When people think of the top 5 beer cities in the United States, what comes up? Denver? Philly? Portland? San Diego? Chicago? No matter what the list may be, Washington DC is probably not on that list, and with good reason. DC is a very wine-centric community with scores of wine bars and at least a dozen wineries in Virginia and Maryland within a two hour drive from the White House, it’s easy to see how a person can fall in love with wine in out nation’s capital.
Well, the tide is turning!
Washington DC is starting to warm up to the craft beer scene. Bars like ChurchKey (http://churchkeydc.com/) RFD (http://www.lovethebeer.com/) and Meridian Pint (http://www.meridianpint.com/) are starting to take the area by storm. DC is also influenced by many brewerys such as Dogfish Head (Which is about a 3 hour drive in Milton,DE), Flying Dog (Which is only about an hour drive Northwest on Fredrick, MD) and Samuel Adams. While Boston is about an 8 hour drive, an interesting tidbit is that DC is the first market outside of Boston that Sam Adams was sold in back in 1985.
Brewerys are also starting to pop up in the area as well. While brewpub staples such as Capitol City (http://www.capcitybrew.com) District Chophouse (http://www.chophouse.com/) and Rock Bottom (Which has a brewpub in Arlington, VA and Bethesda, MD http://www.rockbottom.com) have been around for years, other places are popping on the map as well. One of my personal favorites is Sweetwater Tavern (http://www.greatamericanrestaurants.com/sweetmainster/) which has locations in Centreville, Sterling, and Merrifield, VA which are about a half hour drive from DC. They have won back to back Gold Medals at GABF in 2009 for their Crazy Jackass Ale (My favorite out of all their beers) and in 2010 for their Pale Ale. The new kid in town in Mad Fox Brewing of Falls Church, VA (http://madfoxbrewing.com/) They opened up in Summer of 2010 to rave reviews.
This is just a taste of what the Nation’s Capital area has to offer. More to come soon including the newest production brewery in the area, and a brew on premises site that was featured on Food Network