A History of D.C. Beer and Marion Barry
Local breweries are kind of obsessed with Marion Barry. The mayor-for-life is a recurring theme in D.C.-area beer, inspiring colorful puns and providing an excuse to brew with marionberries (a type of blackberry from Marion County, Ore.). Here’s a history of the Ward 8 councilmember’s pint-sized cameos over the last few years.
Flying Dog Brewery’s UnderDog Atlantic Lager
The Frederick, Md., brewery promoted the release of this light lager with an image of Barry and the phrase “Crack one open D.C.” Barry’s lawyer asked Flying Dog to take down the ad—not because of the lowball joke, but because they didn’t have Barry’s permission to use his image for commercial purposes.
Chocolate City Beer’s Mister Mayor
This limited-edition imperial stout was brewed with marionberries and aged in whiskey barrels for seven months. Its tagline? “Beer for life.” Co-founder Ben Matz said at the time of the beer’s release that he meant no disrespect to Barry. “It’s not meant to be snarky,” he said. “Hell, if the guy wants a bottle, I’ll give him one.” Sadly, Barry never took him up on the offer.
Bardo’s Marion Berry Lambic
Bardo founders Andrew and Bill Stewart used to brew this beer at their Clarendon brewpub, Bardo Rodeo, in the 1990s, and they just resurrected it at their Bladensburg Road NE spot. (The painting, to the right, hung in the old digs.) The menu describes the beer as a lambic “with lots of Oregon
Crackberries Marionberries.” Eh.
Photo of Mister Mayor by Tammy Tuck. Photo of Marion Berry Lambic painting courtesy Bill Stewart.