More distilleries are coming to greater D.C. region

D.C. – it’s more than just a brewery town now as a second distillery has opened. We already know about New Columbia Distillers and Cactocin Creek in Northeast and Loudoun County, respectively. They now have a few competitors.

In the District

Back on January 8, another distillery, One Eight | @OneEightD, arrived in Northeast Washington. From their About Us page:

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.

From last month, just before they opened (NBC Washington):
One Eight Distilling Opens Next Week in Northeast D.C.One Eight Distilling Opens Next Week in Northeast D.C.

They currently produce District Made Vodka, Rock Creek White Whiskey and Ivy City Gin. A rye and bourbon are several years away.

In Manassas

Meanwhile, in Prince William County KO Distilling will be opening its doors this spring (Inside NoVa):

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’s new gin

New Columbia has a new gin – Navy Strength to go along with the flagship Green Hat Gin.

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.

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BeltwayLand Beer 4 years in plus Riggo, Red Bull vs. Old Ox; minus Chocolate City

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:

There is growth throughout the region that’s hard to keep up with, but now there is contraction as well.

CHOCOLATE CITY BEER AULD LANG SYNE

Back in July, @map408psu and I wondered aloud on Twitter if there was a craft beer bubble.

Since then, t Chocolate City was closed effective December 31. @SeanMMcNally had another take:

Chocolate City becomes the first of the class of 2011 to fold. I never got to try it.

BREAKING: JOHN RIGGINS LIKES BEER, WANTS TO DO A SHOW

Riggo, one of the most beloved DC athletes ever wants to expand his television presence with a show called Brew Stories:

The pilot was shot at Port City. I posted this on tumblr and twitter and DC Sports Bog’s Scott Allen picked it up. Too bad he had to cram his favorite, DC-hating baseball team into it.

RED BULL VS. OLD OX

Oh look, a multi-national corporation is being obnoxious with a small privately-owned business (WJLA) in another category:

So, I guess I’ll be hating on the Red Bull NY soccer team a little more during D.C. United’s season. Old Ox is named after the road that goes through Loudoun County.

SPEAKING OF DC UNITED & BRAU

Backup goalie, Andrew Dykstra, is a home-brewer and his latest is Achilles Pale Ale (The Post). May none of his bottles rupture like his tendon.

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 —

DC Brau has stopped giving away free samples though, scapegoating bad apples (The Post) abusing the previous system.

Speaking of apples…

IF IT’S TANGY AND BROWN, YOUR IN CIDERTOWN

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.

BEER TOURS

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.

VIRGINIA EXURBS BEER TOURISM

What’s brewing in Northern Virginia: Old Bust Head, Heritage Brewing and BadWolf BrewingThe Post
How to make a day of visiting breweries in the Western suburbs.

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.

h/t @dcsportschick

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:

GOLD
Raspberry Stout Hardywood Park Craft Brewery American-Style Fruit Beer Richmond, Va.
Schwartz Bier Devils Backbone Brewing Co. – Outpost German-Style Schwarzbier Lexington, Va.
Rauchbier Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant – Annapolis Belgian-Style Witbier Annapolis, Md.
SILVER
Amber Waves Ale Capitol City Brewing Co. American-Style Amber/Red Ale Arlington, Va.
Old Virginia Dark Devils Backbone Brewing Co. – Outpost American-Style Dark Lager Lexington, Va.
Turbo Cougar Devils Backbone Brewing Co. – Outpost Bock Lexington, Va.
Belgian IPA Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant – Rockville American-Belgo-Style Ale Rockville, Md.
Belgian IPA Union Craft Brewing American-Belgo-Style Ale Baltimore, Md.
The Citizen DC Brau Brewing Co. Belgian- and French-Style Ale Washington, D.C.
BRONZE
Alt Bier Devils Backbone Brewing Co. – Basecamp German-Style Altbier Roseland, Va.
Hydraulion Red/td> Three Notch’d Brewing Co. Irish-Style Red Ale Charlottesville, Va.
Sweet Baby Jesus! DuClaw Brewing Co. Chocolate Beer Rosedale, Md.
Danzig Devils Backbone Brewing Co. – Basecamp Baltic-Style Porter
Gold Heavy Seas Beer Golden or Blonde Ale Baltimore, Md.

OKTOBERFEST RECAP

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)
Shinerfest (Texas)
Harpoon (New England)
Leingkugel (Wisconsin)
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.

