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WWBG: Charles Towne Fermentory


Editor’s Note: This biweekly column is sponsored by Dominion Wine and Beer (107 Rowell Court, Falls Church). This week’s Guide is written by Sam Dial.

As the brewery scene becomes more and more hyper localized, there are a select few that transcend that and reach national appeal. Founder and head brewer Adam Goodwin has had his hand a couple of these breweries on his way to opening up Charles Towne Fermentory (CTF) in 2016.

Picking up experience from Tired Hands Brewing, Philadelphia, and as founder and head brewer of Trillium in Boston, Goodwin, alongside partner Justin Slotnik, started his own project to focus his beer around quality and simplicity. They set up shop in the the old Lyerly’s Dry Cleaning building brewing on a 15-barrel system, which is a major scale reduction from Trillium, who houses 30 barrels at just one of their locations. Reason being, smaller production scale gives Goodwin the freedom to experiment more, while still allowing his large production experience to shine through.

Brewing on a limited system means that CTF originally only allowed customers to fill growlers at the brewery to take home, adding crowlers and cans over their two years of business. Their limited production also means CTF has to be selective with where they send their liquid, and we are thrilled be featuring their beer for the first time!

  • ‘Sidestepper’ — 8.3% New England Double IPA with Citra, Amarillo and Simcoe. Not just another haze crazed IPA like most these days, this beer is about showing off the depth of flavors of the hops. It is floral and neon-lights bright, with juicy with notes of tangerine that are all balanced by an incredibly pleasing bitterness that lingers throughout. Not even boozy sweet, this is a dangerously drinkable DIPA.
  • ‘Infinite Yawn’ — 4.7% Dry Hopped Blonde Ale. So, this is a style of beer that I especially enjoy. A delightful, easy drinking light beer dry hopped with Motueka and Mosaic. Don’t think that this a plane-jane beer made to carry hops, this isn’t like getting chips so you can eat guacamole. It’s dry and slightly bready which plays as a great backbone to the passion fruit, peach, and orange peel from the hops.

Crazily crushable, tremendously tropical, brilliantly balanced, Charles Towne Fermentory shows what they are about with these two beers.

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WWBG: This Weekend at Dominion Wine and Beer


Editor’s Note: This biweekly column is sponsored by Dominion Wine and Beer (107 Rowell Court, Falls Church). This week’s Guide is written by Arash Tafakor of Dominion Wine and Beer.

Click here for more details

We are now serving lunch full time! Whether you’re on a limited time schedule, or enjoying a leisurely day, we offer great food, service and atmosphere. Hours are below.

Try our fantastic roasted Maple Lawn Turkey Farm sandwich. Sliced fresh and served warm between fresh Lyon Bakery multigrain bread, topped with Havarti cheese, lettuce, tomato, avocado, Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Meats bacon and herb mayo. Fries or salad on the side.

Next week we’ll introduce a brand new lunch menu with a handful of new items! Stay tuned.

Weekend Draft Features

Tapped Thursday 11/29 at 4 p.m.: Seeing brand new ultra limited distribution to NoVa via Liquid Distro, we’re excited to tap two kegs from Deciduous Brewing Company: *pours only on both Deciduous kegs. No fills*

  • ‘Shine’ – 4.2% Berliner Weisse with lychee and blood orange
  • ‘Smiling High’ – 7.8% NE DIPA with Nelson & Waimea

Tapping anytime between Wednesday and Sunday: *crowlers available on the following*

Follow our Twitter handle @DominionWB for alerts when kegs are tapped. Download the DigitalPour mobile app to view all 36 of our rotating taps in real time!

Store/Restaurant/Bar Hours:

Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Friday 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m.-11 p.m.
Sunday 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

See you all soon!

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WWBG: This Weekend at Dominion Wine and Beer


Editor’s Note: This biweekly column is sponsored by Dominion Wine and Beer (107 Rowell Court, Falls Church). This week’s Guide is written by Arash Tafakor of Dominion Wine and Beer.

We are now serving lunch full time!

This week’s new beer arrivals include Hardywood Park Craft Brewery Bourbon Barrel GBS, Bell’s Brewery Lampshade DIPA, Maine Beer Company Fall Coffee Stout and many more! Full list of arrivals can be found in the link below.

Weekly Draft Features

Follow our Twitter handle for alerts when kegs are tapped. Download the DigitalPour mobile app to view all 36 of our rotating taps in real time! On tap now or tapping soon…

Founders Brewing Co. 2018 Canadian Breakfast Stout and Ocelot Brewing Company Sanitarium Pilsner. Crowlers are available on both.

Tapping for the first time at Dominion, via our friends at Liquid Distro, we’re super excited to offer three beers from Charlotte, North Carolina’s Resident Culture Brewing Company!

  • Causal Continuum, 7% ABV NE Style IPA hopped with Nelson Sauvin, Citra, and Galaxy
  • Thunder Stud, 8.3% ABV NE Style DIPA, Double Dry-Hopped with Nelson Sauvin, Galaxy, and Citra
  • Unhallowed, 6.5% ABV NE Style IPA hopped with Nelson Sauvin, Galaxy, and Citra

In house pours only on all three Resident Culture kegs

On Saturday, November 17th from 1-5 p.m., join us for a complimentary wine and chocolate tasting featuring River-Sea Chocolates.

