Best bets for this year's DC Beer Week
WTOP's Rachel Nania reports
WTOP Beer Contributor
WASHINGTON -- With lots of events on tap for D.C.'s annual Beer Week -- from tap takeovers to dinners to educational panels -- selecting a few to attend can be a difficult task.
And while it certainly is tempting to tackle the full calendar of events, it's nearly impossible. So here are my top picks for the remainder of the week.
Wednesday, Aug. 20
Straight out of Boca Raton, Florida, Funky Buddha is bringing a flurry of unique concoctions to the District. With beers such as Snowed In -- an imperial porter brewed with coffee, coconut, white chocolate and caramel -- and Muy Bonita -- an apple-brandy barrel-aged imperial brown spiced with cinnamon -- this ChurchKey event is sure to satiate your palate and fire up your doughnut cravings.
Town and Country is a Belgian strong ale, aged nine months in Boxwood Estate Winery red-wine barrels from Middleburg, Virginia. It will be featured on draft at both D.C. Pizzeria Paradiso locations (Dupont and Georgetown), along with other Atlas favorites such as District Common, Rowdy and NSFW.
Some of the best local and national beer minds will discuss the intersection of government and the beer industry and what consequences current regulations and laws have on its ability to advocate for itself.
Participants include Brewers Association Chief Operating Officer Bob Pease; Right Proper Brewery co-founder and DC Brewers Guild member Thor Cheston; Brewers Association of Maryland Executive Director J.T. Smith; and Christina Henderson, deputy chief of staff to D.C. Councilmember David Grosso and author of the District's recently passed Pint Law. The evening will be moderated by craft beer lobbyist Mick Nardelli.
This session is free and open to the public.
DC Beer Week is a celebration of the national and local craft beer movement. (Courtesy Kate Fink)
Thursday, Aug. 21
This year's Blind and Bitter event at Scion will challenge your palate. Twenty-four hoppy beers will be served in full and tasting pours, with the name and brewery of each beer.
The public will be asked to vote for the best; the winner and the identities of the beers will be announced at 9 p.m. Participating breweries include 3 Starts, Atlas, Bell's, DC Brau, Dogfish Head, Elysian, Evolution, Flying Dog, Founders, Great Lakes, Lagunitas, Mad Fox, Nebraska, New Belgium, No-Li, Oskar Blues, Port City, Schlafly, Sierra Nevada, Stone, Troegs, Uinta, Union and Victory.
Wild yeast strains, including various forms of brettanomyces and lactic-acid producing pediococcus and lactobacillus, are increasingly prevalent in Belgian- style sour beers produced by American craft brewers who seek sour and tart flavors -- and Right Proper wants to talk about it.
Michael Tonsmeire, "The Mad Fermentationist," will join the Shaw-based brewery for an evening discussing all things funky when it comes to beer.
It's almost inconceivable, but somehow Bluejacket has managed to brew reputable examples of styles as disparate as Gose and Wee Heavy, all while letting the brewery's own style shine through. This event will feature the debut of the 2014 Snallygaster Ale, as well as the first sighting of any Bluejacket barrel-aged deliciousness.
Here's what will be on draft:
- Bluejacket Snallygaster 2014 Ale
- Bluejacket Old Scout Bourbon Barrel-Aged Figure 8
- Bluejacket Grgich Hills Chardonnay Barrel-Aged High Society
- Bluejacket James E. Pepper 1776 Bourbon Barrel-Aged Burning Bush
- Bluejacket, Cigar City & Funky Buddha Snack Attack Vintage 2012
- Bluejacket & The Bruery Washington, O.C. Vintage 2012
- Bluejacket & Pizza Port (Ocean Beach) Burns' Night Vintage 2012
Friday, Aug. 22
The Black Squirrel is hosting a Michigan-only party with beers from the likes of Founders, Bell's, New Holland and Jolly Pumpkin. The draft list will include the following:
- Hopsolution Imperial IPA
- Wedding Golden Ale
- Kentucky Breakfast Stout
- Rübæus Raspberry Ale
- Double Trouble Imperial IPA
- Devil Dancer Triple IPA
- Imperial Stout
- Oatmeal Stout (served on nitro)
- Incorrigible White Sour
- Pilgrim's Dole Bourbon-Barrel-Aged Wheatwine
- Ichabod Pumpkin Ale
- Dragon's Milk Reserve aged with Chili de arbol peppers
- Night Tripper Imperial Stout
- Calabaza Boreal (collaboration with Anchorage Brewing Company)
- Bam Biere Saison
- Fuego del Otomo Belgian-Style Ale
Expect an intimate celebration of local beer and local food. Beers from District-based breweries DC Brau, 3 Stars and Atlas will be poured alongside favorites from other local favorites including Flying Dog, Full Tilt, Devils Backbone, Lost Rhino, Blue Mountain and Heritage Brewing.
Food will come courtesy of several of the best area restaurants; music will be provided by the 19th Street Band. Tickets are $50.
Saturday, Aug. 23
"We Can Brew It" is a beer tasting and educational event led by forward-thinking women in the local craft beer industry. The panel will include DC Brau co-owner Mari Rodela, Denizens Brewing co-owners Emily Bruno and Julie Verratti, D.C. beer writer Tammy Tuck, Black Squirrel owner Amy Bowman, Great Lakes Brewing Regional Sales Manager Lauren Nagy, DC Homebrewers Club Vice President Elizabeth Hartman and Girls Pint Out regional chapter head Chrystalle Ball.
The $25 admission includes five-ounce pours of six specialty beers and light appetizers. Doors open at 1 p.m.; beer school starts at 2 sharp.
Sunday, Aug. 24
Sunday marks the 200th anniversary of the Burning of Washington. Pizzeria Paradiso's Dupont and Georgetown locations will remember the day with six smoke beers on draft.
Here's what you can expect on draft:
- De Deus Tocatta
- De Struise Smonk 2011
- Haandbryggeriet Norwegian Wood
- Mikkeller Beer Geek Bacon
- Le Trou du Diable
- La Consumation Viven Smoked Porter
- Freigeist Peated Porter
- Göller Rauchbier
- The Monarchy Grätzer
- The Monarchy Grodziskie
- Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier
- Le Trou du Diable Punkrauch
Editor's Note: Rob Fink lives in Arlington, Virginia, and is an avid homebrewer. Follow him on Twitter.
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