This Week: Smuttynose at ChurchKey, Schlafly at Brasserie Beck, Christmas Ale & Cookies at Black Squirrel & Beer Connoisseur at Mad Fox
Just what you need to pull you out of that post-Thanksgiving tryptophan stupor: beer. Read on for when and where to find some good ones this week, including a chance to be the first to taste beers from D.C.'s new local breweries. For more details on any event, click on it in our D.C. Beer Events Calendar above.
On Monday, ChurchKey is featuring several smashing Smuttynose beers including 2007, 2008, and 2009 vintages of the New Hampshire brewery's Wheat Wine, an 11%-ABV hybrid between the barleywine and American wheat ale styles. Beyond this rare vertical tasting, other featured drafts include Smuttynose's 9%-ABV Baltic Porter, 8.7%-ABV Maibock, and 9.5%-ABV S'muttonator (their doppelbock). Also making appearances will be the brewery's flagships, Shoals Pale Ale and Old Brown Dog Ale. I find Smuttynose brews to be on the hoppy side regardless of whether the style usually calls for a strong hop presence or not. So if you pitch your tent in the "more bitter the better" camp, you will want to take advantage of so much Smutty in one place.
This Tuesday, Belga Café hosts their monthly beer dinner. This three-course, seven beer dinner features Belgian Christmas and winter ales and costs $49. It is also the last day of Belga's "Steal Your Glass" week. Participate in the tasting dinner or order from a special beer pairing menu and get free Belgian brewery glassware to enjoy your beer (or orange juice or whatever you went to put in it) at home. Your glass; your terms.
On Wednesday, rub elbows with some of the nation's most prominent craft brewers while they are in town to lobby Congress on behalf of craft beer. Since a day of jawboning is likely to leave the brewers' mouths tired and thirsty, ChurchKey is hosting several of the visiting brewers and featuring their beers, including some fromt Great Lakes Brewing Company, Schlafly Beer / Saint Louis Brewery, Goose Island, Brooklyn Brewery, and Saranac / F.X. Matt Brewing Company. The list has plenty of goodies, but two beers that raised my eyebrows are Firestone Walker Brewing Company's Union Jack, a 7.5%-ABV citrusy American IPA, and Victory Brewing Company's Storm King Stout, a hoppy 9.1%-ABV imperial stout that I bet will be a knock-out on cask. [UPDATE] The beer list has been changed and instead of Union Jack, ChurchKey will be pouring Firestone 14 Anniversary Ale and Firestone Walker Reserve Robust Porter. Not a bad trade at all.
Also on Wednesday, enjoy holiday cheer (or fear) at The Black Squirrel with a screening of the Nightmare Before Christmas starting at 7:30. Show up early for happy hour and wear a Christmas sweater to get even better drink specials.
On Thursday, Brasserie Beck is hosting a meet and greet with Dan Kopman, co-founder of Saint Louis Brewery, makers of the Schlafly line of craft beers. Schlafly beers will be half price for happy hour along with all other draft beers from 5:00 to 7:00pm. Don't forget to try a few Belgian Christmas ales while you are there. Their list is most festive.
On Friday, the Black Squirrel will be pouring Great Lakes Christmas Ale and giving out Christmas cookies all night. Also available will be holiday dessert and beer pairings by the Squirrel's talented and capable chef Gene Sohn. If you are looking for a more hands-on experience, make your own holiday cookies at a cookie decorating station in the upstairs bar. Family-style fun with an adult twist (the alcohol...to be clear).
On Sunday, Mad Fox in Falls Church is hosting a First Anniversary celebration for Beer Connoisseur Magazine. Several of D.C.’s emerging new breweries including Chocolate City Beer, DC Brau, 3 Stars and Baying Hound Aleworks will be on hand with (for the most part) never-tasted-before samples of their beer. The event will also showcase the first public pouring of a homebrewed Beer Connoisseur beer, a Belgian-style dark strong ale crafted by two of the magazine's beer judges, Tim Artz and Charlie Gow. A $40 ticket covers hors d'oeuvres, two pints of Mad Fox beer, and a gift bag that includes a copy of the magazine's First Anniversary issue and a voucher for a free 1-year subscription. As of this Sunday evening there were tickets still available, but that is not likely to be the case for long.
If you'd like to actually buy some new local beer, Baying Hound Aleworks will be featured at a winter beer tasting at Roots Market in Olney on Saturday afternoon. Not convenient to get to Olney? According to the Rockville brewery's website, Baying Hound is available in D.C. at ChurchKey, Scion, Connecticut Avenue Liquors, as well as several spots in Maryland and Northern Virginia.
Send submissions for the D.C. Beer Events calendar to firstname.lastname@example.org.