Tag Archives: beer

Sometimes I think I might like the culture of beer more than the actual beverage. Mostly news about Washington D.C. area breweries, but Pennsylvania too since that’s where I went to college.

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.


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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


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.


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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.


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.


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.


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.


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…


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.


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.


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.


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.


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:

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.
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.
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.


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.


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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