WASHIGNTON, D.C. — After visiting New Columbia Distillery, my friends and I took the several block journey to Atlas Brew Works on West Virginia Ave. Many of the same people we saw at the distillery had also made their way to Atlas.
Atlas was established in 2013. The 2502 West Virginia Ave. NE location is a warehouse that has been converted to a brewery and bar, opposite Mt. Olivet Cemetary. Entering from the loading dock area, we were greeted by a D.C. Slices food truck, a welcome sign. After acquiring pizza and tater tots, we went inside and most of us ordered flight of four beers: La Saison des Fêtes, Rowdy Rye, District Common and Home Rule IPA. As it was crowded on that chilly March Saturday, the picnic tables were all spoken for, so we stood by the end of the bar. I found all of the beers to be agreeable, even the Rowdy Rye as the rye wasn’t overpowering. The Common was smooth, had a nice color. The Saison proved to be my favorite and when it was time to drink my half-pint I selected it, though I would have been happy with the common or the stout. An informal poll showed the Saison was the most popular. We skipped the tour, though with all the kettles right there, it’s easy to see how the beer is brewed.
Atlas is now making its way into stores in cans — I’ve seen it at the NoMa Harris Teeter. They also brew a Nationals Park only beer called 1500 South Capitol which I have had this and last season.
Atlas is open 5-8 p.m. on Fridays and 1-8 on Saturdays and Sundays. It’s served by bus routes D3, D4, E2 and I recommend that or some other form of designated driver. It’s just a short walk from our first destination, New Columbia Distillery.
The Ivy City location is on a narrow street across from a large parking lot for heavy vehicles. Inside, it’s perhaps 120′ x 40′ feet after crossing through the initial entry area. We weren’t carded. The stills are impressive in a steam punk kind of way. After an introduction to the legend of the man in the green hat (he eventually had to serve 6 months of an 18 month sentence, yet got to walk home at night — very Werthian), our guide explained that the grain was from Virginia’s Northern Neck – red winter wheat. The process was explained by the co-founder Michael Loew. It was a bit hard to hear him with dozens of people in the same space and music playing.
Three varieties of gin are currently available: Green Hat, Ginavet and the new Navy Strength. The each have a variety of botanicals. My favorite was the Green Hat, followed by the Ginavet and then Navy Strength. I left with a bottle of Green Hat as well which despite the name, is gray on the bottle and the onesie I bought for my baby boy. I’ve tried Green Hat in a gin and tonic, but I believe it would be better in a martini. The Ginavit would likely be good in a martini as well.
Many years from now, the rye will be ready, but sooner than that, they are working on some apple brandy.
New Columbia is open 1-4 p.m. on Saturdays. It’s served by bus routes D3, D4, E2 and I recommend that or some other form of designated driver. It’s just a short walk from the next destination, Atlas Brew Works too.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Since they went into service, I have been eager to get my first ride on the new 7000 series Metro cars. Actually, I’ve wanted to do that since I saw this 2012 video of the prototype. They recently debuted on the beleaguered Blue Line in and thus far I had only seen one going the opposite way at Pentagon, though I had seen it prior to revenue service going down the Red Line through NoMa. Had one come through during my morning commute, I would have been tempted to jump on it instead of my normal Yellow Line train to Gallery Place.
On Monday, the second 7000 series train began service on the Red Line. I had some ambition of catching it, but due to delays on the bus to Pentagon and Yellow Line, I did not get to Gallery Place in time. In the afternoon, I saw it arrive on the platform at NoMa, but could not get to it before the doors closed.
Yesterday, afternoon though, I was able to catch it. When I saw there was an 8-car train coming next, I waited in the hope it’d be a new one. When I saw the black face of the train coming down the hill from Rhode Island Ave. station, I knew my wait would be rewarded.
