “The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration” by Isabel Wilkerson. But I’m a slow reader, and I absorb information much better through visual instruction, so I am also “binging” a video playlist on Black Voices and Black History put together by the creators of Crash Course.

In our present day — I just came off two years running brewery tours in Washington, D.C. and had the benefit of meeting thousands of people from all over. Fortunately I’ve stayed in touch here and there with both @TheIPAway from the DMV area and @CraftBeerKillah out of Atlanta, Georgia. I love following their takes on their respective beer scenes and consider it a huge part of my understanding of what people love about beer.

I’ve also been inspired by the work of the Black Beer Movement, and am still kicking myself not ever getting my hands on their collaboration beer with Right Proper — a peach fruited Saison called Cuffing Saison.

On a national scale the work done by Beer Kulture, and the book “This Ain’t the Beer You’re Used to” woke me up to the persistent racism that survives in the beer industry at all levels, as well as the different perspectives needed to create change and move forward — it in turn spurred me to find voices I hadn’t heard before like UnCapEverything out of Richmond and TheBrotherAtTheBar out of Chicago.

And I can’t really speak about the brewing industry without mentioning Dr J. Jackson-Beckham of the Richmond Area and Garret Oliver of Brooklyn Brewery, two huge figures who need no introduction I could ever give, but if you aren’t already following them in some capacity — fix that.

Closer to home in our DMV beer industry, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention D.C.’s two black owned breweries Sankofa Beer and Soul Mega — and how much I greatly anticipate when they can begin distribution to Virginia.

At the same time I ran tours, I also worked with one of D.C.’s distilleries One Eight — I had the pleasure of working with and befriending Andrew, @FraudBartender, now the Tasting Room Manager — and worked a tasting table at an event in SE where I had no idea how lucky I was to meet Rabia Kamara owner of Ruby Scoops Ice Cream (Currently trying to finish a store build out in Richmond) and Angela Davis, The Kitchenista — creator of a Mac and Cheese recipe that may change your life.

Just thinking about that Mac and Cheese makes me hungry and also makes me think of the “looks so good it’s unfair I can’t eat it right now” instagram feed of Chef James Turner, Head Chef at Blue 44 in D.C. — you like food? Yeah, I thought so. Me too. Go there, now.

And if all of that makes you thirsty for a beer, call or message your DMV breweries and ask that they participate in the collaboration, “Black” Is Beautiful, raising funds for legal defense reform. I’ll go on record that if my brewery partners brew it, I’ll stack it.

Photo via Instagram

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