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‘Tis the season to get tipsy with cozy cocktails and two-buck beers.

B Live, the live music venue and restaurant in the old Whitlow’s on Wilson space at 2854 Wilson Blvd, says it has created Arlington’s “most immersive holiday popup.”

“‘Jingle Bell Rock’ is the latest popup in B Live’s completely decked-out space, fit with sparkling light displays, festive garland and life-sized holiday fan favorites like the Grinch, Santa Claus and Nutcrackers,” a PR rep for B Live said. The venue is owned by local nightlife duo Mike and Christal Bramson.

Passersby can see the spot’s windows painted with beloved Christmas characters playing instruments — in a tribute to the music scene for which Whitlow’s was known.

Inside, B Live is offering weekly holiday-themed specials, including Christmas karaoke on Tuesdays, a “Santa Mug Night” every Thursday with $2.50 beers and live entertainment every weekend. The pop-up runs through mid-January, meaning guests can live by Buddy the Elf’s code to “treat every day like Christmas.”

The bar is making spirits bright with holiday-themed drinks, too. For an extra-cozy night out, guests can order the “Santa Baby,” a boozy hot chocolate topped with a torched marshmallow.

If your heart hasn’t shrunk three sizes, there is a “Patron Christmas Tree” cocktail tower that serves four.

Only Santa will know if you were naughty and kept all of the tequila for yourself.

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The annual Shucktoberfest oyster and craft beer festival is returning to Shirlington this weekend, complete with a number of road closures.

The 5th annual event is taking place in Shirlington from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday. It will feature local breweries, food and oyster tents and local vendors, and is being billed as family- and dog-friendly.

Tickets to the event, organized by Shirlington restaurant Copperwood Tavern, are $46 for those 21+ and include a beer tasting mug and tickets redeemable for beer and oysters.

Arlington County police will be shutting down some main streets in Shirlington to make way for the festival.

From an ACPD press release:

The 5th annual Shucktoberfest in the Shirlington Village will take place on Saturday, October 22, 2022 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Arlington County Police Department will conduct the following road closures from approximately 6:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. in order to accommodate the event:

  • Campbell Avenue, from S. Quincy Street to S. Arlington Mill Drive
  • S. Randolph Street, from S. Arlington Mill Drive to 2800 S. Randolph Street

The public should expect to see an increased police presence in the area, and motorists are urged to follow law enforcement direction, be mindful of closures, and remain alert for increased pedestrian traffic. Additionally, vehicles will not be allowed to enter or exit the covered Harris Teeter parking structure on Campbell Avenue. Harris Teeter customers can access the parking garage via the alternative entrance behind the store.

Attendees are encouraged to use multimodal transportation services, as parking in the area will be limited around the event. In addition, street parking in the area will be restricted and motorists should be on the lookout for temporary “No Parking” signs. Illegally parked vehicles in violation of the posted signage may be ticketed or towed. If your vehicle is towed from a public street, call the Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222.

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Woman at an Oktoberfest in Crystal City (courtesy photo)

Update on 9/28/22 — This event has been postponed until Saturday, Oct. 22.

Earlier: Pull out your lederhosen and dirndls for an Oktoberfest celebration returning to Crystal City next weekend.

German lagers and cider will flow freely at the outdoor festival on Saturday, Oct. 1 from 12-4 p.m. There will be games and live polka music from Alte Kumpel Band.

The festival, sponsored by the National Landing Business Improvement District, will be held at the patio and terrace space between 22nd and 23rd Streets S., near 556 22nd Street S. — formerly Athena Pallas restaurant, before it closed this summer.

Entry to the event, dubbed the National Landing Oktoberfest, is free and open to all ages and dogs (on leashes), but attendees must register and show their ticket to get in.

Food and drinks are available for purchase, and attendees’ first beer comes with a free stein — while supplies last.

That stein unlocks specials from participating restaurants on Crystal City’s “Restaurant Row“:

The Oktoberfest is being held rain or shine and drink tickets are non-refundable, according to the event website.

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Pumpkin beer in the Clarendon Trader Joe’s on Aug. 10, 2016

It will be hot again today but things should start cooling off by the weekend, providing an early preview of the season to come.

As the calendar marches inexorably towards September, there’s a certain feeling in the still-humid air: a sense that fall will be here sooner rather than later. And that’s only enforced by what we’re starting to see on store shelves around Arlington.

