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Craft Beer Guide: Where to Knock One Back

Our favorite places to down a pint (or two) or fill up a growler.

Customer Bill Smearcheck sips a draft at Pizzeria Paradiso in Georgetown. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Production Breweries

Baying Hound Aleworks

Paul Rhinehart’s brewery puts out 22-ounce bombers of its flagship, Lord Wimsey’s Mild Pale Ale, and seasonals such as Long Snout Stout. You can find bottles on area shelves, but the best tastes come straight from the tiny brewery’s tanks. 1108 Taft St., Rockville; 301-637-9322.

Chocolate City Beer

Hit this draft-only Brookland brewery on Saturdays for growler fill-ups and food-truck lunches. Look for seasonal releases such as this summer’s First Coast Bohemian Pils. 2801 Eighth St., NE; 202-351-6197.

DC Brau Brewing Company

Cans of hop-heavy Public, Corruption, and Citizen ales are the pride of locavores, for whom the tasting room is a hot spot on Saturday afternoons. 3178-B Bladensburg Rd., NE; 202-621-8890.

Lost Rhino Brewing Company

Former Old Dominion brewers Matt Hagerman and Favio Garcia’s standouts, such as New River Pale Ale, shine next to the kitchen’s sausages and barbecue-chicken nachos. 21730 Red Rum Dr., Ashburn; 571-291-2083.

Port City Brewing Company

This operation’s award-winning brews are widely available. Optimal Wit and Monumental IPA are solid year-round offerings, but watch for creative limited releases. 3950 Wheeler Ave., Alexandria; 703-797-2739.

3 Stars Brewing Company

Some of the area’s most creative beers—Southern Belle and Pandemic Porter are good bets—are made at this warehouse, also the site of DC’s only homebrew shop. 6400 Chillum Pl., NW; 202-670-0333.

Brew Pubs

Capitol City Brewing Company

The suds at these veteran spots have been overshadowed by trendier beers, but brewer Kristi Mathews Griner is working to change that with creations such as her Ryedonkulous Imperial IPA. 1100 New York Ave., NW, 202-628-2222; 4001 Campbell Ave., Arlington, 703-578-3888.

District ChopHouse & Brewery

A tourist destination is an unexpected place to find beer gems, but Barrett Lauer’s Bourbon Stout and rotating brewer’s-choice taps are just that. Try them at the weekday happy hour. 509 Seventh St., NW; 202-347-3434.


Mike Roy’s passion for beer is evident in the never-ending experiments he churns out. Particularly exciting are his IPAs and sour ales—and the kitchen’s gargantuan sandwiches. 5121 Baltimore Ave., Hyattsville; 301-927-2740.

Gordon Biersch

This California chain just opened a fifth Washington location—near Nationals Park—featuring its mild, German-influenced lagers and ales. Penn Quarter, 202-783-5454; Navy Yard, 202-484-2739; Tysons, 703-388-5454; Rockville, 301-340-7159; Annapolis, 410-266-5965.

Mad Fox Brewing Company

Bill Madden’s brewpub showcases his talents with cask ales, but he and brewer Charlie Buettner master a wide range, from delicate Kölsches to hard-hitting double IPAs. 444 W. Broad St., Suite I, Falls Church; 703-942-6840.


Birch & Barley/ChurchKey

Beer director Greg Engert attends to every detail, from food pairings to temperature and glassware, making this a prime place to learn. Just be glad you don’t have to memorize the 120-page staff manual. 1337 14th St., NW; 202-567-2576.

The Black Squirrel

In the gastropub, poutine and burgers go nicely with the expertly curated bottle list and rotating taps, which often include rarities from North Carolina and Florida. 2427 18th St., NW; 202-232-1011.

Fire Works

These pizzerias’ suds collections are as impressive as the five-ton ovens. Take home a bottle for 25 percent off or, in Arlington, fill a growler from a favorite tap. 2350 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington, 703-527-8700; 201 Harrison St., SE, Leesburg, 703-779-8400.

Galaxy Hut and Spacebar

At this Clarendon music venue and Falls Church grilled-cheese bar, look for plenty of beers on the hoppy side and from Virginia. 2711 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, 703-525-8646; 709 W. Broad St., Falls Church; 703-992-0777.

Meridian Pint

This Columbia Heights standby focuses on American brews, and cellarman Tim Prendergast’s cheese-pairing events are especially good. 3400 11th St., NW; 202-588-1075.

Pizzeria Paradiso

Bar manager Greg Jasgur’s finds from cult breweries plus half-price happy hours make these pizza joints beer-geek favorites. Dupont Circle, 202-223-1245; Georgetown, 202-337-1245; Alexandria, 703-837-1245.

Quarry House Tavern

The best beer selection in the Maryland suburbs, as well as great burgers and tater tots, can be found at this hideaway. 8401 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring; 301-587-8350.


Both locations feature lengthy lists curated by Greg Engert. Monthly tappings and glassware giveaways keep things fun. 827 Slaters La., Alexandria, 703-224-5051; 4075 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, 571-384-1820.

Smoke & Barrel

This barbecue joint boasts more than 20 drafts plus 30 cans, and the downstairs bar is a good spot to catch a game or play skeeball. 2471 18th St., NW; 202-319-9353.

  • Bourbonbelle

    Don't miss out on Jackrose Dining Saloon for their beer program. May be known for their whisky, but on any given night the scotch / cocktail crews can easily be outnumbered by the beer drinkers drawn in by the superior quality of the beer and the ever rotating selection of 'can't be found anywhere else' craft brews. Also, being the whiskey car that it is, barrel aged beer? Enough said I think

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