Editor’s Note: This biweekly column is sponsored by Dominion Wine and Beer (107 Rowell Court, Falls Church).
This week the Weekend Wine and Beer Guide is doing something a bit different: rather than reading about beer late on a Friday — now you can watch.
We set up a GoPro in the shop and interviewed Nick “Beermonger” Anderson of Alexandria’s Port City Brewing. You might know Nick better as the former beer columnist on ARLnow.com. Enjoy!
Editor’s Note: This biweekly column is sponsored by Dominion Wine and Beer (107 Rowell Court, Falls Church). It is written by Garrett Cruce, a Certified Beer Server in the Cicerone Certification Program.
One year ago, the owners of Green Flash Brewing Co. and Alpine Beer Company announced that their breweries were merging. Around this time, Green Flash ranked 48th among craft breweries in the U.S. in brewing volume according to the Brewer’s Association. They weren’t huge, but they were a good sight larger than Alpine who employed 20 people.
Their business relationship had begun a year earlier when they entered into a “handshake agreement” to have Green Flash brew and package some of Alpine’s beers. This agreement doubled Alpine’s production from 1,500 bbl to 3,000 bbl. So successful was 2013-14 for both breweries that they decided to take their relationship one step further.
Joining forces, while allowing each company to continue operating independently, supports an environment in which two world-class breweries can co-exist and thrive. Their excellence is evident on beeradvocate.com — each brewery routinely earns a score of 90 or greater. What’s better, is that Alpine — a brewery that was previously only local to San Diego — can now share it’s coveted beers with the same markets that enjoy Green Flash.
It can be fun getting your hands on a beer than can only be found in the Russian River Valley or in rural Vermont. What I prefer is enjoying a superb beer that I bought in my own back yard. Alpine and Green Flash have proven that they can scale up their winning formulas. Now, we can all benefit.
Check out these three Alpine beers and more at Dominion Wine & Beer.
Alpine Beer Company Hoppy Birthday IPA (5.25% ABV)
Brewed to celebrate hoppiness and to keep the party going, Alpine’s Hoppy Birthday is a session IPA. The relatively low ABV of this beer allows the huge hop flavor to shine without all the alcohol of a standard IPA. For those who like the way that hops can bring the bitterness, this beer will be a welcome assault on the tongue.
Duet is Alpine’s own West Coast IPA — a modern classic with a blend of Simcoe and Amarillo hops. The combination of hops lends this beer a nice balance of piney aroma and hop flavor. This is a finely crafted, hop-forward IPA that has just the right amount of sweetness from the alcohol. It’s full of flavor and immensely drinkable.
Alpine Beer Company Nelson golden rye IPA (7% ABV)
Made primarily with generous amounts of the New Zealand hop, Nelson Sauvin, in both the brewing and dry-hopping this IPA packs quite a hop punch. The rye in the name refers to European rye, which is used as part of the grain bill — it brings both a smooth maltiness and a peppery spice that complements the bitterness of the hops. Nelson’s reputation preceded it’s availability in this area when The Washington Post made Nelson it’s Beer of the Week earlier this summer.
The license, if approved, would allow the Starbucks at 2690 Clarendon Blvd to serve beer and wine.
The company had earlier applied for Virginia ABC permits at two South Arlington locations, as part of the “Starbucks Evenings” program it’s rolling out. All three permit applications are still pending.
Starbucks Evenings stores will serve beer, wine and a selection of small plates at night, in addition to the usual coffee, tea, pastries and breakfast foods.
Starbucks customers may be able to order a glass of wine with their Pumpkin Spice Lattes at two Arlington locations in the next few months.
Starbucks has filed liquor license applications for its new Penrose Square (2413 Columbia Pike) and Arlington Ridge Shopping Center (2925 S. Glebe Road) locations. If approved, the stores will be able to serve beer and wine, in addition to the coffee and tea drinks the company sells.
Starbucks is offering beer and wine at select stores as part of its new “Starbucks Evenings” service, which also includes small plates.
According to a sample menu, the coffee chain will sell various red, white and sparkling wines by the bottle and glass, as well as craft beers. Small plates include truffle mac and cheese, bacon-wrapped dates, chicken skewers and truffle popcorn. Menus vary by region.
