Category Archives: Arlington

Features in and around Arlington, Va. which is only technically a county, it feels more like a city. I lived there for 6½ years.

Widening I-66 between exits 67 and 71

Bi-partisan legislators want to widen I-66 between exits 67 and 71

VIRGINIA I-66Finally! After a lot of the talk about putting tolls on Interstate 66 inside the Capital Beltway, a group of bipartisan elected official are proposing what I’ve wanted for that corridor for years.

Northern Virginia legislators say widen I-66, don’t toll itThe Post

State Sens. Chap Petersen (D), Jill Vogel (R), Richard Black (R), Jennifer Wexton (D), Jeremy McPike (D), along with Dels. Michael Webert (R) and David Bulova (D) all signed the letter, which was released Wednesday. The group represent communities outside of the Beltway.

In the letter they say the state should widen I-66 inside the Beltway where it meets up the Dulles Toll Road. That section of roadway is a huge choke point for Northern Virginia commuters. Their request would modify the McAuliffe administration’s current proposal to begin tolling I-66 inside the Beltway instead of widening it.

The group says that according to estimates by the Virginia Department of Transportation, it would cost $122 million to widen a four-mile section from Mile 67 (West Falls Church) to Mile 71 (Ballston).

Back in 2005, I suggested the same. I was commuting from Pentagon City to Tysons daily (2001 – 2007) and then from Ballston to Tysons (2010 – 2013), using that four mile stretch they propose to widen.

Traffic study shows why I-66 is a messThe Post

This article notes that the biggest choke point is the section is between exists 67 and 71. My anecdotal observations suggest that a number of cars, probably statistically significant only use that portion of I-66. Not having to change lanes the whole way would help all traffic flow smoother. Put up some helpful overhead signs and I think the situation can be improved without great expense or expanding the roadway’s footprint significantly or at all.

It just makes a lot of sense, much more than a money grab that tolls would be. Making the widening happen, along with the growing Silver Line should provide some relief for the corridor and prepare it growth on other end of it.

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Northern Virginia Oktoberfest beers

BeltwayLand beer & beyond: Oktoberfest preview, more DC tasting rooms

Last time I wrote about our local & regional craft brewing scene on August 7, I noted that Oktoberfest beers were imminent and sure enough:

Even Starbucks waiting until after Labor Day to sell pumpkin spiced lattes.

Last year’s Oktoberfset recap may be instructive for how you go about you local Oktoberfest shopping.

Flying Dog got started with their Dogtoberfest on August 22. Port City, August 28. Old Ox, the 26th. I guess the whole 8th month thing is their defense.

To their credit, Corcoran is waiting until later in September.

The only local ‘fest I’ve seen so far is Port City, so that’s why I’m using last year’s photo. I’m hoping to find some Rhinofest soon and try Oxtoberfest. See any of them? Let me know!

Now, if only the Nationals would stick around long-enough for October this year. Ooof. The Nationals Park beer map is still worth your time for the last few weeks of the season. There needs to be Verizon Center and FedEx Field beer maps too.

Oh and I’m indifferent to pumpkin beers, as is DCbeer.com, it seems.

A few fests near you

September 20 – Heurich House, D.C.
September 26 – Lovettsville
September 27 – Hoppy Oktoberest, Mad Fox, Falls Church
October 3 – my hometown of Vienna
October 3 – Capital City Mid-Atlantic, Shirlington
October 10-11 – Reston

There is a more extensive list on about.com and when the CityPaper & Post get listicles up, I’ll come back and link to them. For the entire commonwealth of Virginia check out virginia.org, the tourism bureau’s site. It seems odd to say without being sarcastic, but they do listicles really well.

Is DC Brau ripping off HogsHaven.com?

Uh, I’ve seen that logo before, DC Brau:

Since crowd-sourced rankings are vitally important

Port City won the CityPaper Reader Poll with DC Brau the runner-up and 3 Stars bronze.

Post Express
is running a drinking poll as well which leads off with breweries.

