Young and Hungry

2009: Looking Back at a Growing Beer City Part 2


Yesterday the Lagerheads brought you what we consider five of the most influential local beer happenings of 2009. Today we offer Chapter Two: five more events and trends that show DC's growth as a beer city.

  1. Flying Dog, Our (Close to) Local Production Brewery, Makes Us Proud – Shall we call it the Year of the Dog? The determined folks at Flying Dog Ales have been like a pack of wild (but benign) beasts in bringing their quality products to DC and supporting them with fun, educational events. We have had no choice but to adopt the closest-to-local production brewery (only 40 minutes away in Frederick) as our own. It's not a bad deal considering that Flying Dog won Brewery of the Year at this year's Great American Beer Festival, which is no small feat. Let's hope, however, that sometime this decade DC gets its very own production brewery, since that's one of the biggest things preventing us from becoming a real beer city.
  2. More Great Beers Arrive: Founders, The Bruery & Others – It's about the beer, people, and DC has seen a steady stream of great brews become available, both American and imports, over the past several years. Last year really took the cake, as our very own Beerspotter pointed out last week. You know how we feel about Duck Rabbit, and we are very grateful to finally find Founders beer in DC, as well as discover beers from the up-and-coming artisan brewers at The Bruery. Good year!
  3. Tuppers' Hop Pocket Returns (Almost) – A beloved local beer icon made a comeback this year, even if it was only with a few kegs at the Northern Virginia Summer Brewfest in Leesburg. Plenty of folks were excited to taste how Hampton, Virginia's St. George Brewing was doing at filling Old Dominion's shoes as the contract brewer of Tuppers' Beers. According to the Tuppers themselves, it was primarily a labeling snafu that kept Hop Pocket from actual release in 2009. Because of distribution, the beer will be only available in Virginia at first, but who knows what could happen by the end of 2010. Regardless, having Tuppers back is a win for the DC beer community for sure.
  4. Beer Events, Beer Events, Beer Events – It's no secret that the Lagerheads are all about organized beer hangs. We see them as not only a good time out, but a chance to learn more about fermented treats and meet other people who are enthusiastic about the world's greatest beverage. DC is no stranger to beer events; Pizzeria Paradiso, Brasserie Beck, and CulinAerie have long been holding beer dinners, and the Brickskeller boasts itself as the birthplace of the educational beer tasting. However, what really stands out about 2009 is the number, quality, and variety of beer events that that started springing up. Pizzeria Paradiso hit its stride last year and now holds a unique beer dinner every single month. Cafe Belga and Granville Moore's began holding regular food and beer pairings, and a handful of other places did some decent dabbling in all kinds of beer-themed events. These include The Reef (which now has a firkin of fresh beer every Thursday), Black Squirrel, Cafe Saint-Ex, and The Red and the Black, and we are sure that our very own Beer Spotter's event at Red Derby is a sign of things to come over there. The Brickskeller also announced the launch of a Beer School run by bar manager Rachel Murray. So keep it up, DC. Bring the demand for opportunities to develop your knowledge and love of beer and more will come.
  5. Announcements for 2010 Beer Spot Openings: Biergarten Haus, Mussel Bar & Pizzeria Paradiso #3 – Our fellow Young and Hungry blogger Tim Carman released his list of restaurants set to open this year in DC, with a focus on dining, of course. Last month Mike Dolan at did an excellent job rounding up beer spots opening in 2010. More beer-focused bars equals more beer and an even better beer city (as well as shorter waits at all beer spots if the froth-loving masses have more great places to choose from). We likey. Just a few additions to Mike's:
  • Dr. Dremo'sThe re-opening of this Clarendon beer institution, that is
  • Mussel Bar – Brasserie Beck's newest project in Bethesda (in addition to the Atlantic City restaurant we also found out about this year)
  • Pizzeria Paradiso #3 – We can't tell you where but we can say a third pizza/beer mecca will be opening its doors in the DC area sometime this year. Be thankful.

So that's it for the local stuff. What did we miss? Likewise, if you see any items on our lists that weren't all that influential, in your humble opinion, let us know. We want to hear your year-in-beer reflections.

  • JT

    Thanks for the love. However, it is worth noting that Flying Dog is in Frederick, MD not Fredericksburg, VA. Learn more @ this Thurs DC #FDTweetUp @BigHuntDC 5-8 pm. Garde Dog & Raging Bitch on draught. More details on

  • Tammy Tuck and Bruce Falconer

    JT-Of course. Typo fixed.

  • NAB

    given that we're 51st in the country for small-biz friendliness, I'd say the production brewery dream is likely to remain just that.

  • Benjamin

    So glad our little brewery is making an impact all the way over there in DC! Thanks for the support everyone!!! We've already got some new beers coming your way later this month...look out for Mischief :)

    Ben and The Bruery

  • Kelly in the Big Blind

    Like y'all I've bemoaned the lack of true production brewery in our fair city, but in fairness I should note that Heavy Seas (formerly Clipper City) is technically closer than Flying Dog. There is the deep psychological divide between Charm City and Chocolate City to account for but as the crow flies... And yes Mr. Sisson was the one who set me straight on this.

    It's amazing to see how the beer world has changed, certainly here, in the past 25 or so years that I've been resident 'round these parts.


  • Mike

    Thanks for the link love! Great round up of the year!

  • Sean

    Just tweeted, but thought I'd post as well -- "Pizzeria Paradiso" is listed on the City of Alexandria permits taped up in the windows of the old Discovery Channel Store on King Street in Old Town. That's pretty public, so y'all should be okay to announce the proposed location. . . ?

    And those of us who live in/near Old Town are excited that it's coming!

  • Tammy Tuck and Bruce Falconer

    Kelly, we thought about that. We love Clipper City Beers (primarily of the Heavy Seas variety), and have trekked up to the brewery a couple of times for special events.

    The difference for us is that we can't find Clipper City around DC as easily, and that's lamentable. We wish we could find it more easily and have often wondered why we can't.

    There are kegs here and there at DC bars and restaurants, but we don't see bottles as much in stores. They seem more plentiful in the suburbs, but that's not where we do our primary beer shopping.

    You can fall in love with a beer by drinking it at your favorite bar but there is something to be said for being able to get and keep a six-pack whenever you have a hankering.

  • Drew

    For what it's worth, I've always been able to find Clipper City beers at the Harris Teeter on Pennsylvania Ave., Schneider's on Capitol Hill and the Whole Foods on P Street. And I'm pretty sure D'Vines on 14th carries them.

  • Dave

    Clipper City definitely needs some love. It's a higher end beer that doesn't necessarily empty your wallet. I've also found their brews at the YES on 14th and even at CC's Liquor in Columbia Heights. Though I think his supply isn't steady.

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