Judging a beer by its label is a bias we often encounter as craft beer drinkers. If you resist the urge to check a beer’s score inside the bottle shop, then you’re relying on the beer’s look and description to hook you in. You would assume that a humble beer coming from a brewery such as The Virginia Beer Company would be an old standby, reflected in the simplistic art and presentation. But the craftsmanship and modern innovation they put into their Liquid Escape goes far beyond what to expect.
Get ready, beer fans: Oozlefinch Beer and Blending is hosting Friends with Benefits Sour Beer Fest on May 22, 2021. The best part is, unlike in normal times when events were only held in-person, if you live in the District of Columbia or one of the 32 states that allow beer shipping for the event, you can attend from the comfort of your couch. Plus, if you do live near Oozlefinch’s Fort Monroe, VA location, they are considering–COVID conditions permitting, (fingers crossed)–holding an in-person event to coincide with the virtual one, according to the website.
A lot of breweries have found success by carving out a niche, focusing on a particular style of beer. Beyond a few other perfunctory beers to round out their draft list, they mostly stay in their lane. So, when a brewery comes along that can brew the entire spectrum of beer styles and do them all well, it is all the more impressive. In the DC metro area, Bluejacket is perhaps the best example.
The Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., are home to more than 60 craft breweries. Each has its own unique atmosphere and vibe. They produce almost every style of beer imaginable and are winning national recognition for their deliciously creative brews. But it wasn’t always that way. After Old Dominion Brewing relocated to Delaware in 2007, this incredibly vibrant region was without any packaging breweries for almost four years. Then, in 2011, an intrepid team of pioneers reclaimed the Commonwealth’s faltering brewing heritage with the opening of Port City Brewing Co. in Alexandria, Virginia.
With over 8,000 breweries operating coast-to-coast and everywhere in between, there has never been a better time than today to be a beer drinker in the United States. The energy and creativity of the craft beer movement is undeniable. Breweries are producing elaborate takes on venerable beer styles and creating new styles as well. Whether you like Milkshake IPAs or an Italian Pilsner, there is a beer for you in your local brewery. Craft beer is an undeniably popular beverage. However, beer was even more popular in the US before the catastrophe of Prohibition nearly wiped out the alcohol industry from 1920 to 1933.
The 2020 Virginia and DC Best in Beer features a community surviving and even thriving in this most unusual year. It was a time of coming together where local breweries invented new ways to reach their loyal customers, and those customers took their “drink local” mantra to new heights. Together, the local craft beer community weathered the storm with remarkably few breweries closing, and even a few new ones opening.
Local breweries continued to put out some wildly creative and delicious beers and perhaps more than ever proved their worth as creators and sustainers of social bonds. The Virginia and Washington, DC craft beer communities look forward to a more “normal” 2021 while taking pride in their remarkable resiliency throughout the unprecedented global challenges of 2020.
One of the greatest things about the craft beer community is the community itself. Without a large group of like-minded individuals drinking it and bonding over it, craft beer would simply be a liquid with a curious chemical composition. And when tragedy strikes, breweries are often among the first to rally support, most often with a collaboration release.
On the cusp of Thanksgiving 2020 after an incredibly stressful year; we all deserve a moment to indulge. Though as you can only fill your stomach so much or tolerate a certain amount of beer; what do you choose? Well, there’s no better option to treat your senses than to enjoy a beer that comes with its own recipe card!
Wheatland Spring Farm + Brewery in Waterford, VA sits on 30 acres of rolling Virginia farmland approximately 50 miles west of the urban bustle of Washington, DC. This working farm is a beautiful spot to enjoy a pint in the repurposed, 200-year-old tasting room and century-old brewhouse barns nestled amidst the charming bucolic countryside. These are the parts of Wheatland Spring most guests experience, but they only hint at the revolutionary approach to brewing that is blossoming within these unassuming rustic walls.
The culture of craft beer has always had a strong connection to the communities in which it thrives. For many of us, our neighborhood brewery is far more than merely a place that produces the things we enjoy drinking–it is a community center, a gathering place, and an intrinsic part of our daily lives, not to mention a foundational element for hobbies, relationships, and fostering a sense of place. Enter Cheers, Yinz!, a beer festival built to help beloved local breweries weather the economic (and emotional) effects of decreased sales and temporary closures.