License applications for the two stores are currently pending, according to the Virginia Department of Alcohol Beverage Control.
Wine and beer will come to the Long Branch Creek location in “probably a few months,” said a supervisor at the store but she could not provide any additional information. USA Today reported in August that Starbucks is launching Starbucks Evenings at more than 2,000 of its 12,000+ U.S. stores, with many opening by the end of the year.
A Starbucks spokesman stopped short of confirming that the two South Arlington stores will in fact be serving beer and wine in the near future.
“Just as each customer is unique, so are our stores and we consider a broad range of products and experiences for each neighborhood,” said the spokeswoman. “And, as you’ve probably seen, we’re in the very early stages of considering our stores at 2413 Columbia Pike and 2925 S. Glebe Road for the Evenings menu. It’s a long and thoughtful process and the permit filing is just one of many steps we take.”
The annual Mid-Atlantic Oktoberfest in Shirlington has been postponed due to inclement weather.
Event organizer Capitol City Brewing Company announced this morning that the Oktoberfest, originally scheduled for tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon, will instead be held next Sunday, Oct. 11.
“This rescheduled event will be [halved] in size, comparable to Capitol City’s Springfest event,” a PR rep said in an email. “Thank you for your understanding!”
Springfest consisted of beer samples from 45 breweries, mostly from Virginia, D.C. and Maryland.
Capitol City Brewing will be hosting the 16th Annual Mid-Atlantic Oktoberfest in Shirlington on Saturday, October 3 from 12-7 p.m.
The event will feature more than 60 local breweries, food from local vendors and authentic German music and food. As usual, Oktoberfest will be held along Campbell Avenue at The Village at Shirlington.
“We have about 90 vendors, 65 breweries, thousands of people come out, it’s just a whole lot of fun,” said Sean Carney, a manager at the brewery’s Shirlington location. Carney says he expects two to three thousand people to come to the event, “Maybe even more… it’s one of the bigger festivals in the fall around here, that’s what gets people so excited.”
Tickets are $30 for the the beer tasting, which includes 10 four-ounce pours, wristband and tasting glass. For non-drinkers, the event is free to attend.
Arlington County has made a video publicizing ways to get there without using a car, both as part of Arlington’s Car-Free Diet, as well as to encourage responsible drinking.
The Arlington County Police Department is planning a some road closures for the Rosslyn Backyard Beer Festival on Saturday.
The event is being held at Rosslyn’s Gateway Park in two sessions, one from 1-4 p.m. and the other from 7-10 p.m. Organized in part by Project DC Events, best known for their Clarendon bar crawls, the festival will feature more than 60 craft brews and live music.
More than 30 breweries are expected to participate, including Flying Dog from Frederick, Maryland, Old Ox Brewery from Ashburn and D.C. breweries Atlas Brew Works and DC Brau. Tickets are now $35-45.
To help accommodate the large crowds expected for the event, police will be flocking off the southbound lanes of N. Fort Myer Drive for most of the day, directing traffic coming into Rosslyn via the Key Bridge to a detour that runs up Lee Highway.
In a press release, the police department warned of the following traffic impacts:
- “Southbound lanes of N. Fort Myer Drive between east and westbound Lee Highway will be closed from 10:00 a.m. to [midnight]. Detour signs will be posted.”
- “Heavy pedestrian traffic is anticipated between the hours of 12:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m., be prepared for delays.”
- “DETOUR (coming from Key Bridge on N. Fort Myer Drive) around the event will be directed west on Lee Highway, then south on Scott Street, followed by Veitch Street.”
- “Street parking in the area may be restricted. Motorists should be on the lookout for temporary ‘No Parking’ signs. Illegally parked vehicles may be ticketed or towed. If your vehicle is towed from a public street, call 703-558-2222.”
Having a beer with friends has been taken to the next level with Arlington’s Backyard Beer Fest, coming to town September 19 and benefitting Turner Farm Events.
For the first time ever, Rosslyn will be hosting the festival overlooking the city–you might even say it’s in Arlington’s backyard. Festival goers can buy a ticket for the afternoon or evening slots, then tour stands from 35+ breweries, the area’s best food trucks and everyone’s favorite yard games and activities. Cornhole, anyone?