Exhibit A:

Yes, like it or not, those pumpkin and Oktoberfest beers are back. As Arrowine’s Beermonger column discussed last August, it seems that fall beers arrive earlier in the summer with each passing year. And while that outrages some summer stans, those whose vibe is more a hot coffee and a warm sweater seem to like it.

After all, the breweries wouldn’t be pushing their orange-clad cases out the door if people weren’t buying them.

So this morning we’re wondering — with apologies for asking a similar poll question on this exact day in 2016 — when do you typically make your first fall beer purchase?

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Expansive pizzeria-slash-beer hall Quincy Hall is finally set to start serving slices and pints tomorrow (Friday) in Ballston.

First announced nearly three years ago, the “American Pizza Beer Hall” at 4001 Fairfax Drive is planning a soft opening for this weekend. There will be a more formal grand opening, with specials and festivities, set for late next week, a restaurant spokesperson tells ARLnow.

Quincy Hall will feature pizza from “world pizza guru, Giulio Adriani” and “rare beers from local breweries.” The 8,000-square-foot space at the corner of Fairfax Drive and N. Quincy Street has a 245-person capacity indoors and an extra 80-person, dog-friendly patio outside. Wall art comes from D.C.-based artist Kelly Towles.

“We wanted to create the perfect gathering space in the Ballston neighborhood, a spot where fun meets delicious. The pizza’s are unmatched and we’ve selected unique local beers to pair perfectly,” co-owner Peter Bayne writes to ARLnow. “Three years later… we are excited to have this place open and be the neighborhood hangout.”

Quincy Hall comes from Tin Shop, the same ownership group that runs Highline RxR in Crystal City and is opening Astro Beer Hall in Shirlington. The Shirlington spot is set to open in the fall, a spokesperson tells to ARLnow.

Tin Shop also operates several well-known D.C. bars including Franklin Hall, Penn Social, and Church Hall in Georgetown, which just announced it was closing.

The pizza is the star of Quincy Hall’s show, according to the press release. Adriani is from Rome and was taught how to make pizza by his grandmother. He worked “under pizza-masters throughout Italy,” opened restaurants across the globe, and has won four world pizza championships, the release notes.

“Adriani’s passion is dough and constantly seeking illusive crust perfection,” it reads. “He created a challenging three-day fermented dough for Quincy Hall which Adriani insists is his ‘best ever!'”

Also on the menu, there will be smashburgers, wings, truffle fries, tenders, garlic bites, and caesar salad.

In what might be a sign of a popular emerging genre of restaurant, this is the second pizza and beer hall to open in Arlington over the last month. Nighthawk Pizza started serving in Pentagon City in March.

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(Updated at 12:20 p.m.) The former Champps space at Pentagon Row is back in business as a beer-and-pizza spot.

Nighthawk Pizza will open to the public on Thursday (March 24) at 3 p.m., in the large space at 1201 S. Joyce Street, after a series of private “friends and family” nights this week.

The concept marries a 90s vibe with a pizza-centric menu and an on-site brewery operated by Aslin Beer Company. It’s helmed by Chef Johnny Spero, of Netflix’s Final Table fame plus other culinary cred, and backed by a group that includes local serial entrepreneur Scott Parker. (The group also recently opened Poppyseed Rye in Ballston.)

In addition to thin-crust pizza and beer, the menu includes a range of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, burgers, and cocktails — both handmade and on tap. The red-and-blue neon lights, bench seating and retro arcade games help to give the restaurant its 90s feel, partially offset by the abundant flat screen TVs that surround the large bar and the cavernous dining area.

“The design inspiration for the space was The Max from ‘Saved By The Bell,'” Parker noted.

In all, the brew pub has 10,000 square feet of space, plenty for the crowds Parker and company are hoping to attract from the growing neighborhood, which includes Amazon’s HQ2, set for a 2023 opening a few blocks away.

Parker said his group of partners “is already looking for our next locations for Nighthawk, as well as developing other projects.” Additional locations in the D.C. area and other cities are expected to be announced “in the coming months,” he said.

Meanwhile, Nighthawk is not the only spring opening at Pentagon Row, which was renamed “Westpost” in 2020.

“Taco temple” Banditos Bar & Kitchen is set to open in April, one restaurant over and also overlooking Westpost’s central square and soon-to-be-dismantled-for-the-season ice skating rink. Also expected to open next month are a new, 34,000 square foot Target store, on April 3, as well as sushi restaurant Kusshi.

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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.

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.

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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 weekend is going to be a snack food extravaganza with plenty of commercial breaks, a whole lot of Snoop Dogg (performing in a halftime show and hosting/coaching the Puppy Bowl!) and rumor has it there will also be a football game going on around all of this.

