A week and a half ago, just ahead of its 9th Anniversary celebration, Mad Fox Brewing Company’s Bill Madden announced that the Falls Church brewpub would close its doors this coming Sunday, July 21.
With more breweries opening than ever, closings are also becoming more frequent, but the loss of Mad Fox has reverberated throughout the D.C. and Northern Virginia beer scenes like… well, a loss for the local beer scene.
Madden is a D.C. area legend, a mentor to brewers who can be found all over the area, and a brewer whose recipes at Mad Fox ranged from a world-class Keller Kolsch and excellent Pilsner and American Pale Ale, to robust Barleywines, to some future-forward IPAs — the Citra hop laden Orange Whip was years ahead of its time.
I always admired Two Hemispheres: A Wet Hop IPA featuring a blend of Citra and Galaxy that debuted in 2011. Galaxy was already out there, but that beer felt like a harbinger of things to come.
We’re also losing a hub of activity for local beer enthusiasts. Mad Fox’s festivals were well run, well-staffed and always featured a great selection of beers and breweries. The Spring Bierfest, Barleywine Fest, the Cask Ale Fest; lovely lecture/tasting evenings with Bob Tupper; the Festivus release parties. All gone.
So, what happened? Mad Fox’s closing announcement cites the proliferation of taproom breweries among the challenges it faced in staying afloat. Opening in 2010, Mad Fox didn’t have the option of opening a brewery with a taproom; SB 604 wouldn’t become law until 2012, allowing on-premise retail sale and consumption at Virginia breweries. The rise of strong craft beer programs for restaurants has made tougher competitors of them, as well.
As a brewpub, Mad Fox was walking the tightrope of running two high-risk, high-overhead businesses under one roof. The irony, I think, is that as you see taprooms focusing more on food features or planning to add kitchens, it feels like we’re just a few years away from a brewpub renaissance. Alas.
Running a little early on my way into Arrowine on Wednesday, I detoured into Falls Church to drop in on the Fox. Bill was at the end of the bar, spinning all the necessary plates to keep everything running through Sunday’s last service. He noted that the lunch run was the busiest he’d seen in a while, which, of course, right?
He’s obviously had a hard few weeks but was as kind and gregarious as ever, with high praise for the staff sticking things out with him. We caught up and ended up swapping stories, which is impossible not to do with him. I’m hoping to have an interview with him up for you soon. Not before Bill gets some deserved and needed downtime, though.
This will be the last weekend for Mad Fox; if you’re around at the right time on Sunday you might just catch me enjoying a last beer or two.
Upcoming Arrowine Events:
Friday, July 19, 5-7 p.m: Sean Michaels of The Bruery
Saturday, July 20, 1-4 p.m.: Laura Boyle from Three Notch’d Brewing
Saturday, August 10, 1-4 p.m.: ANXO Cidery!
Friday, August 16, 5-7 p.m.: Rafael Mendoza of Hardywood Brewing Company
Friday, August 30, 5-7 p.m.: Stephanie Boles from Old Ox Brewing
Police Operation in Ballston — Arlington County Police say they arrested a wanted individual in Ballston Wednesday evening, in front of the DARPA building on N. Randolph Street. Officers used a “diversionary device” — witnesses described it as a flashbang grenade — during the operation, a police spokeswoman told ARLnow. “One suspect was taken into custody without incident,” ACPD spokeswoman Kirby Clark said. Additional details were not immediately available. [Twitter]
‘Perfect Friday Night Date in Rosslyn’ — “A round of miniature golf is one of summer’s pleasures, whether putt-putting past pirate statues at a course by the beach or playing in a regional park closer to home. It works equally well as part of a date night or a group outing with friends. And it’s definitely not the kind of thing you’d expect to find popping up in the plaza outside a Rosslyn office building.” [Washington Post]
Beer Hall Nears Opening in Ballston — The opening of Bronson Bier Hall in Ballston, the successor to A-Town Bar and Grill, is about a month away. Most of the major interior construction appears to have been completed. [Instagram]
Amazon Hosts LGBT Reception — “A special reception [was] hosted by Amazon at a location in the heart of its massive planned expansion was held at Freddie’s Beach [Bar in Crystal City] to greet the area’s LGBT community.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Subsidies for Late Night Commuters — “The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority has kicked off an effort to support late-night workers who travel when transit service is not available. Since July 1, qualified workers – such as those in the hospitality or health-care industries – have been eligible to receive a $3 subsidy toward travel on Lyft for trips taken between their home and workplace between midnight and 4 a.m.” [InsideNova]
Arlington Community Foundation Awards Scholarships — “The Arlington Community Foundation awarded new college scholarships totaling more than $540,000 to 72 students who will attend college next year. An additional 105 scholarships totaling $281,000 were renewed for returning college students, for a total of 177 recipients.” [Press Release]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
The hottest beers of the summer are… cheap? And… German?