For a $45 VIP pass or a $35 general admission ticket, you can have hours of unlimited beer tasting of more than 60 beers, a souvenir tasting glass, plus access to the game zone, free live music and drinking with thousands of your neighbors.
Now’s the time to get tickets to the festival, happening September 19 at Gateway Park. Because who doesn’t want to amp up their weekend with a backyard party you don’t have to clean up after? Use promo code: “ARLNOW” and save 20 percent.
The preceding post was written by ARLnow.com and sponsored by Arlington’s Backyard Beer Fest.
Rosslyn’s Gateway Park will turn into a beer garden this September with the arrival of Arlington’s latest beer festival.
The Backyard Beer Festival will feature more than 60 craft brews and live music during the event on Sept. 19.
The festival, which is sponsored by Uber, Drink the World and Project DC Events, will also have backyard games with plenty of prizes for guests. Attendees will be able to purchase food from food trucks and other food vendors.
The festival has two sessions, one from 1-4 p.m. and the other from 7-10 p.m. General admission tickets are $25 per session, and VIP tickets cost $35. With a general admission ticket, participants will get three hours of unlimited beer tasting and a souvenir glass. VIP ticket holders will get an extra hour for beer tasting and access to VIP bathrooms.
More than 30 breweries are expected to participate, including Flying Dog from Frederick, Maryland, Old Ox Brewery from Ashburn and D.C. breweries Atlas Brew Works and DC Brau. For those with gluten allergies, the festival will have ciders and gluten-free beers.
The event is for ages 21 and up, and will happen rain or shine. All participants will need to bring an ID with their tickets.
Logo via Backyard Beer Festival
Arlington’s Metropole Brewing Company has two big events on the horizon: the opening of its first brewery and a name change for the company.
There was speculation in March that Metropole, a brewing company started by Arlington local Mike Katrivanos, might be opening its first facility at 2709 S. Oakland Street, near the Shirlington dog park and the W&OD Trail. Those suspicions were confirmed via a post on the business’s Facebook page Monday night.
“Arlington’s first package brewery since 1916 is coming to your community!” said the post. “Time and time again, Arlington County is featured as one of the best places to live in the United States. Help make Arlington an even better place to live by supporting your local brewery.”
Steve Katrivanos — Mike’s brother and former bandmate in local alt rock group Sematic — said he anticipates the brewery, which will include a tasting room, will open this fall. In addition to on-premises sales, the brewery will sell its beer to local retailers.
“This started as my brother’s dream seven years ago, and he worked with Arlington for two years to make it a reality,” said Katrivanos. “We’re almost at at the finish line now.”
Katrivanos described the company as a craft brewery that strives to use locally-sourced and quality imported ingredients. In the past, Metropole has used Virginia honeysuckle to make their beer, and Katrivanos said the company recently acquired some local honey which they plan to use in a beer sometime soon.
“We pride ourselves on unique but drinkable craft beer,” said Katrivanos.
So far, Katrivanos says the community has been very supportive, with residents coming out to look at the space or help with renovations “pretty much every weekend.”
“We want to be part of the Arlington community,” said Katrivanos.
The brewery opening isn’t the only change for Metropole: the company is in the process of changing their name to New District Brewing Co., a transition Katrivanos expects to be completed sometime within the next week.
Photo courtesy Steve Katrivanos
Sehkraft Beer Garden and Haus, a new brewpub near Clarendon from the owners of the Westover Beer Garden, is looking to open its doors before baseball season is over.
The beer garden’s goal is to open its new location at 925 N. Garfield Street by the end of August, said owner Devin Hicks. The pub will definitely be open by mid-September “in time to watch the Nationals kill it in the playoffs and hopefully watch the Redskins be competitive,” he said.
Sehkraft’s 10-barrel brewing system is currently being installed in the establishment, Hicks said. Once open, the beer garden will have five beers flowing from the tanks and five house brews in kegs. The bar will also feature 30 “guest” beers from other breweries for its taps.
Sehkraft will collaborate with a number of local and national breweries, Hicks said. The first is a collaboration with Adroit Theory, a brewing company based in Purcellville, Virginia. The brew, an Imperial Gose, will be one of the first distributed at the bar.