What’s initially striking about the 7000 series is the lack of livery on the exterior. The little branding it has is the Metro logo in white-on-silver with pixels which seems like 2003 design. It’s underwhelming aesthetically, but that’s apparently the point. Changing that from white to black would probably go a long way in improving the look of the train. That’s really low on WMATA priorities right now.
Sorry about the white balance, stinkin’ refurbed droid
Inside, the train feels much larger than the traditional Metro car. The seats are sleeker with metal instead of plastic and smaller, blue cushions. There is more “air” in this design. Also, smartly, the seating arrangement in the front and back of the car between the end and the doors has three seats against the wall instead of two pairs in rows. That should improve flow at stations.
The cars have improved information with a screen showing the system map, other information and presumably, advertising.
Another map, similar to ones on the New York subway, is specifically for the line with the next six stops listed and then the last 5 stops.
The audio is different than the current cars with all announcements from a recording instead of the operator. The “doors closing” tone is also different and sadly not the old school ding from the 1990s.
Performance is certainly improved over the manual operation riders have been accustomed to since the 2009 crash. Looking inside the driver area, I could not determine if the new controls allow for more subtle manual operation than the first six generations of Metro cars. I certainly hope so, but at least for the time being, the 7000 series will travel as 8-car trains under automatic train control (ATC). The performance of ATC is much better than the manual.
The 7000 series is a sliver of hope in a dark time for WMATA. The daily breakdowns, congestion on the Blue Line in particular and January arching incident that killed an Alexandria woman near L’Enfant Plaza are making it hard for even the staunchest Metro cheerleaders to defend the agency. The detractors are getting the “I told you so’s” in and politicians sympathetic to that point of view are getting elected and Congress isn’t happy. The House wants a $50 million funding cut (DCist) too, something I saw referred to as “the beatings will continue until morale improves.”
What is lost in this is that building a 100+ mile subway system in this region is an unprecedented achievement that is being taken for granted. Seeing this bold experiment, conceived and built at a time where the automobile was king and required regional cooperation between 2 disparate states, a large city with limited autonomy and the federal government, struggle so much is disheartening. The agency, the unions, local, state and federal governments need to remember the past and rededicate themselves so that these shiny new rail cars are more than just prettier places to be stuck in.
One Eight Distilling is named for Article One Section Eight of the Constitution, which among other things provided for the establishment of a district to serve as the nation’s capital. Our passion to build a distillery came from a desire to produce the finest spirits from grain to glass all within Washington, DC. We seek to continually make connections between people and our spirits, to use locally sourced ingredients, to recycle our spent mash to area farmers, and to pay our respects to the time-honored traditions of distilling while bringing innovation and love to every bottle we fill.
KO Distilling owners Bill Karlson and John O’Mara describe their business as a “artisan distillery” and plan to make and sell bourbon, rye whiskey, corn whiskey, gin, vodka and rum. The business will also feature a visitors’ center and will offer tours, tastings, merchandise sales and space for special events.
We’ll check back in several years to find out if there is a distillery bubble like we think there might be a brewery bubble.
New Columbia and the Ivy City neighborhood was also featured in The Post recently: Street Smart: Ivy City’s Green Hat Gin. New Columbia, which is next to a “medical marijuana cultivation factory” share the neighborhood with One Eight and Atlas Brew Works.
Welcome to the Winter 2015 update of BetlwayLand Beer – a long time coming.
UPDATE: It seems like every time I publish one of these posts, a few items come up not long after. Rather than wait, I’ve added them throughout the post. Prost!
It’s already been four years since Port City Brewing Co. opened (and almost five since we heard about it), returning a production brewery to the immediate Washington, D.C. area – inside the Beltway for the first time since there has been a Beltway. Sure, Loudoun and Frederick counties have had breweries for a while, but this was closer to home. Port City opened on January 30, 2011 as Alexandria’s first brewery in a century and was followed by several more locals, including DC Brau, the first production brewery in the District since Heurich closed in 1956. They seem friendly:
@dcbrau THANKS! We're proud to call y'all friends, too.