FLYING DOG PLANTS A FLAG IN LOUDOUN

Frederick’s Flying Dog, which is conspicuously a Maryland beer (well, for a Colorado-owned company), is setting up shop across the Potomac in Lucketts (Loudoun Times):

…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.

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A Let Teddy Win photo of William Howard Taft used with permission

Here comes the Fat Presidents Storm!

CAPITAL WEATHER GANG: D.C. area forecast: Significant snow tonight, then more extreme cold and snow chances as week goes onThe Post
BeltwayLand’s biggest snow storm of the 2014-2015 winter to date is expected to begin later today, perhaps in time for the evening rush hour. We could see 4 to 8 inches in the immediate D.C. area, including inside the Beltway.

Related: BeltwayLand Snowplow information

We’ve had several Presidents Day storms (WJLA) over the years – especially 1979 (and last year we had the Pitchers & Catchers Day Storm which could happen again), but the bulk of this one will be on Fat Tuesday, so I got thinking we ought to call the Fat Presidents Storm. Obviously, William Howard Taft, seen above, is the spirit animal of this weather event.

I have never wanted a Washington Nationals Racing Presidents bobblehead so much. If the Nats don’t have a photo of Taft outside of snowy Nationals Park tomorrow, it’ll be a social media fail. For those with Taft bobbleheads, I expect to see it out in the snow too; perhaps we can measure the accumulation in how many Taft bobbleheads deep.


Racing Presidents in Snow, pre-Taft

Photo from flickr user Teddy Roosevelt. Visit Let Teddy Win for all your Racing President coverage.

I want to go skiing tomorrow. Real bad.

It’s 49 days until Opening Day

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8 weeks until Nats Opening Day

Fifty-six days from now the Washington Nationals first game of the years should be in the record books. We’re closer to the start of baseball season than the end of it and it’s a good feeling, but not as good as when it’s actually here.

I note that baseball is 8 weeks away because I need a convenient headline, but I’m not quite willing to celebrate “Truck Day.” As far as I can tell, “Truck Day” was something the Boston Red Sox created to celebrate the departure of team equipment to spring training. It’s just a little forced to me. I buy into the symbolism of “Pitchers & Catchers Day” (especially when it snows up here) because it means we’re really close to wonderful things like daylight savings time and “best shape of his life” stories, but Truck Day is too far.

In other news, the Nats are outfitting DC Little League and adding Frank Robinson to the Ring of Honor, according to District Sports Page’s Tom Bridge. The photo in this post is by him by the way.

Max Scherzer is overpaid, his contract is weird (Deadspin) and I’d rather they have locked up Jordan Zimmermann, but this should help them stay competitive. Of course, pitching wasn’t the problem in the 2014 NLDS was it? Still, hard to argue with making a strength stronger and Zimmermann is apparently ready to leave D.C. as soon as he can according to internet rumors which are verifiable 100% of the time.

The 40% Detroit Tigers-based rotation has a Michigan friend of mine grumbling.

So, nobody asked new MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred why the Nats need to subsidize Peter Angelos and the Baltimore Orioles while he was visiting the Dream Academy, but at least James Wagner of The Post asked what’s going on with the TV rights fight. The question that I would have liked him to ask is why the Nats their own television rights at all — why are they less of a team than the 29 others? Why does MLB think we’re less of a fanbase? I don’t know how many opportunities will present themselves to ask him point blank.

The Nats and White Sox have a big differential in weeknight and weekend attendance (Fangraphs). The obvious answer is because so many fans are coming from Northern Virginia (so, in a way, it’s a a commuter tax!) and the obvious solution is more targeted marketing to people who live in the District and close-in suburbs. Will it work? Maybe. It’s a good idea either way.

The Nats spring training home appears to be moving down I-95 as West Palm Beach is courting them and the Houston Astros for a complex (The Post). This would have been really handy circa 1990 when I used to visit grandparents down that way. That being said, I’m more inclined to visit spring training at a location on the I-95 corridor rather than I-75.

Jayson Werth is doing time on the weekends for driving too fast. I thought he’d get out of it, but instead he got his sentence reduce to 5 days and that’s good, he’s being held responsible for being stupid and dangerous. It will be interesting to see how he addresses this publicly given that he wouldn’t talk to reports following his NLDS performance he hit .059. Either way, who cares what John Feinstein says? Odds that the @bravesorganist plays “I Can’t Drive 55″ — 1:1. I’ll laugh. He might too.