“We definitely are excited to showcasing the several fantastic local breweries in the area,” Hicks said.
Head brewer John Peters also plans to collaborate with Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. Growlers will also be a big part of Sehkraft Beer Garden, and customers will receive discounts on growlers if they use the bar’s Portland Growlers, Hicks said.
The establishment will also be home to a butcher shop. Customers will be able to buy cuts of meat to take home from the shop, which will also serve as the bar’s kitchen.
In addition to the beer and food, the venue will be a home for live music. Hicks is working with a booking agent to attract local and regional bands to perform at the bar.
The bar received its entertainment permit from the county last November, but it does not allow the venue to open its windows or doors. Sehkraft plans to have outdoor seating but guests will have to stay indoors if they wish to hear the music.
“We’re gonna give Arlingtonians an unbelievable venue to help celebrate our great community, beer, music and food,” Hicks said.
The company is hiring staff to help it get ready for its opening. Those interested in joining can email joe@sehkraftbrewing for general employment, [email protected] to apply for a kitchen position, [email protected] for the butcher shop and [email protected] to work in the brewery.
Photo courtesy Devin Hicks
D.C. Beer Week is less than two weeks away and one of its most popular events will take place in Arlington.
Local brewery DC Brau and Quarterdeck Restaurant (1200 Fort Myer Drive) are partnering to put on the “Fourth Annual D.C. Beer Week Crab Fest” on Monday, Aug. 10 from 5-10 p.m.
The fest is being billed as “the event of D.C. Beer Week,” and promises all-you-can-eat Mid-Atlantic crab, $1 DC Brau on draft and pitchers of DC Brau for $5.
Tickets cost $45, and are available online.
“$1 Drafts? $5 Pitchers? They must be insane!!!” says the festival web page. “Yes, they are! Insane with our craving for these colorful crustaceans!!! Eat til your [sic] full.”
Although the crab fest is the only event in Arlington, Beer Week has events planned for the D.C. Metro area from Aug. 9-16. The schedule kicks off with a beer tasting in Northeast on Sunday, Aug. 9. Next comes the crab fest in Arlington on Monday, followed by a beach party at the National Building Museum on Tuesday, Aug. 11.
Finally, the week-long celebration of beer rounds out with two weekend events in Dupont: a beer-tasting hosted by Devil’s Backbone Brewery on Saturday, Aug. 15 and a “beer scavenger hunt” on Sunday, Aug. 16.
Arlington residents to should start building up an appetite. The third annual D.C. BRGR Bash is coming to Rosslyn’s Gateway Park on Saturday, July 18.
The BRGR Bash is a six hour competition of who can make the best burger, and the judges are the visitors. Each person at the bash gets to try four burgers and then a cast his or her vote for favorite burger.
There will also be craft beers to help wash down the burgers and live music to jam to while eating.
At the end of the day, one burger chef champion will be named, and he or she will walk away with a vacation to Austin, Texas and the Golden BRGR Bash trophy.
The competition was started by Craig Carey, who also started Ballston burger joint Big Buns.
The competition runs from noon to 6 p.m. on July 18, and tickets are $29 per person. A ticket gets a person entry and four burgers. The 16 burgers are broken down into four groups, and each ticket is for one group. D.C. BRGR Bash recommends bringing three other friends so that everyone can taste all 16 burgers. Craft beers are available for $5 at one of the four beer bars.
Vegetarians don’t have to be left out. The competition offers a Veggie Burger ticket for $19, which gets the person entry and a veggie burger. There will also be cider for those with gluten allergies.
Arlingtonians can also attend the bash to support the four local competitors: Willow Restaurant in Ballston, Big Buns in Ballston, Citizen Burger Bar in Clarendon and the combined entry of Liberty Tavern and Lyon Hill in Clarendon.
Photo courtesy of Darren Stauffer
The events, which are free to attend, feature live music and, for paying customers, sips of various wine varietals.
“Expert noses from [Washington Wine Academy] help guests select and enjoy the perfect wine for an after work beverage to kick-off the weekend right amidst the calming sounds of falling water mixed with live music,” according to the Crystal City website.
This year, the event is being combined with ArtJamz, which offers aspiring artists paint and canvas so they can create their own paintings in a social setting.
