The Week in Food Events: Sample American Craft Beers and South-of-the-Border Spirits

Plus: ZooFari, grilling school, and a music-and-food fiesta.

By: Anna Spiegel

Welcome to Monday, which is also the start of American Craft Beer Week. There're a bunch of brew-centric activities around town, which you can check out on the official site and on the DC Beer website. Think about kicking things off at ChurchKey tonight, which'll have two new brews from Victory Brewing Company, plus 11 more tried-and-true Victory beers on tap, and then continuing throughout the week at Smith Commons, where a different craft brewer and special guests/events are featured nightly.

If you're more the hard booze type, head over to Bourbon Steak, where bartenders J.P. Caceres, Jamie McBain, and Duane Sylvestre are hosting a South of the Border Seminar104 cocktail class from 6:30 to 8 PM. The focus is tropically derived spirits such as rum, pisco, cacha├ža, and tequila, which you'll sample solo and in cocktails alongside snacks. Tickets ($45 per person) are available through the Museum of the American Cocktail.

ZooFari, one of the big-time food events of the year, is back again at the National Zoo this Thursday from 6:30 to 9:30 PM. Expect lots of activities (as you should for a base price of $150), including eats from over 100 restaurants like Equinox, Estadio, Restaurant Eve, and many more, three "megabars" and plenty of wine, animal demonstrations, dancing, and an auction.

Need to brush up on your grilling skills for the upcoming Memorial Day Weekend? Brabo has you covered, with a demo on Saturday from noon until 2 in which chef Chris Watson shows guests how to perfectly cook a variety of meats in the restaurant's outdoor courtyard. The lineup--which conveniently includes items available for order and purchase at the Butcher's Block next door -- includes local rib eye, New York strip, veal burgers, and chicken kebabs.

Wine down the weekend on Sunday at the newly opened Maple, with a late-afternoon class on Italian vino ($35 per person). The folks from Fowney Selections, a family-run purveyor, are hosting the course, and will lead guests through seven varietals paired with several antipasti. Call 202-588-7442 for reservations, or just swing by, check the place out, and put down your name.

Make Sunday feel more like Saturday by hitting up Sound Bites at 5 PM, a music and food fest at the 9:30 Club, benefiting the DC Central Kitchen. Rock out to Bone, Fur, and Feathers, Nappy Riddem, and a deejay set by nightlife guru Eric Hilton of Thievery Corporation. For fuel, try eats from 25 trucks and restaurants, including Taylor Gourmet, Pepe, BlackSalt, and Jackie's. Tickets ($40 per person) are available online.

Finally, two "taste of" neighborhood events are going down Sunday afternoon: Taste of Arlington in Ballston and Taste of Wheaton in Maryland. Both are family-friendly happenings with live music and kids' activities, so you may want to pick by the lineup of restaurants (Arlington here and Wheaton here). Wine and cocktail lovers, take note: There's a special pairing at the Wheaton festivities from specialists like Julie Dalton of Michael Mina's Wit & Wisdom and Libations Bar School owner Jesse Dean.