These are strange, terrifying times for all of us. But for owners and employees of small businesses, COVID-19 is the source of an existential dread not felt in our lifetimes. This is particularly true in the food and drink sector, where margins have been thinning for years, and where many simply can’t survive weeks of lost revenue. As the Eater headline read last night: “Restaurants Are Fucked – Unless They Get a Bailout”.
Talking with local breweries, I’ve found the situation to be just as bleak. While most produce beer that’s distributed to shops and grocery stores, the lifeblood of almost every brewery is its tasting room. Often, on-premise margins are just high enough to sustain an entire operation. In fact, as the country has become saturated with craft breweries, and competition for shelf space has intensified, and regional breweries have contracted distribution or been absorbed, the smart move has been for breweries to essentially operate as brewpubs that cater largely to their surrounding neighborhoods.
Now, most breweries have voluntarily or forcibly been shut down as bars and restaurants open to the public. Without walk-in business, and with the inability to serve pints expected to linger for at least several weeks, this area’s independent breweries are in real danger. (At least one, Jailbreak, has already laid off brewers – and it will sadly not be the last.)
All breweries are hoping to weather this storm with to-go sales of cans, crowlers, growlers, and even kegs. In some cases, their kitchens are open for takeout and delivery. Others have set up (or are in the process of setting up) beer trucks. And, as with restaurants, they’re hoping now might be a good time for you to squirrel away some gift certificates.
Below, I’ve pulled together a list of some local breweries, their current hours and beer options, and a few unsolicited recommendations. These breweries are open for business. All of us are feeling the squeeze right now, but if you have the means to support local breweries, it will be so greatly appreciated. And, of course, you get some delicious beer, which we all could use more of right now.
Note: I will continue to update this page as I receive more information from breweries. Also, DC Beer has a helpful post about How to Help Local Breweries During the Coronavirus Pandemic. Also also, consider buying some Heurich House Museum swag or a gift card that you can use to buy Senate Beer (which was set to relaunch this month) in the near future.
The Latest: The tasting room is off limits to normies, but Port City is offering curbside pick-up on bottles, crowlers, new growlers, and kegs. It’s pretty simple: order ahead here, drive to Port City, pay with a card (no cash!), and a chipper Port City employee will load up your trunk. The brewery is also delivering between 3pm and 6pm, and if you order before noon, you’ll get same day delivery. (Minimum order $47, plus a $5 delivery free.) Place delivery orders here.
To-Go Options: Ever the organized brewery, Port City’s to-go menu is available online. It includes bottles of award-winning, best-selling flagships like Optimal Wit, Porter, and Downright Pilsner (aka the holy trinity). If you’re craving that new-new, the brewery released a new White IPA called Star Sailor earlier this month, and on March 16 Port City dropped its West Coast hoppy red (and Amarillo showcase) Metro Red. Those gems are available in 12oz bottle six-packs. Also, three entries of the brewery’s renowned Lager Series are available by the crowler, growler, and keg: Golden Export, Schwarzbier, and Baltic Porter.
Unsolicited Recommendations: Lager me, bro. There are few safer bets than a crowler containing a Port City Lager Series entry, and there aren’t many beers as dangerous as the deceptively smooth, 8.4% Baltic Porter. I’m also always happy for the March return of Metro Red. And if you’re feeling frisky, drinking the Black IPA Long Black Veil side-by-side with Star Sailor is a fun experiment. Both hoppy beers are fermented with the brewery’s witbier yeast strain.
Gift Cards: Available for purchase here.
The Latest: Ocelot will strictly be selling cans and growler fills to-go from its outside patio, from 1pm to 8pm daily (except Sunday, which is 12pm to 5pm).
To-Go Options: Ocelot’s can fridge was swole… but it’s lost some weight as patrons stocked up this week. As of Sunday morning, the brewery is down to a trio of A+ options: Sunnyside Dweller (a GABF gold medal winner), Helles Awaits, and the imperial milk stout Capsized. On Wednesday, the brewery will debut cans of Trouble No More, a new IPA hopped with two South African varietals (Souther Tropic and Southern Passion) and Simcoe.
For growler fills and kegs, the brewery still has IPAs (Face to Face; Thought Control; Seamless), Double IPAs (Basement Séance; the Mustang Sally collab Bicycle Diaries), and the fruited sour Leafers (with blood orange, red currant, and peach). There are some malt-forward options as well, including the award-winning Baltic Porter Powers of Observation, the ESB Marmalade Skies, and a delectable Dunkelwizen called… wait for it… Dunkel Baby Billy.