(A quick note: We’ll pick up the discussion of lactose in beer in the next column — I’m waiting on a couple more responses to give a wider view of how breweries approach using it and labelling it.)
Despite the nature of my job and how long I’ve been doing it (I need no reminders, thank you), I don’t consider myself any kind of “influencer.”
I have breweries and styles I’ll lean into, of course, but more than anything I try to approach my job in a reactive manner. I’m not here to tell our clients at Arrowine what to like; I’m here to play off of what they do like and introduce new things that are exceptional in quality, or value or, best case scenario, both.
So no, you won’t find me on Instagram in selfie after selfie with every can/bottle I drink in the foreground while I attempt a friendly smile in the background. I do notice patterns and trends, though, and I’ll say this: Y’all, something’s happening with Germany.
It started a couple months back with the arrival of .5L cans of Veltins Pilsner. It was an instant hit not only because it’s just damn good, but because came in at $8/4-pack. It’s become a staple in my fridge.
Then, just before Memorial Day, Wolters Pilsner arrived in the same format but at $5/4-pack, followed by Tucher’s Helles Hefeweizen, which delivers clean, easy, classic German Wheat Ale goodness at only $7/4-pack. And there are more on the way.
So what gives? The origins of this wave hitting our shores now can be found back in 1976, the year per capita beer consumption peaked in Germany, dropping one-third in the decades since. Competition for those remaining beer drinkers has driven a price war that has seen German retail beer prices drop to levels nearly half what they were back in the early 90s (adjusted for inflation).
Rather than a temporary method of boosting sales, those low-margin prices have become the new norm. With no more margin to lose and home-market sales continuing to stagnate, German breweries have turned their eyes back to the States, where Mexican beers dominate import sales (accounting for about 70 percent of the American import market) but where “macro” is down, and “craft” continues to grow, albeit slower over the past couple years than the previous 10-15. It’s a perfect moment for these beers, with many transitioning to more Lager-centric drinking preferences and a (for now) quiet but growing exasperation with $20 4-packs and the FOMO mentality.
We’re not in a full-on paradigm shift just yet: I still tell people often that anyone who can get even a half-decent IPA into 16oz 4-packs that retail at $13.99 is going to sell them with little problem. But more people just want to have a couple good beers, maybe even with friends, without having to all-but get them to sign a waiver and without breaking their banks, and these Germans are filling that void.
Upcoming Arrowine Events:
Friday, July 19, 5-7 p.m.: Sean Michaels from The Bruery
Saturday, July 20, 1-4 p.m.: Three Notch’d with Dave Keuhner
Friday, August 30, 5-7 p.m.: Stephanie Boles with Old Ox Brewing
Update at 5:20 p.m. — In a new Facebook post, The Lot says it received its ABC permit at the last minute today and will serve beer tomorrow, on the Fourth of July. The beer garden says it will serve liquor starting tonight.
Update: We have received our ABC license at 5 pm!! (Third of July miracle!) We will serve liquor tonight, and beer and liquor tomorrow. Stand by for door opening time!
Update at 4:45 p.m. — The Lot did not, in fact, obtain a Virginia ABC permit necessary for serving beer, according to a new Facebook post. The beer garden will still open today and will serve tacos instead, with free tacos for the first 200 customers, they said on social media.
Good news and bad news. The good: Huge shout out to Arlington County for granting Health and Occupancy for the Lot to open!! The bad: ABC did not grant our license in time for an order to be placed before the Holiday. BUT!! We are are all here waiting to serve you all sooo we will still opening the Rebel Taco truck on the Lot, and the first 200 people to arrive tonight will get a free taco! Come eat and play in the sand…drinking will have to wait one more week, but hey, what’s one more week when we have waited 2 years.
Earlier: After years of planning and permit drama, The Lot beer garden near Clarendon says it is opening today “against all odds.”
According to an event page on Facebook, the beer garden at 3217 10th Street N. will be open “with a limited food and beverage menu” today at 5 p.m. It is also planning to be open starting at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow (July 4), at 5 p.m. on Friday, and at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday.