We have some fun wine sales and arrivals this week including limited edition Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut ‘Cities Magnetic Arrow Box Sets’ and Brut Rose ‘Ice Jacket’, plus an incredible sale price on Champagne Laurent-Perrier Brut ‘2-Glass Gift Sets!’

Full list of new beer arrivals, wine sales, and more details, subscribe to the Dominion Wine & Beer Weekly Newsletter at this link.

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WWBG: This Weekend at Dominion Wine and Beer


Editor’s Note: This biweekly column is sponsored by Dominion Wine and Beer (107 Rowell Court, Falls Church). This week’s Guide is written by Arash Tafakor of Dominion Wine and Beer.

This weekend at Dominion Wine and Beer includes great draft features for pours and crowlers, plus an irresistible pairing special featuring our delicious Certified Piedmontese tenderloin!

On tap now or tapping soon are;

Follow our Twitter handle for tapping alerts and download the DigitalPour mobile app to view all 36 of our taps, pricing, and crowler/growler availability in real time!

For a limited time, take advantage of our amazing Tenderloin & Cabernet pairing special! Treat yourself to an 8 oz. Piedmontese tenderloin, seared and basted, dressed with Maitre d’ Hotel Butter, house salad and fries on the side, paired up perfectly with a glass of True Myth Wines Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon! An absolute steal at $40!

We are quite proud of our filet and our food in general!

Come enjoy a great meal and night out at Dominion. For a full list of new beer arrivals, wine sales, and more details click this link.

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WWBG: This Weekend at Dominion Wine and Beer


Editor’s Note: This biweekly column is sponsored by Dominion Wine and Beer (107 Rowell Court, Falls Church). This week’s Guide is written by Arash Tafakor of Dominion Wine and Beer.

New beers include Solace Brewing Company Buzz Magic Double IPA, @birds fly Birds Fly South Ale Project Radio Silence Pale Ale, Mast Landing Brewing Company Little Choppy Hoppy Session Ale, and many more! Full list of arrivals in the link below.

This week’s featured brewery is Aslin Beer Company!


On Tap Now

  • Aslin x Casa Agria Specialty Ales ‘Bale’ Peanut Butter Turtle Candy inspired Imperial Stout!
  • Aslin ‘Save Second Base’ NE IPA w/ Dragon Fruit & Vanilla, a portion of the proceeds of this beer will be donated to the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation for breast cancer research!
  • Laser Raptors Imperial IPA
  • ‘Much Ado’ Helles Lager

And last but not least, tapping soon: ‘The Implication’ Double IPA, loaded with Nelson Sauvin, Hallertau Blanc and Lemon Drop. Pours only on all Aslin beers.

Download the DigitalPour mobile app to view all 36 of our taps in real time with pricing and crowler availability!

Stop by Saturday from 1-5 p.m. for our weekly wine tasting! This week we are featuring Rasa Vineyards Occam’s Razor Red, Weingut Köster Wolf Müller-Thurgau, Domaine Pillot Jean-Michel et Laurent Bourgogne Rouge and Eden Ciders Heritage Cider!

Full list of new beer arrivals, wine sales, and more details click this link.

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WWBG: Not Just a Bottle Shop


Editor’s Note: This biweekly column is sponsored by Dominion Wine and Beer (107 Rowell Court, Falls Church). This week’s Guide is written by Arash Tafakor of Dominion Wine and Beer.

Dominion Wine & Beer is thrilled to announce that our brand new wine & craft beer bar is OPEN! The new addition is located directly above our existing retail bottle shop in Falls Church. At Dominion, you can enjoy a great meal, pint of craft beer or glass of wine plus shop the areas best selection of beers and wines to take home.

We’re still in our soft opening phase and would like to thank everyone for the incredible support shown and feedback given during our first few weeks.

We are now open full time with our hours listed below. Retail store hours have been extended to offer all of the great aspects of the business in unison.

New options on our menu are being introduced nightly with the intention of offering our full menu with a few weeks.

Our craft beer and wine bar features 24 rotating craft beers on tap as well as 16 wines by the glass, alongside an extensive bottle list (wine list still in the works). Our current food menu features some great options including a delicious fried chicken sandwich, crispy Brussels sprouts, honey glazed and spiced Malibu carrots, charcuterie boards and much more!

Downstairs in the retail area, you’ll find 12 additional rotating draft lines with pours and crowlers available from all 36 taps.

Download the DigitalPour mobile app to view our entire draft list, prices and growler fill/growler availability in real time.

We can’t wait for you all to come out, see our new space, and experience the new Dominion Wine & Beer!

Retail and Wine Bar hours:

Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Friday 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m.-11 p.m.
Sunday 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

Kitchen opens at 3 p.m. Monday-Friday and at 12 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

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WWBG: It’s Time Again to Find Your Solace


Editor’s Note: This biweekly column is sponsored by Dominion Wine and Beer (107 Rowell Court, Falls Church). This week’s Guide is written by Alex Doran of Dominion Wine and Beer.

