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.
Cheree, Cheree Release Party
When: Thursday, October 5
Where: Free State
When you’re preparing to condition a beer on 300 pounds of cherries, things can get a little messy.
“This place was red like a murder scene,” Right Proper co-founder Thor Cheston told me in July, standing in the brewery’s Brookland production facility.
That’s where head brewer Nathan Zeender set about making Right Proper’s first fruited and foeder-aged beer earlier in the summer. Now, that beauty is finally ready.
It’s called Cheree, Cheree, and it was brewed with dried cherry and hibiscus infused water, then conditioned in Right Proper’s French oak foeders with local tart cherries for months on end. Hot damn.
The brewery will release the highly anticipated beer at Chinatown’s Free State on Thursday. They’ll have a handful of other Right Proper gems on tap, too, including the dry-hopped Berliner weisse Kick.Kick.Snare, rustic witbier White Bicycles, the robust porter Haxan, and DC’s very best pale ale Raised by Wolves.
If you can’t make it on Thursday (or live in Virginia and are lazy), Alexandria’s Rustico will host the VA release on October 11.
When: Thursday, October 5
Where: Lost Dog Café (Alexandria)
We like drinking beer for the sake of drinking beer over here at the Draft Picks, but we love drinking a beer when it’s tied to a good cause. This month, Port City Brewing and Lost Dog Cafe have united to give us one of those beers: Lost Dog Rescue Ale, a 7% rye IPA to benefit the Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation.
The release party will be held at the Lost Dog Cafe in Alexandria on October 5, but the beer will be released at all locations that day, with 100% of the profits from the launch weekend going to LDCRF. (After that, it’s $2 from every pint sold going to charity – not too shabby.)
Of course, the beer will also be available at Port City. If you need another excuse to visit the brewery, it’ll be throwing a release party of its own on October 6 for Long Black Veil. LBV, as the kids call it, is a stellar black IPA, and probably my favorite Port City seasonal, but it’s draft only so look for it in the tasting room or around town.
When: Sunday, October 8
Where: City Tap House (Penn Quarter)
According to the internet, a Randall is an “organoleptic hop transducer module, a double-chamber filter that you connect to a tap of your favorite beer and fill with flavor-enhancing ingredients.” So, basically, it’s a piece of equipment that allows you to infuse a beer with ingredients that it wasn’t brewed with originally. And it was invented by Dogfish Head in 2002.
So, who is the Randall master? We’ll find out on October 8, when the Delaware brewery challenges Right Proper, Flying Dog, Firestone Walker, DC Brau, and Allagash Brewing to a Randall battle royale at City Tap House in Penn Quarter. Honestly, there are worse ways to enjoy some Sunday afternoon football than while enjoying some fresh Randallitas from that fine line-up of breweries.
Speaking of City Tap House, the Philly-based restaurant group opens a second DC location on Monday, October 9, in Dupont. You’ve been noticed.
When: October 8 – 14
Where: Pizzeria Paradiso
Did you read last week’s Freshly Tapped profile of The Gruit Made Me Do It, the new collaboration from Denizens Brewing and Pizzeria Paradiso? Because if you haven’t, you should, and then you should go find a glass of the rosemary and sage beer while it’s still around.
OK, with that out of the way: AUTUMN FEST.
For the week of October 8, all Pizzeria Paradiso locations will be dedicating their tap lines to pumpkin beers, Oktoberfests, harvest ales, and ciders. I can taste the malt from here.
No details on the particular beers yet, but in Drew McCormick we trust.
When: Tuesday, October 10
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: If you haven’t been paying attention, Pekko Beer has quietly upped DC’s beer cred approximately one million nerd units in the past year and change. From Modern Times to Transmitter to Kent Falls, the local boutique distributor has been responsible for bringing us some of the most buzzy (and, more importantly, delicious) beers from up-and-coming breweries around the country. And as I wrote in May, Pekko is also responsible for upping the craft beer bona fides of a number fine dining restaurants around the city.
All of this will be on full display on October 10, when Pekko and Eric Ziebold’s Métier hosts the swankiest beer dinner in the history of beer dinners.
As Pekko touts, “most of the beers to be served have been specifically sourced for this dinner and will make their first and possible only appearance on the Washington D.C. market.” Those beers include Suarez Family’s Whistlin’, Brauerei Heller’s Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Marzen, Superstition Meadery’s Strawberry Sunrise, The Veil’s Red Ferrari, and Toppling Goliath’s Mornin’ Delight. That’s some #rare shit.
The food menu is, obviously, just as ridiculous, and can be viewed here.
