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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

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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.

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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WWBG: New Brewery Profile — Rocket Frog Brewing Company

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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.

New Brewery Profile: Rocket Frog Brewing Company

Location: 22560 Glenn Dr., Suite #103, Sterling, VA

Opened: May 5, 2018

Twin brothers David and Richard Hartogs partnered with David’s wife, Jennifer Showell-Hartogs to open the uniquely named Rocket Frog Brewing Company. They brought in their TV producer brother, Peter Hartogs, as an investor and Ph.D. in biochemistry, Russell Carpenter, as head brewer.

The Arlington-natives, David and Richard, have worked in and around beer for years between The Better Beer Authority beer review video series on YouTube and a craft beer meet up group called Beer Head on meetup.com. Now, they get to make the beers that they want to drink.

They’ve built a tap room for today’s beer drinkers with charging stations for phones and other devices, coat hooks galore and plenty of gathering space for hanging and trying their line up of beers. They’re hoping they can find their niche in the beer-rich LoCo.

I reached out to co-owner Richard Hartogs with some questions to figure out just what a “rocket frog” is and where they’re planning to go with the brewery.

What Is a “Rocket Frog”?

“September 6, 2013, a frog was propelled in the air by the Minotaur V rocket on Wallops Island, VA as the boosters blasted the rocket to space. The frog basically photo bombed a NASA photograph and it gained media attention. I thought Rocket Frog was a funny name and suggested it to David. He said yes.  It turns out the rocket was made by Orbital ATK, a mile from the brewery.”

Do you plan to focus on particular styles?

“We want to grow into 4-5 flagships, like Angry Alice IPA, Minotaur V American golden/blond ale, and a kettle sour. We also want to focus on seasonal, rotating IPAs, experimental beers, barrel aged beers, whatever comes to mind. We want you to both know what to expect in our tasting room, and have fun trying whatever Russell Carpenter comes up with.”

What kind of packaging will you offer and do you plan to distribute?

“We will hopefully have our kegs out to market in Northern Virginia and DC within a few weeks, once we sign with a distributor. Kegs will be 1/2 barrel and 1/6 barrel. We hope to bring in mobile canning by the end of month 3. We’ll can some specialty, small batch beers that will be sold out of our tasting room and send our bigger batch beers to market.”

Who’s inspiring you?

“I wouldn’t say there is one person who is inspiring us. I would say we are driven to be successful by the five-year journey/struggle to get open. After such a long process, we’re driven to make sure our beer stands up to anything in our market and our tasting room is a great place to drink. And we’re driven by the risk we’ve taken in order to open the brewery, in particular David and his wife Jennifer Showell-Hartogs.”

Do you have any interesting offerings coming up?

“Cosmic Trails IPA, which is predominantly Citra and Galaxy hops, should be ready and tapped by the end of May.  It’s already tasting great in the fermenter, and it’s still going to get dry hopped some more before it gets kegged off. We are doing our first kettle sour this week, which I’m really excited to see how it will turn out.”

Well, they’ve already had a serendipitous visit from a frog during an industry event to celebrate their opening. Perhaps it was a sign. I was able to get three of their first beers to try — it’s a great start.

Minotaur V American Blond Ale (4.5% ABV)

The very first beer to make it through Rocket Frog’s system, Minotaur V is named after the rocket that made a frog famous. As it turns out, the Minotaur V was built by nearby company — Orbital ATK. It’s like it was fate. I’m going to come right out and admit that I’m not a fan of blond ales, generally. They tend to be malty and plain. This one is different.

Pouring golden and clear with a generous creamy head, the aroma enticed with cracker, carnation and a bit of cardamom. The sip was smooth and lightly winey with just enough hops to mask any maltiness. I might not tend to reach for a blond ale, but ignoring Minotaur V would have been a mistake. Nearly as clean and crisp as a lager, and as sessionable, it will make a great go-to during the hot Summer months.

Wallops Island Brown Ale Brewed with coffee (5.3% ABV)

Rocket Frog is already playing with their formulas, and they’re barely open. According to their Untappd profile they have already brewed this brown ale with and without coffee and served it with smooth nitro. Of course, I got the coffee version — brewed with Nicaraguan coffee. Unlike the usually malty blond ale, I love a brown ale. I’m always curious to see what a brewery does with this old fashioned style — and by old fashioned I mean 90s microbrewery old.

I don’t know that I’d say that a good brown ale makes the brewery, but I haven’t been disappointed yet. This one is no exception. I wouldn’t fault someone ordering a second one of these and calling for a grande — the aroma is iced coffee and caramelized sugar. Coffee continues in the sip, where it balances the light bitterness from the roasted malt. So dark and toasty is the flavor that you could probably call this a porter, but I’m not complaining. This one goes down so smooth, you could pour some in one of those ubiquitous clear plastic cups and drink it with a green straw.

