It is a fantastic week for enjoying craft beer in (and just outside) the District with plenty of opportunities to warm up your whistle for St. Patrick’s Day. Read on for my recommendations or click on any event in the D.C. Beer Events Calendar above for more details.
PICKS OF THE WEEK
On Monday Pizzeria Paradiso in Georgetown will pour six beers made by HaandBryggeriet of Norway. The list, all on draft, includes new releases from the small-scale brewery whose beers can usually only be found in bottle in the U.S., if at all. The four part-time brewers who make up HaandBryggeriet specialize in recreating traditional Norwegian ales like Norwegian Wood,a 6.5-percent alcohol by volume smoked beer spiced with juniper berries and calling on ancient Norwegian history as they have with Odin’s Tipple, a strong imperial stout-like beer inspired by Norse mythology. Those looking for a full experience can order a flight of 5-ounce pours of all six beers and a special pizza with Norwegian smoked salmon on dark rye crust. The event is restaurant wide and starts at 5PM with no reservations necessary. Read more about Scandinavia’s thriving beer scene in my interview with Garrett Oliver.
On Tuesday ChurchKey is hosting a release party for Kentucky Breakfast Stout, one of several cult-inspiring imperial stout spinoffs from Founders Brewing Company in Michigan. Why is KBS, as fan(atic)s refer to it, so special? The rich, boozey beer is made with sweet and bitter Belgian chocolates and freshly brewed espresso and then aged for a year underground in barrels that had bourbon from Heaven Hill Distilleries. All the barrels of beer are then blended together and fermented for an additional week at the brewery before being kegged and bottled and sent to the few lucky bars and stores that get some. All that, and it tastes pretty good, too. Better get there as close as you can to 4PM.
Just over the Potomac in Clarendon Galaxy Hut is featuring two beers from A L’abri De La Tempête, a small brewery on the Ïles-de-la-Madeleine in Quebec. Their spiced wheat beer Le Vieux Couvent will be on draft and their barleywine Corps Mort will be available in bottles.
The guest tap program at Room 11 is back this week with Main Engine Start, a 6.2 percent alcohol Belgian-style pale ale from Brooklyn Brewery. The Brewmaster’s Reserve Series release is the first beer made at the brewery’s new brewhouse.
In Columbia Heights, Meridian Pint is holding their second bi-monthly home brew competition in the downstairs bar from 6 to 8PM. Twenty-five local home brewers will offer free samples of their beer to be rated by the public as well as staff and guest judges. The winner will receive a $100 gift card to Meridian Pint and a chance to compete against the other 2011 winners in a grand prize showdown at the end of the year. According to beer director Sam Fitz, last month’s competition had over 200 brewers and patrons so get there early if you want to try the home brews before they run out.
The Washington Wine Academy launches their first in a series of beer classes focused on the importance and influence of ingredients on specific beer styles led by Mike Reinitz. This week’s topic is hops, barley will be covered on March 22, and yeast is on March 29. The class, which includes snacks and a guided tasting of six beers that will help attendees learn to discern the differences between hop varieties and what they do for beer, costs $58. Attend all three in the series for $144.
Rustico in Virginia begins their Cask Madness real ale event to accompany watching March Madness basketball. Both the Alexandria and Ballston locations will be pouring cask ale throughout the end of the month. The list of nine beers includes two of my personal favorites on cask, Tröegs Nugget Nectar and Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted.
Meet new president Jim Lutz, formerly of Flying Dog, and several personnel from Old Dominion Brewing Company of Dover, Delaware. The special event will take place in the back room at RFD in Chinatown and feature Old Dominion’s 2009 Millennium Barleywine, DoppelHop, and a fresh firkin of a surprise beer. On special to order anywhere in the bar will be a bucket with a bottle each of Hop Mountain, Oak Barrel Stout, Big Thaw Bock, English Ale, and Dortmunder Lager for $15.
Conservation-minded Great Lakes Brewing Company wants you to know that Earth Day is coming up. Join them at Red Palace for a happy hour to sign up for clean-up events with the Anacostia Watershed Society. Great Lakes’ Burning River Pale Ale and Conway’s Irish Ale will be $4 per pint.
ChurchKey is having a St. Patrick’s Day party featuring beers from Cigar City Brewing of Tampa, Florida. Featured brews from this three-year-old award winning brewery include Patio Tools Dry Irish Stout on draft and Bolita Double Nut Brown Ale and Maduro Oatmeal Brown Ale in bottles.
Send submissions for the D.C. Beer Events calendar to firstname.lastname@example.org.