Solace Brewing Company opened it’s doors just over a year ago in Sterling, VA. You may remember our article from last year about them.

Saying that they had a good first year is an understatement. We knew something special was in the works, and their liquid was proof. Now the proof is in the numbers.

Co-founders Drew Wiles, Jon Humerick and Mike Arms designed their facility in order to easily grow. What was once an annual brewing capacity of 3,000-4,000 barrels is now 5,000-6,000 barrels annually. A brewery that once consisted of four 40 barrel unitanks and one 40 barrel bright tank has now added a 60 barrel unitank and two 80 barrel unitanks.

Solace opened its doors to allowing customers to enjoy their beer to go via growlers. They have since added a crowler machine and are now canning two of their beers.

Distribution was in the business plan from the beginning, starting in Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. and now expanding into Maryland this week. I stopped by the brewery to check out their stylish new cans that were fresh off the canning line.

Partly Cloudy is a 7.5% IPA that has become a staple in their line-up, and a great seller for us, the brewery and many others. This week they added it to their can rotation (in addition to Sun’s Out, Hops Out) to make two cans available to-go at the brewery and across their original distribution footprint. We just got our first drop of Partly Cloudy cans and have stacked it up right next to Sun’s Out Hops Out.

If their one year mark is a sign of what is to come then I think we can all agree to buckle up for a great year two. Solace has two more tanks on order. They also plan to can Lucy Juicy Double IPA in the next month or so as well as several other one-offs and experimental brews beyond that.

Grab some Solace this weekend when you come see us or check out the brewery if you haven’t already. You will thank me later.

Partly Cloudy will be open in our Weekly Beer Tasting this Friday, September 21st from 5:00-7:00 p.m.. Our sister store, Downtown Crown Wine and Beer (Gaithersburg, MD) will be tapping their beers for the first time in Maryland this weekend as well. #findyoursolace

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WWBG: Natural Wines


Editor’s Note: This biweekly column is sponsored by Dominion Wine and Beer (107 Rowell Court, Falls Church). It is written by Sarah Garratt, a wine and food pairing blogger. Follow her blog  or on Instagram @grapepairings.

Looking through a wine aisle or a wine list, you may have spotted the words “natural wine” on a bottle or description. Natural wines are becoming more and more prevalent in wine stores and restaurants, and it is important to know what “natural” really means in the wine world.

What is Natural Wine?

Natural wines are as pure, raw and bare bones as grapes and wine can be. They are unfiltered and made from all local grapes and yeasts. The grapes are typically grown by small and independent producers, and everything is done organically and sustainably.

During the winemaking process, nothing is added or taken away. This means no additives or preservatives. However, this also means that they can spoil quicker, as there is nothing to help them to age. Being unfiltered, many natural wines have a cloudy tint to them (coming from the yeasts) and can taste quite unique!

Is Natural Wine Healthier?

Not necessarily.

True, there are no added sulfites in natural wine. However, there is still no proven evidence that sulfites cause headaches, so that is not exactly a bad thing.

True also, natural wines are unfiltered and have no additives. However, this means that whatever bacteria or imperfections that were grown on the grapes of the natural wine have also been unfiltered and are in the final product.

It is also good to know that not all additives are bad for you! There are usually more harmful additives in the processed foods we eat than in the wine we drink! While not necessarily healthier than any other bottle of wine, natural wines are definitely a great way to try something new.

Three Wines to Try

Dominion Wine & Beer has some natural wines for you to try, three of which are featured today! All of them are unique, from smaller producers, and excellent to pair with food.

Let’s start with an Italian white wine, 2016 Montenidoli Vernaccia Di San Gimignano ($20). This Vernaccia has so many flavors going on! Each whiff of the wine brought out a different note. Smells and tastes of lemon, peach, camomile, yellow apple and freshly baked bread are all present in this white wine.

It is definitely a conversation starter! Being very full bodied for a white wine, oil or mayonnaise based salads would be excellent. Think tuna, chicken, bean, pasta or potato salads.

The 2017 Biha Andreas Vineyard Gewürztraminer ($20) is an orange wine from Oregon.

Don’t be fooled! There is no food coloring in this wine! While white wine is made from grapes without the skins on during fermentation, orange wine is made with white wine grapes and fermented in the skins. This gives the wine that orange color.

This gewürztraminer is bright orange, and full of honeysuckle and orange blossom notes. It has a long and acidic finish that would make it delicious with curry, chutney and hummus.

Not all natural wines are white. This 2015 Sono Montenidoli Il Garrulo Chianti Colli Senesi ($20) from Italy (same producer as the Vernaccia mentioned above) is a red wine with a gorgeous, garnet color.

Due to its medium tannins, this Chianti was made for pairing with tomato-based sauces, such as spaghetti with meatballs, pasta bolognese or lasagna.

Similar to the Vernaccia, the tasting profile is endless and has lots to offer. Flavors of violet, tobacco, spice, vanilla, cherry and stewed strawberries are all evenly balanced within the wine.

Do you like natural wines? Have you ever tried them? Curious to learn more? Stop by the shop and pick some up!

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WWBG: Fun Places to Grab a Beer In and Around The OC

Weekend Wine and Beer Guide logo

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 Cicerone Program Certified Beer Server.