Angry, Angry Alice DIPA (8.4% ABV)

This big beer was just right. It might refer to Alice, but it reminds me of Goldilocks. Angry, Angry Alice is the double IPA to Rocket Frog’s future flagship IPA, Angry Alice. Just get a load of the hops that Rocket Frog used to brew and dry-hop this DIPA: Citra, Mosaic, and Simcoe pellets with LupulN2 powder.

Though not hazy, Angry, Angry Alice had all the signs of a juice bomb. Passion fruit, clementines and pine sap made for an intoxicating aroma. The sip was sweet and fruity — mango followed by grapefruit as the sweetness is delightfully tempered by bitterness. This big DIPA might be simple, but the flavors are huge and on point. I look forward to seeing what other special IPAs they have to offer. That Cosmic Trails sounds pretty good!

Friday Beer Tasting

Join Dominion Wine & Beer on Friday, May 18 from 5-7PM as they host their weekly beer tasting. They’ll be featuring a collaboration between two great local breweries, Solace Brewing Company and Eavesdrop Brewery — JUICE HEAD. It’s is a 9% ABV DIPA that they just tapped on the growler station.

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WWBG: A Refresher on a Refreshing Beer Style — Lagers

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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.

Lagers are truly the king of beers in the United States, if not around the world.

For years now, craft breweries have tapped into an already lager-hungry cross-over market offering traditional styles that contrast with hoppy or sour beers.

A well-made craft lager or even traditional import can be a refreshing alternative to the glut of ales on the market. Often low in ABV, though not always, and crisp and malty rather than heavy and fruity — they make the perfect addition to the Summer cooler.

At it’s root, the thing that sets a lager apart from an ale is the yeast. Ale yeast requires warmth in order to start the fermentation of sugar into alcohol, adding fruity flavors to the beer. Because ales are made at warm temperatures, the yeast remains near or at the top of the wort as it makes the beer — ales are also known as “top fermenting beers.”

Lager yeast actually begins fermentation at lower temperatures and is slower to complete it. That slower fermentation also happens at the bottom of the tank, giving lagers the designation of bottom fermenting beers. The result is a crisp, clean flavor that should be free of the fruitiness that ales display.

The word lager is derived from the German word “lagern,” which means “to store.” In fact, lagering is the process of storing the beer at temperatures around or below freezing for a period of time. Lagering allows the few flavor compounds created by the slow fermentation of the lager yeast to reabsorb and be processed out.

All the lagers that I’m exploring are relatively light in color, but they can also be brown or black as the yeast and the lagering is what makes a lager a lager and not the grain or the color.

Mano Del Puma Blonde Mexican Lager (4.8% ABV)

Mexican lagers are made by adding corn to the grain bill, which adds sweetness and contributes to the crispness that you get with beers like Corona or Dos Equis. Mano Del Puma is a simple, but delicious brew.

Inhaling, I get fresh herbs like parsley and cilantro bracketed by clean, white flour. The sip is crisp soda cracker with a subtle sweetness.

It’s all on point. At only 4.8% ABV this is great for a hot summer day after mowing the lawn or grilling. This isn’t just crushable, it’s totally poundable.

Port City Brewing Company Lager Series: Helles (5.2% ABV)

The first entry in Port City Brewing Company’s monthly Lager Series, Helles is a lightly sweet and crisp lager.

A light honey color — “helles” means pale in German — Port City’s version of a traditional German style poured with a generous, creamy head.

The aroma was fresh cut grass, wild flowers and white bread. Clean and lightly sweet, the sip goes from subtile green herbs to pleasantly malty without ever getting bitter.

It’s refreshing on a 90 degree day like today. And unfortunately, it’s also limited. But look for other Lager Series beers as they will be released every month and a half.

Ayinger Maibock (6.9% ABV)

A maibock is a traditional German beer style, made for Spring with its lighter malt and extra hop flavor — “mai” means May in German.

Made to mark the longer, brighter days that lead out of Winter, maibock contrast with Winter bocks that tend to be darker and heavier lagers.

Pouring a light amber, Ayinger’s maibock gives off an aroma of honey and wheat bread with a hint of floral spiciness. The flavor is simple: sweet and malty with a light hop-derived bitterness. The classic German Hallertau hops that Ayinger uses lend this beer it’s spicy aroma and subtle contrast to the malt.

This is a classic beer that great on a Spring evening as the air begins to cool after the warmest part of the day.

This Week’s Beer Tasting

Join Dominion Wine & Beer on Friday, May 4 from 5-7 p.m. for their weekly beer tasting. Mano del Puma will be available on tap and in cans — perfect for the weekend. They will also be pouring IPAs from Offshoot Beer Co. and Reaver Beach Brewing Co.