Food plus the beer pairings will run you $300. In other news, please stay tuned for my Pekko Rare Beer Dinner Kickstarter. Every little bit counts!
When: Thursday, October 12
Where: Mad Fox Taproom
We’re nearing the homestretch of the Mad Fox Taproom’s Virginia Tap Takeover Series, and the Glover Park watering hole has a doozy on deck for October 12. That’s when it’ll welcome Ocelot Brewing. And here’s the thing: You go to Ocelot tap takeovers.
First of all, no one around here makes IPAs better. They’re wonderful things – light-bodied but overflowing with juicy, dank, zesty flavors. (No, not all Ocelot IPAs are the same, and please do not dump them in the “West Coast IPA” bucket.) Second, they’re doing a handful of other styles exceptionally well: mixed-fermentation saisons, various type of stouts, fruit ales, a fantastic biere de miel, and perhaps the area’s best pilsner. I go to bars because they have one Ocelot IPA on tap. Best believe I’ll be at Mad Fox when they have five or so.
Oh, but wait, they’ve sweetened the pot. The event will serve as the release party for an Ocelot and Mad Fox collaboration IPA. Brewed in Dulles, the beer was brewed with 80% Maris Otter (a high-end British pale malt) and 20% wheat, and hopped with Citra, Centennial, and Simcoe lupilin powder. There’s also some honey in the mix because, sure, why not? Bone up on the history of Ocelot with our February Freshly Tapped. Also, head back to Mad Fox on October 19 when it hosts Old Ox!
When: October 13-22
Where: Um, the city of Baltimore
Hot take: Baltimore Beer Week is bigger and better than DC Beer Week.
Or, at the least, Baltimore breweries put more effort into it. I mean, UNION Craft alone made three collab beers for the occasion. (Those would be with Stillwater, Oliver, and Goonda Beersmiths, for those keeping score at home.)
Peep the full schedule of events above. It’s loaded.
When: Sunday, October 15
Where: Owen’s Ordinary
Fall weather has arrived, and all the Neighborhood Restaurant Group is doing is fest, fest, fest. Snallygaster is in the rear view mirror, and Novemberfest is on the horizon, but first up: the Oktoberfest Edition of Owen’s Ordinary’s Bavarian Beer Garden.
For the event, beer director / local beer deity Greg Engert has assembled a line-up of German classics (like Weissenohe’s Mönchskeller and Gänstaller Bräu’s Franz Xaver), as well as local interpretations of German styles (Bluejacket’s dope new Helles lager For The Company, Hysteria’s Yellow Sudmarine hefe, and a 2016 keg of Union’s Miracle weizenbock).
Beyond the beer, there will be “live Oompah music” and “themed costuming” for the nerds, plus a menu of Red Apron meats for the hungry. Like most all NRG events, there is no admission fee and everything is à la carte AF. Big boy pours will be served in a half-liter “commemorative Owen’s Ordinary mug,” which will be free to take home with the first purchase of any XL beer.
When: Tuesday, October 17
Where: Bar Pilar
My girlfriend recently attempted to go gluten free. This endeavor lasted three days and was the subject of more discussion than Gandhi’s hunger strike.
The point of my story: Where the hell was this Bar Pilar and Charm City gluten-free dinner when I needed it?!?
Whatever, I’ll still take it now. On October 17, (the comparatively) OG 14th St. restaurant will welcome Charm City Meadworks and its light, refreshing, flavorful fermented bee nectar. The menu pairs five meads with four courses and an amuse-bouche for the definitely-not-300-dollars cost of $50. Check the link above for details. Also, a percentage of proceeds go towards Hurricane Irma cleanup, so feel good about your gluten-free indulgence.
Also, if you happen to come across the Charm City + Graft collab Hivemind, grab a four-pack because it is the truth. And feel free to revisit last fall’s story on Charm City’s collab with 3 Stars Two-Headed Unicorn.
When: Sunday, October 22
Breweries grow up so fast these days. Just the other day, Bluejacket was about to open, and then it was about to open, and then it was about to open, and then it opened, and now it’s been four years.
I kid, I kid. At four years old, Bluejacket’s beers are better than ever – particularly its dialed-in IPAs and mixed fermentation saisons – and that’s something worth celebrating. Head to the brewery on the 22nd to throw down with a few of those beers.
The event doubles as the release party for Bluejacket’s Bourbon Barrel-Aged Double Mexican Radio, an imperial sweet stout aged for six months in bourbon barrels (a mix of Heaven Hill, Jim Beam, and Buffalo Trace), then spiced with cocoa nibs, vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks and ancho chili peppers.
More details about the event are forthcoming but save the date.