Another DC Beer Week is upon us, taking place in the nation’s Capital from September 8-15, 2019. This annual event, hosted by the DC Brewers’ Guild, continues to grow in size each year, both in the number of breweries and in the events taking taking place across the district. With 11 breweries now open inside the city limits and dozens more within the metro area, the Washington, DC beer scene is rapidly becoming another craft beer hub along the East Coast.
To celebrate the 11th Annual DC Beer Week, we’ve put together six of the top beers being produced by DC breweries right now. Our list only includes breweries inside Washington, DC proper (sorry Virginia and Maryland).
Labor Day is unfortunately overlooked as a day most people are just happy to be off work. The irony of it is that the first Monday of September represents those same hardworking Americans. All of the social and economic achievements of American workers deserve acknowledgment, and Labor Day is a humble way of thanking and serving tribute to a history of hard work and positive contribution towards a stronger, more prosperous nation.
There is no better way to celebrate the National Park Service’s 103rd birthday on August 25th than with a visit to a brewery near one of the oldest and most iconic American parks, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Smoky Mountains may be vast, covering parts of both North Carolina and Tennessee, but provide phenomenal sightseeing opportunities and plenty of beer just outside the park’s gates to keep you satiated.
You could spend a week or two visiting the Smokies, especially if you have a family or love to hike. There are over 850 miles of hiking trails in the park. Oh, and it will be nearly impossible to avoid seeing bears, which are used to visitors and relatively harmless as long as you don’t get too close (50 yards, please people!). But if you can only spare a weekend, read on.
Hershey, Pennsylvania, is more than just The Sweetest Place on Earth! Beyond the chocolate bars, the town is also home to the 27th largest craft brewery in the U.S. based on beer sales volume. This brewery, Troegs Independent Brewing, has been around since the late nineties. Throughout the years, they have created a variety of beers including lip-puckering wild ales like Apricot Farmette.
From Appalachia to Outer Banks and everywhere in-between, fine craft beer crops up all over North Carolina. For example, some 25 minutes east of Chapel Hill, you’ll find Saxapahaw, North Carolina. If you reach Haw River, turn around and look for a rejuvenated old mill. You’ll know by music from the chronically hip Haw River Ballroom, weekly community get-togethers in the form of Saturdays at Saxapahaw, and maybe most importantly, fine craft beer from Haw River Farmhouse Ales.
When you walk into Solace Brewing, you feel a bit happier. The vibe at this sprawling facility in Sterling, Virginia is just cheerful. From the employees to the customers, the brewery seems to live by its motto: “Find Your Solace.”
Regret is hard to live with, especially when that thing was right in front of you. My story begins at Brewery Bhavana in downtown Raleigh. My wife and I attended one of their private parties where they served up some of their signature dishes and drinks. Edamame and ginger dumplings, pork and mushroom bao, an open bar featuring many of their core brews and if that weren’t enough, at either end of the room they popped bottles of barrel-aged beauties. To try it all, you either had to be super lucky or a pushy jerk. For better or worse, I was neither. So, I missed out on a beer that I thought would be gone forever: Patina Gold #1, a peach and apricot sour aged for four months in a Cabernet foeder.
Fortunately, Bhavana had the good sense to produce more. Even more fortunately, I found a bottle of Patina Gold sitting in the dusty back room of Chapel Hill’s Bottle Rev. Given the price ($14 a bottle), I had to think twice about buying it, but only twice. The regret from earlier, missed opportunity was gnawing at me.
Every once in a while, you have that experience with beer that completely blows your mind and excites your taste buds in ways others have not. Vasen Brewing Company out of Richmond, Virginia, has done just that with the recent and first bottle release of Savvon–a dry-hopped Farmhouse Ale. The complexity and flavors capped within these bottles were amazing and worth every drop.
Pretty soon the days will become even longer and the temperatures will continue to get hotter. If you live in the mid-Atlantic, you also understand the oppressive humidity. Some of us are lucky enough to be born into this swamp state with a huge shoreline while others flock here in the summer. To battle the upcoming season, you’ll most certainly need a beer; I’d recommend Forgotten Boardwalk 1916 Shore Shiver.
My wife and I recently reached our milestone of traveling to all 50 states, ensuring we visit the local brewery in each of the places that we visit. While I am an avid meat eater, my wife is vegetarian. So, the places we choose to eat during our travels had to be well researched in advance to ensure they have a vegetarian menu that met the expectations of my wife, who can be quite a picky eater. Luckily, nowadays, that isn’t hard. Many breweries and brewpubs offer at least one vegetarian option on their menu, to various degrees of success and creativity.