Cheers!

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WWBG: New Beers from Commonwealth Brewing Company

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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.

Last Friday, Dominion Wine & Beer hosted Commonwealth Brewing Company for their weekly beer tasting. The Virginia Beach brewery was in the area to promote their upcoming beer festival and to share some recent, limited releases.

Lucky customers had a chance to win two tickets to Commonwealth Brewing Company’s 3rd Annual COMMON GROUNDS Collaborative Beer Fest & Camp Night on May 19 from 4-8 p.m.! This event will feature collaborations with some of the best breweries in the country, including Aslin Beer Company and Ocelot Brewing Company.

In addition to flagship favorites, Aureole Lager and Big Papi DIPA, Commonwealth shared limited releases Tinta Rosa Gose, Lethe Pale Ale and There Goes Gravity IPA.

Tinta Rosa Sangria Style Gose Ale (5.4% ABV)

The fourth entry in Commonwealth’s international street vendor drink series, Tinta Rosa is a gose in sangria’s clothing.

The purple coloration is the first clue that this beer might be just what they promise. While the aroma of lime and green plums doesn’t scream sangria, it does evoke a good gose.

They nailed the sangria flavor in the sip! Though it starts out extremely tart and sharply salty — as a good gose will — the orange and raspberry comes through evoking the fruited wine drink.

For fun, I’d pour several cans into a chilled pitcher with some fruit to complete the illusion. We may not be able to keep our warm days around, but Tinta Rosa was a welcomed beer on a recent warm day. Grab a four pack and hold on to it for when Spring finally returns.

Lethe Pale Ale (5.1% ABV)

It’s refreshing to see the humble pale ale make a resurgence.

The gap that had opened up between low-alcohol sours and big beers like imperials and double and triple whatevers has been gradually filled by lagers and, once again, pale ales.

I’m not excited about all pale ales — many of them taste like watered down IPAs — but breweries seem to be getting their pale ale mojo back.

Take this beer. It’s light, fruity and hazy, like a sessionable New England IPA. The aroma of passion fruit, orange and guava with a hint of sharp herbs, delivers a sip that is slightly tart and fruity with a barely bitter finish. Lethe is, dare I say, crushable — a delicious alternative to stronger hazy IPAs.

There Goes Gravity Wheat IPA (7.0% ABV)

Brewed with El Dorado and experimental hops and a large amount of wheat in the grain bill, There Goes Gravity is a naturally cloudy exotic IPA. I was intrigued by the aroma that blended bubble gum with apricot and sweet honeydew melon.

The sip is sweet and smooth with a slightly bitter finish — like taking a bite of the sweet part of a honeydew along with a little bit of the rind. Sweet and slightly strong, There Goes Gravity is a sipper that can sneak up on you if you drink it too fast. Enjoy this one slowly and savor it. Besides, it won’t be around long.

This Week’s Beer Tasting

Dominion Wine & Beer is having their friends from Ocelot Brewing Company over for a little party to kick off their 3rd Anniversary, which they’ll celebrate at the brewery on Saturday.

Join them Friday, April 20 from 5-7 p.m. when the brewers from Ocelot will be in the house pouring some of their newest IPAs, Gorgeous and Alone, for the first time outside the brewery. Come meet Mike and Jack and grab some beer for the weekend!

Dominion will also be giving away two tickets to Ocelot’s anniversary party on Saturday at the brewery. There may even be a surprise or two in store so keep an eye on Dominion Wine & Beer’s social media.

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WWBG: Where I Like to Grab a Beer in NYC

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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.

On any trip to New York City, I try to get to my favorite watering holes and to find new ones.

Recently, I visited the Big Apple with my family. While there, I decided that I’d like to share my favorite restaurants and bottle shops for grabbing a beer.

Whether you’re waiting in long lines to get into the Supreme store in SoHo or in the long lines to get into the 9/11 Memorial & Museum or are waiting to get into the next showing of Hamilton — you’re probably going to want beer when you’re done.

Beer Table

(22 Grand Central Terminal, Across from Track 13 and WESTFIELD WORLD TRADE CENTER, 185 Greenwich Street)

My first stop was Beer Table in Westfield World Trade Center.

This small space had quite the singles selection with five beers on tap for filling in a variety of vessels that range from pint jars to mini kegs called “Gregs” — a contraction of growler and keg.

I couldn’t pass up a jar of Runcible, a Brett IPA from DC’s Right Proper Brewing Company. My literally pint-sized jar came cozily wrapped in a complimentary koozie and sealed well enough that the longish walk back to my hotel without immediate refrigeration did little to diminish the freshness.

