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Whiskey may be the water of life, as the ancient Irish declared, but beer is the food and has been for centuries. Indeed, suds sustained early American topers like Alexander Hamilton, who as a lad arose to a meal of beer and biscuits before his pre-dawn Latin and Greek lessons. Though no longer a breakfast staple, beer remains an integral part of our nation’s civic life, exemplified by hops-and-barley blowouts like the Second Annual Mid-Atlantic Beer and Food Festival, featuring music, food (somewhat redundant, of course), and more than 30 beers from microbreweries in D.C., Mary land, and Virginia. Musical entertainment includes Silver Spring rockers Uncle Chunky, D.C. soul act Eddie Jones and the Young Bucks, and Nashville’s Los Straitjackets, a surfabilly combo that wears Mexican wrestling masks and includes Eddie Angel, former guitarist for D.C.’s much-missed Tex Rubinowitz and the Bad Boys. (Los Straitjackets also perform Thursday at Tornado Alley; see concert listings for details.) From noon-6 p.m. today and Sunday on H St., between 11th & 13th Sts. NW. FREE. (800) 209-6006. (Eddie Dean)