By Philip Runco.
You like beer. Bars and breweries like your money. These mischievous institutions are constantly devising creative ways to convince you to give them your money in exchange for beer. Many people call these things “events.” There are a lot of them. Possibly too many. Which ones are worth your time, hangover, and hard-earned, disposable income? That’s a great question.
Welcome to Draft Picks, the column where BYT picks the month’s ten best beer events. Why ten? Because it sounds cool. What’s the criteria? Enough with the questions.
When: Friday, July 7
Where: Boundary Stone
3 Stars reps DC and our beloved tri-starred flag, but it is low-key having a side fling with New York City. The brewery has been sending beer to the Big Apple since last fall and has brewed several collaborations with Brooklyn buzz magnet Other Half. In fact, if you check out their Instagram, you’ll find all kind of pictures with them and their Other Half pals. That’s cool! We’re not jealous of your hip new friends! We’re not scared you’ll leave us! No one leaves DC for NYC! *sobs uncontrollably*
This Friday, 3 Stars has a playdate with another New York buddy, LIC Beer Project, at Boundary Stone. If you’re unfamiliar with the Long Island City brewery, it is highly regarded for its hazy, juice bomb IPAs. So, if hazy, juice bomb IPAs are your thing, this event should definitely be on your calendar. The line-up will feature two such beers – Higher Burnin’ IPA and Drop A Gem Imperial IPA – plus the hoppy golden saison Ardent Core, a Berliner weisse, and the dry-hopped wild ale Gal Friday.
Of course, there will be plenty of 3 Stars on the menu, too. With any luck, it will include Trouble in Paradise, the brewery’s new mango and guava sour ale, which I hear is lovely.
Also, while we have your attention, save the date of Saturday, August 12, for the 3 Stars five-year anniversary party. Word on the street is they’re fixing to drop a boatload of special beers for the occasion. And no brewery in DC throws better parties than 3 Stars.
When: Saturday, July 8
Where: Old Town
For the fourth year running, Port City has organized a pub crawl of Old Town. At this point, this is an institutional DC-area event and your attendance is mandatory. (Just kidding.) (Nope, not kidding.)
Here’s the deal: Participants have from 2:00 to 6:00 to visit nine respected Alxandria establishments (click the link above for the full list), collect a stamp from each, and then head to Union Street Public House or Blackwall Hitch to receive a commemorative glass as your reward. (While supplies last!) (But seriously they ran out last year.)
Along the way, there will be beer and food specials to fuel your day-drinking odyssey. Designated drivers get a pint glass, too, so try to convince Carl from accounting that this is worth his while. (Carl is a good dude.) (No, he’s not.)
When: July 12 & July 26
Where: The Sovereign
I’ve got the scoop on another buzzy new brewery: Cantillion. They don’t have much of a social media presence, but they’re into some really weird stuff, namely spontaneous fermentation and the production of dry, vinous beers called Lambics. It’s crazy. Definitely Google them.
Better yet, head to the Sovereign on July 12th, when Greg Engert and company will spotlight four beers from the renowned Belgian brewery. The star of the show is Fou’Foune, a two-year-old Lambic aged on 2600 pounds of Bergeron apricots. They’ll also have the 2016 Gueuze, Kriek (a Lambic with cherries), and Iris (a dry-hopped Lambic). Ho-hum.
Can’t make the 12th? Got drinks with Judy and you just can’t cancel on her again? OK, then head to part 2 of this Cantillion extravaganza on July 26th. That’s when the Soverign will be tapping Cantillon’s Saint Lamvinus (a Lambic produced yearly from Merlot and Cabernet Franc grapes) and a keg of its 2014 Kriek, whilst serving bottle pours of 2015 Gueuze and 2013 Lou Pepe Gueuze.
These evening are part of the Sovereign’s Summer of Sour series. Peep the rest on its website.
When: Thursday, July 13
Are you saving up for a craft beer vacation in Spain? Did you not even know that Spain has a craft beer scene? Either way, boy, do I have an event for you.