If you’re looking back at 2018 as if you were Biggie in 1994 and saying to yourself, “it was all a dream” (or nightmare), wake up! NEIPAs, Milkshake IPAs, Milk Stouts, and Massively Fruited Sours/ IPAs aren’t going anywhere. In 2018 we witnessed not only The Brewer’s Association recognizing the Juicy or Hazy IPA as an official style, but we saw exploding fruit bombs, more breweries expanding their taprooms (Reformation Brewery, Lickinghole Brewery) and more diverse beer festivals, like the Fresh Fest in Pittsburgh, Beers With(out) Beards in NYC, and the Dames and Dregs Beer Festival in Atlanta just to name a few.
However as you probably deciphered from the title, this article isn’t about what happened last year, but it’s predicting the craft beer trends for 2019.
Just north of the hustle and bustle of Manhattan, the Hudson Valley in New York has long inspired artists and writers, like Norman Rockwell, with its Victorian homes, charming villages and amazing cuisine. The valley is full of outdoor activities like boating, kayaking and the opportunity to summit some pretty intense mountains; a section of the Appalachian Trail even runs through the area. So, it should come as no surprise that the Hudson Valley is becoming a hot spot for breweries. In fact, there are more than 50 breweries and counting within the region.
Hudson Valley Brewery is located in Beacon, NY. Situated just off the main street in a 1960s factory building, Hudson Valley Brewery opened their doors in 2017 and have already made quite a name for themselves—Hop Culture Magazine named them Best New Brewery of 2017.
I was first made aware of Adroit Theory in August while I was at the Virginia Craft Brewers Fest in Charlottesville, VA. Their BLVCK Celebration, an imperial porter with Oreo cookies, honey, caramel and toasted coconut blew me completely away, and I’ve had my hoppy eyes on their beer ever since.
Five months later, I’ve been able to get my hands on the Death of Cthulu, a Russian imperial stout, as well as the EBK and I. Adam–both delicious, hazy imperial IPAs.
Coffee is a huge part of my life along with beer, and I am all about having a combination of those two in a beer any day. Medusa Brewing Company has a coffee porter that I am thrilled to tell you about. If I lived closer, this would be a staple in my beer collection. I do not live anywhere near Medusa, but luckily a fellow PorchDrinker got this to me to enjoy in Florida.
The Jersey Shore is home to surf, sun and the beach, loved by many locals and tourists (aka bennies, shoobies, etc.) alike. Jokes aside, the population in the summer skyrockets but is back to normal levels by Labor Day. As the weather turns cold, the number of people dwindles and shore communities turn into ghost towns. Some who stay behind and are not “locals,” per se, stay in relatively affordable “winter rentals,” which is where Beach Haus Brewery’s seasonal release Winter Rental got its name.
Since closing for remodeling in May of this year, Lord Hobo Brewing has been serving its beer out of their 92 Hampshire St. bar location. That’s all about to change as the newly renovated taproom is set to open the first week of November.
Another crisp day means another crisp beer. Autumn brings with it many things, ranging from flannels to hunting season. Dogfish Head, out of Milton, Delaware uses the season to their advantage with the spruce-infused pale, Pennsylvania Tuxedo.
The change of seasons means cooler temperatures, leaves falling and the inevitable pumpkin beers. Some brewers take a different approach, however. Instead of pumpkin beers, they opt for darker beer styles, like Dunks Ferry Dunkelweizen from Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company. Brewed in Croydon, Pennsylvania on the outskirts of Philly, this 5.2% ABV authentic Bavarian-style dark wheat beer is brewed with wheat malt, Herkules, Hallertau and Tettnanger hops, and fermented with a hefeweizen yeast.
Dancing Gnome has been making serious brews and waves in the craft beer scene. They have truly expanded their horizons from hazy IPAs and pale ales to stouts, sours and lagers. In less than two years, Dancing Gnome has: expanded their canning line, added more tanks, hired more staff to help assist in the brewery, collaborated with other breweries and individuals to brew some delicious beer and has become one of the most popular craft beer breweries on the western side of Pennsylvania.
When Dancing Gnome (DG) released their weekly newsletter on July 31 and mentioned Lustra Day, those two words spread quickly through the Pittsburgh craft beer scene. Knowing that Lustra Day would be a huge event for the brewery, I made plans to be in attendance. From that point on, my beer buddies and I planned our arrival times and the beers we would bring for the line share on the big day.
A longtime beer can remain beloved in a fast-paced market because it has a cult following, because it fits a really niche need or, for better or worse, because it’s so widely distributed it becomes a default choice.
Sometimes, a beer remains hot because it’s still so damn good.