I tried two DC Brau special editions, The Tradition which is their DC United themed beer. By the time I found some is not at its freshest and did not provide any luck in the playoffs as the black & red fell to Red Bull New York. A stadium was secured though, so that’s good news. I’ll give the beer another shot next summer if it is still produced.
The Penn Quarter Porter, which I had out at Chadwick’s in Old Town, was a pretty special beer though. The chocolate and coffee flavors are smooth, but not overwhelming. If I see a six pack, I’m buying one to take home.
There is some bad news though —
Anyway, with @dcbrau no longer pouring free 3 oz tasters, it's the end of an era. All DC breweries now charge.
The packaging is a bit much but Bold Rock (Wintergreen, Va.) has a pretty tasty hard cider. I’ve gotten it several times and will continue to do so, especially if I wind up skiing Wintergreen this winter.
WHY ISN’T THERE A VERIZON CENTER BEER GUIDE?
As far as I know, there isn’t a beer map for Verizon Center like there is for Nationals Park. This ought to be rectified; does The Nationals Review like hockey or basketball? Local beers are sold there, but the most recent list is from 2013, so it may be out of date.
The great Vince Guerrieri wrote about a brewery bus in Cleveland recently and I thought, DC needs one of those. Sure enough, I soon learned of DC Brew Tours. Reston Limousine does it too, but not as often. Oh and DC Brew Tours, work on that SEO, it was hard to find you.
I think I mentioned it before, but Old Bust Head doesn’t have a winter seasonal next year called something like “school closed” or something they are doing it wrong because Fauquier is always the first school system to close for winter weather.
Hey, John Taylor’s sharing a byline there.
DC BREWERS BALL
March 7 is the DC Brewers Ball at National Building Museum. Might not be the optimum weekend for touring the local breweries which I was considering. We’ll see.
GREAT AMERICAN BEER FESTIVAL
It would be hard to match last year’s success when DC & VA beers cleaned up, but there were some high achievers in 2014 too:
Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
American-Style Fruit Beer
Devils Backbone Brewing Co. – Outpost
Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant – Annapolis
Amber Waves Ale
Capitol City Brewing Co.
American-Style Amber/Red Ale
Old Virginia Dark
Devils Backbone Brewing Co. – Outpost
American-Style Dark Lager
Devils Backbone Brewing Co. – Outpost
Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant – Rockville
Union Craft Brewing
DC Brau Brewing Co.
Belgian- and French-Style Ale
Devils Backbone Brewing Co. – Basecamp
Three Notch’d Brewing Co.
Irish-Style Red Ale
Sweet Baby Jesus!
DuClaw Brewing Co.
Devils Backbone Brewing Co. – Basecamp
Heavy Seas Beer
Golden or Blonde Ale
I’ll still ask, even at this late date — did everybody have (a) good Oktoberfest(s)? It’s my favorite beer season.
Like the Washington Nationals, the local ones did not last as long into October as I would like. I did not make it out to any events either, but I sampled four regional Oktoberfest beers:
Rhinofest by Lost Rhino – Probably the best, a little sweetness, but not overpowering. My wife liked it the most. It was about $10 for a 30 oz bottle though.
Corcoran Brewery (half-growler) – good, if I lived out in Loudoun County, I’d be inclined to get a half-growler if I were having a few people over.
Port City Brewing Co. – As always, it sold out too soon – I only got one six pack of it. I never saw it in stores, only at the brewery.
DC Brau – I bought a couple at the penultimate Nats game and enjoyed them. Not surprisingly, this was the hoppiest of the four area ‘fests. It paired well with a half-smoke though.
Flying Dog also makes an Oktoberfest, Dogtoberfest, but I didn’t get it this year. There may still be some sixpacks of their Old Bay-infused Dead Rise beer at Van Dorn Safeway and the Vienna Giant, by the way.
