Press Club

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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After the pandemic put a fledgling outdoor beer and community event on hold last year, Valley Fest is back.

The festival, organized by New District Brewing Co., will take place from 12-5 p.m. on Sunday in the Green Valley neighborhood, near Shirlington.

Entry is free, and a pass for three beer tickets — which includes a commemorative pint glass — is $22 the day of the event. Beer will be served inside the brewery (2709 S. Oakland Street) and at a tent in the parking lot.

But forget about trying to get a space in the parking lot: The brewery is advising people to park on S. Four Mile Run Drive, and the county is encouraging people to consider other ways to travel there.

The festival will include kids activities, art, music and food as well as dessert trucks.

Valley Fest started in 2017 as a smaller festival but expanded in 2018 as a plan to replace Capitol City Brewing’s annual Shirlington Oktoberfest after the brewpub closed.

The Arlington County Police Department will close several roads from approximately 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. for the Sunday festival. Closures include:

  • S. Oakland Street from S. Four Mile Run Drive to the Shirlington Dog Park
  • The 2700 block of S. Nelson Street, though the Arlington Food Assistance Center and part of the self-storage facility will be accessible

Parking will be limited around the festival, and area street parking will be restricted with temporary “no parking” signs. Illegally parked vehicles may be ticketed or towed. Those whose vehicles get towed can call the Emergency Communications Center at (703) 558-2222.

The Shirlington dog park will remain open during the event but the parking lot between S. Nelson Street and S. Oakland Street will be unavailable. Pet owners are encouraged to use the S. Oxford Street access point if entering from S. Four Mile Run Drive or the Four Mile Run Trail footbridge when walking from Arlington Mill Drive, police say.

A map of street closures for Valley Fest (via Arlington County)
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The National Landing Oktoberfest is making a comeback next weekend in Crystal Cit.

The event will feature German beer and food and some more unique local traditions, like dog-themed events tied in with the event’s support for the Animal Welfare League of Arlington (AWLA).

The Oktoberfest is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 2 in the Lidl parking lot at the intersection of Crystal Drive and 33rd Street S. The event is free to attend, and drink purchases at the event will benefit AWLA. The event is scheduled to be held rain or shine, and tickets are non-refundable.

“From live bands and crisp German Lagers to a Barktoberfest dog-run for pup-friendly activities and a variety of games to entertain all ages, this event has a little something for everyone,” the National Landing Business Improvement District (BID), host of the event, said on the event’s website. “So, break out your lederhosen, and come enjoy the fall weather, as well as a variety of food trucks and vendors serving traditional (and not-so-traditional) German fare.”

The National Landing BID and the AWLA are co-hosting the event with local brewery New District Brewing.

Pre-registration is required and there is an attendance cap in place for the event. Attendees will also have to show proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test within the preceding 48 hours. Unvaccinated attendees and children under 12 will be required to wear a mask.

Photo via National Landing BID/Facebook

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Thirteen Miller Lites for the 13 U.S. servicemen and women who died in a suicide bombing near the Kabul airport last week (courtesy photo)

On Sunday, 13 pints of Miller Lite stood vigil at an empty, but reserved, table at The Celtic House Irish Pub & Restaurant on Columbia Pike.

The beers represented the 13 U.S. servicemen and women who died in suicide bombings at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul that also killed 170 Afghan civilians. Terrorist group ISIS-K claimed responsibility for the attacks conducted during the evacuation.

A woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, had purchased the beers after seeing posts on Facebook of similar scenes at other bars and thinking to herself, “This is good. This is something to do.”

Similar scenes played out in Courthouse at Ireland’s Four Courts and across the country, as individuals and bars have poured out beers and placed them at reserved tables to pay tribute to the fallen troops.

For the Celtic House patron, the little tribute and the now-complete withdrawal effort, were personal.

“Just by way of background, my husband died from suicide last year,” she told ARLnow. “He had several tours in Afghanistan. This is the kind of thing, that if he were still here — well, first of all, he would’ve been super upset — but this is something he would’ve done. It was a way to honor those who were lost and honor him, in a way.”

The woman said the last few weeks have been hard on her, and she had to stop watching the news coming from Afghanistan. Going to the bar, which she said is her local watering hole, was also a way of distracting herself from the news of Hurricane Ida that devastated her hometown of New Orleans (the remnants of which are now bound for the D.C. area).

The reaction to her beer purchase was positive, she said.

“I didn’t have my phone yesterday,” she said. “I got the guys to take a picture, and send it to me. I did post it on Facebook, and got positive reactions there, and I sent the pictures to a bunch of my husband’s friends.”