More from the event description:
Against all odds and contrary to popular belief, The Lot IS OPENING! A 22,000 square foot open-air beer garden and event space, the Lot features container bars, food trucks, and an adult SANDLot for all your bucket pong and corn hole needs.
Join us… July 3, weather-permitting, for a preview party with a limited food and beverage menu. We will continue the party straight through the weekend with soft openings on the 4th (11:30 am – close), 5th (5 pm – close), and 6th (11:30 am – close) of July.
Thank you to all our neighbors and friends who supported us through this tedious process and kept the faith.
Come eat, drink, and play at The Lot!
It’s unclear if The Lot was able to obtain all of the necessary permits needed to open. The Arlington County and Virginia ABC websites still list some permits as pending, though the information might be outdated or The Lot may have obtained temporary permits not reflected online.
A tipster tells ARLnow that opening preparations appear to be well underway, with less than two hours to go until opening.
“I also live within visual sight of The Lot and can see upwards of 10 workers making cosmetic improvements to the site as I write,” the tipster said just after 3 p.m. today.
Today is the summer solstice — pools are open, schools are out, the Fourth of July is around the corner — but the planned 22,000 square foot beer garden outside Clarendon is still shuttered.
“The Lot,” owned by local restaurant scene veteran Mike Bramson, was originally supposed to open in the summer of 2017. Then that got pushed back to the summer of 2018. Then spring of 2019. After some additional construction, Bramson told Eater he was anticipating an opening earlier this month.
Located at 3217 10th Street N., at the busy corner of 10th Street N. and Wilson Blvd, The Lot looks mostly complete from the outside. There are new trees, a fence, picnic bench seating, string lighting, a pergola and a pair of large signs. What there is not, yet, is any sign of life.
Bramson did not respond to requests for comment from ARLnow, but a review of Arlington County permitting activity shows that his efforts to get county permitting and zoning officials to allow him to build new bathrooms and a food prep area, and to open the beer garden, have all been rejected.
The issue seems to be existential for Bramson’s would-be business. In short, there does not appear to be a legal mechanism to allow a standalone, permanent beer garden in Arlington County.
The reason for the rejection of The Lot’s zoning applications to open as an outdoor cafe, county officials say and permitting records indicate, is that under Arlington County code an outdoor cafe must be an accessory use to a physical, indoor restaurant. Furthermore, an outdoor cafe can’t have more seating than the indoor restaurant.
The Lot has no indoor seating and was planning to serve food from food trucks.
“The building permit under review is for interior alterations to the existing building; to create restrooms (required by Inspections Services Division) and a food prep area (required by the Public Health Division) in order to use the outdoor café area and beverage trucks,” Gina Wimpey, spokeswoman for Arlington’s Dept. of Community Planning, Housing & Development, told ARLnow via email.
“Since they included the outdoor café space in the permit, Zoning cannot approve the café space in the absence of a restaurant with indoor seating (required by the Zoning Ordinance),” Wimpey added.
Luckily for The Lot, there does appear to be a possible workaround. It could figuratively latch itself to a nearby restaurant — Bramson’s Social Restaurant Group owns Pamplona and Bar Bao in Clarendon — and operate on a temporary basis.
“They can open the outdoor café as a short-term use associated with other restaurants within 2,000 feet, but it must have more indoor seats than the proposed outdoor café,” Wimpey said. “This has been discussed with the applicant and they’re working towards a solution. Until the Certificate of Occupancy for the short-term use is issued, the building permit cannot be issued.”
So why can The Stand, a Social Restaurant Group-owned food kiosk in Crystal City, continue serving without indoor seating? Because it technically isn’t considered an outdoor cafe under county code.
“1601 Crystal Drive [The Stand] currently has a Certificate of Occupancy for a food service kiosk and has had one in this location since at least the late-1990s,” Wimpey said.
Beer gardens have been blossoming around the D.C. area over the past few years — including in Arlington, next to bricks-and-mortar restaurants — and are a popular warm weather destination. But Wimpey said there is no movement in Arlington County’s policy-setting ranks to allow stand-alone beer gardens.
“There isn’t anything planned in the proposed 2019-2020 work program,” she said,.
This week I came across a tweet from Meridian Pint’s Jace Gonnerman about a Kolsch he’d just tapped at the Brookland Pint location in D.C., unaware that lactose was in it.
I figured it was a sign to get around to the subject of lactose — What beers it’s in, if it’s noted on the label and if not, why not? Also, why use it? While there is a “traditional” use of lactose in beer — though even that’s arguable; we’ll get to that in a moment — it usually comes up now relative to Milkshake IPAs, Pastry Stouts and Dessert Sours.
