This Week: Ithaca Beer at ChurchKey, HopSlam at Galaxy Hut & Brewer’s Ball at Nationals Park
The week ahead holds plenty of organized fun for D.C. craft beer fans. Click on any event in the D.C. Beer Events Calendar above for the more details or read on for my notes and picks.
I have become a bigger fan with every unique, hop-forward brew I try from Ithaca Beer Company. It follows that my top pick this week is Monday's Ithaca draft night at ChurchKey, which will feature five of the upstate New York brewery's rarer offerings. The list includes Flower Power, a fruity India Pale Ale, Cascazilla, a red ale brewed with fresh Cascade hops, and Ground Break, an American-style (which is code for "hoppy") Saison. Also being poured are two wheat beers from Ithaca's Excelsior large bottle series. White Gold, which the brewery calls a "rustic pale wheat ale," is a dry ale fermented with Belgian, American, and wild yeasts. Thirteen, Ithaca's "double hoppy wheat ale," is an earthy beer made with orange and lemon peel and Citra and Soriachi Ace hops to give it a nice citrus kick.
Across the river in Clarendon Galaxy Hut will tap what is likely one of the last remaining kegs of this year's batch of HopSlam from Bell's Brewery in Michigan at 5PM on Monday. This limited release beer is great anyway you have it, but many prefer it on draft to in the bottle, and on cask to draft. Good news if you can't make it to Virginia, as Pizzeria Paradiso in Dupont Circle is currently pouring HopSlam on cask. But it is not likely to last for very long.
Also in Arlington, on Tuesday Fireworks Pizza is having a beer dinner featuring beers from Tröegs Brewing Company of Harrisburg, Penn. But if you are looking for a true Fat Tuesday experience, four area establishments are celebrating Mardi Gras with beer dinners. Jackson 20 in Old Town Alexandria will pair New Orleans-style cuisine like fried oyster po' boys and Cajun shrimp mac n' cheese with five beers from 21st Amendment Brewery of San Francisco. The dinner is $65 per person plus tax and gratuity and will be presented by executive chef Dennis Marron, chef de cuisine Brian Turowski, and 21st Amendment's Dave Wilson.
Dogfish Head Alehouse is having a five-course Mardi Gras dinner complete with a crawfish boil, gumbo, and beignets. Pairings include Indian Brown Ale, Chicory Stout, and Squall IPA. Sound good? If it suits your fancy, you can go three times. The Falls Church location is having their dinner Monday, Gaithersburg is on Tuesday, and Fairfax will be Wednesday.
In another pick for the week, this Saturday the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation will hold their 7th annual Brewer's Ball food and craft beer tasting at the Stars & Stripes Club at Nationals Park. Tickets are $115 and go towards the foundation's efforts to cure and control cystic fibrosis and improve the quality of life for those with the disease. The five-hour event features tasting stations from 25 restaurants and breweries. The list includes nearby outfits like Gordon Biersch, Heavy Seas, Oliver, Port City, and Tuppers Hop Pocket as well as not-so-near brewing companies like Ommegang from New York and Sierra Nevada and Stone from California.
Finally, on Sunday Lyon Hall in Clarendon is hosting a "Snout to Tail" farm dinner featuring pork in every course, even dessert. Chef Andy Bennett and beer director David McGregor worked together on pig-perfect pairings that include New Holland Kölsch and Rochefort Trappist 8.
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