Stars and Bars: Closing Time @ Craft Brewers Conference — 4/13/17

CBC
Va. Gov. Terry McAuliffe addresses the 2017 Craft Brewers Conference at the Washington Convention Center. (Photo © Brewers Association)

The Brewers Association today closed a successful Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America (CBC) at the Washington Convention Center, reporting attendance of 13,000 brewing professionals and more than 900 exhibitors to exchange information and expertise around craft brewing.

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Stars and Bars: Snallygaster 2016 @ Yards Park — 9/17/16

Snallygaster 2016 14
Dave Coleman of 3 Stars Brewing Co. enjoys a beer in front of his tent in the Mothra section of Snallygaster 2016.

For its fifth year, Snallygaster rocked the beer drinkers of DC for its 2016 edition, held in its scenic recurring location in Yards Park.

Early in the day, my fellow blogger Jeremy headed straight for the excellent local brewery 3 Stars Brewing Co. (6400 Chillum Pl. NW, DC). There, he drank up a collaboration beer from 3 Stars and Charm City Meadworks, the Two Headed Unicorn, a barrel-aged sour blond ale, clocking in at ABV 6.5%, as he said he would.

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Around Town: First Beer @ Snallygaster 2016, 9/17/16

Beer Day 04Beers at Atlas Brew Works (Photo Credit: Mickey McCarter)

The fifth edition of Snallygaster is coming fast to The Yards on Saturday, September 17th. By all accounts, this year looks to be even bigger and better, with 351 beers currently listed and a fine music lineup.

Of those 351 beers, 64 will make their DC debut at Snallygaster. Even more reason to join, be among the first DC denizens to experience the new tastes.

With only three days before the big dance, we highlight a couple of beers we look forward to trying.

Mickey’s Beer of the Day: Atlas Dance of Days, Wheat Ale (Dry-Hopped), ABV 5.7%
Man, it’s hot out there today. What better time than to reach for a refreshing wheat beer. Why, back in the day, I discovered Bell’s Oberon, which became a standby for days like this as it combines two favorite styles: pale ale and wheat. But wait! DC’s own Atlas Brew Works rolled out its Dance of Days this summer, making my new favorite pale wheat. Atlas dry hops Dance of Days, named for a song by ‘80s DC punk band Embrace, with Mosaic and Citra hops. I remember how excited I was to drink my first one at Smoke and Barrel with my friends Christine and Jason early in August. How refreshing to think of drinking it again!

Jeremy’s Beer of the Day: 3 Stars & Charm City Two Headed Unicorn, Barrel-Aged Sour Blond Ale, ABV 6.5%
Let’s stay local. Snallygaster will feature 27 beers from DC breweries, including 3 Stars, Atlas, DC Brau, Bluejacket, District Chophouse, Hellbender and Right Proper. I chose the Two Headed Unicorn even though I have a love/hate relationship with sour beers. I’ve tried a few that I wish I hadn’t, and a few that I absolutely loved. Earlier this year, while at 3 Stars’ tasting room, I tried the Ricky Rosé sour beer and walked away wanting more. So now I’m intrigued by this new sour collaboration beer by 3 Stars and Charm City. Charm City, out of Baltimore, makes mead in bourbon oak casks. This sour blonde ale is barrel-aged with honey, and Snallygaster will mark the first time it’s available in DC. I may have competition just getting a sample.

Make your own beer list.

Get your tickets here.

Snallygaster 2016
The Yards (1300 First Street Southeast, Washington, DC 20003)
Saturday, September 17, 2016
1-6pm (VIP 11:30am-6pm)
$35 (VIP $60 SOLD OUT)
21+

Stars and Bars: Happy Hour Hike @ DC Breweries

3-Stars3 Stars Brewing Company tasting flight

Beer. Let’s get some local suds.

Last year, we did an evening DC brewery hike heading north from Fort Totten Metro Station and ending in Silver Spring.

With expanded hours for many of the DC breweries and the new Right Proper Production House in Brookland, we now tried a hike heading south from Takoma Metro Station.