On July 13, ChurchKey teams up with fellow 14th St. establishment Estadio for a night of Spanish cusine and cerveza. On the latter front, ChurchKey says it will be pouring 30 beers from “six of the best craft brewers from Spain, including Edge (Barcelona), Guineu (Valls de Torroella), Cervesera del Montseny (Seva), Marina (Blanes), Naparbier (Noáin) and Arriaca (Guadalajara).” (Side note: It’s not “including” if you list them all, guys!)
For the food portion of the evening, you can expect a few dishes from Estadio Executive Chef Rufino Bautista to populate the usual ChurchKey’s menu. Cheesy fiesta tots, anyone?!? (Sadly, this is not a real thing.)
As per usual with ChurchKey events, both food and drink is a la carte, so bring a date you’re trying to impress.
When: Saturday, July 15
Where: Denizens Brewing
In March, I sat down with the folks at Denizens for a story about their Backyard Boogie (and other stuff, of course). Towards the end of our conversation, I asked if anything else was on the horizon for the Silver Spring brewery. Co-founder Emily Bruno’s answer was immediate: “We’re having, like, an adult carnival on May 13,” she said with a huge smile.
Well, the weather on May 13 turned out to be shit, so the adult carnival was moved to July 15. And now July 15 is upon us! And so is Denizens’ third anniversary! And they’ve combined the two! Excitement!
What can you expect from “Cirque du Denizens Presents: Carnivale” aside from the awesome name? The event includes appearances by jugglers, stilt walkers, and acrobats; “cheeky and inappropriate” carnival games; a charitable dunk tank; DJ sets from Blaqsquerade and Tezrah; and, of course, Denizens beer.
Tickets cost $20 and includes your first beer… and a bag of popcorn.
Peachy Keen Old Pro Tee Time
When: Tuesday, July 18
Where: Meridian Pint
Baltimore’s Union Craft is the master (locally, at least) of mixing bulletproof flagships with a steady stream of limited releases. There is always something fun and exciting coming out of the Woodberry brewery.
To wit, this summer has seen the debuts of Skipjack Pilsner, a Wise Acre collab Vienna Lager called Tiny Elvis, the cheeky When I Say Charm, You Saison, the lupulin powder-loaded double IPA Cosmic Giggle, a mango farmhouse ale dubbed Genius Anyway, and the recently released Tee Time.
Like Union’s barrel-aged Older Pro, Tee Time is a spin on its instant-classic Old Pro gose. For this beer, they’ve taken Old Pro and infused it with a house-blended “teas” made from botanicals and natural fruit flavors. The first of these are Peach and Wildberry variants. Think of them as a gose Arnold Palmers. Sounds good, right? Well, if you didn’t snag cans of these refreshing beers last weekend, I have sad news: They’re gone.
Thankfully, Meridian Pint is here to make you feel better. On July 18, the Columbia Heights beer mecca will be pouring the peach version of Tee Time, plus a handful of the summery Union beers mentioned above. I can’t think of a better way to cure those mid-July blues.
Looking ahead, Union celebrates its birthday on August 5th with a big ol’ party. I’m telling you this now because by the time the August Draft Picks goes up, it will be sold out. Don’t be a sucker. Snag tickets here now.
When: Friday, July 21
Where: Port City Brewing
We’ve become a little numb to the debut of new beers. That’s not to say that we don’t get excited, but when breweries like Ocelot and Aslin are modeled on releasing one-offs literally every week, we’re just sort of used to new, new, new. But let’s be clear: When a brewery like Port City releases a new flagship, it is a big deal. I mean, when was the last time an established DC-area brewery debuted a new flagship (or regular rotational) beer? Atlas Brew Works’ Ponzi? Brau Pils? Hellbender’s Ignite? Those were a long time ago!
Anyway, that’s a long way of saying it’s time to get fucking amped for Integral IPA, a new (duh) IPA from Port City.
“A Port City IPA?” you may wonder. “Don’t they already have Monumental IPA?”