Visiting Southern California puts you right in the heart of one of the richest brewing communities in the United States.

Ranking 1st in the nation in number of breweries (764), California is home to some of the founding breweries of the modern craft beer industry — Sierra Nevada and Anchor Steam then Green Flash and Stone.

Despite its link to the earliest days of craft beer and beyond, the area has not been without its mergers and acquisitions. Golden Road joined AB InBev’s High End portfolio, Ballast Point became a Constellation Brand, Lagunitas grabbed a Heineken and Anchor sold to Sapporo.

While decisions like those may not always be popular with fellow breweries or beer drinkers, they are still popular locally, with brewpubs and taprooms that fill up right alongside smaller, hipper breweries like Bottle Logic and The Bruery.

On a recent visit to Los Angeles and Orange County, I visited some local craft and macro-owned craft breweries and Disneyland. Beer is everywhere. Here are some places I enjoyed.

Ballast Point Long Beach — 110 N Marina Dr., Long Beach, CA

When the San Diego-based craft brewery built on the classic Sculpin IPA began to grow, it needed to grow its funding. If this location is any indication of what is possible by merging with Constellation Brands, Ballast Point has an even brighter future. The result is an indoor and outdoor space that is on point with the brewery’s nautical brand with floor to ceiling windows overlooking a marina.

Choose from a selection of flagship beers and special releases within the wood and glass taproom or out on the sprawling patio. I enjoyed their DIPA, Manta Ray, which won gold in Imperial IPAs at the 2017 Great American Beer Festival. Be sure to come hungry with dishes like blackened fish tacos and truffle fries.

Monkish Brewing Company — 20311 S Western Ave., Torrance, CA

If you’re looking for something trendier. Head about 15 minutes inland from Redondo Beach to Monkish Brewing Company in Torrance. Be sure to check their web site and social accounts before you arrive as the day of your visit might be a can release day. Be ready to wait in line.

If they’re releasing one of their limited tall boy can packs, you can expect to line up in a zig-zagging line that is good practice for Disneyland.

Once you have your four packs, you can then line up to enter their small taproom where you’ll be able to have your growler filled or enjoy a glass. I happened to visit when they were releasing a collaboration with Richmond’s The Veil Brewing Company — Nighthawkz — a tart, double dry hopped, double IPA brewed with passion fruit, apricot and vanilla.

Disneyland Resort — Anaheim, CA

Disneyland. The happiest place on earth. Right? Well, until Disney’s California Adventure opened across the plaza, it was also among the driest places on earth. So, while you wander the crowded walkways of Disneyland snacking on your Dole whip or churro, be sure to save room for beer over in California Adventure.

Once over there, you can find both craft beer and macros at many of the vendors. But head to Pacific Wharf and the Karl Strauss Brewing Company cart. They only serve beers from the venerable San Diego craft brewery, but the options range from wheat beers like Windansea to pilsners like Follow the Sun and their delicious West Coast IPA, Aurora Hoppyalis. Buy one and stroll the park taking in the sights of Cars Land or Pixar Pier.

You’ll notice your beer comes in a yellow plastic cup. All beers in the resort go in yellow plastic cups to help “cast members” easily spot cups that have alcohol. Look for other breweries, but count on them being from California.

Golden Road Brewing Company — 2210 E Orangewood Ave., Anaheim, CA

When you’re done with Disneyland — you know, you can’t walk anymore and you’ve nearly lost your voice — go to the nearby Golden Road Brewing Company taproom and pub across from Angels Stadium to recharge.

When Golden Road was acquired by the king of macro beers, AB InBev, they had already built a fanbase. Shrewd of AB InBev, to be sure, because not everyone is concerned about who owns their favorite brewery. Among the local beer drinkers I surveyed — drinkers and critics of local and macro breweries alike — this was a place I couldn’t miss.

Sure enough, Golden Road’s Anaheim location is big and bright with an indoor tap room and an outdoor beer garden. If you sit inside, you can play table tennis while you wait for your flight. Or sit outside and take in a game of corn hole.

I have to be honest, Golden Road might not meet everyone’s definition of craft beer, but their vibe and their delicious beers kind of made that distinction less important.

I enjoyed their flagship IPA, Ride On, and Daywalker, a version of their Iron Wolf black IPA brewed with Ethiopian coffee from Portola Lab. My wife’s favorite was their super fruity wheat beer, Mango Cart. Plus, their food is delicious — we enjoyed dishes like duck confit poutine and a generous reuben sandwich. Sometimes it’s great to just enjoy some tasty beers with friends.

All-American Ale Works — 5120 E La Palma Ave., Anaheim, CA

If, however, you really want support a nano brewery with a mission go to All-American Ale Works. Founded by a group of family and friends that spans generations and includes military veterans, All-American specializes in taking established styles and tweaking them.

Do you like a brown ale? Try their Pecan Someone Your Own Size pecan nut brown ale. Like a red ale? Definitely try their Fallen Comrade Red brewed with salt and lemon peel.

All-American is a three-barrel brewery gaining in popularity with locals for weekly events like Tacos and Trivia Tuesday. I visited on a Tuesday, in fact, and saw folks trickle in ready to chill with fellow craft beer drinkers in their ample tap room.