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Don’t Miss: DC On Tap Beer Festival @ Washington Convention Center, 5/21/16

Beer

If the opportunity to indulge in three hours of unadulterated beer tasting is presented to you, will you seize it?

This Saturday, May 21st, is the DC On Tap Beer Festival (part of a larger craft beer festival series put on by American On Tap across the country).

Seize the opportunity! You can sample over a 150 beers from more than 80 different breweries, including DC breweries like 3 Stars, Handsome Beer and Atlas Brew Works.

This week (May 16-22) is also American Craft Beer Week, so it is extra apropos that you go.

There will also be food for purchase, live music and a few vendors to peek at while you steel yourself for the next rounds of beer.

Just to whet your appetite a bit, here are just a few of the beers I’ll be targeting:

  • Maine Brewing Company – Mean Old Tom (a mean, old stout with hints of vanilla)
  • Caboose Brewing Company – Saison (they opened in VA about a year ago, and I haven’t tried any of their beers yet)
  • Brewer’s Art – Zeke’s Coffee Porter (should wake me up!)
  • Handsome Beer Company – Strange Charm (a brown ale with a Belgian twist from the newest DC-based brewery – they rent space from other breweries for now)

It may be summer, but I still like them dark.

Buy your tickets now!
America On Tap Craft Beer Festival Series: DC On Tap
Walter E. Washington Convention Center (Exhibit Hall D – Level 2)
May 21
5:00-8:00pm (VIP 4:00-8:00pm)
$45 (VIP $60)
21+

Sports Park: Beer Offerings at Nationals Park in 2016

Nationals ParkThe new sign on Budweiser Terrace at Nationals Park

The Washington Nationals opened their doors on Tuesday, March 29th for a behind the scenes tour of what’s new and exciting for the 2016 season.

Although there is a lot of good things to cover, now we focus solely on the Nationals Park beer offerings. Because we like beer.

One of the biggest changes for 2016, is the Nationals’ new partnership with Anheuser-Busch, replacing that of Miller.

In addition to more Budweiser beers than you can handle, this will bring changes to many of the areas you have grown to love hanging out in over the years. And it looks like they will be for the better.

All the of the names will be different. As follows:

  • Budweiser Terrace (was the Miller Lite Scoreboard Walk)
  • Swing Big Beer Pen (was the Miller Lite Beer Pen)
  • Bud Light Loft (was the Red Loft)
  • Budweiser Brewhouse (was the Red Porch)
  • Lime-A-Rita Lookout (a new area in the Gallery Level)

FYI – In the Budweiser Terrace, they have also doubled the size of Shake Shack (because you said you didn’t like the long lines – they do listen!).

Beer snobs, don’t fret, there will still be a plethora of local beers found throughout the Park.

I’d love to create a map of where each beer can be found, but let’s take one thing at a time.

Local breweries: From DC: Beers from 3 Stars, DC Brau and Atlas will be on hand. Other local breweries that will have their beers available: Heritage, Mad Fox, Port City and Old Ox.

There will also be a Goose Island Pub and a Shock Top Bar and for those that don’t like change, Miller Lite can still be found in certain kiosks. Stella Artois and Blue Point Toasted Lager will also be on the menu.

Happy Hours: The Nationals will offer a very agreeable Happy Hour option; $5 Budweiser beer (until up to 30 minutes before the first pitch) that will surely compete with the festivities over at the Bullpen.

Tailgating: The white tent near the Home Plate Gate and aptly named, Home Plate Tailgate, will be available for 90 minutes before the first pitch as an all-inclusive group package, that will include games, food, beer and wine, and a game ticket. Minimum of 75 people, for $75 per person.

And on a beer/baseball related note, don’t forget to visit Bluejacket for their Opening Day Fest on April 7th. Read more.

 

Bud Light Loft and Budweiser BrewhouseSomething brewing in the new Bud Light Loft and Budweiser Brewhouse

Grapevine: Capital Cheers @ Food Network — 8/5/15

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Several DC area bar owners alerted us to the fact that the Food Network recently toured some DC bars and picked out a dozen recommended for visiting.

