DC Beer Week '09 The unofficial guide

Darrow Montgomery/File

As emotional roller coasters go, DC Beer Week has been an Atlantic City death trap, from the rumors about its existence that surfaced among beer nerds last month to its tantalizingly slow-developing schedule. At first, the event's own Facebook page got Beer Week’s Web site address wrong. Then came word that the festival's pièce de résistance, Brew at the Zoo, would no longer be affiliated with the rest of the week events, because things didn’t quite work out with the Smithsonian National Zoological Park. “We didn’t get their approval to include them,” says Beer Week co-organizer Jeff Wells. “Apparently we didn’t give them enough time.”

But do you really want to hang out with the FONZ Young Professionals, who are hosting Brew at the Zoo instead? (And anyway, it’s sold out.) Let Young & Hungry's crack team of imbibers help you separate the foam from the Solo cup on Beer Week ’09’s remaining events.

SUNDAY, AUG. 16

DC Beer Week "Unity Jam"
Rock & Roll Hotel
1353 H St. NE, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.

WHY TO GO: You're missing Burning Man this year.

WHY TO SKIP: Still experiencing ringing ears, acid trails from last night's Phish show.

LAST WORD: You've known that there's love in everything since your college drum circle days. So what could be more dank than a lineup of reggae, dub, funk, folk, rock, blues, and metal? All those jams mixed with heady craft brews, that's what. (OS)

MONDAY, AUG. 17

Chimay Vintage Beer and Cheese Tasting
Pizzeria Paradiso
3282 M St. NW, 5 p.m.

WHY TO GO: With the exception of the cheese plate at Brasserie Beck, it may be one of your only chances to find Chimay cheese in D.C.

WHY TO SKIP: It’s not the world’s most mind-blowing cheese and therefore might not be worth the trip to Georgetown.

LAST WORD: The vintage Grand Reserve will be killer. However, you can sample from Birreria’s consistently outstanding beer menu any week of the year. (TT)

Ti-punches With the Minister of Rum
Room 11 Wine and Dessert Bar
3234 11th St. NW, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

WHY TO GO: Whiskey is so 2008.

WHY TO SKIP: Room 11 really is a single room, so you might find yourself getting close with a few strangers.

LAST WORD: Captain Morgan taught you how to make mixed drinks with Kool-Aid. 'Minister of Rum' Ed Hamilton will introduce the more refined nuances of the spirit. (OS)

Allagash Beer Dinner with Rob Tod
Dr. Granville Moore’s
1238 H St. NE, 7 p.m.

WHY TO GO: A true Belgian fest with the added bonus being seated without the usual hourlong wait for a table at Granville’s.

WHY TO SKIP: The price tag ($75 per person) and the intensity (five courses, six beers) means neither your wallet nor your body may be up for further DC Beer Week events.

LAST WORD: C’mon, it’s one of the first and most respected American brewers of Belgian-style ales hosting a beer dinner at a local restaurant so well known for its Belgian-influenced fare that it’s been on the Food Network three times. (TT)

Sausage, Cheese, and Beerliciousness
The Big Hunt
1345 Connecticut Ave. NW, 7 p.m.

WHY TO GO: The program promises regional breweries, regional sausages, and regional cheeses. What could be more beerlicious?

WHY TO SKIP: Twenty-something dudes in white baseball caps and brown flip-flops.

LAST WORD: The beer list at Big Hunt has gotten considerably better over the last year. This event features excellent breweries, and if the food is good, the event should live up to the weird word in the title, even if you don’t consider breweries from as far away as Maine, Michigan, and Oregon “regional.” (TT)

Hop Times in the City: A Beer Tasting for Hopheads and the People Who Love Them
The Black Squirrel
2427 18th St. NW, 7:30 p.m.-10 p.m.

WHY TO GO: The press release promises “hoppy beer” barbecue, plus beer cocktails and hop ice cream. All that, plus the ’80s alternative deep cuts the bar usually has playing, of course.

WHY TO SKIP: You don’t want your beer to taste like pine needles and grapefruit. Or you hate Klaus Nomi.

LAST WORD: Black Squirrel is an underdog in the D.C. beer scene, despite a respectable beer list and a beyond-pub-grub food menu. (TT)

TUESDAY, AUG. 18

Rogue Oregon Oyster and Ale Festival
The Reef
2446 18th St. NW, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

WHY TO GO: 1,000 oysters.

WHY TO SKIP: 1,000 oysters.

LAST WORD: Rogue is notorious for releasing beers in tauntingly limited batches, so here’s hoping there will be rarities on tap. Promised so far are Captain Sig's Deadliest Ale and "something imperial." (OS)

Brooklyn Brewery Beer and Cheese Tasting With Cowgirl Creamery
Café Saint-Ex
1847 14th St. NW, 7 p.m.

WHY TO GO: Are you kidding?

WHY TO SKIP: Lactose intolerance (get some pills). Claustrophobia (personal space is overrated).

LAST WORD: Beer from the brewery whose brewmaster wrote the book (literally) on pairing beer with food. Cheese from the two San Francisco women who helped kickstart the organic artisanal cheese craze (and who will never be able to make it fast enough to satisfy demand). Heaven! (TT)

WEDNESDAY, AUG. 19

“Meet the Brewer” Happy Hour
District ChopHouse & Brewery
509 7th St. NW, 3 p.m.-7 p.m.

WHY TO GO: The freshest beer you’ll get during all of DC Beer Week.

WHY TO SKIP: Been there. Done that.

LAST WORD: Gotta take advantage of the only brewery tour of the week and the only real chance to go local. District ChopHouse’s less extreme beers and half-price specials make this a good night to do some serious session drinking. (TT)

THURSDAY, AUG. 20

“With the Animals” Night on Animal Planet
Your couch
9 p.m. to midnight

WHY TO GO: Why go anywhere? If you don't have Brew at the Zoo tickets, host a party at your house, where it's acceptable to yell and throw things at the TV.

WHY TO SKIP: If you have ambitions.

LAST WORD: Instead of the zoo, invent drinking games for the shows "Stranger Among Bears" and "Into the Pride," which feature humans cohabitating with bears and lions, respectively. Recognize the importance of biodiversity and environmental education, but it's totally cool if you're just hoping to see some dude get mauled. (OS)

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