Outside of the region, I sampled the following:
Great Lakes Brewing Co. (Cleveland)
Harpoon (New England)
Saranac (New York State)
Great Lakes was my favorite of the four, but Shiner and Leinie are pretty special. Harpoon and Saranac are also solid choices.
I had Samuel Adams Oktoberfest somewhere too, on draft, but can’t remember where. It’s not my favorite and Yuengling Oktoberfest was surprisingly disappointing last year. There may be some sixpacks of Old Dominion, formerly of this region, but now from Delaware, floating around. Leingkugel made it well into the New Year.
Next year, my wife and I will make it to a fest and report back on it.
…Gov. Terry McAuliffe stood in front of a crowd to announce the first commercial hops processing facility would be heading to Black Hops Farm in Lucketts…the same farm was announced as the home to Farmworks, a farm beer operation run by Frederick, Md.-based Flying Dog Brewery.
Coming summer 2015, Farmworks Brewery will take 5 acres of property and is expected to include a 15-barrel brewhouse, cellar, coolshop and tasting room.
The hops processing facility will be located at another location on the farm.
“I’m pretty excited about the fact that there will be more great beer in Virginia,” said Jonathan Staples, the owner of the farm located on the west side of Route 15, north of Lucketts.
Loudoun County has two distillers (which I’ll blog about soon), several breweries and dozens of wineries.
This post has been in the works for months and by the time I get to the next one, it’ll probably be beer & half-smokes at Nationals Park time.
Welp: REI is moving there (Urban Turf) which seems like a pretty good use of the space, particularly for the spelunking crowd.
The Washington Wizards seek a new practice facility. They have been using Verizon Center auxiliary courts since the arena opened, but team owner Ted Leonsis wants a separate building. The model for this is his Capitals, who moved to what is now called Kettler Capitals Iceplex, a two-rink facility built on top of an Arlington County parking garage adjacent to Ballston Common Mall. The project was financed by the county and the Capitals rent and operate it. The modern amenities, convenient location to the core of the Caps fanbase and new rinks have been a positive for the team and the community. It’s not surprising that he wants to see if that can be reproduced for his basketball team.
The other morning as I was getting off the Red Line at NoMa, which should be called Swampoodle, (Ghosts of DC) station I looked over at the old Washington Coliseum and had a thought — could that be re-purposed into a new Wizards practice facility? Opened in 1941 as Uline Arena, Miguel Uline built it for his Washington Lions hockey team. The Lions uniforms inspired the Caps’ winter classic kit.
The Coliseum has more practical advantages beyond history of course. Located a block from Metro (and only three stops from Gallery Place-Chinatown station which Verizon Center is on top of) is located in an upcoming neighborhood, visibility (thousands of commuters pass it daily) and is an existing footprint. A Clinton Yates column expressed concerns about permanent neighborhood disruption when Shaw was proposed (The Post) as a site.
Turning the Coliseum into a 21st century practice facility isn’t a silver bullet by any means. The building is owned by Douglas Realty would undoubtedly need significant renovations whether it is sold or leased. There would almost certainly need to be a parking garage, weight rooms, plumbing and probably food service built there as well. It’s not my money to spend and I suspect Leonsis would rather the District finance it rather than him. Whether it is economically feasible, desirable or even available, it is worth looking into, because this could be a real opportunity for the franchise as well as the District.
With the vote, the team secured a deal that could get it out of the aging RFK Stadium as soon as 2017. And Mayor Vincent C. Gray, with about two weeks left in office, secured a legacy.
The final vote was matter-of-fact, with the council’s 12 members approving the deal unanimously.
A companion funding bill also passed unanimously Wednesday authorizing nearly $140 million for the project — including $33 million in shifts from other projects and $106 million in new borrowing.
