Hoppy Days

I’m in the basement below Lyon Hall in Clarendon, and I feel like I’ve scored a backstage pass to heaven. Packed with small-batch potables from boutique breweries, the restaurant’s inventory is heavy on Belgian and Eastern European imports, along with regional craft brews from Virginia, D.C. and Maryland.

Beer director David McGregor points out various brands as we make our way, single-file, through the cold, cramped space. “We’ve got some Evolution, Dogfish Head, Heavy Seas’ double IPA, Old Rasputin…,” he says, rattling off the names in a raised voice to compensate for the steady whoosh of the fan. “There’s Deus and Steigl’s Goldbrau. Those big bottles are Liefmans.” I spy a few six-packs of Appalachian Brewing Co.’s gourmet root beer, but there’s nary a Budweiser or Miller Lite to be found.

A tumble of squat kegs on the floor connect to the tap system upstairs, which features nearly two dozen rotating craft beers. “We actually took the branded tap handles off a year ago in order to start a conversation with our guests,” says McGregor, who also oversees the beverage offerings at sister spots The Liberty Tavern and Northside Social. “When someone goes in, sees 20 beers and only recognizes Stella, they’re gonna order [Stella] and never branch out. We want people to try new things and not get stuck in a rut of drinking the same pint.”

Finish reading this article on the Arlington Magazine website now.

Photo courtesy of Skye Chilton/Flickr.

 

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DC’s Craft Beer and Artisanal Distilling Scene

Whether you’re sipping a chilly craft beer at Logan Circle’s ChurchKey or a craft cocktail over at the Passenger in the Shaw neighborhood, you’ll notice something altogether blissful: DC has never been more attuned to the riches of a good drink, thanks in part to creative mixologists and a slew of brewers and distillers who’ve set up shop in the region.

Hopheads looking to quench their thirst with a brew from the Chesapeake watershed have plenty of options on tap.

Superior suds, such as Chocolate City’s Cornerstone Copper Ale and DC Brau’s the Public, are made within the city limits. Lost Rhino’s Rhin’Ofest and Mad Fox’s Kellerbier Kölsch hail from Virginia, while Baying Hound Aleworks’ Śarvara Black India Pale Ale and Heavy Seas’ Peg Leg Imperial Stout are Maryland natives.

The largest local boutique brewery is Frederick, Md.’s Flying Dog, which ships to 33 states and 19 countries.

This year, the award-winning ale masters will produce 44 different beers, including Secret Stash, made with hops, potatoes, corn, honey and wheat sourced from nearby farmers.

Available in limited quantities a little over two weeks after the hops are harvested in late July or early August, it’s the epitome of a local beer. “The hops pick up some of our terroir—the limestone in the earth and the unique climate,” says general partner and CEO Jim Caruso. “That beer is distinctly different than any of the others we produce.”

Finish reading this article on the Endless DC website now.

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