There’s also going to be plenty of beers to go around, both in those commercials and in many of our hands. The sort of light lagers you’ll mostly see advertised will certainly have their place at many parties and on bar tops but if you’re interested in stepping up a few of your pairings I’m here with a few suggestions for you. Now, I’ll say a great craft lager or your favorite IPA could just as easily go with any of these foods and you can feel free to mix and match any of these as well, but I’m going to throw out a few of my favorites and give what you’ll hopefully find to be inspired pairings.

Nachos and Witbier

This pairing works incredibly well because the Wit will introduce a bright and fresh element with some citrus and spice. If you’re loading up nachos with fresh guac, pico de gallo and lots of shredduce, a tasty witbier can compliment all those flavors. If you prefer your tortillas smothered in queso, refried beans or chorizo then the higher than average carbonation of the style can cut through those denser, rich flavors.

Beermonger’s Choice — Port City Optimal Wit

Chili Con Carne and Smoked Lager

I really love this pairing because the smoke flavor really incorporates well into chili but a crisp lagered finish can help keep your palate from getting overwhelmed. There’s lots of suggestions out there for porters and stouts here which I love, but in the interest of keeping this party going until at least when the halftime show is over I like the low ABV options.

Beermonger’s Choice — Aecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier

Pepperoni Pizza and Brown Ale

Plan ahead if you’re looking to get delivery on this day since it is one of the busiest of the year for pizza shops or if you’re like me grab some of the Calabrese Salami from our deli and make your own spicy take at home. Brown ale is going to really pair well with the crust, cheese, sauce and meat without overpowering any of them. It can be tempting to grab an IPA or Pilsner here as well but when the cured meats start to join the party I really enjoy the toasty malty compliment here.

Beermonger’s Choice — Bingo Brown Ale

Wings and New England IPA

Hops are going to play up the spice here but a juicy IPA with low bitterness will keep you from burning your tongue off. I really enjoy the way the heat can play with some of the super tropical or citrusy hop varieties. The nice thing with this pairing is neither one of these are particularly known for their subtlety, the big flavors here can go up against each other for the entirety of four quarters.

Beermonger’s Choice — Commonwealth Big Papi

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(Updated at 5:40 p.m.) A community fundraising campaign is helping Green Valley’s New District Brewing Company purchase its own canning equipment.

Earlier this month, Arlington’s first production brewery in a century launched a campaign to raise $8,000 in order to partially pay for a canning line (equipment used to can). The equipment can cost about $23,000, so the initial plan was to cover the rest with a loan.

“When COVID-19 hit and all the brewery tap rooms were shut down, everyone moved to canning. But we didn’t have a canning line,” says New District Brewing co-owner Mike Katrivanos. “So, what we had to do was hire a third-party company to bring a mobile canning machine in… we did it out of necessity, really.”

New District was able to can a limited selection of its beers and sell them to the public. However, the process is expensive and can be hard to schedule, since the third-party company was also working with other breweries.

So, Katrivanos and his co-owner (and brother) Stephen Katrivanos decided they needed to purchase their own canning line and to ask its customers for help.

In just 10 days, the brewery hit that original goal of $8,000 and is now moving forward with a new stretch goal of $23,000 that would allow the brewery to own the equipment outright.

As of yesterday (Jan. 26), New District has raised more than $10,700 with eight more days still in the campaign.

“We are completely blown away by community support,” says Katrivanos. “We are obviously very blessed.”

There are perks, like T-shirts, hats and mugs. For those donating more, there’s an opportunity to be an assistant brewer for the day as well as a chance to design and name your very own beer. For $2,000, one can become the official “New District Monopoly Man (or Woman),” which includes getting two cases of beer from every canning run for the next year plus a top hat and monocle.

Beyond those perks, it’s also a chance to help a local, small business continue to overcome pandemic-related challenges.

New District Brewing Company opened in 2016 in a 5,200-square-foot warehouse space at ​​2709 S. Oakland Street, near the Shirlington Dog Park and the W&OD Trail. It was Arlington’s first production brewery — as in, not an accessory to a restaurant — in a century.

Like most breweries across the country, though, the last two years have been a struggle for New District.

Sales were cut in half in 2020 and the brewery has yet to fully recover to pre-pandemic levels, Katrivanos says. With omicron emerging and few guarantees about what 2022 will have in store, the ability to can and sell beer themselves to customers is a lifeline.

“[Canning] is in many ways the only way we can earn a living,” says Katrivanos.

