The Craft Beer Lover’s Guide to Washington, D.C.’s Beer Week
It’s a big week for beer nerds: D.C. Beer Week is in its seventh annual celebration and running all week long. This year’s festival boasts more than 100 different events at bars and breweries across the city, including tap takeovers, food pairings, and a bar crawl through the Shaw neighborhood. There will also be showcases for sour beers, Baltimore beers, pumpkin beers, and more.
So what is a beer lover looking to make plans this week to do? Greg Engert, beer director for the Neighborhood Restaurant Group—the guys behind local beer temples Bluejacket Brewery and Churchkey—weighs in on the events he’s most excited for this year.
Devils Backbone 20/20 Pairing Event at Jack Rose
Wednesday, August 12, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Though it’s mostly known for its staggering whiskey collection, Jack Rose knows its beer, too, and Engert recommends this event the bar is hosting with Devils Backbone Brewing Company. That ‘20/20’ refers to the 20 draft beers that will be paired alongside 20 bourbons, though Jack Rose will also feature a barley wine that’s been aged for 13 months in a Willett 12-year bourbon barrel, too.
Atlas Backyard Cookout at The Dew Drop Inn
Thursday, August 13, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
The local brewers at Atlas Brew Works are hosting a cookout on the deck of the new Brookland bar Dew Drop Inn. They’ll serve brats made with their own District Common beer, as well as burgers and hot dogs, and will offer games of corn hole. Atlas beers will be $5 all night and will include their latest release, Ponzi, an American IPA. This cookout, Engert says, “looks like a lot of fun.”
Blind & Bitter
Friday, August 14, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Blind & Bitter is a returning event, and it’s a good stop for fans of hops. Scion and Crios Modern Mexican restaurants are hosting what they describe as a “one-of-a-kind blind tasting event” in conjunction with DCBeer.com. They’ll serve 25 beers—all IPAs or Double IPAs—completely blind in either 4-ounce or full pours to customers who can vote on their favorites. Each vote will net the voter a prize, while they last.
Grand Opening of Bluejacket Bottle Shop & Tasting Room
Saturday, August 16, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“One of the events that’s most exciting for me, personally, is the grand opening of Bluejacket’s new Bottle Shop and Tasting Room on Saturday,” Engert says. The Neighborhood Restaurant Group announced a few weeks ago that it was replacing the Buzz Bakery in Navy Yard with this bottle shop, offering what Engert says will be “no fewer than 23 Bluejacket brews by the bottle, including rarities never bottled before.” That includes the Whiskey Barrel-Aged Double Mexican Radio.
DC Beer Week Local Beer Scavenger Hunt
Sunday, August 16, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Six beer-obsessed bars and restaurants in Dupont Circle will band together on Sunday to host a scavenger hunt in search of “secret beers” and neighborhood landmarks. Scavenger hunt teams will be assigned a participating bar (Bier Baron Tavern, The Big Hunt, GBD, Scion, Glen’s Garden Market, and Pizzeria Paradiso) where they will start and receive their first clue. Each of those bars has a selection of local beers from breweries; some of them will be answers to the clues that teams must order. In the end, there will be a raffle with prizes including concert tickets, brewery tours, and more. Participants are encouraged to dress in costume.
If that’s not enough...
Much more is happening this week honoring the growth of city’s craft beer scene. Engert’s own ChurchKey will host perhaps the biggest showcase of local beers, the Washington D.C. Total Tap Takeover. If you’re most interested in sampling local beers, head to ChurchKey on Thursday, August 13 at 4 p.m., where all 55 draft lines will be taken over by six local craft breweries: 3 Stars, Atlas Brew Works, Bluejacket, DC Brau, Hellbender, and Right Proper. It’s an event that Engert says was once unfathomable.
“Back in 2009, I never would have imagined that we would be featuring not just 55 D.C.-brewed drafts and casks at ChurchKey, but 55 deliciously innovative, stylistically and technically wide-ranging—and frankly impressive—D.C.-brewed drafts and casks,” he says. “While the craft beer scene has long been notable, and pretty special, in the city, the craft brewing scene has been catching up, at first steadily, but now exponentially.”