Category Archives: Food and Drink

"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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ginandtonic

Here comes 2016 gin and tonic season

This week’s forecast has several days in the 70s, so that means it’s time for my annual gin and tonic post.
spring-weather

As long time readers, friends and family know, I do enjoy a gin & tonic on a warm evening. After many years of research, I believe I have perfected the gin & tonic. You may be saying, “oh, WFY, gin & tonics are gross” but don’t worry, I won’t jump on you for it. I say to myself, “don’t hate, educate” to the gin & tonic skeptics out there. Long-story short dump out all the ice in your freezer as soon as possible, put a bottle of gin in the freezer (I go with Beefeater, but go with whatever you like, such as D.C.’s own Green Hat Gin), put some Schweppes tonic water in the fridge and get some fresh lime. You’ll want plenty of fresh ice, ice cold-syrupy gin, and cold tonic so do the day before the really nice weather starts. Since you’ll be outside, you’ll probably want to skip the glass and use plastic. If you are going the disposable route, I recommend Solo brand cups. Anyhow here is how you make the drink:

Cut fresh lime into quarters (limes cost no more than 70¢ so don’t be skimpy)
Squeeze lime juice into the bottom of the cup
Rub the rim of the cup with lime
Place lime in the bottom of but, rind down
Remove gin from freezer and pour directly into lime at the bottom of the cup. Gin should reach the top of the lime.
Add ice, I use 6 cubes from a icemaker or 4 from an ice tray
Pour entire contents of Schweppes tonic water over ice
Stir the drink
Enjoy

See, really easy to have a really refreshing drink which you should enjoy responsibly. You’ll probably be on the patio, sundeck or balcony when you do so you’ll be so relaxed you wouldn’t even think of driving a car of operating heavy machinery. When you’ve had enough, switch to ginger ale and lime for further refreshment without the side effects.

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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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Summertime BeltwayLand and beyond beer update: DC Beer Week, Va. Beer Month

It’s summer and after a month or two so of sitting in drafts waiting to get revisited, I’ve finished this post off.

You’ll want to read the CityPaper this week:

It’s DC Beer Week, do we need it?

As the Washington market becomes larger and more sophisticated, new beers are arriving weekly from across the country and around the world. Tap takeovers, beer dinners and brewery-centric events have become more common. We’ve reached a point where almost every week could be DC Beer Week, so why do we need DC Beer Week itself?…

It’s also hard to build excitement when, less than two weeks before DC Beer week begins, several major beer bars either hadn’t announced their schedules or had lineups full of “TBDs.”

To be fair, the organizers of DC Beer Week don’t plan events at individual bars, but that seems to be the crux of the problem: The schedule needs to be curated.

When the scene is so lively all year, why do we need DC Beer Week?

Gee, Fritz Hahn, WHO should curate this beer week?

It’s also Virginia Beer Month. Virginia is for Lovers has a good Virginia beer portal and @vabeertrail posts daily events.

Ballpark beer

Pretty self-explanatory, the annual Nationals Park beer guide by The Nationals Review makes finding your favorite regional beer easy to find.

Though not regional, Samuel Adams has produced a Washington Nationals 10th anniversary IPA. It’s undoubtedly a reaction to the perception that Sam Adams is your dad’s craft beer. I can only wonder what I late philosopher I knew growing up would have to say about Sam Adams being at odds with a movement it helped create; he was an early proponent of “old dad” beers like Schlitz and Stroh’s (I think).

Cycling and beer, what could go wrong?

I posted this last fall and I’ll probably post it twice a year — the github map of BikeableBrews along the Washington & Old Dominion Trail. Given that you can know get regional craft beer on tap, I’ll argue the Vienna Inn should be on it. It might be less than 200 feet from the W&OD.

Oh and a new brewery, working name of Metropole, launch name of New District (ARLnow.com), opens near the eastern W&OD terminus around Shirlington soon.

Wear your helmet and be responsible. Also, some local breweries may have cycling jerseys; I picked up a Port City Brewing Co. one last year and for what it’s worth, it is faster to bicycle to their brewery than drive which is a solid way to celebrate part of Father’s Day.

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.

Visting Atlas Brew Works

Untitled

In March, I visited Atlas Brew Works. It was fun.

Moving forward, want to contribute?

It’s August which means the return of Oktoberfest is imminent, too imminent because of the dreaded seasonal creep of everything. Oktoberfest is my favorite seasonal, but I’m… just not ready. I love summer, if only for the long days. Oktoberfest helps me get over less daylight more reliably than say, sadly the Washington Nationals. Football can help too, though not the burgundy and gold variety of late. I’ve already gotten a promoted tweet about an Oktoberfest, while I was drafting this post which probably means that the twitter data-mining is just getting creepy.

The regional beer scene is getting so big, it’s hard to keep up. If you have gotten out and about a little and want to contribute, let me know! I may have a Richmond-area recap from one twitter follower in the works and would enjoy others. wfyurasko at gmail dot com.

Prost!

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