The Celtic House didn’t charge her for half of the beers, she said — but she would’ve still done it if they had. The bar posted the picture on Twitter on Sunday.

A similar tribute could be seen at Ireland’s Four Courts. On Saturday, a group of Marines who were regulars four years ago and have since moved back to the area, ordered 13 beers, General Manager Dave Cahill said.

They were placed on a table reserved all weekend with a napkin note that read “reserved for our fallen heroes.”

Cahill connected the tribute to the “Missing Man Table” tradition of setting a table for fallen or missing soldiers with a number of symbolic pieces. People with loved ones buried in Arlington National Cemetery regularly come to the pub and place a mug on the table in memory of the deceased friend or family member, he said.

“We have a lot of Marines who come in here,” he said. “A lot of Marines would be deployed here for a number of years, and people who are visiting Arlington Cemetery come in as well.”

The Celtic House patron said hers was a “trite little gesture,” but she encouraged people to reach out to the veterans in their lives, support organizations and get involved in other ways.

“The idea should be that, all the people who were with them — and not even the people wounded — they’re all going to suffer unimaginable trauma from seeing their friends blown to pieces, and trying to rescue them. One hundred seventy civilians were also killed,” she said. “Just get involved. See what you can do.”

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(Updated at 6:15 p.m.) Across from the Shirlington Dog Park, locals can be found sitting at high top tables, drinking crafted beer and enjoying each other’s company again for, in some cases, the first time in over a year.

New District Brewing Co. General Manager David Warren tells ARLnow that his customers have said this brewery, which opened in 2016, is one of the only places where they felt safe coming to throughout the pandemic.

“Every day I hear someone say ‘I haven’t been to a bar in a year a half,'” Warren said. “People would say, ‘I don’t go to bars or restaurants but I come here.’ They felt safe coming to us as we adhere strictly to safety guidelines. They see us running around with isopropyl alcohol, sanitizing everything.”

Warren says traffic to the 2709 S. Oakland Street warehouse taproom has somewhat been able to return to pre-coronavirus levels without the brewery suffering too much of a financial loss. And now, the brewery is back to hosting weekly trivia and live music, and has two big events on the horizon.

He credits the establishment’s intense cleaning regimen, which predates the pandemic, as beer has to be made in highly sanitized conditions.

“If there’s one thing brewers know how to do, it’s sanitize,” said Warren. “Even one little bacteria cell can ruin a batch of beer, so sanitation has to be completely airtight because other things float around in the air.”

Since the bar reopened its taproom room in mid-June last year, Warren said “business has been gradually improving.”

After capacity restrictions lifted at the end of May, the brewery on Four Mile Run has been able to return to its original 136 person capacity, after only being able to host about 30 people at a time to maintain six feet of distance between patrons.

While the pandemic forced Warren to close the taproom and turn people away over the past year, he says the pandemic has helped strengthen loyalty to the bar among employees and the community.

“It’s been all hands on deck,” he said. “Everybody does everything. Every one of my employees here has some kind of brewing experience. Everyone will chip in around everything.”

Fans came to the rescue at the height of the pandemic to ensure their favorite spot stayed afloat.

“We have a lot of support from the community. It’s been great. A lot of people would come here out of their way and buy a four pack just to help us,” he said.

One thing that generated some extra cash is private rentals.

According to a local Facebook group, New District has become an occasional private event space for those looking to host a gathering on a budget. A poster said the brewery has an affordable minimum beer purchase for rentals and — because there’s no kitchen — they allow food trucks. Another said she brought her own food, and called this arrangement the “best option we found.”

Now, New District is back at hosting weekly public events, including local art displays on Wednesdays, trivia nights on Thursdays at 7 p.m. and live music on Fridays at 6 p.m. Warren says these events have been helping draw crowds back to the bar.

New District also has two big local appearances this month and in September.

Next Wednesday through Sunday (Aug. 18-22), New District is hosting a beer garden at the Arlington County Fair, held at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center and grounds at 3501 2nd Street S.

“We’re going to have live music, food trucks, trivia, [and] a rock carving class,” said Warren.

New District will also host its annual Valley Fest street festival — cancelled last year because of the pandemic — on Sunday, Sept. 26 from noon-5 p.m. The brewery has hosted the free community event — which highlights the hyperlocal arts scene along Four Mile Run — since 2017, excluding last year.

“We shut down the block and have a big event here,” said Warren, adding that the event will include, “art vendors, food trucks, [and] live music.”

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