Ale Together Now: Beer Collaborations During DC Beer Week
The much-anticipated Bluejacket brewery has spent the better part of a year preparing to open its Navy Yard beer cathedral, producing collaborative concoctions with brewers from Maine to Florida to California. But what about the collaborations you haven’t tasted yet? Breweries, brewpubs, restaurants, and bars from D.C. and beyond are teaming up to create new brews in honor of D.C. Beer Week (Aug. 11 to 18). Take a look at those we’re most looking forward to tasting.
Solidarity Summer Ale
Collaborators: 3 Stars Brewing Company, Atlas Brew Works, The Brewer’s Art, Capital City Brewing Company, DC Brau, District Chophouse, Gordon Biersch, Lost Rhino Brewing Company, Mad Fox Brewing Company, Port City Brewing Company, Rock Bottom Bethesda
Style: A sessionable pale ale
Where You’ll Find It: Around D.C. all week, starting Aug. 9
This is about as all-encompassing as local brewing gets. A dozen breweries and brewpubs came together at DC Brau’s Bladensburg Road NE brewery to craft a double batch of a refreshing, accessible brew. Each brewer brought water from its own facility to combine as the base for the summer ale.
Collaborators: Perennial Artisan Ales and Hopleaf
Style: Berliner Weisse with papaya and mango
Where You’ll Find It: Birch & Barley beer pairing dinner on Aug. 12 ($60 plus tax/gratuity)
When it comes to beer from other cities, few have made a bigger splash in D.C. this year than St. Louis brewers like Schlafly and Urban Chestnut Brewing Company. Perennial Artisan Ales’ passion-fruit Berliner Weisse, brewed with revered Chicago tavern Hopleaf, will certainly further that reputation. Sour beer not your thing? An Aug. 12 Perennial pairing dinner at Birch & Barley will also feature Recital, a hoppy Belgian-style ale that Perennial brewed with Oregon’s Deschutes Brewery.
The Exquisite Corpse
Collaborators: DC Brau, Stillwater Artisanal Ales, Meridian Pint, and Pizzeria Paradiso
Style: A rye saison featuring Mosaic hops
Where You’ll Find It: Pizzeria Paradiso Dupont Circle/Meridian Pint on Aug. 11 ($65)
Drinkers can experience first hand the surrealist tendencies of Baltimore-based gypsy brewer Brian Strumke with “The Exquisite Corpse,” a collaboration with Greg Jasgur of Pizzeria Paradiso, Sam Fitz of Meridian Pint, and Jeff Hancock at DC Brau. The beer gets its name from a parlor game in which a player writes a sentence and folds the paper to obscure it before another player pens the next sentence, leading to a mish-mash of thought. In this game, though, the brewers replaced words with grain, hops, and yeast selections unbeknownst to one another. The result? An easy-drinking saison that will be released during a collaborative beer dinner held at the two bars over the course of a single evening.
Collaborators: Mad Fox Brewing Company and Smoke and Barrel
Style: An experimental session IPA
Where You’ll Find It: Smoke and Barrel on Aug. 13 and throughout the month
Adams Morgan’s Smoke and Barrel will release its first official collaboration beer during its Mad Fox tap takeover on Aug. 13. The Ambassador is the product of an experimental recipe from Smoke and Barrel bartender Erich Streckfuss featuring a hop in development called HBC-342. The beer is named after the famed theater that once stood across from the restaurant’s location.
Collaborators: Aviator Brewing Company and Granville Moore’s
Style: An American take on a classic Belgian amber ale
Where You’ll Find It: Granville Moore’s on Aug. 15
The Belgian emporium on H Street NE will host a tap takeover with North Carolina’s Aviator on Thursday, during which Big Albert will make its debut. The collaborative beer is a take on a classic Antwerp style with a hop change-up. “To be able to say that our staff was there to plan, to mill in—handing stuff to the brewer while staying the hell out of the way at the right time—to add the hops, watch the boil, mash out,” says Granville Moore’s Beverage Director Matt LeBarron. “It’s like waiting for your birthday or Christmas.”
Graphic by Jandos Rothstein