Readers have been quick to point out that not all Beer Week events are created equal. While draft rarities and discount specials are always welcome, a $5 pint hardly constitutes a special night unto itself, even if D.C. drink prices often approach Ticketmaster-level robbery. The best things in life are free, so start with some quality time with brewmaster Barrett Lauer at District Chophouse, who will be hanging with folks at the bar and offering tours of the brewery. If you’re feeling antisocial, they’ve still got you covered; park on a barstool and drink half-price beers until 9 p.m., including the new, all-D.C. collaboration “Alt Together Now” altbier. It’s a toasty brown ale with a grassy, European-style hop finish, and more thirst-quenching than the pumpkin and Octoberfest beers that breweries are peddling this August.
Tonight’s also the night for beer dinners, with Thunder Burger, Liberty Tree, and Capitol Lounge all offering menus for $40 or less. They feature three top-notch breweries — Sierra Nevada, Smuttynose, and Great Lakes, respectively — but pressed to choose, I’d go with Thunder Burger, if only to taste the new Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Jack & Ken’s Imperial Black Barleywine Ale. How good is this commemorative brew? Well, it brought the legendary Jack McAuliffe out of retirement.