A new brewery? NO WAY

New District Brewing Company is now operating and situated near the eastern terminus of the W&OD bicycle trail around Shirlington. Surely, they’ll be added to the W&OD bike & brew map somebody put up on GitHub. New District is the figuratively first new packaging brewery in the history of Arlington County. The last time there was a packaging brewery, 1916, the county was still called Alexandria.

Portner Brewhouse

While generally focusing on packaging breweries an occasional brewpub gets a mention, especially if it is down the street from me. First mentioned back in 2011, the Portner Brewhouse is expected to open in 2016 (Red Brick Town). It is being started up by the great-granddaughter of Robert Portner who brewed beer in Alexandria until 1916. Portner was innovative in creating refrigeration to brew lager. Soon, the name will be restored to Alexandria on the West End. An extensive history from the City of Alexandria in PDF form.

New tasting rooms for 3 Stars, Atlas

3 Stars Brewing Company Will Upgrade and Enclose Its Tasting Room

None of this would have been possible just a few years ago. When 3 Stars first opened in 2012, they couldn’t even sell pints on premise. But changes to D.C. legislation have allowed breweries to build more traditional bars. Even more recent updates to local regulations allow breweries to apply for outdoor seating permits, just like restaurants and bars. 3 Stars plans to take advantage of that soon.

I visited Atlas in March.

These breweries (and distilleries) are turning old office/light industry parks into happening places:

What brings them to these seedy office parks on Bladensburg Road and West Virginia Avenue NE, to the edge of the universe, to industrial strips dotted with dollar stores and a medical supply outlet and body shops? Beer, of course. But also Uber. Bike fever and the Metropolitan Branch Trail. Boredom with the beige sameness of downtown’s rooftops and patios. Wanderlust. And sometimes, a party bus.

Loudoun’s Ale Trail

So, is this agri-tourism? There is fun to be had in Northern Virginia exurbs.

The official LoCo Ale Trail site is great except for “LoCo.” I’m not a fan of MoCo either. Let’s hope we never FairCo or ArCo either.

The Twitter list

I’ve compiled a twitter list of all the D.C., and Northern Virginia regional breweries I could think of and maybe a few more. It’s hard keeping up with the scene as it expands.

Guest post?

Want to write about craft beer in D.C. or Virginia? let me know! I might even accept a Maryland suburbs/Annapolis post.

Prost!

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VDOT releases 1949 footage of US 29 in Arlington

us29_va_old_tinyThe Virginia Department of Transportation found footage of US 29 (Lee Highway) from Key Bridge to Cherrydale filmed in 1949. VDOT recreated the same drive and combined that and the 1949 footage into one video and posted it on youtube:

us211_va_old_tinyThe 1949 footage isn’t perfect, but still gives an idea of post-WWII Arlington County. Streetcars are visible and along with the billboards that faced Georgetown at the Virginia end of Key Bridge. It’s also noteworthy that there are two US 29 signs visible, but not US 211 which was officially multiplexed with US 29 until 1980 according to the Virginia Highways Project when it was officially truncated at Warrenton. I had previously heard 1984, but I suspect that the completion of Interstate 66 outside the Beltway hastened the demise of US 211 since it was no longer than only continuous route number from the Shenandoah Valley to Washington, D.C. This video suggests that the predecessor agency of VDOT and/or Arlington County was disinterested in the US 211 designation near Washington in that designation long before it was technically removed.

In the last frame, beyond the intersection of Kirkwood Road, is a trestle for the Washington & Old Dominion Railroad. That right-of-way would later be used for Interstate 66, completed in 1982 and the Custis Trail, BeltwayLand’s most challenging bicycle path. Starting that year, the intersection with Kirkwood Road was also the northern terminus of the George Washington Memorial Parkway according to Steve Anderson’s dcroads.net. Since 1959, that part of the GW Parkway has been a spur called Spout Run Parkway.

Highway markers from Shields Up!