With the new equipment coming, New District is looking at the potential of working with local, independent beer stores — like Westover Market and Crystal City Wine Shop — to sell its beer.

After the fundraising campaign is over, it could take up to two months for the brewery to get the equipment. Which means that it may be April or May before canned New District beer is available to thirsty customers.

But Katrivanos is optimistic that, by the summer, Arlingtonians will be able to taste the suds of its labor.

“We are just thrilled to be engaged in a community like this,” he says. “It’s been an awesome ride.”

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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.

January is always a strange time in the beer world.

You have a sizable portion of clientele who are participating in a Dry January (or at least taking a few weeks off) but we also see two of the years mostly anticipated releases in Troegs Nugget Nectar and Bell’s Hopslam (at least in years when the national supply chain issues don’t hold up its arrival in Virginia.) In years past this is a typical time to see many folks in the industry changing jobs and this year that’s meant seeing a few familiar friendly faces stopping in representing some of the bigger craft breweries in the market.

When we start back up our tastings you’ll be sure to see some veterans repping new brands. January is also a great time to take a look back at the previous year and make a few guesses as to what the upcoming year may hold.

Starting off, it was absolutely no surprise to me to see that no matter which way I sorted the numbers, our number one beer of 2021 was Bingo’s Classic Lager.  Dollars, units sold, cans crushed by our cheesemongers — this one led them all. Was it the clean, refreshing, quaff ability of this beer that propelled it to the top spot?  The fact that you get a six-pack of 16oz cans of craft lager at what has quickly become the starting price point for many 4 packs?  Maybe it is just the understated beauty of the blue and white cans.

I’m not one to complain whatever the cause was, this beer was one of my favorites. In fact, a couple of cans were among the first beers to go in the fridge at the new house when I moved this past week. A perfect beverage to sip on while unpacking. While I don’t think that craft beer prices are going to come back down, I do think that a number of brands with the ability to produce solid options at this price point will take hold.

Recently Asheville, North Carolina’s Hi-Wire brewing announced plans to move all of its core beers into the six pack 16oz format and their Hi-Pitch IPA is quickly staking its claim to a top spot for 2022’s numbers here.

In the world of IPAs the talk might be all about the Hazies, but whether it is the never ending quest for the new or maybe a shift in overall preferences the top spot belonged to a newcomer for 2021 — Vibrissa’s Gracious Living.

The dream of the nineties is alive in Front Royal with this flagship West Coast styled IPA nestled alongside a series of delicious lagers, English bitters, milds and *gasp* more West Coast IPAs. Many see West Coast IPAs making a clear comeback in 2022 and I’m already hearing from brewers and sales reps that there are going to be some of the same types of innovations coming to the style that helped drive the Haze Craze of the past few years.

Hops in all their forms and citrus additions have already played a big part in the West Coast style’s history but look for talk of thiols and terpenes to join the conversation. We probably won’t be seeing any Frankenberry Milkshake 100 IBU DIPAs quite yet though.

Rounding out our top three for the year and certainly the one that caused the most excitement in its immediate arrival was 3 Floyd’s Zombie Dust. We had our phones ringing off the hook when this first came into the shop, of course that was one of the only ways to reach us at the time since we had yet to re-open our doors at the time. The excitement of a long storied brand arriving really lit a fire for many of you. That excitement continued throughout the year as well and we were consistently moving through cases of the one time top rated brewery in the world.

What will be the next brewery to make its way to Virginia’s shelves?

There’s some STRONG contenders in the New England area that I know many of you are clamoring for and a number of California breweries that make the occasional appearance when some of the major beer festivals in the area are happening. If I had my druthers though we would finally see the return of some of my favorite Belgian breweries that have had their distribution rights in limbo for a few years.

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Shucktoberfest in Shirlington (courtesy of Shucktoberfest)

Oyster and beer festival Shucktoberfest is returning to Shirlington later this month.

More than 40 food vendors will be selling craft beer, oysters and food at the Village at Shirlington (2700 S. Quincy Street). The event will be held Saturday, Oct. 23 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The fourth-annual event is put on by Copperwood Tavern (4021 Campbell Ave).

For younger attendees, there will be a kids’ zone with face painters, balloon artists and family-friendly games. Dogs are welcome, too.

Tickets are $40 and include a wristband for adults age 21 and older, a 5-ounce beer-tasting mug and 10 event tickets. Each event ticket is redeemable for one 5-ounce beer sample or two oysters.

Tickets can be purchased at the event, but organizers recommended pre-purchasing them online.

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