Wine in the Waterpark and ArtJamz will run from 6:00-10:00 p.m. tonight and will take place every Friday in June at the Crystal City water park (1750 Crystal Drive).
On Wednesdays in June, from 5:00-8:00 p.m., Crystal City will hold Blues, Brews and Barks, featuring beer and live music in a dog-friendly setting. The event will take place at the 2121 Crystal Drive courtyard.
Attendees are encouraged to pick up food from local eateries before going to the park. Beverages will be available in the beer garden. Attendees can get two drink tickets for $5 if bought in advance.
Disclosure: Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser
Editor’s Note: This biweekly column is sponsored by Dominion Wine and Beer (107 Rowell Court, Falls Church). This column is written by Garrett Cruce.
“Furthermore, we wish to emphasize that in the future in all cities, markets and in the country, the only ingredients used for the brewing of beer must be barley, hops and water. Whosoever knowingly disregards or transgresses upon this ordinance, shall be punished by the Court authorities confiscating such barrels of beer, without fail.” — Reinheitsgebot of 1516
The quote above is the famous paragraph from the German purity law that has governed brewing in Germany since 1516. Though it has undergone slight changes over the centuries, there is still an emphasis on consistency. Particularly where lagers are concerned.
The current law is known under the decidedly less interesting name of “Section 9 of the Public Notice concerning the Amendment of the Provisional Beer Law dated July 29, 1993.” In it, lagers are still highly restricted, but ales are now allowed to use other malts, sugars and colorants. Still, it’s not very open to change.
The result, however, of having such restrictions is that the product of German breweries is fantastic. Jever’s pilsener is nearly perfect; Hofbräu’s original lager is crisp and smooth; and, Weihenstephaner’s Hefe Weissbier hits every note.
Whether you choose the crisp and malty lager or the refreshing and mildly bitter pilsner or the spicy hefe weissbier, you’ll have a delicious beverage for a hot summer day. These beers are perfect for drinking by the grill or on a picnic blanket.
Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier (5.4% ABV)
Located in Bavaria, Weihenstephaner claims a lineage that dates back to 1040 CE when it was a Benedictine monastery. Today, it’s the Bavarian State Brewery at Weihenstephan and is well known for this beer. A “hefe weissbier,” also known as a hefeweizen, is a beer that uses a majority of wheat in it’s malt mixture — often 60-70%.
The color is typically a pale yellow and the mouthfeel should be effervescent. The aroma is appropriately of clove from the special yeast strain that has long been known as the “Weihenstephan” strain. Its flavor is cereal up front with a big banana fruitiness in the finish. This beer would pair nicely with grilled shrimp or a big summery salad. Or, just enjoy on its own.
Hofbräu München Original (5.1% ABV)
The hofbräuhaus has come to be synonymous with a fine tavern. Originally the name of the taproom for the Hofbräuhaus brewery in Munich, it has since been used in the names of other taverns and breweries. Hofbräu München is a well known brewery that boasts styles that claim to be representative of the German brewing tradition. Original is their light-colored lager.
Though we think of lager as yellow beer, not all lagers are golden. Many are quite dark as the color is dependent on the barley malt that is used. Original happens to be perfectly clear and golden. It’s also crisp with a soda cracker maltiness and a very light hop bitterness. Raise one of these by the grill or with a cheeseburger.
Jever Pilsener (4.9% ABV)
Jever (pronounced Yay-ver) is located in the north of Germany near the Netherlands. They have made this beer for 160 years, perfecting it to the delicious and refreshing beer that they make today. The aroma is very subtle — lightly hoppy and clean. But its the flavor that sets this pilsner apart — it’s clean and sweet up front with a bitter hop finish. You can’t go wrong pairing this with light food or even grilled chicken or steak. The hops add enough flavor to make this pilsner a versatile beer.
All my talk about how these beers are ideal versions of their style certainly does indicate that German breweries have refined their processes to the point of near perfection. And that’s hard to argue with. But, as much as I enjoy them, the thrill of the unknown — and sometimes imperfect — in American craft beer keeps my interest alive. Enjoy these venerable imports, then keep searching to find out what amazing beers you can find. Cheers!
The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.