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Port City Brewing Co. cycling jersey and Derecho Common

Summer BeltwayLand and beyond beer update

It’s Craft Beer Month in Virginia. D.C Craft Beer week starts on August 17 (The Post) and the CityPaper has the Beer Issue out. Follow @dcbeerweek for more or visit dcbeerweek.net

Remember two years ago when a massive storm that crossed half the continent knocked power out for many of us for several days? Port City responded to the lack of electricity by hastily putting together Derecho Common. Thankfully, Alexandria hasn’t had any extensive power outages since then, but they have made Derecho Common a summer tradition. It turns out they’ll give you taste if you buy one of their cycling jerseys too. That is, if is still available. I have had a couple of Derechos and I’m saving at least two for when a friend returns from overseas. Well, maybe.

MEANWHILE, IN THE DISTRICT

District breweries are now allowed to sell pints thanks to a new law. That’s already legal in Virginia and even the nanny-state of Maryland. Not that Virginia is perfect as we’ll see later.

SPEAKING OF BUYING PINTS AT BREWERIES

The industry’s growth was strengthened by state legislation in 2012, when the state changed a provision governing on-site consumption at brewery tasting rooms, allowing the sale of pints of beer rather than just tasting samples.

That legislation, which D.C. just caught up on, has seen significant impacts across Virginia in Loudoun County in particular:

Since the law was revised, the craft beer industry in Virginia has seen 75 percent growth in the number of breweries, driving a statewide economic impact of $623 million, according to Virginia Craft Brewers Guild, a group composed of small, independent breweries in the commonwealth.

The whole story: ‘A rising tide’ of craft breweries in Loudoun and beyondThe Post

Bill Butcher of Port City is quoted in the Virginia Business cover story, The business of beer which also details what 2012 SB 604 has done for beer in the Commonwealth.

A few more details: Virginia’s local craft beer industry on the rise (The Daily Press, Newport News)

This growth can’t be sustainable, but it’ll be fun when it’s going on and hopefully, the good beers will survive through consolidation.

For what it’s worth, I do a fair share of “tourism” in Loudoun County for outdoor activities. It’s beautiful country, once you get past the Sterling/Ashburn sprawl.

Further out, Devil’s Backbone is hosting the 2014 Virginia Craft Brewers Cup on August 23 too.

The last time I was in Vienna, I bought the last six pack of Vienna Lager to leave in my mom’s fridge for future visits.

2 YEARS, 3 STARS

Saturday was the second anniversary party of 3 stars brewing.

ATLAS

During a recent trip to Nationals Park, I finally got to try some Atlas Brew Works beers. Their anniversary is coming up on September 6, by the way. The first was their common which I liked more than their 1500 South Capitol Street lager, specifically brewed for Nationals Park. It’s good to knock off a few more beers and hopefully, I’ll get to visit their brewery sometime soon.

ANOTHER NATIONALS PARK BEER RANKING

The Post rated The Best Beer in Baseball this past week. Nationals Park came in 13th overall (21st locality | 8th quality | 8th uniqueness). This took into consideration more than local beers though, unlike the report mentioned in a previous BeltwayLand Brewing update.

OLD BUST HEAD

Fauquier County, best known as the first to close their school system during snow storms, is also home to gentleman hops grower, @thefolkist and now Old Bust Head Brew, on Vint Hill which is sort of an in-joke.

WESTOVER BEER GARDEN EXPANDING

I normally just focus on packaging breweries, but I like Westover Beer Garden, so I’ll mention their upcoming Clarendon location (ARLnow.com).

ALEX, YOU BETTER BE DRINKING YOUR WATER

Far away from here both in distance and time is the fall of Stroh’s (Forbes) or as I know it, “the beer a friend’s dad used to drink when he was driving us to the pool.” Ah, the 1980s, such a more innocent time. Aside from being a textbook example of an “old dad beer” Stroh’s is a microcosm of Detroit in general, right? h/t Vince Guerrieri

HOPPILY EVER AFTER

Lastly, congrats to Maryland homebrewer The Ombudsman.

Also, if you plan on serving homebrewed (especially if it’s out of state) beer at a Virginia wedding, don’t bother mentioning it to the ABC if you have to apply for a liquor license. A groomsman had to pass out bottles the morning after since we couldn’t have it at the reception.

Oh and we look forward to a “new home” themed beer too.

NEXT TIME

Stay tuned for the next update for Oktoberfest (TOO SOON) — are you seeing an Oktoberfest beers yet? Let me know when you do.

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