District Beer Hunt heads into bars this weekend

Alicia Lozano, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – Don’t let the hordes of beer drinkers in crazy costumes deter you from hitting some of D.C.’s best bars Saturday afternoon. It’s just the second annual District Beer Hunt running amok.

The scavenger hunt is bigger than last year’s inaugural event, which brought in 62 teams clamoring for first place.

“We wanted to promote how great the beer in the city is and give people who might not know as much about beer an opportunity to try different microbrews and get the whole experience of all the different beer bars and all the different types of beers they can offer,” J Street Beer Review writer Michael Pyzocha says.

The region has been abuzz with the microbrew craze for several years. So when the guys at J Street came up with the idea of a scavenger hunt, it seemed like a no-brainer to the folks over at DC Beer.

The two booze blogs teamed up with Flying Dog Brewing Company to create the first beer hunt in 2011. Groups of four donned costumes and hit the town in a frenzy of craft beer appreciation, taking over bars and spreading good cheer.

Organizers expected 10 to 20 teams for the inaugural event, but were instead pummeled with more than 200 participants.

“Last year was a lot bigger than we thought it was going to be,” says DC Beer co-editor Bill DeBaun. “The idea was to push people out of their normal routines — their normal bars, their normal beers that they drink — and give them an excuse to go into neighborhoods they might not normally hang out in.”

Because last year’s hunt was so huge, the event is being capped at 50 teams that will spread out to 19 different bars throughout the city. There, contestants will receive a checklist and clues pointing to which brews to buy. For each correct purchase, teams will get raffle tickets that will be entered for grand prizes at the end of the day.

If you’re not well versed in craft beer lingo, have no fear. Amateur drinkers can participate, as well.

The clues are more like “tongue and cheek crossword puzzle” hints than “beer geek” trivia, DeBaun says. After all, the point behind the day of drinking is to build on the already burgeoning microbrew scene.

“The D.C. craft beer scene is very much a community. You go out and see a lot of the same people pretty often, which is nice,” he says.

“The beer is what gets people into the scene, and the people is what keeps them in it.”

There will be a pre-party Friday night at RFD in Chinatown. Non-participants are welcome to stop by any of the participating bars and watch the fun.

Check out the District Beer Hunt website for more information.

Follow Alicia Lozano and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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