Just the Bottle

One woman's adventure in beer, food, wine and spirits

I survived DC Beer Week


I survived DC Beer Week, but just barely. DC Beer Week is a great time celebrating what the DC area has to offer. DC Beer among other outlets provided information on some of the best events of the week. DC Beer is a great site to follow year round for events, discussion of beer and all beer related things.

Sunday, August 11th began with an early wake up to get ready for the day. I dragged my tired ass to Chocolate City to begin my Brewery Tour that included six DC and VA breweries. We began at about 10:00am with First Coast Bohemian Pils. As one of my new friends on the tour said, “This is a great morning beer.” It was light, crisp and great introduction to the day.

We hopped on the bus and moved onto DC Brau. DC Brau continues to have a soft spot in my heart. I went with Exquisite Corpse and Heurich’s Lager. The Exquisite Corpse was proposed by the Beer Director at Pizzeria Paradiso and is a collaboration among Greg Jasgur, Sam Fitz of Meridian Pint, Brian Strumke of Stillwater Artisanal Ales and Jeff Hancock of DC Brau. It has great aromatics with citrus notes, effervescent and very clean taste and dry finish. It was very refreshing. I fell in love with the Heurich Lager. I have never tasted a lager like that. The nose isn’t as big with just a hint of sweetness. It really shines through the palate changing flavors from slightly spicy to somewhat sweet with a great texture.While there, I also secured my shirt for my AMAZING air guitar performance of “Livin’ on a Prayer” at Solly’s.

Next stop was the new Blue Jacket. We were greeted with water. Yes, I was very happy to have some water. Being this is Blue Jacket they presented our beer tasting in some serious stemware. They had a microphone set up and serious staff mingling about. They poured only one beer their kolsch. Greg Engert spoke about the history of the space and their goals upon opening. He also offered some tasting notes on the beer. He’s a genius who when speaking is comfortable discussing medieval history to architecture to tasting notes in a beer and more. He’s just a fascinating guy who never comes off condescending. 

We proceed onto Port City in Alexandria. I tried the Derecho Common and Downright Pils. Both are pretty solid beers. The Derecho Common had some mild fruitiness and mild maltiness. At Port City we had a shortened version of a tour.

After Port City, we headed to Mad Fox. As we entered I ran to the bar and ordered a bacon and cheese burger with fries. Food was necessary.  I grabbed some of our sample beers including the Broad Street IPA. It was a pretty solid IPA with some piney notes and light citrus. At the bar I ordered the Mason’s Dark Mild. It offered what I love from a beer and gave me something to enjoy with my food at an ABV that allowed me to chill out. It was not too heavy, chocolate, malty and somewhat roasty flavor.

We jumped back in the bus and headed off to Three Stars Brewery. Dave warmly greeted us right away. I asked for the Lime Basil Session Saison and then sampled the Peppercorn Saison. I am loving the Lime Basil. Guess what it tastes like? That’s right unicorn tears. No, but it’s really perfect for the insanely hot weather and has all these spice notes that are well balanced. Dave led us on a brief two part tour of the history of Three Stars and their process. I love hearing about the early days with him and Mike and seeing how far they have come. I can’t wait to see where they are in the next year or two.

It was a great tour and I really hope more maybe smaller versions can be organized.

The rest of week was kind of a blur. I hit up Big Hunt on Tuesday with stops at Pizzeria Paradiso and Scion where the Flying Dog event was held. I enjoyed several delicious beers with new and old friends. At Big Hunt I was able to try the Allagash James Bean. It’s amazing when you look at the color and then the taste is so different. It felt silky, chocolate, some roast elements.

Another night I skipped DC Beer Week activities to enjoy some amazing cocktails with FEW and friends. More on that and my gin class with Caledonia Spirits another post.

On Thursday, I headed with friends to celebrate at Smoke and Barrel for a Neil Young themed DC Beer Week event. I started off with Allagash Golden Brett, which I described as funky deliciousness. Their food is spectacular. I ordered this yummy sausage sandwich and my friends ordered their BBQ platter with sweet potato fries and grits. At some point, I ordered a round of Bulleit bourbon because Thursday.

After leaving Smoke and Barrel, I convinced most of the crew to hit Millie & Al’s. Of course the skeleton danced and I made everyone do two $1 Jell-O shots. Afterwards, the karaoke began. We signed up for numerous songs including “You Can Go Your Own Way”. That’s where I decided to drop to my knees and slide to my friend. I still stand by that decision even though I left a part of my knee on the floor.

Yesterday my body finally informed me that we were sick and I decided to take an easy the rest of the weekend.