Let’s learn a little about the usage of lactose in beers then and now.
The commonly accepted origin of lactose in beer traces back to the early 20th century, with the advent of Milk Stout. Like many of the styles we know today, Milk Stout was largely a marketing-driven creation.
A quick aside: if the theme of my beer writing through the end of my first stint at Arrowine was “Beer is History,” the theme of this run is “Beer is Marketing.”
In the late 1800s, Stouts grew weaker in strength and came to be recommended as restorative, nourishing drinks — the kombucha/wheatgrass juice/Master Cleanse of its time. Very Goop. Mackeson’s patented the Milk Stout in 1907, with the idea that lactose = milk = health = even healthier Stout! Science!
These days, you’ll find lactose not only Stouts but IPAs, Goses, Berlinerweisse and apparently even the odd Kolsch. An unfermentable sugar, lactose can add richness to a beer and take the edge off of harsher, more intense flavors while retaining the brewer’s target ABV. Lactose also has less perceptible sweetness than sucrose, so it can do all that and help keep the final beer from being cloying.
The biggest issue surrounding lactose in beer of course comes from the fact that many people are lactose intolerant. Omnipollo’s Henok Fentie, who along with the folks at Tired Hands can be credited with/blamed for the Milkshake IPA (depending on your point of view), is lactose intolerant himself but claims he can have a couple without incident.
But his experience isn’t everyone’s, which is why clear labelling is becoming more important to more consumers.
Stillwater is good at putting lactose use front and center on its labels; Commonwealth Brewing is generally reliable on this too, though I recently discovered its Villuminati Gose, a favorite of mine, has lactose through the brewery’s website and marketing info, not its label.
Every Perennial Brewing Stout is a Milk Stout, which I didn’t learn until I was doing research this week and came across this website that offers shopping advice for vegans. Sure enough, “Contains Lactose” is on every bottle/can, but I didn’t notice until I knew to look for it.
So, who labels their lactose use clearly, who doesn’t and why/why not? With luck, I’ll be able to answer that… next time.
Upcoming Arrowine Beer Tastings:
Friday, June 21, 5 7 p.m. — Abita Brewing Co. with Clayton Daniels
Saturday, June 29, 1-4 p.m. — Port City Brewing Company with Will Bruder (Helles Release Event)
Friday, July 19, 5-7 p.m. — Sean Michaels from The Bruery
Saturday, July 20, 1-4 p.m. — Three Notch’d with Dave Keuhner
Friday, August 30, 5-7 p.m. — Stephanie Boles with Old Ox Brewing
A new pizza restaurant and beer hall is coming to Ballston next year, according to a set of mustachioed storefront wrappings.
Window dressing on 4001 Fairfax Drive Pizza announced that “Quincy Hall” is slated to open in the ground floor of the Quincy Street Station in early 2020. The pizza and beer joint is slated to open in the same space once occupied by Thai restaurant Tara Temple, which closed two years ago.
Tara Temple’s distinctive red metal awning still decorates the suite’s front doors, but the windows are now blocked with polka-dotted paper with the new eatery’s name and mustachioed characters.
Information on the new eatery is scarce. As of Wednesday, the website on the storefront wrapping was listed as a parked domain and did not contain any information except for an animated GIF of a sleepy kitten falling over.
The restaurant is slated to open next to the new Bright Horizons daycare, which is coming to the adjoining suite of the building that the County Board approved over some neighborhood objections in January. Bright Horizons plans to care for 145 children and build a 4,700-square-foot playground in the courtyard near the side entrance of Quincy Hall.
Local nightlife, fitness and tonsorial mogul Scott Parker, who is working to open a new German beer hall called Bronson nearby in the former A-Town space, said he welcomed the addition to the increasingly crowded Ballston nightlife and restaurant scene. More going-out options could help previously workaday Ballston establish itself as an after-hours destination like Clarendon, he said.
“That’s the hope, that the neighborhood will become such a draw that it will help everyone,” Parker told ARLnow, adding that he isn’t worried about the competition.
Parker said Quincy Hall was being opened by Tin Shop, the same company that’s behind Penn Social and the popular Franklin Hall beer hall in D.C., as well as Highline RxR in Crystal City, though thus far that could not be independently confirmed by ARLnow.
“So, what’s your favorite?”
