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The chef collaborates with Deschutes Brewery for a spiced beer. By Maddy Berner
Chef José Andrés toasts the launch of Zarabanda, his new collaborative beer with Deschutes Brewery. Photograph courtesy of Deschutes.

DC’s king of Spanish cuisine is embarking on yet another food adventure: beer.

Last week, José Andrés announced via Twitter his partnership with Oregon-based Deschutes Brewery to release a line of beer called “Zarabanda,” referring to a Spanish dance.

The term loosely means fun, enjoyment, and party. Brewed with spices, the light beer is meant to remind drinkers of Spain’s relaxed lifestyle. 

Zarabanda was born out of a collaboration between Andrés and Gary Fish, founder and CEO of Deschutes. The pair’s 15-year friendship bloomed after Andrés began cooking at the brewery’s charity events. They conceived the idea for a new beer at one such fundraiser back in 2010. 

“It was fun for all of us to work on this beer and bring two of our passions together: beer and food,” says Fish. “We crafted this spiced saison to accompany great cuisine.”

The duo wanted to feature flavors that Andrés loves and uses in his cooking, such as lemon verbena, pink peppercorns, sumac, and dried lime. The body features a mixture of Vienna and spelt malts, tastes minimally hoppy, and clocks in at 6.1 percent ABV (Alcohol By Volume); your average Bud is only five percent by comparison. 

Unfortunately, the 22-ounce bottles won’t be sitting alongside José Andrés Foods potato chips and olive oils at Whole Foods quite yet. 

Marie Melsheimer, spokesperson for Deschutes, says the beer won’t be available until the fall, and then only at locations within Deschutes’ distribution zone, which doesn’t include much of the East Coast. The brewery is exploring online availability, and perhaps Andrés might pour Zarabanda drafts in his restaurants. Stay tuned for details closer to the release. 

Posted at 04:04 PM/ET, 06/25/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
A pop-up bar for al fresco sipping. By Anna Spiegel
Glover Park Beer Garden will serve beers and German-style fare during its summer pop-up. Photograph via Shutterstock.

Just in time for your summer drinking needs, the aptly-named Glover Park Beer Garden opens on Wednesday. The summer-long pop-up takes over the outdoor patio of the Savoy Suites Hotel at 2505 Wisconsin Avenue, Northwest, and will serve a range of brews and German-style eats. 

Those who remember the long-gone Deck may recognize the surroundings. Though you won’t find tiki accents, it’s housed in a similar place as the once-popular (and often-rowdy) prep bar. Roughly 20 brews will run the gamut from generic bottles of Corona and Bud Light to craft drafts such as New Belgium Fat Tire, DC Brau Corruption IPA, and Atlas Rowdy Rye. A smallish food menu includes pretzel rolls, brats with kraut, and bacon grilled cheese. Those looking to catch a game will find two 50-inch televisions. 

Perhaps as a preventative measure against noise complaints—rumored to have shut down the Deck—the al fresco watering hole will close at 11 daily, opening at 5 Monday through Friday and at noon Saturday and Sunday. 

Posted at 03:47 PM/ET, 06/24/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Plus: a look inside its new restaurant, the Arsenal. By Jessica Voelker
Three blocks from Nats Park, Bluejacket has been in the works for more than five years. Photographs by Andrew Propp.

Long-awaited, ambitious brewery Bluejacket makes its grand debut on Tuesday at 4. The Navy Yard beer factory, bar, and restaurant combines the talents of Neighborhood Restaurant Group’s Greg Engert with brewer Megan Parisi. There’s also a restaurant—the Arsenal—from Birch & Barley chef Kyle BaileyDan Hahndorf is chef de cuisine.

Bluejacket took over an abandoned boilermaker factory three blocks from Nats Park.

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Posted at 02:39 PM/ET, 10/29/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
Learn how the good stuff gets made at these local craft beer facilities. By Kelsey Lindsey
Learn how the brewing process works at 3 Stars. Photograph by Jeff Martin.

Every year around this time, our enthusiasm for beer reaches a fever pitch. You can celebrate the season with Oktoberfest events, of course, or just stock up on all those pumpkin beers on the market. Alternatively, you can take a local approach and tour a nearby brewery. Here’s the skinny on six Washington-area beer-making facilities open to the public.

DC Brau Brewing Company

3178-B Bladensburg Rd., NE; 202-621-8890

Free tours and tastings most Saturdays (call ahead) noon to 4.

“Growler hours” coincide with tours of this Northeast production brewery—fill up 32- or 64-ounce containers of beers.

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Posted at 11:42 AM/ET, 09/24/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
A champion is crowned in our first Super Bowl of Beer contest. Plus: Learn about an event where you can taste all the beers yourself. By Jason Tesauro
A winner is crowned. Photograph by Jason Tesauro.

If you missed them, here is part 1 and part 2 of Brew Bowl I. And now . . . the finals!


Atlanta vs. Houston

Terrapin Beer Company—Rye Pale Ale (12-ounce bottle, ABV 5.5 percent, IBU 35, OG 13.3)


Saint Arnold—Icon Belgian-Style Pale Ale (12-ounce bottle, ABV 6 percent) 

The right styles were paired in the final. Terrapin’s pale ale representing the Atlanta Falcons against Saint Arnold’s pale ale representing the Houston Texans.

