Arlington, VA

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.

Hello, readers of ARLnow.

This is your new Arrowine Beermonger, Todd. I figured, rather than the typical introduction, I’d let you get to know me a little bit more by talking about one of my favorite beers. (Three sentences in and you’ve already learned that I sometimes take the long way to get to a point.)

The concept of a desert island beer seems pretty simple, right? You’re stuck on an island, and you have only one beer to drink until someone conceivably comes to rescue you — or you live out the rest of your days in an introvert’s paradise. Are you thinking of your all-time favorite that you can enjoy over and over, never tiring of the taste? Or maybe you’re looking to pamper yourself in this hypothetical by loading up on that rare bottle you’ve never gotten your hands on.

Personally, I’m looking for something that will be versatile enough to cover all the bases and that will be continually developing so I’m always on my toes. Enter: Orval.

Brasserie d’Orval is a Trappist brewery located within the walls of the Abbaye Notre-Dame d’Orval in the Gaume region of Belgium. Gaume is about as far away from Brussels as you can get while still being in Belgium. And Orval is about as different from your typical Trappist beer while still being a Trappist beer. (Trappist beers are categorized by the monks making it rather than the style or ingredients.) You might be thinking of the beautiful simplicity of Westvleteren Blond or the rich caramelized fruits of Chimay Grande Reserve, and most Trappist beers resemble one of the archetypal styles (Singel, Dubbel, Tripel, Quadruppel).

Orval, on the other hand, at its most simple, is described as a Belgian pale ale, but even that gets a few twists and turns thrown in like dry-hopping and my favorite part: an intentional dosing of wild yeast, Brettanomyces bruxellensis, at bottling. This last addition is what makes Orval my ideal desert island beer. That “Brett,” as best known to its friends and enemies, will continue to ferment the bottled beer for years to come, which introduces differing levels of funk in every bottle, an increase in carbonation (the reason it comes in such heavy bottles) and has the added benefit of scavenging oxygen.

At a young age, the beer is dry, fruity and very refreshing, but as it ages, it becomes bone dry, introducing more spicy notes and far more complexity. To speak to the joys that the full spectrum of this beer brings me, I cite two examples. First, one of the many highlights of spending my honeymoon in Belgium was exploring the grounds of the abbey and sitting in the cafe down the road to enjoy an Orval far fresher than any I’ve ever seen in the United States. And second, I once found two bottles in a store that had been bottled on Feb. 29, 2012. I immediately bought them with the intention of opening one on each of the subsequent Leap Days in 2016 and 2020. (Best laid plans and all but that didn’t work out.)

I was inspired to make this the topic of my first column since we’ve got more Orval arriving at Arrowine today. If you’ve never tried it, I highly recommend picking up a bottle or two with your next order.

Drop a comment below and let me know what your desert island beer would be!

Cheers,

Todd

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Pentagon Row is no more. Now, it’s “Westpost at National Landing.”

The Pentagon City shopping center has rebranded as Amazon’s new HQ2 rises a few blocks away. The goal, according to a press release, is to create a “fresh vision” for the retail strip, which first opened in 1999.

In announcing the new branding, “Westpost” owner Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRIT) also announced a new tenant: Nighthawk Pizza.

Nighthawk is a partnership of Arlington nightlife (and grooming) kingpin Scott Parker; Northern Virginia brewer Aslin Beer Co.; and buzzy local chef Johnny Spero, of Reverie and Netflix fame.

The restaurant, expected to open next fall, will feature “approachable low ABV beers, that will be reminiscent of old-world styles for the working class,” along with “Spero’s innovative approach towards pizza, sandwiches.” It will also sport a 90s vibe and a beer hall-like atmosphere.

Though Spero’s food will give Nighthawk culinary cred, we’re told it will be more of a social destination — an after-work watering hole for future HQ2 employees and others who live and work in the area.

Nighthawk will be located in the sizable former Champps space. The shuttered sports bar had been struggling for months when the pandemic dealt a final blow in March.

Leading up to the “Westpost” rebranding, Pentagon Row added a trio of other restaurants helmed by notable local chefs and restaurateurs: Scott Chung’s Bun’d Up, Chung and Kevin Tien’s Wild Tiger BBQ pop-up, and, more recently, Antonio Ferraro’s Napoli Salumeria. Nighthawk “compliments the current mix and offers a look into the future of Westpost at National Landing,” FRIT says.

More from a press release, below.

The dynamic partnership of popular local chef Johnny Spero, Aslin Beer Co., Scott Parker and The Wave Group have created a new fun brand, Nighthawk Pizza. The restaurant is scheduled to arrive to the newly named Westpost in fall 2021.