DC United tried to get a stadium built on the other side of the Anacostia River at Poplar Point but, that got scuttled by then mayor Adrian Fenty. Moving the team to Prince George’s County was also proposed, but that did not proceed very far. Building Nationals Park clearly delayed the soccer stadium, but in 2017 DCU and the Nats will be neighbors, separated by a mere 4 blocks. Navy Yard Metro will be the closest station to the soccer stadium as well.
I’m really happy for the fans of United; Dan Steinberg Post columnist (weird) and DC Sports Bog-er has said for years that they are his favorite fans. It’s hard to argue with him, they have a passion for the black and red.
TIME TO COMMIT
On a personal note, I have become increasingly interested in soccer in the last five years, but have been holding back on completely embracing United because I wanted to know they weren’t going to leave the area for some place like Baltimore or Philly. In particular, I did not want my six-year old son, who has developed an interest and aptitude for soccer, to get his heart broken. Now that we know the team is here for the duration, we’ll probably start attending games regularly. I think I might have to go to the store and get him a shirt for Christmas.
WHAT’S THE BUZZ?
Like many of the teams in our nation’s capital, United has an eagle for a mascot. One of the supporters groups is called the Screaming Eagles too. While tradition is important, this outsider thinks that becoming the Screaming Buzzards on account of their new location might be something to explore.
DCU is also considering rebranding a bit with the move:
There is talk of the stadium being used for other events, like high school football and concerts. The Washington Spirits of the National Women’s Soccer League would probably play there occasionally. I wonder if the vagabond Chesapeake Bayhawks Major League Lacrosse team that has played all in DC, Baltimore, George Mason University and currently the Naval Academy might be looking to move as well.
THE OBSOLESCENCE OF RFK & MAYBE SOME METRO STATION NAMES
DC United is the sole remaining tenant at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium . The will likely play there a total 21 seasons, second only to the Redskins for longevity. Overall 13 baseball seasons were spent at RFK between the Senators and Nationals in the 1960s, 1970s and 2000s. With RFK’s inevitable demise (which deserves it’s own blog post) what becomes of the Stadium-Armory Metro station name? My guess is they’ll rename it to Hill East or something and remove the Armory reference entirely. Of course the city is tilting at windmills for the 2024 Olympics and/or a new Redskins stadium, so who knows? I wonder if the Navy Yard-Ballpark station gets another new name too, since two stadia will be served.
DC United and DC Brau already have a beer, The Tradition, so I can only assume local craft beer will be a part of the new stadium. Ben’s Chili Bowl is in several locations, so they may show up too. Since MLS doesn’t have all the national sponsorships that other leagues do, focusing on local/regional vendors and products is an appealing part of the DCU experience.
BALTIMORE IN MLS?
To the north, efforts to entice DCU to head up there were at least considered. I’m glad that hasn’t happened, but I’d be on board with a Baltimore MLS team. They have a lower-division team called the Bohemians after the infamous National Bohemian beer and since soccer is usually sponsored, that’d be one of the better one. That’d be a good instant rivalry, along with the ones with Red Bull NY (actually Harrison, NJ) and Philly Union.
Nationals Park which is literally just 15 blocks from the U.S. Capitol was the obvious choice from the beginning. I criticized the NHL and the Caps/Ted Leonsis for not picking the venue outright. Baltimore venues were even under consideration which would have been completely unacceptable. They finally got it right, but it took much too long.
It isn’t unreasonable to suggest that the 2011 Winter Classic in Pittsburgh is the high-water mark of the Alex Ovechkin era. They beat the arch nemesis Penguins in the rain that night, but shortly thereafter, Bruce Boudreau was fired as coach. Though the reached the second round under both Dale Hunter and Adam Oates, it seems like the last time the Caps did well on a big stage. Last season, they didn’t even make the playoffs.
The choice of the Blackhawks seems like an effort to get President Obama to a game, but the Chicagoan goes to Hawaii for the holidays, doesn’t he?