Unsolicited Recommendations: Real talk, there are no bad options at Ocelot. I pretty much drive out to Dulles for every can release, and I live in DC. That said, the Chico 2.0 IPAs (Ocelot brought the yeast back last year) are bangers right now: Seamless (Citra + Columbus) and especially Face to Face (Citra + Mosaic + Amarillo). Basement Séance, a new hazy DIPA brewed in collaboration with Domion Wine & Beer, is flavortown (and stands as one of its most aromatic offerings to date). And I’m excited to see Helles Awaits (a staff favorite) back in cans so soon.
Events: For the time being, Ocelot’s fifth anniversary party is still scheduled for April 25. The brewery will be releasing (at least) a collab with Charles Town Fermentory (a lager mash-up of their Yacht Party and Ocelot’s Sunnyside Dweller).
The Latest: Denizens operates two locations – one in Silver Spring, one in Riverdale Park, both breweries and restaurants. So, Maryland shutting down bars and restaurants to patrons hits them doubly hard. Still, Denizens is hustling its ass off to beat this. Both locations are open for takeout (beer and food) every day from 12pm to 8pm. If you’d rather stay at home, food is available on Uber Eats, while the Denizens Beermobile is delivering to residents of Montgomery County.
To-Go Options: Denizens 12oz six-packs cover a world of styles and traditions: England (Lowest Lord ESB), Belgium (Third Party Tripel), Germany (Macadocious Maibock), Bohemia (Born Bohemian Pils), and America (South Side IPA, Animal Hazy IPA, PGC Premium Lager). It also has two bottled offerings from its barrel program: Call Waiting (bourbon barrel-aged Wee Heavey) and Chapless Horseman (bourbon barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout).
Unsolicited Recommendation: When I visited Denizens’ Riverdale Park Production House & Taproom last summer (to write about PGC Premium Lager), co-founding Chief Beer Officer Jeff Ramirez told me that the brewery’s new hazy IPA Animal would only be produced 15 barrels at time and then served on draft (mainly at its two locations). Well, it’s hard to keep a good beer down on the farm. Earlier this month, Denizens released cans of Animal for the first time. Juicy, citrusy, with a hint of pine – Animal immediately enters the conversation of best readily available hazy IPA in the area.
Gift Cards: Available for purchase here.
The Latest: Crooked Run’ Sterling and Leesburg locations are open for curbside pickup from 2pm to 7pm. At Sterling, it will also be selling bottles of wine and local pasture-raised meat. The brewery is offering 25% off to-go beer for industry folks (i.e., employees of restaurants, bars, and breweries). The brewery is delivering within 10 miles of the Sterling location (minimum oder of $50). Place orders and read the small print here.
To-Go Options: In addition to four-packs of its core beers (Heart and Soul IPA, the New Zealand pilsner Coast, and Raspberry Empress fruited sour IPA), Crooked Run has a handful of rotating releases in cans, like Pyramid Scheme IPA (single-hopped with Mosaic) and Toast to Toast, a breakfast Berliner with strawberries, blueberries, maple syrup, and vanilla. On Friday, Crooked Run will release cans of Verdant Force, a double IPA hopped with Citra and Simcoe. It also has several bottles of barrel-aged beer available including Virtue (a high-gravity stout aged for 14 months in port barrels), Herbaceous Spaces (a Wheatland Springs collaboration mixed-ferm saison made with estate grown wheat, as well as pineapple sage, pear mint, and lemon balm), and Down East (a coolship quad brewed with peaches and aged in Brandy barrels).
Unsolicited Recommendations: Pyramid Scheme has been a big hit for the brewery… and for good reason. All-Mosaic IPAs can be tricky, but this one hits the mark. Also, you can’t go wrong with bottles from Crooked Run’s mixed-ferm program. Herbaceous Spaces is knockout Brett saison. Aronia is one of the best sour I’ve ever had locally.
Gift Cards: Available for purchase here.
Events: NoVA Nerdfest 2 has been postponed until May 9.
The Latest: Silver Branch is open from 11am to 7pm, with a full assortment of canned offerings for you to enjoy in the privacy of your home. The brewery has also created the Silver Branch Explorer’s Club, a society with membership privileges that include on-premise discounts, beer releases every month, merch, and exclusive events. (It’s an extension of their Founders Club, which helped raise $74,000 prior to its opening.) The brewery is set to receive some new fermentation tanks it had previously ordered as part of its expansion… so it could really use the cash right now.