It’s early in the week and I’m not expecting the question. My mind is pre-occupied forming orders, placing orders, writing Newsletters in my head or on my laptop, and trying to write the column in my head all at once. The customer sees she’s caught me off-guard, apologizing, relating it to being asked if she had a single favorite wine.
But that’s not where I get tripped up. I have favorite beers for sure, but I realize I really tend to have favorite breweries.
My type, if I in fact have one, are breweries that offer high quality, consistency and a sense of balance in their beers, regardless of what their lineup looks like. Over the years, breweries like Maine Beer Company, Allagash, Bell’s, Port City, Schlafly, Brooklyn and more have won me over this way, becoming one of my “go-to” breweries.
I tell you that story to tell you this story, I’ve got a new go-to.
Reason Beer opened in 2017 to no small amount of buzz, founded by friends of over 20 years and Charlottesville locals J. Patrick Adair, Jeff Raileanu and Mark Fulton. Fulton’s involvement generated much of the interest.
Prior to opening Reason, he was the second full-time employee of Maine Beer Company, working as Brewhouse Manager, running its pilot beer program, and finishing up his four-year stint as Director of Brewery Operations, overseeing all brewing and packaging at one of the country’s most highly-regarded small breweries. So, kind of a big deal.
Of course, an impressive resume alone doesn’t make impressive beer. What Fulton has done at Reason is to take the aspects of Maine Beer that made it stand out — the consistently high quality; the elegance and balance found in even its boldest recipes — and apply them to an entirely new paradigm within Reason’s lineup.
The principles are simple — mostly, though not always, skewing lower in ABV. Recipes that have been refined to the point where you just know the homework has been done. Beers that are approachable, regardless of style, simultaneously showing off the best of each of their ingredients.
The Reason beer that won me over initially was Pattern Recognition, a 6% ABV IPA that features the smartest selection and application of hops I’ve seen in a long time, is crystal clear, and comes as close to translating the experience of opening a bag of hop pellets into a final aroma/flavor as anything I’ve had.
These days, I’m rotating their core six-packs: the pinpoint, easy but complex Hoppy Blonde (4% ABV), the Belgian-style Grisette labelled as Saison (4.5% ABV) and the outstanding, Session IPA-killing Pale Ale (5% ABV). Needless to say, they’re recommended.
Don’t just take my word for it though — Reason Beer representative Devon Callan will be at Arrowine this Saturday, June 8 from 1-4 p.m. sampling their outstanding brews. Swing by and check them out!
Upcoming Arrowine Events:
Friday, June 21, 5-7 p.m.: Tasting with Abita Beer
Saturday, June 29, 1-4 p.m.: Port City Brewing Company Tasting — Helles Lager release
Friday, July 19, 5-7 p.m.: Tasting with The Bruery
The event is planned to be held on the street outside the brewery at 2709 S. Oakland Street. Entrance is free with community arts and music planned for the festival, along with food and dessert trucks. A “beer package” is also available for $22, good for three tickets to sample New District beers.
New District founder Mike Katrivanos told ARLnow that much of the festival will be similar to last year, but with a heavier focus on artists.
“We are getting a lot more artists this year,” Katrivanos said. “Last year, we did this cool thing where we had an artist do a piece featuring tires from the auto shops nearby. She actually made the tires into art pieces like wavy walls set up throughout the festival.”
This year, Katrivanos said he’s hoping to have a metalworking artist display their work at the festival. An artist hasn’t been selected yet — that’s expected to happen happen in July — so if anyone knows any metalworking artists they’re encouraged to reach out to the brewery for some potential work.
In the meantime, Katrivanos said there are some Arlington-focused events and features at the brewery.
“We did a North-South Arlington collaboration beer with The Board Room up in North Arlington,” said Katrivanos. “We called it Crossing Route 50. The North Arlington crowd doesn’t want to cross Route 50, so we tried to build a bridge.”
The beer is a grapefruit IPA, which Katrivanos described as having the aroma of dank citrus and tropical notes from the hops.
The other event coming up is the honeysuckle harvest, where the brewery takes 30-50 volunteers on a road trip to pick honeysuckle from various parts of Virginia. Mostly the group visits farms and parks, where honeysuckle — an invasive species — is seen as a weed.
“We bring it back to the brewery here and brew a honeysuckle hefeweizen with the fresh flowers,” said Katrivanos. “It captures all the aromatics — captures the sweet flavor of the honeysuckle and reminds you of Virginia summer. That beer is one of our beers people know us by. We’re actively campaigning for that now and we’ll be picking honeysuckle.”
