6 Washington, D.C., Bars for Beer Lovers
The nation's capital is becoming a beer lover's destination, thanks to these bars and breweries.
Enjoy tasty brews in the nation's capital.(Getty Images)
The District of Columbia is quickly becoming a hub for beer connoisseurs. With the opening of several new craft breweries in and around the nation's capital, visitors have plenty of opportunities to do tastings and tours, and pair their ales and lagers with some hearty food.
Some of these establishments are conveniently located near sporting arenas or outdoor trails, which could turn that hour of nursing a beer into an afternoon or evening of fun.
But with so many new breweries popping up, deciding which to visit can be tough. That's why U.S. News asked local experts to recommend their favorites. Here are six hot spots to sip some quality brews.
DC Brau.(Courtesy of Steph Harding)
This Northeast Washington brewery runs free tours, offers tastings and has a retail shop. Greg Leinweber, general manager at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco Washington DC loves The Corruption, an India pale ale brew. But you should also try the signature pale ale, The Public, which is a "nice, every day, drinkable beer," says Julie Saunders, chief concierge at the Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC in Georgetown. A few things to note about the tours: They only take place on Saturdays, and you'll need to wear closed-toed shoes and have a government-issued photo I.D.
[Read: The Best Washington, D.C., Tours.]
The brewery is open on weekends from noon to 9 p.m., and at various times in the late afternoon-evening during the week.
Port City Brewing Company
Port City Brewing Company.(Courtesy of Jacob Wagner-Port City Brewing Company)
Located in Alexandria, Virginia, and a short Metro ride away from downtown Washington, this brewery "is a charming place to explore," Saunders says. It features at least five flagship brews, including the Port City Porter, a full-bodied beer with a smooth feel. For $12, you can tour the brewery and sample six tasters of what's on tap.
The brewery is open every day of the week, although hours vary. Tours take place Thursday through Sunday.
Bluejacket bar.(Courtesy of Neighborhood Restaurant Group)
If you're a beer and baseball enthusiast, this brewery in the up-and-coming Navy Yard neighborhood in Southeast Washington is the one to visit. "This family-friendly eatery has a series of house-made seasonal brews and it is just a stone's throw from Nationals Park, making it a great spot to visit before or after a game," says Erich Hosbach, director of sales and marketing at The Graham Georgetown hotel.
The brewery pays specific attention to proper temperature, pouring techniques and vessels, Hosbach says. Its original drafts sport creative names such as the dark and dry Broken Chairs, and the bold, citric Moon Cabbage. Its bar and restaurant, Arsenal, showcases 20 of Bluejacket's beers and five of its authentic cask ales on tap daily.
Bluejacket offers free tours on Saturdays at 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m. Arsenal opens at 11 a.m. each day, and stays open past midnight.
District ChopHouse & Brewery
Jack Nargil, concierge at the Mandarin Oriental, Washington DC, suggests that visitors try the ChopHouse, which is conveniently located near the Verizon Center in the Penn Quarter neighborhood. The brewery offers at least nine handcrafted ales and lagers, if you're in the mood to try a nut brown ale or oatmeal stout with your prime rib. It also has an extensive wine list.
[Read: The Best Washington, D.C., Bus Tours.]
The brewery's dining room opens at 11 a.m. each day and closes at 10 p.m., Sunday and Monday, and at 11 p.m. during the rest of the week. The bar stays open an hour later than the restaurant throughout the week.
Caboose is outside the District in Vienna, Virginia, "but it's a fun spot with good food," says Sherri Dalphonse, executive editor of Washingtonian magazine. "It's right off the Washington & Old Dominion Trail bike path, so it's a great pit stop or place to end a ride." Its 15-barrel brew house features a wide selection of ales, IPAs and other brews.
One specialty to try is the Caboose Brown Ale, a 2016 Virginia Craft Brewers Cup gold medal winner. Caboose's marketing manager Courtney Beazell describes it as a full-bodied American brown ale with chocolate and caramel notes, and "a dash of hops to create a balanced beer with a touch of sweetness."
The tap room is open from 4 to 11 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and has extended hours on the weekend. The kitchen is open from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday, with varying hours Friday through Sunday.
Rustico Restaurant & Bar
Rustico bar.(Courtesy of Neighborhood Restaurant Group)
It's not a brewery, but it certainly has enough selections to keep any beer enthusiast happy. With locations in Alexandria and Arlington, Virginia, Rustico features more than 300 lagers, ales, stouts and ciders from local Virginia brewers. One favorite is the Ocelot Brewing Company, known for its delicious hop-forward offerings, says Greg Engert, who's the beer director for a number of Neighborhood Restaurant Group establishments, including Rustico.
"Our commitment to the local, Virginia craft beer community has long been recognized … and our guests can count on a rotating array of the most exciting Virginia beers from draft, bottle and can with each visit," Engert says. He suggests that visitors try the rotating IPA specialties Piece of Mind – which is intense, spicy and herbal – or Ocelot's Flywheel, a brew that he says can cut the heat in spicy cuisine.
The bars in both locations close at midnight all week, but the Alexandria location opens a half hour earlier at 11:00 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
To experience more of what Washington, D.C., has to offer, check out the U.S. News Travel guide.
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