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? OK, enough with the questions.
When: October 6 – 9
Where: Various Locations
This week, Brooklyn Brewery brings Brooklyn Brewery to you. We’re not talking about some dinky tap takeover, either. We’re talking about three days of events right here in DC. It’s part of the brewery’s Mash Tour, which visits nine cities around the U.S. and Europe. Don’t you feel special?
The Mash Tour reimagines four staples of craft beer industry: The beer dinner, the festival, the concert, and the bar crawl. All will be sprinkled with rare, out-of-market, and maybe even experimental beers from the award-winning brewery. Let’s break those down.
Dinner with Friends: On Thursday, Brooklyn Brewery Chef Andrew Gerson teams with the staff of The Royal for a four-course beer dinner at the LeDroit Park restaurant. The event will showcase “a flock of different rare and intriguing beers on the table, a continuous stream of new courses to try alongside them, and companions to share notes with.” You can check the menu here. It looks amazing. Also, it’s sold out. Sorry.
Beer Mansion at Blind Whino: On Saturday, Brooklyn throws what it’s calling the “weirdest, wildest, most unexpected beer festival yet.” They’ll attempt to pull this off at Blind Whino, which will be divided into a Barrel Room, IPA Room, Saison Room, and Beer Garden. There will be samples from Brooklyn Brewery, DC Brau, Right Proper, and 3 Star Brewery. There will be music, food, games, and a virtual reality brewery tour. There’s just going to be a lot of stuff.
Adams Morgan Neighborhood Immersion: Last but not least, on Sunday Brooklyn sets up a pop-up bar and shop called The Trailhead in Adams Morgan. A $20 ticket also gets you an official Immersion Booklet, which contains beer vouchers and special deals at neighborhood establishments including: Jack Rose Dining Saloon, Bedrock Billiards, Bourbon, and Songbyrd. Hopefully you have Columbus Day off.
When: October 7 – 16
Where: Um, Baltimore
Remember D.C. Beer Week? Now close your eyes and imagine it in… Baltimore. Whoa.
Yes, for the eighth year running, the streets of Baltimore will overflow with craft beer.
There are too may beer events to even mention, so have a look for yourself here.
When: Sunday. October 9
Where: Atlas Brew Works
Pig. Beer. Both in unlimited quantities. Need I say any more?
OK, I’ll say a little more. Head to Atlas Brew Works on the second Sunday in October for a pig roast that spotlights the cooking of Queen Vic chef Ryan Gordon. He’ll be shooting whole roasted pigs full of apple and beer, in addition to serving up pork belly lollipops, slow-cooked ribs, and house-made sausage. Hot damn. Wash it all down with bottomless beers from the Ivy City Brewery. All of this for $60. It’s a steal! You won’t have to eat for days!
Catch up on what’s new at the brewery with our recent Freshly Tapped profile of its hoppy wheat ale Dance of Days.
When: Wednesday, October 12
Where: Garden District
Speaking of Atlas Brew Works, did you know that it recently brewed a collaboration with DC Brau? True story. It’s called The Emprosator, it’s a doppelbock, and it sounds like a monster.
To quote the brewers: “At 8.4%, the Emprosator is a bit bigger than most doppelbocks. Big and dark, this beer gives some stronger toasty and roasty notes, and noticeably less sweetness than its old world counterparts. Doppelbocks are usually a spring beer (brewed for lent to aid in fasting) so releasing it as a fall beer definitely bucks tradition.”
And I will most certainly be ordering a stein of the Emprosator on the 12th, when the two breweries set up shop at 14th Street’s Garden District. In addition to the collaboration, Atlas Ponzi and Brau Pils will be on special for $6. For nourishment, dopplebock-cooked brats will be available.
Long Black Veil Release
When: October 13 + 14
Aw yeah, Long Black Veil is back. One of my favorite Port City releases, the Black IPA is brewed with a Belgian yeast strain, is all kinds of delicious, and always hits bars in mid-October.
Why mid-October? That’s when Alexandria’s legendary and mysterious “Female Stranger” passed away in 1816, and the long black veil that she wore is the inspiration for the beer’s name. Read her whole story here.
Port City will celebrate the beer’s release with a party at the brewery on October 13.