To-Go Options: Few breweries keep a fridge as diversely stocked as Silver Branch. That’s where you’ll find 12oz packs of Coffee Chronicle tropical stout, Metro Gnome saison, Sacred Table Belgian-style pale ale, Glass Castle pilsner, and more. Earlier this month, as part of its anniversary festivities, the brewery also released cans of Power Boots (a pilsner dry-hopped with Yakima Chief’s Pink Boots blend) and the anniversary hazy IPA Deus Ex Machina, both pictured above. On March 25, the Silver Spring brewery released Electric Goat, a Helles bock brewed in collaboration with Right Proper.
Unsolicited Recommendations: Glass Castle and/or Chronicle should already be in your fridge. If it’s not, amend that situation. If it is, the Power Boots was tasting mighty nice at Smoke & Barrel last week, and reception to Deus Ex Machina has been very warm online.
Gifts Cards: Available for purchase at the brewery. (The brewery is hoping to get these online soon, too.)
The Latest: The Bluejacket bottle shop is open for can sales. Elsewhere in the Neighborhood Restaurant Group universe: Planet Wine, all Red Apron locations, and both Rusticos are open for retail beer and wine sales, as well as delivery. (The beer and liquor prices are very fair.) Of course, Bluejacket is delivering its own beer. The small print: the minimum order is $30, there’s a $3 delivery fee, and you must be within a 5-mile radius of the brewery (within DC). This delivery service will be entirely in-house, and they are taking safety precautions very seriously. To order, visit the Bluejacket website. A menu will be posted soon. Separately, you can also order takeaway food from Bluejacket or have it brought to you via DoorDash.
To-Go Options: Bluejacket essentially only deals in cans, but it has most of its classics are in stock: Pattern Skies (one of the country’s best weissbiers), Love Cats (a perfectly bitter North German pilsner), Lost Weekend (an all-Citra IPA), Mexican Radio (its chili chocolate milk stout), The Jam (a strawberry and vanilla Berliner Weisse), and Ro Guenzel’s masterful Helles lager For the Company .As far as #rarer options go, options include This Must Be the Place (an IPA hopped with Galaxy, Simcoe, and Mosaic), Hollow Horse (a Galaxy and El Dorado double IPA), and Rain Light (a Citra + Southern Passion double IPA).
Unsolicited Recommendations: The classics are the classics for a reason. You will never err in buying a four-pack of Pattern Skies or For the Company. I’m a big fan of the plush Hollow Horse and its big, rich mouthfeel. And Bluejacket still has cans of The Art of Almost, a 3.7% English Mild brewed with Maris Otter floor-malted barley and hopped with East Kent Goldings and Fuggles. I have not yet had this collab with Georgia’s Good Word Brewing, but I have heard a glowing review of it from DC Beer Editor Emeritus Bill DeBaun.
Gift Cards: Available for purchase here. (Note: This bad boy is good across all NRG properties, including ChurchKey and The Sovereign.)
The Latest: Solace’s spacious tasting room is open with rigorous cleaning practices. For off-premise consumption, it is selling 16oz four-packs, crowlers, grolwers, and sixtel kegs. (Note: It will not fill your old, crusty growler, but you can buy a new one.) The brewery is also delivering beer (with a one case minimum) for $5 to any Virginia residents within 25 miles of the brewery. More details here.
To-Go Options: In the wake of last week’s triple can release, the Solace fridge is extraordinarily well stocked. Those three release: Four Leaf IPA (hopped with Amarillo, Centennial, and Comet), Curly Dubs IPA (hopped with Mosaic and Falconer’s Flight), and the Bronson Bier Hall collan Great Gam Gam (a pale ale hopped with Mosaic and Vic Secret). If that’s not enough hops for you, the brewery recently released a double IPA collab with Fair Winds called Ease the Sheets, and it never runs dry of its two workhorses: Partly Cloudy IPA and Lucy Juicy double IPA. And if that’s too much hops, there’s Crazy Pils, an It’s Electric gose with blueberries, and the chocolate chili stout Ancho Libre.