You can read the full feature, Capital Cheers: The Best Bars in Washington, DC, as a slideshow on the Food Network website.

To peak your interest, Food Network blogger Laura Hayes visited the following establishments and offers light commentary on them:

Cocktail Bar: 2 Birds 1 Stone (1800 14th St. NW, DC)
Brewpub: Bluejacket (300 Tingey St. SE, DC)
Speakeasy: Dram & Grain (2007 18th St. NW, DC)
Date Night: Iron Gate (1734 N St. NW, DC)
No-Frills Bar: Tune Inn (331 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, DC)
DC Haunt: Off the Record (The Hay-Adams, 800 16th St. NW, DC)
Sherry Bar: Mockingbird Hill (1843 7th St. NW, DC)
Beach Bar: Pop’s SeaBar (1817 Columbia Rd. NW, DC)
Wine Bar: Flight Wine Bar (777 6th St. NW, DC)
Beer Garden: Dacha Beer Garden (1600 7th St. NW, DC)
Brewery: 3 Stars Brewing Co. (6400 Chillum Pl. NW, DC)
Distillery: One Eight Distilling (1135 Okie St. NE, DC)

We at Parklife DC have visited them all personally except for the Flight Wine Bar and One Eight Distilling. Perhaps it’s time to change that before the summer is over?

Stars and Bars: New Beers from Hellbender, 3 Stars @ SAVOR Week

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Dascha Beer Garden (and Liz Taylor) under an overcast sky Wednesday

Wednesday evening was overcast and cool. It was perfectly comfortable to be outside with a light jacket but it was certainly cooler than DC would expect for the first week of June.

What a great opportunity, then, to drink an appropriately medium-bodied beer with a light touch like the Hellbender Brewing Co.’s new Ella Kölsch Pale Ale. Ella is definitely more pale than kölsch, with a dense but pleasing color and a bite of refreshing bitterness upfront but with that clean kölsch finish.

Hellbender debuted the beer during happy hour Wednesday at Dascha Beer Garden (1600 7th St. NW, DC), timed in conjunction with Savor Week — the days leading up to the Savor American Craft Beer and Food Experience at the American Building Museum (401 F St. NW, DC) on June 5-6.

Hellbender Brewing Co. (5788 2nd St. NE, DC) quite likes the kölsch pale ale, or KPA, style, and it has been experimenting with it a bit this year, previously releasing an Equinox KPA. According to Hellbender, “This new hybrid German/American style combines the traditional American pale ale recipe with German Kölsch yeast. The end result is a dry, refreshing pale ale with big hop flavor and aroma!”

The Hellbender KPA series will consist of beers built around various hops, subject to seasons and availability, the brewery said. The Ella hops is from Australia, and it imparts the beer with spices and flowers along with an aroma of tropical fruit. The Ella KPA weighs in at 5.7% ABV, 37 IBU, 6 SRM.

HellbenderEllaKPA
A look at if not a taste of the new Hellbender Ella KPA

Ella wasn’t the only new beer to debut from a local brewer this week.

3 Stars Brewing Co. (6400 Chillum Pl. NW, DC) extended its collaboration series with Pizzeria Paradiso (3282 M St. NW, DC) to introduce Monday a new entry in its nine-part Paradiso series. The debut occurred at the Pizzeria Paradiso Monday Night Beer Club, which offers beer specials usually along a theme on the first Monday of every month.

ParadisoSun
Paradiso: Sun sits atop the menu that tells you all about it.

The new beer, Paradiso: Sun, is a rustic farmhouse ale brewed with cedar tips. At 5.1% ABV, Paradiso: Sun was quite drinkable, and its woody flavor paired quite well with pizza! (Imagine that.) As always at Monday Night Beer Club, the knowledgeable Rob Fink, Paradiso assistant bar manager (and District Chophouse assistant brewer!), was manning the bar to pour the special and provides insights into their origins.