Other Half Brewing Company is opening its next location in Washington, DC and PorchDrinking was given a sneak preview of the new space this month as the brewery aims for an end-of-year opening. Other Half (OH), known for weekly can releases and huge events, is bringing its talents to the nation’s capital and has already started brewing and selling beer on-site. Four-packs are available for pickup at the Ivy City location by ordering online and then walking or driving up to grab them.
What do you think of when you think about the D.C. beer scene? The answer may be drastically different for everybody based on their tenure in our Nation’s Capitol. You see, it wasn’t until 2009 that DC gained a true brewery since the last one closed in 1956. That’s one BIG gap in time.
Flying Dog Brewery is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a new Double IPA called Great Job!, tongue-in-cheek self-congratulation for 30 years of, as its own press release puts it, “Good Beer, No Shit.”
The Maryland brewery is the 35th largest in the country by volume and continues to be the biggest player in the state. Flying Dog’s 20th-anniversary beer, Raging Bitch, quickly became the best-selling beer for the brewery where it remained for nearly a decade.
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery is on a mission to fight climate change, one beer at a time. On September 19, Dogfish Head and Indigo Agriculture, a company intent on “harnessing nature to help farmers sustainably feed the planet,” released an Earth-friendly Re-Gen-Ale to its local beer fans. As explained by Dogfish Head, the beer serves as the first traceably-sourced beer to address climate change through agriculture using Indigo Carbon, a program that provides growers with a financial incentive to store carbon in their soils.” The beer release arrives in time for Climate Week (Sept 21 – 27).
For many German beer fans, late September doesn’t just mark the onset of autumn or the beginning of a new school year. It’s the only time of year for eating too many brats, listening to polka music of questionable quality and drinking delicious beer. It’s Oktoberfest! During any other year, many would be dusting off their lederhosen and making pretzel necklaces, while visions of frothy overflowing beer steins danced in their heads.
Yet, even though COVID-19 is, sadly, torpedoing our hopes of having in-person Oktoberfest events this year, never fear. There’s still plenty of first-rate Oktoberfest beers to be had. Here in the Washington, D.C., Beltway area, those mourning the cancellation of this year’s festivities are finding solace in Port City Brewing’s exceptional take on the classic Oktoberfest Märzen Lager. Despite only being distributed in D.C., Virginia, Maryland, and some select areas of New York and North Carolina, this beer has gained international renown. It took home the gold medal at the 2014 World Beer Championships, silver at the 2013 Great American Beer Festival and is currently ranked the 27th best Oktoberfest/Märzen style beer in the world by reviewers on Beer Advocate.
Deschutes’ Black Butte Porter has been the brewery’s flagship beer since its first year of its existence, and to celebrate the 32nd anniversary of this amazing beer, the brewery released its 2020 anniversary Black Butte XXXII Imperial Porter.
Inspired by an annual pilgrimage from Pennsylvania to the Pacific Northwest to pick fresh hops in the Yakima Valley, Tröegs Independent Brewing’s Lucky Holler Hazy IPA fall release is packed with so much citrusy, hoppy aroma it’ll have you hollerin’ for more. By heading straight to the source to walk through rows of bines and crush plump, fresh hops cones in their hands to release the oils and heady aroma, Tröegs’ brewers were able to hand-select the perfect hops for Lucky Holler Hazy IPA.
Calm winds, the rising sun and a glass like ocean…this is the allure of being part of the Dawn Patrol. For surfers, the attraction is undeniable. They forego the extra sleep while others lay tucked in their beds knowing that getting the goods early is an opportunity too good to pass up. For these dedicated few, the day’s first waves are worth it. They’re exhilarating!
Other Half Brewing today announced the upcoming October opening of its new taproom and production facility in Washington, DC. The New York-based brewery has been long-rumored among beer lovers in the Nation’s Capital, so today’s news is a welcome addition to DC’s burgeoning craft beer scene. Other Half has been shipping beer weekly to Maryland’s Downtown Crown in nearby Gaithersburg for several months, but it is rarely found inside the District. The new brewery will be the 12th brewery located in the city limits.
Evil Twin Brewing began as a “nomadic brewery” in 2010, but found a permanent home in New York City in 2016, when Evil Twin Brewing NYC launched in Queens, New York. Their portfolio features a massive variety of beers and hard seltzers with many unique names and ingredients.
In keeping with its esoteric approach to brewing, WHAT EVEN IS PINK PINEAPPLE ANYWAYS? (WEIPPA) is yet another unique showstopper from Evil Twin.