The logo for the Caps appears to have leaked today (Russian Machine Never Breaks) and it’s a surprise. A fairly simple W and three stars; a fauxback seemingly to a time well before the Caps existed. It looks more like something out of the Washington Senators history than the Caps. We’ll find out on Tuesday with tomorrow’s event when the uniforms are unveiled.
This is the Caps 40th anniversary season which makes you feel old.
It’s late-September — school is open, the Washington Nationals have won the NL East, football is back and daylight is becoming scarce as it is officially autumn at 10:29 p.m. tonight. Gin and tonic season has gracefully yielded to Oktoberfests and ales made with last year’s pumpkin crop. The same will happen with this year’s apples too.
As much as I like Oktoberfest beers, mid-August is TOO SOON for them to be released. The trouble can be they sell out before the swimming pools all close. Now, though, it’s definitely time to start drinking them. Actually, a few weeks ago…
So far, I have purchased three local Oktoberfests:
Corcoran Brewing Company Corktoberfest (Purcellville, Va.)
Port City – Oktoberfest (Alexandria, Va.)
Lost Rhino – Rhinofest (Ashburn, Va.)
The first two I bought at the breweries, while the third was found at Westover Market in Arlington. They are all really good, though Rhinofest available in 1 pint, 6 oz. bottles is pretty pricey.
“It’s a very traditional Oktoberfest,” explains Jeff Hancock, President & Head Brewer of DC Brau. “In recent years, Oktoberfests from Germany have started getting lighter in color and are closer to resembling Helles lagers than Oktoberfests or Märzens. We think our version will stand out amongst the myriad pumpkin beers and Oktoberfests on the market this season.”
They are only making 60 barrels though, all for draft distribution or growler fills, but including Nationals Park.
Outside of BeltwayLand, Flying Dog of Frederick, Md. makes Dogtoberfest. It’s not my favorite, but it tends to stick around longer than some of the other ones. At least in Northern Virginia. Former Ashburn-based Old Dominion also brews one from Delaware.
I really like the Shiner Oktoberfest as well as Leingkugel’s and Great Lakes. Yuengling’s was disappointing and Samuel Adams is okay and probably the most-heavily distributed.
Just going going to throw this out there for the Ombudsman — how about brewing a märzen next year around this time? No wedding to plan and the house is moved into, so how about it?
Also, I owe you a half-smoke.
FESTIVAL SEASON Drink up: A guide to local fall beer festivals – The Post
There are several beer festivals, mostly celebrating Oktoberfest in the D.C. area plus Annapolis and Baltimore. Snallygaster is already in the past, but there are still others to come. I might check out the Shirlington one hosted by Capital City Brewing Co. since it’s nearby, but we’ll see. Or maybe I’ll stop by my hometown for Vienna Oktoberfest. That one is a bit on the family friendly side which may be a feature, not a bug. #dadlife
When the seasons change, explains DC Brau co-founder Brandon Skall, his brewery’s canning line acts up. In the last week, roughly 65 cases of canned beer were sealed while only half or two-thirds full. “It’s perfect beer, but the cans are just too shallow to go to the market,” Skall says. The brewery staff prepared to get rid of the beer, but “it breaks my heart to just dump it down the drain,” Skall says.
Then he had a brainstorm. “I’d heard about people who distilled with beer, so I called John [Uselton, the owner of New Columbia Distillers] and asked him if we could do something with it.”
Then, news broke late Thursday that Pabst Brewing is being sold to Russian company Oasis Beverages for an undisclosed sum. Oasis is partnering with TSG, an investment firm, to buy Pabst. TSG Consumer Partners will take a minority stake in Pabst.
Oasis describes itself as a “leading independent brewer in Russia with growing soft drink operations.” The company was founded in 2008. It has facilities in Kazakhstan, Belarus and Ukraine.
So, in addition to Pabst, Old Style, Schlitz, Natty Boh, Old Milwaukee, Stroh’s and others are now all Russian owned…
With the sale of PBR to a Russian company, the USA has officially won the Cold War