Unsolicited Recommendations: It’s hard to go wrong with any Solace IPA. As I wrote in October: “A through line cuts across these brews. They’re generally quite low in bitterness, although never completely devoid of a slight prickly backbone. They eschew caramel malts that can turn an IPA’s complexion orange or amber and leave behind residual sweetness. They’re indebted to the clean, bright flavors of new school West Coast IPAs, but also incorporate elements of New England’s take on the style – namely, the use of flaked oats and wheat as adjuncts, and fermentation with a blend of English and American ale yeasts. Most of all – and, importantly, in concert with the aforementioned attributes – these beers are constructed to showcase the fruity aromas and flavors of modern hops. A Solace IPA makes its presence known to your olfactory senses before you’ve even lifted it to your face.” All of that being said, I am also a big fan of Crazy Pils.
Gift Cards: Available for purchase at Solace.
Events: Solace and HOWL’s wort share competition is still on for May 3.
The Latest: As with all Maryland bars and restaurants, Astro Lab’s tasting room is closed for the foreseeable future. However, the up-and-coming Silver Spring brewery has cans and crowlers to go. Pick-up from 1pm to 5pm on Sunday, and 4pm to 8pm during the week. You can order online here.
To-Go Options: Astro Lab only releases cans once month or so. Right now, it has two cans for your drinking pleasure: James Whirl Jones (the first canned entry in its all-whirlpool IPA series) and Star Taker (a Citra + Mosaic fan favorite). On Tuesday or Wednesday of this week, the brewery plans to drop cans of Fresh As (Nelson Sauvin + Citra + Mosaic), which I am on the record as proclaiming perhaps the best IPA produced inside the beltway. Crowler options include 9 hoppy ales, plus a Helles lager, a milk stout, and RuRu, a saison hopped with Nelson Sauvin and Motueka, two of New Zealand’s finest varietals.
Unsolicited Recommendations: I’m a stickler for saisons and don’t like many produced locally… but RuRu is a banger. That said, Astro Lab specializes in hops, and it’s current line-up of IPAs is very strong. My personal favorites: Star Taker, Tower CU, and No Mates Amarillo.
The Latest: Wheatland Spring Farm + Brewery is open for to-go sales from 2pm to 5pm. You can pre-order cans and bottles online. The brewery is also delivering, though given their relatively remote pastoral surroundings, it might not be able to hit everywhere every day. Slide into their DMs for more delivery info.
To-Go Options: The brewery has three recently packaged cans for sale: Farm Chores (an American-style hoppy table beer), Found Artifacts (German-style unfiltered pilsner), and Test of Time (West Coast-ish IPA double dry-hopped with Simcoe and Citra). It four bottles for sale: On a Day Like Today (a Brett saison), Rauch Tater (an imperial märzen), Old Trails, New Song (an estate wheat wine ale brewed in collaboration with Crooked Run, produced at Wheatland Spring), and Herbaceous Spaces (mixed-ferm saison made with estate grown wheat, as well as pineapple sage, pear mint, and lemon balm). And anything on draft is available in 750mL capped bottled.
Unsolicited Recommendations: In conversations I’ve had with the brewers and beer directors I respect most, Wheatland Spring is name on the tip of everyone’s tongues. People just love this brewery. So, take it from them and order whatever looks appealing to you. That said, I’ve had Found Artifacts (a close to perfect pilsner) and Test of Time (which I would like in candle form), and I can vouch for their unfuckwithability. I also had a bottle of Fieldborn (a wild saison aged in white wine barrels) on Friday, and it was the best beer I’ve had in 2020.
Gift Cards: Available for purchase here.
Events: Wheatland Spring’s one-year anniversary Land Beer Fest is June 6.
The Latest: Both Right Proper location are here to serve your canned and bottled beer needs. The Shaw brewpub is open for pick-up 12pm to 4pm on Monday and Tuesday, and then 12pm to 7pm Wednesday through Sunday. The Brookland Production House, meanwhile, is open from 12pm to 6pm… but only on Friday through Sunday. Right Proper will deliver you beer for FREE if you meet a measly $25 minimum. The Shaw brewpub kitchen is also open if you feel like picking up some delightful modern comfort food. All ordering can be done through the Right Proper website.
To-Go Options: Earlier this month, Right Proper introduced 12oz six-packs of the new year-round offering Li’l Wit, a Belgian-style white ale brewed with juniper, coriander, and orange peel. It also has cans of Raised by Wolves pale ale, its wild counterpart Ravaged by Wolves, Häxan robust porter, and the effervescent Berliner Weisse with a mouthful of a name: Diamonds, Fur Coats, Champagne. Then there are the stars of the show (in my humble opinion): Right Proper’s bottle-conditioned, mixed-ferm foeder beers. In addition to Astral Weeks and Baron Corvo, the brewery recently introduced Dead Key (a 10.5% dark saison aged on plums) and the Pizzeria Paradiso collan Friend Blend (a blend of gin barrel-aged Astral Weeks, red wine barrel-aged White Bicycles, and fresh unfiltered White Bicycles).
