Tap takeovers, doughnut pairings: What to expect from DC Beer Week

WASHINGTON — Beer-lovers, rejoice. The 7th Annual DC Beer Week is upon us, and this year promises to be bigger and better than ever before.

Every year, bars, brewers and experts band together to highlight the best craft beer has to offer. And this year, the focus is on D.C.’s booming beer industry.

“This is not just a chance to show what we do, but for us to sort of show what the entire city is doing,” says Brandon Skall, CEO and co-founder of DC Brau Brewing Company, a District-based brewery that just celebrated its fourth anniversary.

“So much has changed in the brewing scene. We now have a whole handful of breweries here, we’re producing absolutely world-class beer in this city, which is something that we can all take pride in.”

Skall says five years ago, there were virtually no local beers on draft. Now, it’s not uncommon to walk into a bar and see half of the taps decorated with logos from local breweries.

“It’s created a culture where people want to drink as much local as possible, and they can really perceive the freshness and they see why they should be drinking local,” he says.

Skall will be one of several local brewers involved in this year’s DC Beer Week. From Aug. 9 through 16, more than 100 events will take place throughout the city to celebrate the beloved beverage and educate participants on its nuances.

“We’re at a point now where we get to celebrate all of the good work that our neighbors are doing,” says DC Beer Week co-chair Chris Van Orden. “Every year it’s gotten bigger, and we definitely expect it to grow again.”

Want to get in on the action? We rounded up a list of some of the week’s best events.

The Can’t-Miss Events of D.C. Beer Week:

For times, tickets and location details on all events, visit dcbeerweek.net.

Sunday, Aug. 9

DC Beer Week kicks-off on Sunday with the 2nd Annual Brewers on the Block at Union Market’s Suburbia. Owner Gina Chersevani says get your ticket early, because it’s going to be a big event.

Twenty local breweries will set up tents in the parking lot on Neal Place and tap 56 kegs of beer, including The Solidarity, a beer made by all of the brewers participating in DC Beer Week.

Red Apron’s Nathan Anda will be on-hand with his hot dog cart (complete with sauerkraut and toppings made with local beers), as will Bidwell’s John Mooney, who will be tending to barbecue over an open pit. Chersevani will be pouring cocktail slushies, topped off with a variety of beers.

Talk about an afternoon.

Monday, Aug. 10

Monday’s main event, DC Brau’s Genuine 4th Annual Official DCBW Crab Fest Monumental Extravaganza, is already sold out, but that doesn’t mean you need to miss out on fun festivities.

We recommend checking out An Evening in DelMarVa at Kramerbooks & Afterwords Café. The occasion will be a celebration of breweries from Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. Beer and cider samples will be available as individual tastes and by flights, and brewers will be on-hand to answer any questions from 6 to 10 p.m.

Tuesday, Aug. 11

Few things in life are more enjoyable than drinking a beer at the beach. And on Tuesday, there’s no need to battle traffic to do just that.

Alexandria’s Port City Brewing Company will host a party at the National Building Museum’s BEACH exhibit. The larger-than-life ball pit will be open from 6 to 9 p.m. for adults 21 and older — meaning no kids will be kicking you in the head. Settle into a beach chair with a cold brew and listen to live music from Taylor Carson. And don’t miss the cheese tasting with District Cheese.

If you’ve had enough of the beach this summer, head over to Bluejacket Brewery and brush up on your beer knowledge. The Navy Yard brewery will host a panel to discuss How the Government Affects Your Beer. Local and national figures will be on-hand from 6 to 8 p.m. to discuss the ins-and-outs of the law and libations.

Wednesday, Aug. 12

RFD will celebrate beers from across the country at its annual Coast-to-Coast Tap Takeover from 3 to 11 p.m. Twenty breweries will represent five regions of the country, and each brewery will have two drafts on tap. Chris Van Orden, co-chair of DC Beer Week, says the event covers national beers, but it doesn’t skip out on the local stuff. There will be a spot in the back of the room reserved for D.C. beer and brewers.

That same night, you can Earn Your Beer Ph.D. at the Woodrow Wilson House. There will be beer, of course, as well as experts discussing D.C.’s brewing past as present. Expect quizzes, games, door prizes and more.

Or you can stuff your face with doughnuts and beer at the Brewers, Bakers and Trouble Makers event at GBD, where special doughnuts will be made to pair with beers from DC Brau, Port City and Flying Dog.

Thursday, Aug. 13

Thursday will certainly satisfy any craving you have for beer. For starters, ChurchKey will devote 55 of its draft and cask lines to beers brewed in the District. The DC Total Tap Takeover will start at 4 p.m. and go all night.

Over at the Dew Drop Inn in Northeast, D.C., Atlas Brew Works will host a Backyard Cookout from 5 to 10 p.m. The Atlas crew will grill up burgers, dogs and bratwurst, and will pour $5 beers.

And at Right Proper Brewing Company, head brewer Nathan Zeender and American Sour Beer author Mike Tonsmiere will discuss the ins-and-outs of brewing Wild Beer.

Friday, Aug. 14

DC Beer Week co-founder Chris Van Orden recommends checking out the DC Beer Week Takeover at High Velocity, a bar in the Washington Marriott Marquis that’s surprising beer fans for its impressive selection of brews.

“This is part of what makes DC Beer Week great, is that it announces to people: Here’s somebody that’s doing great work that you may not have known,” Van Orden says.

Over at the Heurich House Museum in Dupont Circle, Christian and Amelia Heurich’s granddaughter Jan Evans Houser will give a guided tour of the museum and discuss what it was like Growing Up Heurich with one of D.C.’s most successful brewers.

Across Connecticut Avenue, Port City Brewing will join Glen’s Garden Market for a Local DC Beer Week Takeover, along with 3 Stars, DC Brau, Atlas Brew Works, Lost Rhino and more.

Saturday, Aug. 15

Saturday’s big event is Devil’s Backbone’s “Deutschland in Dupont” at Sauf Haus Bier Hall. The Nelson Country brewery will show off its German-style beers, and Sauf Haus will provide the pretzels and sausages. The event runs from noon to 11 p.m.

Over at Pizzeria Paradiso, beer lovers can cozy up to their favorite suds from Founders Brewing Company. The Georgetown location will have 14 varieties on tap for the Founders Tap Takeover from open to close.

And for those who want to learn how to make their own beer, Meridian Pint will host a Home-brew Demo from 3 to 6 p.m., where local home-brewers will demonstrate how to make your own.

Sunday, Aug. 16

A massive Scavenger Hunt will round out the week of events for DC Beer Week. Six Dupont Circle bars and restaurants will help participants on their journey to solve clues and select the right brews. Registration is free, but teams are advised to sign-up ahead of time.

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