Stereo Brewing Company — 950 S Via Rodeo, Placentia, CA

Putting a sleeker spin on the local craft brewery is the last brewery I enjoyed visiting in Orange County. Really just up the road from All-American sits Stereo Brewing Company, a craft brewery with a huge love of music. All kinds.

From their name to the concert promo posters on the wall to the records behind the counter to the beer names (all song titles) this love of music is evident. In fact, they regularly hold record swaps in their taproom.

While their focus tends to be on hop-forward beers — I enjoyed their limited release hazy IPA called Astral Plane — they also make a variety of other creative beers. Their hazy wheat with ginger, Hazy Jane II, was a delight. And their oatmeal stout, Wall of Sound, won the gold medal in oatmeal stouts at the 2017 Great American Beer Festival.

Whether you find yourself sitting in their taproom enjoying a flight, a single pour, or waiting for a crowler fill Stereo sets the stage with great music and beer. They frequently have food trucks set up outside for a bite to eat while you sample their product.

There are more breweries in this very large area than most could reasonably visit, even if you lived here. I picked some fun places to grab a beer — places that do what they do well and want you to have a good time. Have fun and share your favorite place to enjoy a beer in Orange County/LA.

Friday Beer Tasting

Join Dominion Wine & Beer on Friday, August 24 from 5-7 p.m. as they host their weekly beer tasting. They’ll be featuring four beers from Ocelot Brewing Company including their brand new collaboration with Triple Crossing Beer, Seek and Destroy DIPA!

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WWBG: Maine Beer Company


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 Cicerone Program Certified Beer Server.

David Kleban’s 2006 dream to open a brewery eventually came true when he and his brother, Daniel, started Maine Beer Company (MBC) in 2009. Starting super small — nano small — they perfected a single beer: Peeper Pale Ale. Eventually they outgrew their original location.

In nearly ten years, they have grown into their own space with a production of around 13,000 bbls a year. That’s in a local market where they are one of 99 breweries, which actually makes Maine ranked 3rd in the nation for breweries per capita.

Every bottle of MBC beer sports the motto: “Do what’s right.” It’s more than just a nice thought, too. They decided early on to make more than beer. By joining an organization called 1% for the Planet, they committed to making a difference. One percent of MBC’s sales goes to 1% for the Planet, where it is distributed to local environmental charities.

I had my first bottle of Lunch — MBC’s famous whale of an IPA named after a whale — in 2013. At the time, there were fewer than 5,000 breweries in the U.S. The New England IPA as a hazy, fruity juice bomb with a velvety mouthfeel was not a national craze. Lunch was a sought after beer.

Instagram and other platforms allowed beer drinkers in parts of America where MBC didn’t distribute to learn about it. And want it. MBC is still here, and even if they aren’t part of whatever fad is happening they show that quality and conviction can lead to success.

I have three classic Maine Beer Company releases to share today. Three beers that have remained vital to MBC and to beer drinkers alike.

Peeper Pale Ale (5.5% ABV)

Starting as Spring Peeper Ale in 2009, MBC worked on their recipe for a pale ale until they had it just right. More than being part of a line of flagship beers, this is the beer that started it all.

Pouring a dark straw color with a generous and creamy head, Peeper gave off an enticing aroma of rice cereal, peach and green apple, and celery. The sip is clean and crisp with a fruity — white grapefruit and unripe plum — middle that coincides with the hint of bitterness that lingers after the sip is over.

I’m happy to see that, among the hazy, sometimes sweet IPAs that are prevalent, the good old pale ale seems to still have a place. It hearkens back to a time when the pale ale was a staple beer for most breweries.

At 5.5%, you can enjoy this as the summer months get into the super humid time. Named for the frogs that come out in the warmer months, providing a chorus for the nighttime, Peeper is perfect for this time of year.

Woods & Waters IPA (6.2% ABV)

Brewed in honor of the establishment of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in Maine, Woods & Waters is made using barley and wheat grown in Maine.

The aroma is tangerine and fresh pine sap. The sip is light and citrusy with an earthy finish that is punctuated by a prominent pine resin flavor.

Neither clear nor hazy, this crisp beer refreshes and pleases at the same time. Woods & Waters is effervescent and flavorful without any sweetness.

It’s perfect for sitting on the deck and watching the fireflies.

Lunch IPA (7.0% ABV)

If you don’t turn the bottle to read the rest of the label or visit MBC’s web site, you might be like me and wonder why this storied IPA is named after the midday meal.

Well, if you did turn the bottle or visit the web site, you’d learn that it is actually named for a whale that is know for having a chunk of its fin missing. Now, Dinner, their DIPA IS actually named for the evening meal because it’s more serious than lunch. Right?

Inhale as the head dissipates, and you’ll get an aroma of cantaloupe, mandarin orange and evergreen. Mmmm.

After smelling sweet fruit, the sip is unsweetened and crisp with a bitter finish. As with Woods & Waters, this IPA goes down easily albeit with a slightly herbal hop bite.