True story. They do. But Integral IPA is a different beast. Where Monumental IPA is a “East Coast IPA” with a balanced malt backbone, Integral IPA is decidedly West Coast in nature. Per Port City, the beer is dry and straw-colored, and it was hop-bursted with bright, tropical American varietals like Azacca, Mosaic, Pekko, and Simcoe. (“Hop bursting” refers to the practice of adding hops very late in the boil, which translates to maximum hop character with only a restrained bitterness.) I’m no expert but that sounds like a banger. Plus, no brewery is as methodical as Port City when it comes to piloting and refining its recipes, so you know they’re not giving us some Beta-version scrub of an IPA.
Port City will celebrate the release of Integral IPA on Friday, July 21 from 3:00 to 10:00. That should give you ample time to fill your tummy with plenty of the 7.0% hoppy ale. As usual, there will be food trucks and live jams.
When: July 23 – 25
Where: Pizzeria Paradiso (Alexandria)
I have many fond memories of Christmas in July, like that time in fifth grade when my mother was the only parent not to send her child a Christmas in July present at sleepaway camp. All the other kids got Super Soakers, so the counselors felt bad and gave me a sympathy toy. It was one of those wooden Kendama things where you try to get a ball (attached to a string) into a little bucket at the end of a stick. This was just as cool as a Super Soaker, and I did not cry.
Pizzeria Paradiso aims to conjure all those warm, fuzzy memories at its Old Town location from Sunday, July 23rd to Wednesday, July 25th. They’ll be pouring a bevy of Christmas beers, including Sly Fox’s Christmas Ale, Eggenberg Samichlaus, The Bruery’s 9 Ladies, Het Anker’s Gouden Caralous Cuvee Keizer, La Rulles’ Cuvée Meilleurs Voeux, and Treogs’ Mad Elf. Festive music will be on blast, obviously. And, best of all, there will be a station to make gingerbread houses.
No word yet on Super Soakers.
When: Thursday, July 27
Where: Atlas Brew Works
Beer education: It’s important. Also, it’s fun. Because it usually involves beer drinking.
Or so we said back in February, when we first mentioned the Atlas Beer School. And you know what? It’s still true!
On July 27, Atlas hosts its latest beer school, this time on “Beer and the Media.” You know who’s on the panel?
*Funkmaster Flex bomb*
Yours truly! Me! I’ve made it!
Tickets cost $30, and the class runs from 7:30-9:30 pm, and it includes me, so it practically pays for itself. (Also, it includes beer.)
In other Atlas news, the brewery releases the third entry in its Summer Series at the Midlands tonight! (It’s a rye saison.) (The same from last year.) (Which was good!)
A few days later, on July 10, it will be the beer side of the beer dinner equation at Kapnos Kouzina in Bethesda. The meal will feature four courses of Greek-inspired cookout fare (like beer-battered corn fritters and beer-lacquered lamb ribs) paired with brews from Atlas. Tickets are $65 and can be purchased here.
Unrelatedly, read our recent Freshly Tapped on the release of Double Dance of Days (and other stuff).
When: Thursday, July 27
Alewerks is a fantastic brewery in Willisamsburg. No, not the Brooklyn Williamsburg – the O.G. one in Virginia. So, next time your fathers suggests a family trip to Williamsburg and you’re like, “Goddammit, Dad, no way, never again,” just remember this. It’s worth the trip.
Also, make a note that the brewery will invade ChurchKey with over a dozen beers on July 27th. Among those beers will be this year’s vintage of Lover’s Greed, a Belgian-style ale aged over 30 months in red wine barrels with Brettanomyces and Lactobacillus. Yowzers. Other highlights include three variations of bourbon barrel-aged Belgian strong dark ale Jubilee, plus multiple vintages of barleywine Grand Illumination and imperial sweet stout Café Royale.
Looking for something that won’t have you blacked out by 9:15? There will also be specialty casks of Superb IPA and Chesapeake Pale Ale.