As small as the Lower Manhattan location is, the one at Grand Central is even tinier. But show up on a Friday evening and you’ll find a line that stretches out their door and down the corridor. Thirsty commuters looking for some tasty beer for their train rides out of the city keep this location hopping!

They have big plans for the future, too. Their origins were in the restaurant business with a now-closed Beer Table restaurant in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Now, they’re returning to their roots with Beer Table Coffee Table on Third Avenue between 45th and 46th Streets.

While You’re In The Neighborhood…

When in the Financial District, be sure to grab a bite — and maybe some groceries — at Eataly.

Conveniently located upstairs from the Beer Table in Westfield World Trade Center, you’ll find a lot of Dogfish Head beers (they have collaborated on beers in recent years) and beer from an Italian craft brewery, Baladin. While I didn’t manage to try Baladin’s beer, they do make delicious sodas that we all fell for.

Cooper’s Craft & Kitchen

(169 8th Avenue and 87 2nd Avenue)

The last time I was in New York City we got up early to get a head start on the day. And we walked. We always walk in New York, but we really managed to get an unusual amount of walking in before lunch. We had walked about as far as we could manage and, while we contemplated our next move, one of us noticed Cooper’s across the street.

It was an oasis. I mean it. It was below freezing outside and, because it was the weekend, they were serving brunch. We were won over (everything was good but do try the french toast).

Now a must-visit for my entire family, Cooper’s Craft & Kitchen in the East Village sits blocks from Cooper Union at 87 2nd Avenue. Inside this corner restaurant with its panoramic views — great for people watching — is a gastropub that has more than 20 taps serving up great craft beer alongside delicious food. If you’re a locavore when it comes to craft beer, you will always find great New York area beers in addition to beers from around the world.

It feels like a cozy neighborhood hang out as much as a trendy craft beer bar. It has plenty of cool, but you’ll enjoy it if even if that’s not your thing. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

While You’re In The Neighborhood…

Perhaps you’ve just finished your meal at Cooper’s and want to grab a growler or some bottles or cans. Head a few blocks to the east to Good Beer NYC. Located near Tompkins Square at 422 E 9th Street, Good Beer is a step down off the sidewalk and into a compact bottle store that always has a great selection.

Tørst

(615 Manhattan Avenue, Brooklyn, NY)

When in NYC, you have to make the trek to Brooklyn’s Tørst in Greenpoint. At least that’s what Dominion Wine & Beer’s Arash Takafor said. There are so many reasons to venture into Brooklyn, but when you’re in Manhattan, it can feel like you’re completely leaving the city. I can tell you that there is no place I’ve been to that was more worth the effort.

Take a few trains from Manhattan — we took three, some with only one or two stops before the change — and get out at the Nassau Ave. station. Just down the block is an unassuming door with a sandwich board in front that marks it as Tørst.

Inside is a warm wood interior with communal tables and a long bar sporting 21 taps. Details are important to the Tørst experience. Each of the tap handles is a different shade of wood, from light to very dark. This corresponds to the color and strength of the beers on draft. Lighter pilsners and session beers are on the light end (think birch) and IPAs and sours run through the middle and heavies and stouts are on the dark end. (think walnut).

Their glasses take this attention to detail to another level. Made up of a pattern of triangles that appears merely ornamental (vaguely resembling pine trees), they are actually a creatively graduated system. Each row represents 5 oz., 8 oz. and 14 oz. One of the standouts from my flight was the 5 oz. pour of Aslin Beer Co. and Stillwater Artisanal’s collaboration Recess, which was refreshingly tart and fruity.

Finally, the food — think gastro beer bar — and the service — our bartender was knowledgeable, warm and friendly — are details that put Tørst on any must-visit list. Three of us had sandwiches (the favorite being a fried chicken breast with celery root remoulade), while my wife had a green goddess salad with pickled grapes and blue cheese crumbles. The sandwiches arrived with no sides but there was so much to enjoy between the pieces of bread that it was anything but underwhelming. Finishing it off, we shared a dessert of house-made vanilla ice cream with cacao nib brittle and amarena cherries.

While You’re In The Neighborhood…

Our bartender recommended that we walk several blocks to the Northwest to shop at Brouwerij Lane. Also in Greenpoint, Brouwerij Lane is a well-stocked bottle shop that has around 20 taps for growler fills and pours to enjoy on-site by their wood-burning stove inside or out back.

Friday Beer Tasting

Join Dominion Wine & Beer on Friday, April 6 from 5 — 7 p.m. as they host their weekly beer tasting. They’ll be featuring new beers from Cigar City Brewing, Crooked Run Brewing and a collaboration from AleSmith Brewing Company and Pizza Port Brewing Company!

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