For the more adventurous, there will be a 200-year anniversary gathering at Gatsby’s Tavern Museum (where she passed away) on October 14. There’s a 6:00 to 8:00 happy hour option, or you can hit the happy hour and keep the night going with a trip to St. Paul’s Cemetery, where the Female Stranger is buried. That’ll run you $75, and includes a few beers, food, and bottomless nightmares.
When: Saturday, October 22
Where: Union Market
We sweated through some brutally hot summer beer festivals. It was rough. We have photos with sunburned faces to prove it.
But it’s October. This is prime beer festival season. It’s time to suit up: you, a beer, a pair of shorts, a sweater, some running sneakers. Oh, you don’t dress like a 50-year-old dad like I do? That’s OK, just throw on whatever you have and head to Union Market’s Brewers on the Block.
There’s not much of a theme going on here: It’s just a well-curated beer festival at my favorite place for such gatherings. Participating breweries include the local guys (Hellbender, Atlas, Bluejacket), some Maryland powerhouses (RAR, Union), and Charlottesville’s Three Notch’d Brewing. That’s right, Three Notch’d gets a special shout-out. Bring me some of that Minute Man IPA.
Extra bonus: The event will serve as the debut of a new beer from 3 Stars that utilizes hops grown at Union Market’s Neal Place Tap & Garden.
When: Monday, October 24
Bonus Draft Pick! But first, some questions…
How do you launch a brewery? How do you survive in a thickening field? What are the best practices to know?
I have no clue, but I know some people who might: Atlas Brew Works’ Justin Cox, Port City’s Bill Butcher, Jailbreak’s Justin Bonner, Hellbender’s Patrick Mullane, and Denizen’s Julie Veratti. These founders of DC-area breweries are coming together on October 24 for a panel discussion at Bluejacket.
Organized by Social Tables, the event is free to attend. Also, I’m moderating the panel. This is not a drill. Register here.
When: Wednesday, October 26
Where: City Tap House
Memorable beer dinners are hard to come by these days. A mystery beer dinner at the National Cathedral? Yeah, OK, that’s pretty memorable, but the run-of-the-mill stuff starts to blend together after a while.
So, credit goes to City Tap House for a Halloween beer dinner that looks creative, fun, and delicious.
On October 26, the Penn Quarter dining establishment will be cooking up a five-course meal, paired with beer from Portland’s renowned Allagash Brewing. So far, so good. The twist? They’ll be serving those pairings during a screening of “Beetlejuice”. And the dishes are a little spooky, too: shrimp and eyeball bowl, “bloody” cherry cheesecake, a wriggly clam shooter.
When: Saturday, October 29
Where: Ocelot Brewing
Have you been looking for an excuse to visit one of the area’s very best breweries? Allow me to provide one.
On the last Saturday in October, Ocelot will host a Halloween party that features live music from Jackie and the Treehorns, a pig roast, and (obviously) a costume contest. And according to the brewery, Ocelot be dressing up, too.
Or, to quote Ocelot: “The brewery will pretend to be Richmond for the night, and pour beers not only from us but also from our dear friends down south.”
Right now, those breweries include The Answer Brewpub, The Veil Brewing, Triple Crossing Brewing, Strangeways Brewing, and Ardent Craft Ales. Needless to say, Ocelot has its finger on the pulse of what’s hot in Richmond.
Want some further reading? Revisit our Freshly Tapped profile of Raised on Promises, Ocelot’s collaboration with Bluejacket.
When: Saturday, October 29
Everyone knows beer history is the best kind of history. On October 29, the National Museum of American History serves up a pint of that cold, fizzy knowledge as part of the 2016 Smithsonian Food History Weekend. See, Mom, beer is food! Get off my back!
You can expect to hear “tales of brewing, beer, and policy from the Colonial era, 19th century, Prohibition, and the 1970s.” There will also be a brewing history scavenger hunt for the turbo nerds.
In addition to knowledge, the museum will also be serving “historically inspired brews” from Williamsburg’s Alewerks Brewing, Baltimore’s Heavy Seas Beer, and DC’s own New Columbia Distillers. These are all great choices, but I’d strongly recommend that Alewerks. The Virginia brewery never disappoints.