For anyone interested in a weekend honeysuckle road trip, Katrivanos said to contact Michael Sutherland at [email protected].
Photo via New District Brewing Company/Facebook
Before we get into it: yes, the Dogfish Head/Boston Beer Company deal is, well, a big deal. I don’t really have anything of substance to add so I’ve just been recommending Bryan Roth’s great piece for Good Beer Hunting.
So, Memorial Day. Unofficial kickoff of summer. Three-day weekend for all you non-retail-working types. What should you have to drink if you’re spending time by the pool, or the grill, or just enjoying the outdoors over this long weekend? Well, you can go Big Beer — and nothing wrong with that, I probably will at some point too. But if you’re looking for alternatives, I’ve got some suggestions:
German. Pilsener. Cans.
I don’t know what’s gotten into Deutschland, but we’ve been seeing some wonderful canned Pilseners coming over this year, and at wonderful prices to boot. Veltins Pilsener has already become a go-to for me, and this week we’ll see the arrival of Wolters Pilsener in the same half-liter, 4-pack can format. Super-clean and crisp, these beers are hard to beat for a refreshment on a hot day, and when you see the pricing on the Wolters especially, you’ll flip — I did.
Session IPA Ales of all types.
Charlottesville’s Reason Beer alone could get an entire column devoted to its core lineup of 6-pack cans: the Hoppy Blonde (4% ABV), Saison (4.5% ABV), and Pale Ale (5% ABV) are all stunners that you can enjoy more than a couple of without too much worry.
Even the recently released Collaboration 29 IPA clocks in at only 5.5% ABV. I’m also personally a fan of The Trooper and Trooper Light Brigade, made by Cheshire, England’s Robinsons Brewery with the crew from Iron Maiden. At 4.7% and 4.1% respectively, I can get my all-purpose UK fix on easily.
Shameless plug but also a really good option: Three Notch’d Firefly Nights
Charlottesville gets more run in this week’s column. The “Summertime Ale” from Three Notch’d is a lighter-bodied 5.2% Ale with honeysuckle. Good for warm summer evenings; great for Mid-Atlantic nostalgia, and a lovely option for those who want something “different” but not too far outside of the box. Also, Arrowine will be hosting the Firefly Nights Release Event this Friday (hey, that’s today!) from 4:00-7:00pm. Gotta get the most for that Sponsord Content dollar, people.
There Gose the weekend.
There’s a Gose for every Sour Ale fan these days, which would’ve been crazy to imagine ten years ago. Union Old Pro is a favorite, and relatively easy to find. Commonwealth Brewing has a plethora of Goses in the market right now, inspired by everything from sangria to mezcal margaritas to limoncello. Modern Times Fruitlands being available in the area now is awesome.
If you’re looking more local-ish, Vasen Guava Otter Gose is newly available in cans and very tasty.
No matter what you decide to knock back, I hope everyone has a fun, safe Memorial Day. I’ll see you back here in a couple of weeks.
For owner John Andrade, the move brings his new bar — at 6035 Wilson Blvd — a little closer to home. Andrade is from the neighborhood and many of the wait staff are hired from the nearby neighborhoods.
“I live a quarter-mile away and my daughter goes to Ashlawn,” Andrade said. “I know the neighborhood, and I’ve gotten to understand the void for folks here for craft beer.”
Andrade said oversaturation and competition with a new wave of breweries having their own bars forced Meridian Pint out of D.C., but added that the move is also an opportunity to rebuild the small community bar scene.
“There is a focus on D.C. or even Clarendon or Ballston for beers, but the neighborhoods are neglected,” Andrade said.
A sign at the front says the restaurant will be called Dominion Pint, but Andrade said there was a legal challenge to the name so the bar is sticking with Meridian Pint. The restaurant has been holding a series of soft openings for neighbors and other invitees this week, but the official public opening is Thursday.
It will be the sixth restaurant Andrade has opened, including those no longer operating. Andrade also runs three other D.C. restaurants: Brookland Pint, Rosario’s Tacos & Tequila in Adams Morgan, and Smoke & Barrel in Adams Morgan.
Andrade said the focus of Meridian Pint will be on American grilled food and craft beer — both local and national brands. In addition to beers, Andrade said he’s focusing on the restaurant’s homemade ice cream.
Jace Gonnerman, the beer program director for Meridian Pint, said his goal is to maintain a careful balance of obscure and approachable beers.
“We want to have a beer for everyone,” Gonnerman said. “We want something for the community, but also the latest and greatest for aficionados.”