Nighthawk Pizza will focus exclusively on making approachable low ABV beers, that will be reminiscent of old-world styles for the working class, with the innovation that Aslin is known for. Paired with Johnny Spero’s innovative approach towards pizza, sandwiches, and more, and The Wave Group’s ability to build brands with and through the community, the team plans to make a lasting impact in the DMV area and beyond.

“The team behind Nighthawk are thrilled to bring something special to Westpost at National Landing. We’re excited to add our experience in the Arlington bar scene to Johnny’s incredible food, and the Aslin team’s best-in-class beer-making abilities to create a new beer hall experience that pays homage to the 90’s in its design elements. Nighthawk will be a beer brand of its own, and will brew beer on-site for consumption and to-go,” says Scott Parker.

For Federal Realty, to create a fresh vision for Westpost, formerly known as Pentagon Row, couldn’t have happened at a better time. “With the impending arrival of Amazon’s HQ2 to the newly formed National Landing, our team has set out to deliver a true destination, an outpost, if you will, for the long-time residents and the new-comers that call National Landing, and the greater Arlington area, home, work, and all things in between,” says James Milam of Federal. “Westpost is ideally located just a short walk west from Amazon’s campus, but a world away as far as amenities and offerings. It’s the perfect place to disconnect from work, while staying connected with friends, great food and unique drinks, in a comfortable, relaxed environment,” Milam continues. The neighborhood is equally convenient to Arlington and points south, via Rt. 1, and D.C. via 395/Metro/Rideshare.

New additions to the neighborhood over the past year (Scott Chung’s Bun’d Up, Antonio Ferraro’s Napoli Salumeria, led by Chef Andy Clark and Wild Tiger, a partnership with Chung, and Chef Kevin Tien, formerly of Himitsu and Emilie’s and now Moon Rabbit) have delivered great buzz met with serious culinary innovation. Nighthawk Pizza compliments the current mix and offers a look into the future of Westpost at National Landing.

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Heritage Brewing Company has closed its Arlington location, citing the difficulties of making ends meet during the pandemic.

The Manassas-based, veteran-owned brewery opened its Market Common Clarendon “brewpub and roastery” at 2900 Wilson Blvd in the spring of 2017. It featured booths handmade from barrel pieces, 18 craft beers on tap, a contemporary food menu, cocktails, wine, and Veritas Coffee.

The restaurant received generally favorable reviews for its food and drinks, garnering 4.5 stars on Yelp, but suffered during the pandemic from a location with only minimal outdoor seating space.

The company announced its closure last night on Instagram, posting the following message.

It is with great sadness that we announce the closure of Heritage Brewing Market Common in Clarendon. Despite the incredible support of our wonderful patrons, we were unable to overcome the difficulties of the current environment. We greatly appreciate the exceptional support we’ve received from you all since reopening in June.

To the many member of our past staff, you will always be part of the Heritage family, and you can be proud of the amazing food, beverages and service you delivered.

Heritage will continue as a brewery at our Manassas location and we look forward to seeing you at our taproom. Our brewmaster is busy making fresh brews!

Thank you Arlington for the past 3 years.

-The Heritage team

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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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An Arlington pet rescue and a Dulles brewery have joined forces for a unique fundraiser that will help find new homes for dogs and cats in need.

The Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation has partnered with Solace Brewing Company for the second year in a row to produce a special Rescue Ale that will be sold to raise money for the nonprofit, which is dedicated to rescuing homeless, abused, and neglected pets and facilitating their adoption.

This year’s Solace-produced Rescue Ale is an India Pale Ale brewed with mosaic and Amarillo hops at 7% alcohol by volume. It will be available for sale at the Solace Brewery on Oct. 8 and at all Lost Dog Café locations — including on Columbia Pike and in Westover — starting at 5 p.m. on Oct. 9.

The collaboration enables the rescue foundation to continue an annual tradition of working with local breweries despite challenges caused by the need for social distancing during the pandemic.

“Our annual fundraiser has always been an extremely important driver for engaging with the broader community, garnering resources, and ultimately gaining supporters that strengthen our important rescue mission,” Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation public relations manager Kim Williams said. “With the generosity of Solace Brewing Co., the Rescue Ale tradition is still alive, and people can enjoy a charitable beer in the comfort of their home while supporting a worthy cause.”

A portion of all Rescue Ale sales will be donated to the foundation.

The Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation first started working with local breweries to develop special Rescue Ales in 2017 when the nonprofit partnered with Alexandria’s Port City Brewing Company.

