DC Beer Week can be overwhelming, with scores of events across the city, and hundreds of brews from around the world. It can also lead to beer nerd FOMO, since you can’t possibly hit every tasting and tap takeover. Our solution: pick out the tastiest, rarest, and most destination-worthy brews in the festival, and go from there.
Lost Rhino Gose
Where to find it: Roofers Union; Monday to Friday
Tart, briny gose beers might have been a hard sell ten years ago, but this trendy style is featured at Roofers Union all week. The bar offers a mini tap takeover from a variety of producers. The traditional version by Ashburn’s Lost Rhino Brewing Company should make for a nice introduction, while more adventurous drinkers might go for Union Craft’s bold take on the style, which adds pink peppercorns to the mix.
Port City Colossal One
Where to find it: Sixth Engine; Monday from 5 to 10
Alexandria’s Port City Brewing Co. brought home a bronze medal from the Great American Beer Festival in 2013 for Colossal One, a Belgian-style imperial stout. Now the award-winning brew is getting an extra shot in the arm thanks to a one-off batch that was aged in Woodford Reserve Whiskey Barrels. Once supply kicks, this beer is gone for good.
Ocelot Brewing Company Idle Hands
Where to find it: Black Squirrel; Tuesday starting at 5
The popular AdMo bar is hosting an exemplary lineup of sour beers from big-name breweries such as Evil Twin, Jolly Pumpkin, and Bear Republic. The locally inclined can try Idle Hands from Ocelot Brewing Company, a new outfit in Dulles that has held its own since opening just a few months ago.
Alpine Beer Company Nelson
Where to find it: ChurchKey; Wednesday from 4 to 11
American hopheads know the vocabulary of beer’s bittering botanical well—“cascade,” “nugget,” and “simcoe” hops are on the tips of many tongues. A more exotic varietal is the Nelson Sauvin hop, a fruity variety developed in New Zealand that’s reminiscent of white wine. Alpine Brewing Company in California utilizes it for a vinous beer that’s well worth a try.
The Brewer’s Art Harlequin Cap
Where to find it: Glen’s Garden Market; Wednesday from 5:30 to 9:30
Baltimore-based Brewer’s Art is showcasing a collaboration with DC’s New Columbia Distillers, makers of Green Hat Gin. The beer was brewed with the juniper-forward botanicals of gin to lend a unique, herbaceous flavor. Unlike gin, the beer possesses a low alcohol content–3.9 percent, less than a Bud Light– meaning you can sip a few more on a summer day.
Strangeways Only Brewed 4 Cuban Linx
Where to find it: Big Hunt; Thursday from 4 to 11
Working out of Richmond, Strangeways Brewing’s creative concoctions don’t normally make appearances in the DC market. Lucky us: the Big Hunt was able to round up a variety of Strangeways products, from a Belgian-style white ale to a stout spiced with ghost peppers and aged in tequila barrels. Most intriguing: the Only Brewed 4 Cuban Linx wild ale, a mouthful to say or drink, with hints of oak, kumquat, mango, and sour notes from lactobacillus.
Founders Mosaic Promise
Where to find it: Pizzeria Paradiso Georgetown; Friday and Saturday
Your palate will likely be exhausted after a week-long beer sampling. A good bet: a Founders tap-takeover at Pizzeria Paradiso, like the beer equivalent of comfort food. The Michigan brewery’s regular beers are mainstays in area six-pack shops, but you’ll find rarer varieties for Beer Week, such as the Mosaic Promise, an easy-drinking IPA that highlights mosaic hops; the variety hits notes of tropical fruit, citrus, and berry. More energetic drinkers can try a 2014 version of Kentucky Breakfast Stout.