The entire collaboration series draws inspiration from Dante’s Paradiso. The first beer in the series was Paradiso: The Moon, a pale wheat saison brewed with sour oranges. The second was Paradiso: Mercury, a red wheat rye saison brewed with blood oranges. And the third was Paradiso: Venus, a blend of the first two beers aged in Sangiovese barrels.

All in all, Hellbender, 3 Stars and Paradiso brought fine new beers to a great week of events!

PizzaBeer
Pizza and beer? Por favor!

Excursion: Happy Hour Brewery Hike

Hellbender Brewing Company
Hellbender Brewing Company

It’s Thursday, your workday is almost over, you’re bored with the normal happy hour spots, and you want to get some exercise but don’t feel like going to the gym.

Consider something completely different.

Why not check out some of your local breweries on foot?

Skip the car and the bikes. Strap on your walking shoes and visit Hellbender, 3 Stars and Denizens all in a few hours.

Since DC breweries can now sell full pints and beer flights in the evenings (expanding from the traditional growler hours they operated on the weekends), many have opened their doors for a few hours on Thursday and Friday evenings.

Most are located in the Northeast quadrant, and are not easily accessible without a car. Easy fix. Walk. Besides, drinking and driving is never a good idea…

Here is one hike you can consider, completed successfully on April 9, 2015.

What: Happy Hour Brewery Hike
Days to try: Thursday or Friday evening
Breweries to visit: 3
Distance: 4.1 miles
Time walking: 1 hour 30 minutes

Itinerary:
Start: Fort Totten Metro (between 5:00 and 6:00pm)
1st Brewery: Hellbender Brewing Company (Hours: TH/FRI 4:00-8:00pm)
2nd Brewery: 3 Stars Brewing Company (Hours: TH/FRI 4:00-8:00pm)
3rd Brewery: Denizens Brewing Company (Hours: TH/FRI 4:00-11:00pm)
Depart: Silver Springs Metro

 

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Don’t Miss: DC Craft Beer Festival: Spring Seasonals @ Washington Convention Center, 5/9/15

Beer Trio Horizontal

3/17 Update: The next edition of the DC Craft Beer Festival has been postponed until May 9. The full statement from the organizers today:

“Due to unforeseen circumstances, we’ve had to change the date of our festival to Saturday, May 9. All previously purchased tickets will be honored, or refunds will be available through Friday to guests that cannot attend at the new date. We are truly sorry for the last minute nature of the date change. We know it is little consolation but the change was unavoidable. Major logistical obstacles, that did not previously exist, just now presented themselves. These obstacles would have resulted in unacceptably long wait times for beer replenishment and lines at tasting stations. As attendee experience is of paramount importance to us this is unacceptable. The only solution is to move to our previous space, Hall D. Mountains were moved by the Convention Center in order to open the space for us…unfortunately it had to be May 9. This is unfortunate but we had absolutely no choice. For over three years we have been committed to presenting the best craft beer festivals, across the country, in multiple cities and without issues such as this. This stalwart commitment is the only reason for the change. We humbly ask for your understanding and continued patronage if not at this event, at the many others to come in the future.”

The last time I participated in a DC Craft Beer Festival at the Washington Convention Center, it was for their Winter Harvest session. Where many of the beers have a high ABV (8-11%). I overly enjoyed my fair share of winter and pumpkin ales.

Forget the cold. Now it’s time to think about Spring. Two seasonal beers each will be on tap from more than 75 breweries.

Local breweries, like Atlas Brew Works, 3 Stars, Denizens and Port City will be represented.

Maybe Atlas will tap their 1500 South Cap Lager (sold at Nats Park) or even introduce a new beer. We can hope.

Of the food vendors, one to look out for is Mason Dixie Biscuit Co., whom recently opened a stand at Union Market. They will provide much needed biscuits to soak up the suds so you can keep going strong. Try Benton’s bacon, egg and cheese.

Don’t miss the fun!

Tickets are available online.

DC Craft Beer Festival: Spring Seasonals
Walter E. Washington Convention Center
Saturday, May 9, 2015
Two times @2-4:30 pm and @7-9:30 pm (add 1 hour for VIP)
$49.95 ($65 VIP)
21+