With all three of these Maine Beer Company beers, a common refrain is the lack of sweetness — whether perfectly sessionable at 5.5% or on the strong for an IPA side of 7.0% — and the clear and precise flavor notes. Like craft breweries two- and three-times as old, quality and consistency win the day.

This Week’s Beer Tasting

Dominion Wine & Beer is having Foreign Objects Beer for their beer tasting on Friday, August 10 from 5-7 p.m. with two new IPAs! Dominion will have both growlers and cans available of both.

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WWBG: Summer of Riesling


Editor’s Note: This biweekly column is sponsored by Dominion Wine and Beer (107 Rowell Court, Falls Church). It is written by Sarah Garratt, a wine and food pairing blogger. Follow her blog  or on Instagram @grapepairings.

Riesling… a white wine that is a wine aficionado’s dream.

It is one of the best white wines for food pairing and has one of the most unique flavor profiles that wine writers love to decipher. However, much of the world is left either confused or just don’t know about the wonders of Riesling.

This is why one New York sommelier and restaurateur, Paul Grieco, created an annual event called “Summer of Riesling.” Every summer, Mr. Grieco refuses to sell any white wine by the glass in his restaurant and wine bars except Riesling.

There are two dozen wines to choose from, but if you want a Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc, you won’t be able to order it by the glass.

Why? Mr. Grieco wants to show the world how expressive and wonderful the grape can be.

Well, what does a New York sommelier have to do with us? We agree with Mr. Grieco! Riesling is one of our favorite white wine grapes, too, and we are carrying on the tradition. This week’s WWBG showcases three fabulous Riesling as to why we love it!

Riesling is a white wine grape that is mostly grown in Germany; however, it can be grown in any cool climate. France, Austria, the US and Australia/New Zealand are some other areas where it is commonly grown.

Contrary to popular belief, Riesling is not just a sweet wine. Yes, it can be made to be very sweet, but there are many bone dry examples, as well as everything in between. It is almost always acidic and floral, but depending on where the wine is from, expressions of apple, pepper or mango can be found.

Our first example of a bone-dry, fantastic Riesling is the 2015 Tegernseehof Bergdistel Smaragd Riesling from Austria ($30).

With lots of citrus, honey and minerality, this wine would be perfect for a summer strawberry chicken salad or a juicy BLT with farmer’s market fresh tomatoes.

This wine is extremely limited right now. The only 10 cases in the US can be found at Dominion Wine & Beer or their sister location in Maryland!

Another Austrian Riesling that we are featuring today is an Anton Bauer 2016 Riesling Feuersbrunn ($22).

Anton Bauer recently won winemaker of the year in Austria, and after tasting this wine, you’ll know why.

Citrus, peaches, cream, and honey are very apparent, and yet, this is still a dry example of a Riesling. The citrus explodes in your mouth, and the honey and cream notes balance it out at the end. Curries were made for this wine, especially if it is made with seafood!

Lastly, we travel to somewhere a tad more local. The 2016 Left Food Charley Dry Riesling from Michigan ($22) is a wonderfully acidic Riesling with lots of character.

Lime and peach flavors hit you upon smelling, and are balanced out with some honey and apple flavors on the palate.

Your favorite Asian foods would do well with this, whether it be Chinese takeout, Vietnamese Pho, or a spicy Thai stir fry.

Don’t forget to visit Dominion Wine & Beer this Saturday from 1-4 for their wine tastings, and pick up some of these wines so that you can have your own Summer of Riesling!

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WWBG: Prairie Artisan Ales Canned


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 Cicerone Program Certified Beer Server.

You’ve probably heard of Prairie Artisan Ales’ coffee stout — Bomb! — which can be hard to get when released. It sits at number 106 on Beer Advocate magazine’s current list of the 250 Top Rated Beers along with five other Prairie beers. This week, I’m taking a look at three of their current releases.

In 2012, Oklahoma-based Krebs Brewing Company started brewing under the name Prairie Artisan Ales. The goal was to create a brewery that was adventurous, that pushed the boundaries. Making their name on strong stouts and farmhouse sours, Prairie also stood out on shelves and in social apps with their bold, colorful labels.

A year ago, they began canning with their coconut and vanilla flavored imperial stout, Paradise. While not every beer they produce is canned, I want to share a few that are. Happily, they’ve carried over the eye-popping artwork to these beers.

Blueberry Boyfriend, sour ale with blueberries and lemon zest (5.4% ABV)

I have not had the pleasure of exploring Prairie’s offerings, sour or otherwise. So, I had no idea what to expect with this blue sour.

The aroma was a mix of blackberries and blueberries with a tang of malt vinegar and a bright lemon juice. The flavor is tart with a short, fruity sip that doesn’t linger with an aftertaste.

The purple-blue color is spot on with this refreshing sour. Blueberry Boyfriend reminds me more of a tart blueberry lemonade than a sour ale as any maltiness is masked until it warms a bit. Even then it’s only evident at the end of the sip. This is a lovely sour for those who don’t care for the style.

Vape Tricks, sour ale aged on cherries (5.9% ABV)

First, how awesome is that wine red color?

Inhaling, I get sour cherries, baking soda and lemon. The sip is slightly tart with a good cherry flavor that ends with a lightly sweet maltiness.

