Nerd Nite DC & Washington City Paper present a D.C. Beer Week Kickoff Event!

The Rock & Roll Hotel
1353 H Street NE
Friday, August 20
6:30 PM

Join us for craft beers and music pairings.
– Beer Director Greg Engert of ChurchKey
– Founder & Brewer Brian Strumke of Stillwater Artisanal Ales
– Tracy Jill Doty from the NIH, New Rock Church of Fire
– many more.

Beer List:
Anderson Valley Hop Ottin IPA
Great Divide Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti
North Coast Old Stock Ale
Old Dominion Oak Barrel Stout
Oskar Blues “Gubna”
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot
Stillwater Stateside
Victory Wild Devil

Live Music by:
Cobra Collective, The Torches, New Rock Church of Fire, and special guests Imperial China!

6:30 pm – The History, Artistry, and Science of Beer
presentations, band, and of course…beer

10:00pm – Rock and Barley
concert with especially tailored music & craft beer pairings

Tickets are $10 for either event or $16 for both.

For more information, Click Here!

To purchase tickets, Click Here!


Presentation #1: Why Bud Ain’t That Bad After All: The Real History of Craft Beer in America

By Greg Engert

Description: American craft brewers produce some of the most flavorful and quality-driven beers around, but have a misguided tendency to position themselves against the supposed evil empires of Budweiser and Miller-Coors. While the beers each side releases have very little in common these days, the big boys have not simply sought to rob their products of flavor in an effort to amass huge profits. Likewise, craft brewers do not stand outside—and presumably above—commercialism. The real story of craft brewing does not begin in the 1960s, as many assume, but stretches back to the mid-nineteenth century; and this story, much like the American beer upon which it is focused, has evolved and transformed with the very culture that inspires it.

Bio: A few years ago, Greg Engert left the world of academia to focus his critical perspective upon a more salient topic: Beer. He now serves as Beer Director for the Neighborhood Restaurant Group, which includes Birch & Barley/ ChurchKey, a beer-forward dual-concept operation where he is also the Managing Partner. Most evenings Greg can be found championing the confluence of beer and food as the Beer Sommelier of Birch & Barley (for which Food & Wine honored him as one of America’s Best Sommeliers in 2010!) While not on the floor, he tends to try to complicate—and illuminate—accepted notions regarding lager and ales.

Presentation #2: From Spontaneous Fermenters to Control Freaks and Back Again: The Traditions and Refined Science of Brewing

By Brian “Stillwater” Strumke and Chuck Cook

Description: Human beings have been brewing beer for thousands of years. Modern brewers have adapted and improved the ways in which beer is made, but many techniques are the same as those used in early times. One such method is spontaneous fermentation, the process of exposing beer to wild yeast and bacteria in the open air that Belgium’s lambic breweries are known for today. Through the lens of diverse Belgian and Belgian-style beers, this presentation will showcase the advances in science that can be seen in the brewing world, as well as the artifacts left over from ancient times.

Bio: Brian “Stillwater” Strumke is a native Baltimorean and former techno DJ and producer who left the music life in 2004 to delve into a life of brewing, eventually founding Stillwater Artisanal Ales. Brian rather quickly made his mark in the homebrewing community for his odd concoctions and unconventional brewing methods often using intricate mixes of herbs and spices, and wild yeasts. Brian eventually cut his teeth by ranking in some local homebrew competitions, which eventually led to wins in the Sam Adams Longshot and Holiday Competitions, as well as the American Homebrewer’s Association Nationals. In 2010, after about 5 years of backyard brewing, Brian has taken his Stillwater Artisanal Ales to the public.

Chuck Cook specializes in exploring, enjoying, researching, and writing about Belgium’s unique beers and beer culture, as well as Belgian-inspired beers, breweries, and beer bars. Since 1994, he has visited Belgium 21 times, and toured 111 breweries, and writes extensively for a variety of beer publications and websites. He was also a contributor to “The Good Beer Guide to Belgium” in the 2005 edition. He wrote 30 Belgian beer and brewery reviews for the new book “1001 Beers You Must Taste Before You Die.” Chuck resides in Baltimore.

Presentation #3: This is Your Brain on Beer: The Effect of Alcohol on the Brain

By Tracy Jill Doty

Description: From that first delicious sip, what exactly is going on upstairs when you indulge in your favorite adult beverage? Tracy Jill will share the latest research on how our brains process alcohol. Why does alcohol not only taste so good, but also feel so good? After a crash course on the brain’s reward processing system, it will become clear why you keep coming back for another delectable brew. Ever wondered if you might have a drinking problem? She will discuss how the “moderate” drinker’s brain differs from that of an alcoholic. Grab your favorite beer, sit back, and absorb the science behind intoxication.

Bio: Tracy Jill Doty is furiously trying to finish up her PhD in Clinical Neuroscience at the National Institutes of Health. While she acknowledges normal people are pretty messed up, she’d like to eventually apply her dissertation research to patients suffering from mental disorders. When not poking around in people’s brains, Tracy Jill enjoys drinking delicious craft beer and educating the uninitiated about the ins and outs of good

Photo by Yassine El Mansouri (