WASHINGTON, August 17, 2012 — Not many years ago, there were only a handful of bars around the District that could lay serious claim to an attentive craft beer program. In fact, many would be hard-pressed to recall much after Capitol City Brewing Company multiple locations and the venerable Brickskeller on 22nd street (now, under new ownership, called the Bier Baron).
The Brickskeller’s owners have moved on to focus solely on sister restaurant, and one of the most respected in the city, RFD in Chinatown, Capitol City is down to two locations, Foggy Bottom Brewery has faded away, and so too has Bardo (across the river in Arlington) along with its Marion Berry Lambic.
But with changing times and a changing perception of beer comes a whole new lineup of quality beer joints. Dotting the city map from the NW to the SE are bars and restaurants like Pizzeria Paradiso, ChurchKey/Birch & Barley, Granville Moore’s, Biergarten Haus, Meridian Pint, Brasserie Beck, and Belga Café.
DC Beer Week (DCBW) began this past Sunday with a spectacular cruise on the Potomac River aboard the Odyssey. Nearly 40 breweries poured beers for three hours while a dinner buffet was served and music entertained the crowd of craft beer enthusiasts.
It was a great welcome party for both large and small breweries alike as relative newcomers such as DC Brau, Bluejacket, Chocolate City, 3 Stars had their place along side larger and more established local breweries like DuClaw, Mad Fox, and Flying Dog and those from farther abroad like Sierra Nevada, Allagash, Chimay, and Victory. The event was also the debut for the Solidarity Saison brewed both in individual batches by seven local breweries as well as a blended version.
Now, with five days of events under its belt, DCBW prepares for the last two days of celebration with events around the city to fit all appetites.
Sour beers will be poured at Smoke & Barrel in Adams Morgan. ChurchKey, near Logan Circle, will be serving super-rare drafts from Bell’s Brewery in Michigan. Bier Baron will host a barleywine festival. Rustico in Ballston rolls out a menu full of Ommegang. Meridian Pint will offer one of the last chances to taste the special DCBW Solidarity Saison. Port City Brewing in Alexandria serves up a unique combination of cask-conditioned beer along with special Puerto Rican food.
In all, there will be more than thirty opportunities in the next two days to stop by a local favorite watering hole or brewery for the taste of something special.
Come Monday, all will be back to normal, which by the standards set by many of the establishments participating in DC Beer Week is a pretty extraordinary normal.
–Read more of Bryan’s work at After Hours in the Communities at the Washington Times.
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