Unsolicited Recommendations: As you might have guessed from the paragraph above, I am quite fond of Right Proper’s foeders. Along those line: DRINK MORE ASTRAL WEEKS. I popped a bottle recently and, holy shit, that is a great beer – a farmhouse pale ale fermented in a foeder and dry-hopped with Equinox and Comet. Approachable but so deep in flavor. Also, I haven’t had Dead Key or Friend Blend yet but they sound super dope.
Gift Cards: Available for purchase at either Right Proper. There is a webstore for merch, however.
The Latest: Aslin’s Alexandria tasting room is closed, but the brewery is offering curbside pick-up on cans and crowlers in both Alexandria and Herndon. To facilitate this process, you can order your beer online via Aslin’s website in advance. If you’d prefer to self-quarantine, Aslin will bring beer to you. Starting today, the brewery will be delivering online orders. The small print: such orders must be $75 or more, you must reside in Northern Virginia, and there’s a $10 delivery fee. You can order family-style food from the brewery.
To-Go Options: A brewery that releases multiple cans every week, Aslin typically has close to 10 pale ales, IPA, and triple IPAs in cans or crolwers… but it also appears to be blowing through cans right now. (Which is great!) As of Sunday, it had one IPA, one pastry IPA (literally called Sorbet), a pastry sour, and an Amber lager for sale. But check back in a few days, and that may be totally different.
Unsolicited Recommendations: It’s Aslin. You already know. This brewery makes a great DIPA. I’ve personally been a fan of Aslin’s pivot to sessionable IPAs since opening its Alexandria location. And I’ll always recommend whatever fruited (but not insanely fruited) kettle sour Aslin has in stock.
Gift Cards: Available for purchase here.
The Latest: Atlas has restricted its hours from 4pm to 6pm daily, and will only be selling cans, crowlers, and bottles beer to go. If you’d prefer to have Atlas delivered to you, that can be arranged here.
To-Go Options: The brewery is flush with cans of flagships (like the West Coast IPA Ponzi, the Citra and Mosaic pale ale Dance of Days, Silent Neighbor stout, and Blood Orange Gose), as well as its spring seasonal The Precious One, which I wrote about in depth last year. (Remember the shutdown beer?) The brewery also has 750mL bottles of special, barrel-aged releases: Batch 500, The Shape of Funk to Come, Dave Tripelle, and La Saison de Brett.
Unsolicited Recommendations: The Shape of Funk to Come got some love in BYT’s Beer in Review, and I finally got to try it a few weekends ago. It’s really good! And complex! A blend of three beers aged in red wine and bourbon barrels with Brett and Lacto
Gift Cards: Available for purchase on the Atlas Brew Works website.
The Latest: Both Old Ox locations – Ashburn and Middleburg – are open exclusively for package sales. Watch a statement from co-founder Chris Burns here. The brewery is offering 20% on orders of “four units” or more. Additionally, gift cards (up to $300) are 20% off, as well. Old Ox will even deliver you beer (minimum order of $40, plus a $5 delivery fee). Check out the menu and place orders here. (Order your curbside pick-up there, as well.)
To-Go Options: In addition to its core four (Black Ox, Golden Ox, Hoppy Place, and Alpha Ox), the Old Ox cupboard is stocked with its popular I Am Brut IPA, a new Funky Face sour (brewed with mango, passion fruit, pineapple, and guava), the red IPA X-Ray Specs, Hop Camo, and the cherry saison FestivALE, which I wrote about in 2018.
Unsolicited Recommendations: If we’re going to sit indoors during cherry blossom season, we might as well do it with the tart (but quenching) FestivALE. If you’re more of a traditionalist, Black Ox is a damn fine porter. And from the looks of that picture, there are still a few four-packs of Kristin’s Passion – a Mexican chocolate stout, and one of my favorite Old Ox offerings.
Gift Cards: Available for purchase here.
Events: Old Ox’s Spring Break Bash, which looked like it was going to rule, has sadly been cancelled.
