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.

"Port City Oktoberfest display at supermarket"

BeltwayLand beer & beyond: Too early and hot for Oktoberfest

The first regional Oktoberfest beers were released earlier in the month. It’s about 100 degrees out now and still the heart of gin and tonic season, so like everybody else I’m thinking TOO SOON. And I love Oktoberfest beers, marzen is my favorite style.

My most extensive review of regional Oktoberfests was from 2014 selections, so check that out. I may have to stockpile some and save them for the right weather since they disappear so quickly.

Virginia’s excellent tourism web site has a list of several Oktoberfests celebrations, evergreen Craft Beer information and blog posts.

I’ll keep expanding theleave the (last season’s harvest) pumpkin beer coverage to of others (Mental Floss) because good stuff is still coming in:

But what, there’s more. There’s Gemütlichkeit!

Yes, that IS my new favorite word!

Enjoy local beer while watching others exercise

District Drafts local/regional beer stand
While we await Oktoberfest and dream of a different kind involving the NL East leading Washington Nationals, check out the Nationals Park beer map, a service from The Nationals Review.

As for football season, Baltimore-fan boy Scott Allen noted that Jack Kent Cooke Stadium FedEx Field will serve craft including John Riggins 4&1, a pilsner brewed by EscutcheonBrew in Wincester. First, the stadium details, from Chicken and waffles, Redskins ‘Hog Dog’ and more craft beer coming to FedEx Field (DC Sports Bog, The Post):

After adding a craft beer cart on the main concourse last year, Bloyer said the Redskins are making a “much bigger push” with craft beer this season. The tasting was held in a rebranded space on the club level called the Craft Haus, which will feature 8-10 rotating taps throughout the season. Elysian’s Space Dust IPA, Devils Backbone’s Vienna Lager, Flying Dog’s The Truth Imperial IPA, Bell’s Two Hearted Ale and Escutcheon Brewing Co.’s 4th and 1 Pilsner (John Riggins’s beer) were among the beers available Wednesday.

Riggo’s beer got an extensive profile from the Bog as well: Loosen up with Redskins legend John Riggins’s new beer.

Riggo of course, has a history with the golden beverage and tried to start a beer television show.

We’ll check in with the Verizon Center beer situation next time.

Bicycling and beer – what could go wrong!

Father's Day beers at Port City

Moving on from drinking beer while others exercise, let’s talk about combining the two (safely!).That GitHub W&OD beer map is updated with some of the new breweries. Washingtonian has a map for the whole DC region as well on: 24 DC-Area Breweries You Can Bike To

I stopped at Vienna’s Caboose Brewing Co. a while back for a taste.
Caboose Brewing, Vienna, Va.

I tried the Crossroads Lager. Tasty, but the flavor is milder than I would have expected given the color. The pub, transformed a boring old warehouse at the end of Mill Street into an appealing space and patio. It’s right off the W&0D.

Port City, while not on the W&OD, isn’t far from the Holmes Run and Eisenhower Avenue trails either. It’s quicker for me to bike there than drive and me and another friend celebrated Father’s Day for a little bit as shown above. They have a Pedals ‘n Pints ride on Saturday, August 20 at 10:45 a.m.. I might go.

Devils Backbone has a 75-miles long ride between their facilities (WSLS), but more about them later.

I will probably check out New District Brewing, right by the eastern terminus of the W&OD. They’ve got a sign now too.

Remember, be responsible.

Beer issues

Washingtonian and Northern Virginia magazines published their beer issues recently. The region has come a long way since 2011.

Beer NowNorthern Virginia Magazine
“a directory with more than 50 breweries, half of which are expected to open within the next year.”

Emphasis added

Washingtonian is gradually adding beer stories to their web site (easiest way to see the newest search for “beer“), but go ahead and get started with these too:

How Loudoun County Became a Beer-Head’s Mecca

Best Job Ever: The Smithsonian Is Hiring a Craft Beer Historian

Of course, we can’t forget our friends at The Post

A deal with the Devil?

Devil's Backbone display

April brought news that Devil’s Backbone, the Virginia brewer that had the foresight to make a really good, accessible lager was getting in bed with AmBev.

Sell out? Sure, but that’s kind of goal of a lot of enterprises — getting rewarded for what you built.

If you are big craft community believer, the sale is worrisome because AmBev can undercut other craft brewers. $9.99 a sixpack is a lot more inviting than $11.99 or higher. That’s already happening where I shop. If you just like Devil’s Backbone (especially Vienna Lager) good news – it’s cheaper!

The inevitable shake-out of the beer boom is coming one way or another and it’s kind of surprising big beer is just making it’s move. A whole generation is entering the marketplace as local/regional craft beer drinkers, so what else will the big multinationals do?

Devi’s Backbone is in limbo right now as the transaction isn’t completed. They aren’t independent anymore and got kicked out of competing in a beer festival they are hosting.

Amid deal with Anheuser-Busch, craft brewery gets kicked out of its own festivalThe Post

Festival results are starting to come in, I’ll link to them soon.

And then there is this:

BeltwayLand Brewing twitter list

The ever-growing Twitter list of breweries from D.C., Northern Virginia and a little bit of Maryland.

That’s all for now, prost!

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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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