Ryan Zimmerman
, first baseman, will be weird, but makes a lot of sense. Let’s hope nobody on the infield gets hurt though. Or the outfield or catcher. If history is a guide, there will be lots of injuries from running the bases.

Parking lot P is gone, according to JDLand.

Bryce Harper — now available, ladies. It’s always said when things don’t work out. Nice job on the golf course though:

Tickets go sale on February 19. Would somebody please help me pick up an Opening Day ticket? I’ll get you a local beer too.

We’re ten years into the Nats. That was really fast and we’ve come a long way as a fanbase, but the franchise has come even farther. I’m so glad my sons get to grow up with a big league baseball team. I think I’ll be tweeting out my inaugural season coverage 10 years after it happened to commemorate a decade of DC baseball.

It’s 56 days until Opening Day

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R.I.P. Ed Sabol

Ed Sabol, founder of NFL Films, dies at age of 98 – NFL.com
Ed Sabol built NFL Films from the ground up in the 1960s and turned pro football into a myth. He and his son Steve, were brilliant propagandists (I say mostly with affection) who helped turn the NFL into the biggest sports enterprise in America.

Here is the “A Football Life” on Ed Sabol:

Since it’s up, here is the episode about his late son, Steve:

These videos will surely be taken down soon, so enjoy them now.

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Flag Day miracle: Wegmans opening Kingstwowne-ish location June 14

Wegmans Alexandria location to open in JuneNBC Washington
DESTINATION SUPERMARKET SHOPPERS REJOICE!

Remember exactly five years ago today when I said Wegmans was opening south of Alexandria? We finally have a date – June 14, a Sunday.

So yay, I finally TEH GR8EST GROCERE STORE EVAH! Kind of nearby.

The mailing address will be Alexandria, but’s it is about 5 miles south of the city limits. I wish the post office wouldn’t do that – call t Kingstowne or Belvior, but not Alexandria.

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Gannett thinking of selling Tysons headquarters again

Gannett exploring sale of Tysons headquartersThe Post
My former employer of many years, Gannett Co. Inc. and publisher of USA Today is thinking of selling its Tysons (McLean mailing address) headquarters again. This seems to come up at least once a year, but now it’s official from the CEO’s mouth. They simply do not need all the office space with a very different business model than when the building was designed in the 1990s. The company splitting in two – broadcast/digital and newspapers (with none of the company debt) as well.

The building location could be a bit of a disadvantage — while Tysons is seeing a lot of new construction, most of it is right along the Silver Line and 7950 Jones Branch Drive isn’t within a half-mile of a station. The World Bank was rumored to be interested at one point, but that fizzled. ExxonMobil and SAIC is also looking to unload their Fairfax County campuses. I’m not sure the amenities like a walking path around a large stormwater retention pond are that big of a selling point. I do miss “walk time” with my former colleagues though.

As for a new location, the opportunity to move back to Arlington is there since that office market is depressed right now. For about 19 years, USA Today was headquartered at 1000 Wilson Blvd. in Rosslyn and Gannett spent 15 years next door in the twin tower at 1100. The tallest building in that skyline is vacant (Wash. Biz Journal) and probably wouldn’t mind a big brand name tenant. The current Corporate Executive Board building will also be vacated when that organization moves into a new tower at the site of the old Orleans House.

It seemed like half my colleagues lived in Ashburn so they might have a retention problem with a move like that, though the Silver Line might be finished out that way by then. Of course, selling the current Gannett/USA Today building and then leasing space could be an option. I’m just a spectator on this one, but had I still been with Gannett I’d have been hoping for move.

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Sheetz replacing the old Big Easy space in downtown State College

Subtitled: When your favorite bar from college is turned into a convenience store

Beer without gas: Sheetz to open store in downtown State CollegeCDT

Five things:

  • When I was at Penn State, my favorite bar was Tony’s Big Easy. It was an attractive space that served the best cocktails (but they were…SIX DOLLARS) in State College and played swing, salsa, jazz. It was the bar in Happy Valley with the most little black dresses. I loved it.
  • After graduation though, the music got more generic and it started to sound like every other bar in town. It wasn’t Jock Jams bad, but the product differentiation was lost.
  • Years later, there was a fatal stabbing outside of it. It eventually lost it’s liquor license.
  • Now, it’s becoming a 24-hour convenience store. It’s going to be a huge success.
  • That headline
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William F. Yurasko's blog v.15 – Nats, Redskins, Capitals, D.C. life, transportation, not so much Penn State anymore,