The Latest: 3 Stars is open… but the beer is to-go only, from 2pm to 8pm. The brewery is also delivering beer to residents of NW and NE Washington, DC. Orders must be submitted between 12pm and 6pm, and they’ll be delivered 4pm and 8pm. All the instructions and small print is here.
To-Go Options: In addition to 12oz six-packs of its “mainliners” (Peppercorn Saison, Southern Belle, Ghost, and Diamonds are Forever), 3 Stars is currently stocked with 16oz four-packs of several one-offs and seasonals including the Solace collab Flashy Ways (a double IPA hopped with Citra and Mosaic), Starsky & Brunch (an imperial chocolate stout brewed with maple syrup, coffee, and bacon), and two entries in its fruited sour series Low Hanging Fruit. The full menu is available here.
Unsolicited Recommendations: I haven’t had Flashy Ways yet, but 3 Stars’ IPA program is on a winning streak under the watch of lead brewer Meth Gunasinghe. Also, if you haven’t had Southern Belle in a while, now’s a good time to revisit the imperial brown ale (brewed with pecans). It’s a sneaky highlight of 3 Stars’ standbys. The brewery has also opened up sales of its exclusive Illuminati and Funkerdome bottles, which make for nice treats right now.
The Latest: Pen Druid has limited its hours from 12pm to 5pm, Thursday to Sunday. All sales – bottles and growlers – are to-go only. However, the brewery says you can DM it on social media or call (540-987-5064) if you’d like to schedule another time to pick up beer. More importantly, you can preorder bottles and pre-filled growlers online.
To-Go Options: The pride of Sperryville currently has two bottles for sale: Spiritual Nurse (a coolshipped amber brewed with raw organic wheat) and Thousands Citrus (a wild blonde coolshipped with organic California oranges). Like all Pen Druid bottles, they’re naturally conditioned. In growlers, you can get their go-to wild blonde ale Golden Swan and the red wine barrel-aged dark strong sour ale Hesperus. Another option: wine! Yes, Pen Druid has ventured into natural wine, and it’s first entry Piquette (a 4.2% sparkling red wine made from Cabernet Fran grapes grown in the Shenandoah Valley) is available in growlers.
Unsolicited Recommendations: Pen Druid makes the area’s best wild ales. Rustic, complex but approachable, showcasing local grains and native yeasts and microflora – you’re just not going to find anything like it around here. If you’re looking for a reason to go for a long ride during these strange times, take the scenic 65-mile drive to Sperryvile and pick up anything they have for sale. Also, this week Pen Druid released bottles of Spontaneous Cerise, a blend of traditional method spontaneously fermented beer aged in barrels for 2.5 years and then conditioned on Morello cherries… and, wowzas, I need some of that.
The Latest: Rocket Frog is open for to-go can sale from 12pm to 5pm. You can call ahead (571-375-7920), pay over the phone, and they’ll bring beer to your car.
To-Go Options: Rocket Frog has the most nutritional beer food groups covered with cans of Helleanor lager and Wallops Island brown ale. It also has bottles of barrel-aged Shame & Torment barleywine. Last Thursday, added two goses to the fridge: Kai Gose to Peru (brewed with Chicha Morada made by Inca Social) and Kai Gose to Key West (with key lime). On Monday, it added fresh cans of Angry, Angry Alice Doubles IPAs. And on Wednesday, it dropped bottles of Barrel-Aged Golden Word, a “Belgian-style Tripel aged for 10 months in an Acacia puncheon that once held Sauvignon Blanc from Stone Tower Winery, in Leesburg.” The beer also “picked up some Brettanomyces” during barrel-aging, so expect a little funk.
Unsolicited Recommendations: The GABF award-winning Wallops Island is a brown ale that converts people who think they don’t like brown ales.
Gift Cards: Available for purchase in tasting room and over the phone. For every $50 spent on a gift card, receive an extra $10.
The Latest: DC Brau has suspended sales from its tasting room. The brewery encourages you to support local retailers, where you can find their beer.
Retail Options: You already know the canned classics: The Public, Brau Pils, On the Wings of Armageddon, El Hefe Speaks, and Corruption. And you’re likely familiar with Joint Resolution, DC Brau’s sessionable hazy flagship IPA for the past year. But did you know there’s an imperial Joint Resolution? Introduced earlier this month, the 7% IPA is called Continuing Resolution, and it’s hopped with a rotating blend of hops. This iteration features Azacca, Citra, and Idaho Experimental. It’s available in 16oz four-packs.
