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.
Meet the Brewer Night at District Chophouse – Meet brewer Barrett Lauer and tour the brewery, along with half-price beers. 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Sierra Nevada Dinner at Thunder Burger – Four-course meal, paired with Kellerweis Hefeweizen, Torpedo Extra IPA, Tumbler Autumn Brown Ale, and 30th Anniversary Jack & Ken’s Imperial Black Barleywine Ale. $40, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Great Lakes Beer and BBQ at Capitol Lounge – All-inclusive dinner of smoked brisket, Carolina-style pork barbecue, kielbasa, and the four Great Lakes flagship beers. $35, 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Smuttynose Beer Dinner at Liberty Tree – Four-courses, four-beer dinner. $40, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Heavy Seas Cask Night at Churchkey – One oak cask, five regular casks, and 2009 Below Decks Barleywine on draft, plus free glassware. Casks include Loose Cannon (in oak cask), wet-hopped Loose Cannon, Bourbon Barrel-Aged Hang Ten, Secret-Spice Hang Ten, Prosit!, and Peg Leg. 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Lagunitas Dinner at DC Bread & Brew – Six-course meal, paired with Hop Stoopid, A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’, Censored Ale, IPA, Czech Pilsner, and New Dogtown Pale Ale. $50, 7:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
D.C. Beer Week Night at Nationals Park – Discounted tickets and Leinenkugel beer samples if you buy your tickets through D.C. Beer Week. $22, 7:00 p.m.
Speakeasy DC at The Big Hunt – “Fermented: A Night of True Tales About Beer” Sold out. $15, 6:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m., performance at 8:00 p.m.
“A Bitch and a Bastard” Flying Dog/Stone Tasting at The Big Hunt – Also sold out, but many of the beers will be available on tap at the bar. $35, 8:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Half-Price Rodenbach Drafts at Brasserie Beck – Free glassware. 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Ommegang’s Belgian Bonanza at Meridian Pint – Rare Vos, Belgian Pale Ale, Scotch Ale, Abbey Ale, Hennepin & 2008 Biere De Mars on tap.
An Evening with Troegs at Commonwealth – Free glassware and rare beers. 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Troegs Night at The Red and the Black – Free glassware, and serving Mad Elf Holiday Ale. 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.