Wine red in color, this refreshing sour looks like it tastes.

This is a relatively simple beer — perfect for backyard hangs. Whether you pour it into a glass, a Solo cup or drink it straight from the bright pink can, Vape Tricks is perfect for Summer.

Paradise, imperial stout with coconut and vanilla (13.0% ABV)

When I saw this, I immediately thought of Maui Brewing Company’s Black Pearl imperial coconut porter. It makes sense — they’re both dark beers brewed with coconut. But that is where the similarities end. Paradise is dessert in a glass.

I was reminded of a magic bar — there’s some chocolate and coconut and a whole lot of vanilla. I got licorice, toffee, toasted coconut and s’mores in the aroma. But the flavor was all sugary vanilla upfront with chocolate, coconut and a slightly bitter finish.

Paradise is best savored sip by sip — especially considering the 13% ABV.

This Week’s Beer Tasting

Join Dominion Wine & Beer on Friday, July 13th from 5 to 7 p.m. at their weekly beer tasting with Bell’s Brewery, Old Ox Brewery and Dogfish Head Brewing Company. And don’t forget your growler for a fill-up from the rotating options.

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WWBG: Unique Summer White Wines

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Editor’s Note: This biweekly column is sponsored by Dominion Wine and Beer (107 Rowell Court, Falls Church). It is written by Sarah Garratt, a wine and food pairing blogger. Follow her blog www.grapepairings.com or on Instagram @grapepairings.

In case the heat and humidity haven’t given you a clue, summer is finally here!

Time to put away your red wines and break out your whites. Yes, many people like to enjoy rosés during the warmer weather (and we do, too!), but let’s not forget about the many refreshing white wines that can cool us off!

When many people think white wines, they often think of the most common three: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, or Pinot Grigio. However, did you know that there are well over 200 different white grape varietals? Today’s WWBG features two varietals that you may not have heard of, plus one that you have.

The first grape that we are featuring today is Rkatsiteli (pronounced R-cat-set-el-ee). It is originally from the country of Georgia, but is now grown all over Eastern Europe.

It is known for being zesty and tart, which makes it great for dry or sweet wines.

Stobi’s 2016 Rkatsiteli from Macedonia ($11.99) is a dry wine. It is bright with acidic flavors of lemon and grapefruit that are well balanced with green apple and spearmint. It’s acidity make it a great pairing with creamy cheeses such as blue cheese or gorgonzola. Any summer salad would be delicious with this as well!

Traveling west to Italy, we learn about our second featured grape, Verdicchio (pronounce ver-dee-ck-io). Verdicchio comes from the word verde, which is Italian for green. The wine is called “Verdicchio” due to the grape’s green color. This grape is also known for being acidic, but not as much as the Rkatsiteli.

La Staffa’s 2017 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore (Regularly $16.99, on sale for $14.99) has a beautiful nose of Asian pear, peach, and clementines, with woodsy notes coming at the end. On the palate, there is a little zing coming from the fruit. Grilled veggies and fish were meant to go with this dish, so it will definitely be a winner at your next barbecue or cookout!

Lastly, we feature a grape that you have all heard about: Sauvignon Blanc.

However, this may be one of the most versatile grapes around! It can have a lemongrass-y, acidic taste that many people enjoy from New Zealand. It can be more tropical when coming from California. From France, it could be more floral with mineral elements to it.

The Sauvignon Blanc we are featuring today is from Oregon, which is a nice blend of Californian and French styles.

The Patricia Green Cellar’s 2016 Sauvignon Blanc from Willamette Valley, Oregon ($24.99), is unlike many Sauvignon Blancs that you have had before. The smell alone is full of tropical notes like pineapple, mango, and lychee. However, there is also something that will leave you curious to try more. It is an herb? Is it hay? Is it floral? Grab some next time you are in the shop and figure it out with us! It will go perfectly with your next grilled chicken or sushi!

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WWBG: Early Summer Beers

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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 Cicerone Program Certified Beer Server.

After a long, rainy Spring we seem to be crawling into Summer. We thought it would be a good time to look at some refreshing beers to enjoy as the weather turns warmer.

These three beers have one thing in common: they’re perfect for enjoying in the heat of the afternoon on your deck or patio. Ranging from sour to slightly sweet and malty, these three beers are perfect for days with more sunlight than moonlight. Though not necessarily seasonal beers — though one is — this time of year is ideal for all three.

I recently wrote about the first beer below, but, now that it’s actually warming up, it’s worth another look.

Raspberry Empress Kettle Sour IPA (6% ABV)

The first thing you have to do when drinking one of these is take in that guava pink color — made possible by the raspberries used in the brewing process. Then go ahead and inhale deeply — you’ll find an aroma of berries and Pinot Grigio with a distinct earthiness.

Sour IPAs can be exciting beers. For one thing, they tend to be slightly less tart than most sours. And, it’s interesting to taste how the hops interact with the sourness.

In this case, the beginning of the sip is distinctly fruity and tart. Midway, that fruit is offset by a bitter herbal flavor right before finishing with a biscuity malt. This is a tasty and flavorful sour that would be a welcomed beverage on a hot summer day.