Unsolicited Recommendations: Given the success of Joint Resolution, logic dictates you give Continuing Resolution a shot. I’ve always enjoyed the interplay of Citra and Azacca, and as for Idaho Experimental… I just have know that Brewmaster Jeff Hancock gets the good experimental hops.
The Latest: ANXO is offering contactless cider and wine pick-up at its two DC locations (Truxton Circle and Brightwood Park). A full pick-up menu and instructions can be found here. ANXO also ships cider to 44 states via its webstore, and you can save $10 on shipping with the code “STAYINCIDER”. If you’d like to help the cause even more, consider joining their quarterly Cider Club, here. Upon order you’ll receive this quarter’s cider and three more shipments in 2020 containing their special releases.
To-Go Options: Customers can order four-packs (or cases!) of ANXO’s flagship ciders, as well as ciders previously only available at their brick and mortar locations.
Unsolicited Recommendations: Look, I know nothing technical about craft cider, but I know ANXO is delicious. Rosé cider made with Washington Red-Fleshed and Virginia Goldrush Apples and fermented with Rhone Valley Rosé Wine Yeast? Fuck yes. Nevertheless, a cider made with Vermont Dutch, French American Heirloom, and Pennsylvania Northern Spy apples, then fermented with native yeast? Would drink 10/10 times.
Gift Cards: Available for purchase here.
The Latest: Through Friday, Hellbender will be open from 3pm to 7pm for to-go only sales of cans and crowlers. Come the weekend, Ben Evans and Co. will be slinging aluminum from 12pm to 5pm.
To-Go Options: The current menu can be seen above. It features three beers in cans (Bare Bones kolsch, Ignite IPA, and Red Line Ale) and nine crowler options, from barrel-aged oatmeal stout to Belgian blonde to fruited sour. Last Wednesday, the brewery released its eagerly anticipated (by me) pale ale Next Tropic, which is double dry-hopped with Mosaic, Amarillo, and Sabro.
Unsolicited Recommendations: I’m always happy with a glass of Grampus Smoked Nut Brown Ale in my hand. It looks Hellbender also has saison, called Doomsday Whistle, fermented with Black Narrows Brewing’s house yeast, which I wouldn’t mind a crowler of. As far as six-packs go, I’ve been a big fan of Red Line lately.
Events: Hellbender’s Spring Clean Up has been cancelled.
The Latest: Diamondback is selling beer (cans and crowlers), pizza, and pretzels to-go from 12pm to 8pm. Order online in advance. Per a post on Tuesday, curbside delivery is available upon request. If you live in Baltimore, Diamondback will also bring you beer and pizza (and booze from Idle Hour Favorites) (and Wily Gunter Drinks cocktails) (and Avery Farms coffee), all of which can be ordered here.
To-Go Options: The Baltimore brewery has cans of Cold Taxi (dry-hopped kellerbier) and the winter’s final batch Order & Chaos (coffee stout) in stock. Fresh cans of Green Machine IPA arrived last Thursday. It also bottles of Liquid Ritchie (an 11.5% barleywine aged in three types of wine barrels), Drevo (an oak-aged pilsner). Crowler options include the English mild Transatlantic and a Kölsch pale ale (hopped with Denali and Vic Secret) called Tight Compadre. And, finally, over the weekend, the brewery released Virgilio, the first beer from its barrel-aged, mixed-fermentation offshoot The Otherside Project. Per the brewery, Virgilio “spent 17 months in French oak barrels along with a melange of cultures that developed fruity and funky notes unlike any other beer we have produced thus far,” and was then bottle conditioned “an additional 6 months, which produced a beautiful natural carbonation.”
Unsolicited Recommendations: I was super jazzed to see Cold Taxi elevated to spring seasonal (it had previously been released on Diamondback’s anniversary), so I’d strongly recommend a four-pack of that. Also, did you read the descriptions of those bottles? Oak-aged pilsner? Wine barrel-aged barleywine? Yes, please.
Events: The March 28 pig roast has been cancelled. Greener Fest, the brewery’s annual birthday party, is scheduled for April 18.
The Latest: Fair Winds is open for to-go sales.