Brehony: “I have tasted very few Belgian-style beers made in America that I’ve really liked. It’s tough, but I think Saint Arnold is more interesting.”

Bui: “A unique, ambitious beer. Terrapin just tastes better.”

It was too close call, so it went to overtime. After a retaste and scoring, we determined that Terrapin kicked a late field goal for the win on freshness and balance.

Brew Bowl: Atlanta 27, Houston 24 (OT)

Predicted NFL score: Baltimore 24, San Francisco 17

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Posted at 10:50 AM/ET, 02/01/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
Want to know what beer to drink on Super Bowl Sunday? Our expert tasting team has you covered. By Jason Tesauro
The Beer Bowl I competition continues. Photograph by Jason Tesauro.

If you missed out on part 1 of Brew Bowl I, read it here

The teams (okay, beers) that made it through to the divisional round: Minnesota, San Francisco,  Washington, DC, Atlanta, Baltimore, Denver, New England, and Houston. Here's how the Divisional and Championship rounds played out.


Minnesota vs. San Francisco

Surly Brewing Company—Furious American India Pale Ale (16-ounce can, ABV 6.2 percent, IBU 99, OG 15)


21st Amendment Brewery—Sneak Attack Farmhouse Saison Brewed With Cardamom Pods (12-ounce can, ABV 6.2 percent, IBU 38) 

For the Divisional round, we revisited Surly, this time against a tough number-two seed in a can-versus-can matchup. 

Bui: “The yeasty saison has beautiful color like California Champagne.”

Brehony: “I’m all for the 21st Amendment. Super clean with spicy yeastiness.”

Salpukas: “If I imagine what soap tastes like, I’d say the Sneak Attack has a soapy finish. That said, I love it.”

Bui: “The color really impressed me. Touch of herbs with dry bitter hops. We should do this against 3 Stars, though. I’d prefer the 3 Stars over this saison. Great beer from start to middle, but not the finish.”

Broadbent: “Both are 6.2 percent ABV, and I much preferred the 21st Amendment. I felt it straddled the [wants of] the beer geeks and the beer drinkers. It could satisfy both needs. Surly couldn’t satisfy the beer drinker."

Sneak Attack was multidimensional, with a front-palate bite and cardamom in the back. A small can with big flavors and lots of action, but very drinkable. 

Brew Bowl: San Francisco 45, Minnesota 31 

NFL score: San Francisco 45, Green Bay 31

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Posted at 11:00 AM/ET, 01/31/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
Want to know what beer to drink on Super Bowl Sunday? Our expert tasting team has you covered. By Jason Tesauro
The judges in full tasting mode. Photographs by Jason Tesauro.

In the First AFL-NFL World Championship—later renamed Super Bowl I—the Bart Starr-led Green Bay Packers routed the Kansas City Chiefs 35 to 10. Al “Jazzy Jew” Hirt played trumpet at halftime, and spectators drank canned beer.

This year, Super Bowl XLVII is trumpeting Beyoncé’s halftime spectacle, while Budweiser kicks off its Black Crown golden amber lager campaign. Yet pampered palates accustomed to refilling growlers and playing name-that-microbrew with tap handles deserve better than some Busch-league spin on “thirsty for a championship.” You want to know what beer to drink on Super Bowl Sunday? I give you the Brew Bowl I.

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Posted at 11:30 AM/ET, 01/30/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
Take a tour of the newest District brewery—which is filling growlers tomorrow from 1 to 4. By Travis M. Andrews
3 Stars partners Mike McGarvey and Dave Coleman show off their DC pride. Photograph by Jeff Martin.

The building at 6400 Chillum Place, Northwest, already had 20-foot ceilings, a sprinkler system, and a trench drain. All Dave Coleman and Mike McGarvey had to do to start their brewery was add was the equipment, plumbing, and electricity. Not to say it was cheap. It certainly cost a lot more than the homebrewing kit McGarvey’s fiancée bought him about five years ago, kicking off the series of events that brought them to 6400 Chillum.

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Posted at 12:05 PM/ET, 09/28/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
An ordering accident means beer bargains for the drinking people of Silver Spring. By Jessica Voelker
Take advantage of $4 pints at the Quarry House right now. Photograph courtesy of Shutterstock.

Good news for you, beer drinkers of Silver Spring. An ordering mistake at the Quarry House Tavern has left the delightful dive with a big surplus of suds, and the bar’s Gordon Banks brings word that that he’s looking to unload the excess beer (about six weeks’ worth) as soon as possible.

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Posted at 12:36 PM/ET, 09/14/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Tune in tonight to see the Alexandria-based businessman address the crowd in Charlotte. By Jessica Voelker
Bill Butcher at Port City Brewing in Alexandria. Photograph courtesy of Flickr user cizauskas.

As if we Washingtonians needed any more incentive to crack a local microbrew and take in some televised base-rallying, DC Beer brings word that Port City Brewing Company founder Bill Butcher will be speaking at the Democratic National Convention tonight.

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Posted at 03:35 PM/ET, 09/05/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()