Jackie O’s Scrip Grisette Style Ale Aged in Wine Barrels (4.5% ABV)

Apart from beer, the word “grisette” means “young working woman” and typically referred to women who worked in urban factories, as opposed to those who worked on farms. Think of a grisette beer as a counterpart to a saison or farmhouse beer.

These beers were brewed for industrial workers. In fact, Jackie O’s has named this beer after the factory town currency that was only good at the company store.

Scrip uses only saison and brettanomyces yeasts. It ferments for 2 months in stainless tanks and is then transferred to oak wine barrels for another 9 months.

Where the Raspberry Empress is kettle soured — made sour in the brewing process by the introduction of lactobacillus bacteria — a sour like Scrip is made using brettanomyces yeast and then aged to allow the “wild yeast” to change the beer.

This complex beer has an aroma of saltine crackers and lemon pulp with an astringent edge. The sip is light — both in mouthfeel and sourness — but flavorful.

Up front you get bitter orange and unripe pineapple with a healthy dose of earthiness, while saison yeast cuts the tartness. Enjoy this as the evening begins to cool slightly — this beer is both light and flavorful.

Three Notch’d Brewing Co. Firefly Nights Summertime Ale with Honeysuckle (5.2% ABV)

Inspired by early evening firefly hunts — a rite of childhood — the capture of strange light in hands or jars, Three Notch’d’s brewmaster, Dave Warwick attempted to capture summer in a can. Using honeysuckle, unique for having sweet, edible flowers, helps.

Unlike the multi-dimensional grisette style ale above, this beer is simple and straightforward.

And charming as a result. The aroma is all peach and honey and carnations — the floral a surprising and enticing element. Sipping reveals a light flavor of flowers, which lingers into the aftertaste, on top of peach nectar and finishes lightly sweet and malty.

Grab one of these out of the icy depths of a cooler or beer bucket, wipe it off and enjoy it as the afternoon wanes. This beer is refreshing, sure, but it’s also like Summer in a can. Now, if only it glowed in the dark.

This Week’s Beer Tasting

Join Dominion Wine & Beer on Friday, June 15th, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at their weekly beer tasting with Fair Winds Brewing Company in Lorton, VA. A representative from the brewery will be there pouring beers and dropping knowledge. Among other beers, Dominion will tap Dank and Stormy.

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WWBG: Rock the Rosé in 2018

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Editor’s Note: This biweekly column is sponsored by Dominion Wine and Beer (107 Rowell Court, Falls Church). It is written by Arash Tafakor.

Rosé is huge in the states. I don’t need to tell readers that.

Most social gatherings, rosé is as common as a local craft beer. And why not? rosés are super drinkable, bone dry, with little to no sweetness, and can pair with any food you can imagine.

I literally had one with a PB&J sandwich the other day, and it was life changing.

The good news is rosé is here to stay and there’s a second wave of rosés coming into the market.

The past few years it feels like every winery in the world is now producing a rosé. Apothic, Kendall Jackson, rosé in boxes and even 40-ounce bottle rosés! You should find a bigger and better rosé section at any wine store.

With the flooding of rosés in the market, consumers have gotten more discerning when it comes to quality. Wineries have stepped up their rosé game and started producing enough to make them available year-round so they don’t get lost in the shuffle.

This is great news for wine drinkers, quality and quantity of producers.

Even though there’s been amazing rosés being produced for years, one trend that is starting to gain traction in the main stream is to sit on these delicious wines for a few years as opposed to just drinking the most current vintage.

A well-made rosé can last several years after it was bottled and will certainly get better with age.

An example of a winery producing a new rosé that is high in quality is the “The Palm” Rosé by Whispering Angel 2017 from Provence, France.

Whispering Angel, which is one of the best-selling rosés in the world, decided to make a second label. “The Palm” is actually cheaper and quite honestly just as good if not better than its more expensive counterpart.

Don’t take my word for it, my friend Hoppy buys a case of it every few weeks. I told her to sit on a case for the next year or two, but that seems impossible.

Another trend in wine that is gaining a lot of traction is wine in a can.

Like most consumers I was hesitant/skeptical about drinking wine from a can. This comes from a bias that wine out of a can is of low quality, and to be honest, when canned wines first came out a few years ago they tasted like crap.

Like bad beers in cans such as Iron City out of Pittsburgh, there are bad wines in cans. There’s also bad wines in glass bottles. The vessel itself is no different than any other, it’s the quality of liquid inside that matters.

The good news is there’s a resurgence in canned wines, partially driven by the craft beer industry that is mostly canning their beer now. Cans obviously have ecological benefits, they’re fully recyclable and most importantly, convenient.

Wine producers that have decided to can understand these benefits and are putting higher quality wines into cans. Since cans are airtight, aging is not beneficial so most of these wines are made to be crisp, clean, bright and drinkable, which makes it a perfect vessel for… rosé!

A great example of a delicious rosé in a can is the Margerum 2017 Riviera Rosé from Santa Barbara, California. This southern California born rosé mixes sophistication, quality and partying. I have no shame bringing a 4-pack of this rosé to any party sipping them straight out of the can.

Please drink responsibly and come by Dominion Wine and Beer and check out our rosé section.

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