To-Go Options: Fair Winds currently has cans of three year rounds in stock: Quayside Kölsch, Session in Abyss IPA, and High Barbary amber lager. (For the moment, supplies of Howling Gale IPA and Siren’s Lure saison have dwindled.) In the seasonal bucket, the Lorton brewery has cans of 100% Pure Adrenaline (a 4.4% lager dry-hipped with Mandarina and Samba) and Hells Navigator (a 6.5% Maibock). There are also bottles of the 2020 All Hands Anniversary Ale barleywine and quickie run of McCallister’s Pale Ale (brewed in collaboration with Crooked Run). (Side note: Prepare to see a lot more sticker-labeled, quickie canning runs from breweries.) And earlier this week, it dropped cans of Barrel-aged Ghost of the Mariner imperial stout.
Unsolicited Recommendations: Crispy boi, crispy boi, I’m all about that crispy boi. Your fridge would be well served with a sixer of Quayside Kölsch and whatever lagers Head Brewer Charlie Buettner has on the menu. (100% Pure Adrenaline sounds fire emoji.)
Gift Cards: Available for purchase here.
Events: The brewery’s Mindful Drinking Yoga & Beer will be livestreamed this Thursday night.
The Latest: UNION Craft brews are available for dockside pick-up 11:30am to 7:30 pm. Orders can be placed online via Well Crafted Kitchen site, which also allows you to purchase products from these other UNION Collective businesses: The Charmery, Vent Coffee Roasters, Baltimore Spirits Company, and (obviously) Well Crafted Kitchen. UNION Craft is also delivering beer, which can be ordered here.
To-Go Options: All of UNION’s flagships (Duckpin Pale Ale, Anthem Golden Ale, Divine IPA, Skipjack Pilsner, and Blackwing Black Lager) are available in six-packs, as are its rotating IPAs (Steady Eddie, Rye Baby, and Foxy), goses (Old Pro and Cold Pro), and winter oatmeal stout Snow Pants. The Baltimore stalwart also has 16oz cans of some boozier options: Barrel-Aged Balt the More stickle ale, Chessie anniversary barleywine, Barrel-Aged Chessie, and Barrel-Aged Snow Pants. A few stragglers, like the new double IPA Brain Salad and the guava-and-pineapple sour Hoof & Holler, are available by the colorful crowler (in addition to most other non-barrel-aged offerings).
Unsolicited Recommendations: Man, where to start? The 10% bourbon barrel-aged Balt the More is incredible, just layers upon layers of malty, rich flavors (without veering into saccharine or overly boozy territory). Brain Salad is dope and very much the UNION Craft take on a DIPA (assertively hopped yet balanced). Of the classics, Skipjack is one of the best pilsners you’ll find in the area.
Gift Cards: Available for purchase here, along with other forms of UNION Craft apparel and swag.
The Latest: Sapwood Cellars is open from 4pm to 6pm Wednesday through Friday (and 1pm to 3:30pm on Saturday) for the pick-up of pre-filled 32oz and 64 oz growlers. Pre-order through the brewery’s website the evening before or up until 2pm on the day of your visit. No growler refills, but you’ve probably picked up on that trend by this point. Also, memberships to the Sap Club 2020 are still available
To-Go Options: Sapwood Cellars website has the full list of available beers with the best beer descriptions in the biz. For real. When two beer writers start a brewery and write amazing copy, they kinda make the rando beer blogger irrelevant, you know what I mean? They have bottles of 365.24 (a tart gin-barrel-aged saison) for sale
Unsolicited Recommendations: Sapwoods Cellars doesn’t make beers that are less than stellar. Southern Lights (a pale ale hopped with Vic Secret and Citra) sounds wonderful. I had a chance to try their new base imperial stout I Declare Bankruptcy! the other day, and it was immaculately constructed. And I’m personally very excited to try their take on a keller pilsner (called Sapwood Keller Pils, natch).
The Latest: Red Bear is open for to-go growler fills, cocktails, and takeout food. Per an Instagram post, cans are on the horizon, as is a delivery option for beer and food.
To-Go Options: For the moment, it’s all growler everything when it comes to Red Bear beer. The current menu, 15 beers deep, can be found here.
Unsolicited Recommendations: Swampoodle, the brewery’s Irish imperial stout, is a real gem,
To-Go Options: The brewery has four-pack of Changing Lanes (double IPA), District of Champions (red lager), Old Town Brown (brown ale), and GMU Patriots 57 (ale brewed with wildflower honey). Black Snake (bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout with vanilla) and Art in Execution (barleywine).
Unsolicited Recommendations: There aren’t enough red lagers in the world, and it’s not hard to get behind a name like District of Champions. Also, please watch the drunk history of Back Snake.
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