Do you hear that? It’s the sound of the city’s kegs tapping, bottles clinking, and the thick froth of a freshly poured draft spilling over its stein. In other words, it's the second annual DC Beer Week, which runs through Saturday. It’s a celebration of craft brews all over the city, with more than 30 venues offering tastings, dinners, contests, and happy hours. You’ll find all manner of strange and exotic beers to sample, from the hoppiest of IPAs to the oakiest of cask ales. You can probably get a Bud Light, too, but why would you ever do that?
A few tips: When possible, show up early or buy tickets in advance to reserve your spot, because a lot of these events are likely to sell out. Also, dust off your best hangover remedies. Here’s what’s going on.
Tuesday, August 24
Pizza? Check. Beer? Check. The only two things you ever really need in life are at the 18th Amendment, where pizza is paired with craft brews from the 21st Amendment Brewery. 5 PM to 2 AM.
Prepare yourself (mentally) for Beer Week at Bread & Brew, where there’s an Abita tasting and lecture. $25; 7 to 8:30.
Does the phrase “off-centered, ancient-ale-style beer” sound interesting to you? Then head to the Brickskeller to sample just that from Dogfish Head. $35; doors open at 6.
Buy a Harpoon beer at H Street Country Club, and take an 80-foot putt along the bar. If you sink it, you’ve just won yourself a regulation Brunswick pool table. Simple as that. 5 PM.
Grab a slice and a pint for just $10 at Justin’s Café, where you’ll find lots of Racer 5 IPA and five flavors from Dangerously Delicious Pies. 6:30.
Beer and cheese? Brooklyn Brewery, New York’s largest craft brewer, is pairing its beers with a variety of cheeses at Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe & Grill. 6 to 9.
Meet the founder of He’Brew Ales at Star and Shamrock. A special brisket is on the menu. 5 PM.
Wednesday, August 25
Two breweries get ready to rumble at the Big Hunt. Only 50 tickets are available for this five-round tasting competition between local favorite Flying Dog out of Frederick and California’s Stone Brewing. $30 in advance, $35 at the door; 8 PM.
If you fancy yourself a Belgian-beer lover, head to Brasserie Beck for half-price Rodenbach drafts. 7 to 9.
Meet a Lagunitas brewer at Bread & Brew while tasting six courses and six beers. $50 including tax and tip; 7 PM.
Capitol Lounge has a winning combination in beer and barbecue, serving brews from Great Lakes Brewing Company alongside hickory-smoked brisket, spicy Carolina-style pork, and kielbasa. $35 all inclusive; 6 to 10.
There are only two oak casks of Heavy Seas Loose Cannon IPA in existence, and ChurchKey has one of them. Be on hand for a pouring of the limited beer, as well as many other rare brews. 6 PM.
CommonWealth is serving a variety of Tröegs Brewing Company bottles and drafts for $5. 4 to close.
Attend a brewer’s dinner at District Chophouse, where you can sample eight beers while chatting with the man who made them, with small plates to munch on. $35; 6 PM.
The Liberty Tree has four courses alongside four Smuttynose beers all night long. $40; 5:30.
More Belgian brews are on tap at the Ommegang Belgian Bonanza at Meridian Pint, including Rare Vos and 2008 Bierre de Mars. 5 PM.
Nationals Park gets into the action when the baseball team faces the Cubs on Beer Week Night. A ticket gets you a Scoreboard Pavilion seat and a voucher for four complimentary Leinenkugel beer samples. $22; 7 PM.
Tröegs Brewing Company takes over the Red & the Black, with free glassware and discounted beers, including the rare Mad Elf. 5 to 10.
Georgetown’s Thunder Burger & Bar is offering a four-course dinner with four Sierra Nevada beer pairings. $40 including tax and tip; 6:30.
Thursday, August 26
German beer is king at Biergarten Haus, which is holding a Reissdorf Kolsch Firkins Night with the local beer expert Bill Catron. 7 PM.
Breadsoda in DC’s Glover Park is hosting a competition between East Coast and West Coast brewers. Buy a beer from one coast to get a free sample of the opposite coast’s answer to it. 6 PM.
ChurchKey is tapping three casks from Victory Brewing Company, including the classic Hop Devil. 6 PM.
Meridian Pint is teaming up with Schlafly Brewery to present five beers alongside a specially prepared five-course dinner menu. The Schlafly brewer will be on hand to discuss his selections. $65; 7 PM.
The brewers of Shmaltz Brewing Conpany will be at the Pour House to make sure you know everything about their Coney Island Lagers. 5 PM.
The Rogue Ales Oyster Fest at the Reef was so popular last year that organizers decided to order triple the amount of oysters this year. There’ll be three kinds of oysters and seven varieties of Rogue beer, along with special food plates for pairing. 5 PM.
RFD kicks off the Oktoberfest season with $4 Sam Adams Oktoberfest drafts all night.
Friday, August 27
Belga Café is serving half-price drafts of Belgium beer for its Beer Week happy hour. 4 to 6.
The Big Hunt is hosting a Michigan Rare Craft Beer Blowout, featuring a bunch of limited-edition beers such as Founders Breakfast Stout, aged in Canadian whiskey barrels; and a secret surprise keg from Bell’s Brewery.
The local brewery Flying Dog is showcasing its beers at the Black Squirrel. 6 PM.
Get to know your beers a little better with a Beer Tasting 101 class at RFD. Space is limited for the event, which covers basics on styles and brewing. $26 including tax and tip; 8 PM.
Also at RFD, get $4 draughts from Cleveland’s Great Lakes Brewing Company.
Saturday, August 28
RFD closes out Beer Week with a Firkin Spectacular, which inclues samples from a variety of casks. $40 including tax and tip; 7 PM.
Subscribe to Washingtonian
Follow Washingtonian on Twitter
Follow the Best Bites Bloggers on Twitter at twitter.com/bestbitesblog
More>> Best Bites Blog | Food & Dining | Restaurant Finder