The stampede to hop on the craft brewing bandwagon continues unabated.
The Neighborhood Restaurant Group, which includes Birch & Barley/ChurchKey and two Rustico locations, has hosted many of the country’s rock-star brewers and offered some of their most sought-after beers. (Next big event: a five-course beer vs. wine dinner on July 25 at Birch & Barley to benefit the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk for the Cure.)
Now, NRG intends to open its own brewery near Nationals Stadium sometime in 2012.
Neither publicist Megan Bailey nor beer director Greg Engert could provide specifics, even as to whether the operation will be a brewpub or a kegging and bottling brewery.
“All that is confirmed at this point is that we will be opening an operational brewery and it will be at at the Boilermaker Shops, part of The Yards development at 4th Street SE in Capital Riverfront,” emailed back Bailey.
“We are still in the development stage, so we do not have more details to share at this time,” added Engert. “We hope that before the end of the year we will be able to announce the details of our brewery concept and introduce our brewery team.”
2012 could be another banner year for the city’s brewing scene, which started picking up last year. Three other announcements:
l According to the Huffington Post, Joe Bastianich and his partners in Eataly (the massive Italian food complex in New York City’s Flatiron District) intend to bankroll similar projects in the District and Los Angeles. They hope to open the first by the end of 2012. (Bastianich wasn’t able to say which city would get priority.)
In addition to about a dozen individual eateries, an upscale market and a wine shop selling more than 700 Italian vintages, New York’s Eataly includes a rooftop brewpub and beer garden called Birreria, a joint project of Delaware’s Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and Italian craft brewers Baladin and Del Borgo.
Will DC’s Eataly also include a brewpub? Dogfish Head president Sam Calagione comments, “Eataly is looking at future locations right now, but I cannot comment on the status of that potential project as nothing definitive has been decided.”
l Virginia is still in the running for a Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. branch plant.
According to spokesman Bill Manley, company president Ken Grossman has narrowed his search to two sites: one is outside of Roanoke, Va., and the other is in Maryville, Tenn., not far from Knoxville.
Among the factors that Grossman is considering are water quality, ease of access for delivery trucks, taxation and quality of life (good schools, low crime, etc.). “He’s even looking at the music scene, what’s going on culturally,” adds Manley. A big announcement is expected at Sierra Nevada’s national meeting in early August.
l Alexandria’s Shenandoah Brewing Co. has gotten a reprieve. Founder Anning Smith had been shopping around the combined brew-on-premise/brewpub/microbrewery for years, and intended to shutter the operation last month. In a June 24 email, however, he announced that he had found an 11th-hour buyer, and that Shenandoah Brewing would reopen for business on July 13 under new management. “I am not privy to their exact plans, so we will all just have to wait and see what happens,” Smith wrpte. But he promised that gift cards will be honored, and homebrewers will still be able to rent Shenandoah’s kettles to make their own beer.
As of last Friday, the web site had not been updated, and Shenandoah’s phone has been disconnected, hampering inquiries for further information.
There you have it: four announcements, all tantalizingly incomplete.
We’ll just have to hurry up and wait for more information.
That’s what beer is for.