Owned by Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation founders Pam McAlwee and Ross Underwood, the Lost Dog Café originated in Arlington and now also has locations in McLean, Dunn Loring, and Alexandria.

In the past, the Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation hosted large fundraising events like a “Paws Vegas” carnival held at Solace Brewing Company last October, but because crowds currently pose public health risks, the nonprofit has pivoted instead to an auction with tickets for a private tour of Solace Brewing Company.

On top of a guided tour, ticket winners will get to see the canning process for this year’s Rescue Ale and receive a catered lunch, a four-pack of the Rescue Ale, Lost Dog Café and Solace Brewing Co.-branded pint glasses, and a Rescue Ale 2020 T-shirt.

Bidding on the “Behind the Brew: Rescue Ale Canning Day Fundraiser” tour started on Sept. 23 and closes at 12:00 p.m. on Oct. 26.

The Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation is also holding an outdoor adoption event at Solace Brewing Company on Oct. 10. Masks and adherence to social distancing rules will be required.

The foundation, which has a rescue care center facility in Falls Church, says it has rescued 2,183 pets and facilitated the adoptions of 2,015 dogs and cats in 2020 so far.

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After nine months of construction, the new World of Beer in Ballston is set to open its doors next week.

The Florida-basd chain announced Monday that the new watering hole at 4300 Wilson Blvd, facing N. Glebe Road, will open on Thursday, Oct. 5. The space was formerly home to Ted’s Montana Grill.

The restaurant is not far from Crafthouse (901 N. Glebe Road), which was Virginia’s first World of Beer location from 2012 until 2017, when the owner parted ways and rebranded locations in Ballston, Reston and Fairfax. World of Beer can currently be found in Bethesda and Rockville, Maryland.

“We are pleased to bring back our exceptional craft beer experience and beer-inspired menu to the community of Arlington,” World of Beer CEO Paul Avery said in a statement. “At World of Beer, we truly believe there is a friend on every barstool. We look forward to sharing the craft brews and their stories with our guests, who may be inspired to discover something new.”

In addition to an indoor seating area with a long, curved bar and an antler chandelier, the restaurant has a sizable outdoor patio, which the company says will feature social games like corn hole and giant Jenga.

World of Beer offers hundreds of local, regional, national and international beers at its 51 locations in the U.S., South Korea and China, in addition to food, wine and cocktails. The food menu includes items that pair well with beer, like pork schnitzel, an Angus beef burger with Chimay Classique cheese, Chipotle BBQ chicken flatbread, and a German pretzel.

WOB applied for building permits in October 2019 and began construction in February.

The split between then-owner Evan Matz and World of Beer took a bitter turn later in 2017, when the chain sued Matz for violating the terms of the franchise agreement. In October 2018, Matz sued back.

Two other World of Beer locations — in Ashburn and Charlottesville — broke from the franchise, with the owners rebranding the locations as Jefferson Ale House. Only the Jefferson Ale House in Ashburn remains in business.

World of Beer in Ballston will be open seven days a week: Sunday from 11 a.m.-12 a.m., Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Monday through Thursday, and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m.-2 a.m.

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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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In two days, Montgomery County will start allowing alcohol consumption in select parks as part of a pilot program.

More from Washingtonian:

Beginning Thursday, September 24, alcohol consumption will be allowed in nine designated parks as part of a pilot program approved by the Montgomery County Planning Board on Thursday. It will run at least through May.

The change is one facet of the county’s “Picnic in the Park” initiative, which aims to bolster takeout business for nearby restaurants while providing venues for safe social distancing. The MoCo Eats website shows picnic-goers which restaurants will deliver to them, and each park has drop-off spots for drivers.

In Arlington, alcohol consumption is banned in parks, with the exception of serving beer and wine during permitted events in two parks: Rosslyn Gateway Park and Clarendon Central Park. On top of the restrictions, Arlington has a program called Park Safe in which repeat offenders of rules like the alcohol ban — often homeless individuals with substance abuse problems — can be temporarily banned from all county parks.

Montgomery County’s program is specifically aimed at boosting outdoor dining during the pandemic and does not legalize public intoxication. But it’s the latest example of how long-standing laws concerning where you can buy and consume alcohol have become malleable as a result of COVID-19, allowing restaurants to deliver cocktails and parking lots to turn into watering holes.

Arlington has thus far declined to close streets to give restaurants more room to seat diners outside, as D.C. is doing, but perhaps adopting Montgomery County’s new temporary park rules could be the thing to give local eateries a boost.

What do you think?

Courtesy photo

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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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