Oktoberfest is wrapping up, but there’s still a lot happening in the beer world. Here are three things to look out for this week:
Great American Beer Festival results
The Great American Beer Festival took over Denver last weekend, and as usual, one of the highlights was the annual competition to find the best beers in the country. Medals were awarded in 84 categories from 4,338 entries.
Overall, the Washington region did pretty well: DC Brau won Washington D.C.’s first-ever GABF medal for Your Favorite Foreign Movie, a low-alcohol patersbier, or table beer for monks. Brewed in conjunction with Meridian Pint homebrew contest winner Brian Barrows, it took a silver in the Belgian- and French-style ale category.
The Rock Bottom Brewery in Ballston scored a gold medal in the gluten-free beer category for Nikki’s Gluten-Free Honey Pale Ale, which you can try on draft at the brewpub. Mad Fox took silver in the maibock category for its Elixir, while Port City’s Monumental IPA — a staple on taps around town — took a bronze in the popular English-style India Pale Ale category.
But the big winner for Virginia was Devils Backbone Brewing Company, which captured eight medals (golds for Vienna Lager and Berliner Metro Weiss, two silvers and four bronzes), plus awards for Small Brewpub of the Year and Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year. The Devils Backbone beers just arrived in the area this summer, and if you haven’t sampled them, this is a good time to do so. Magnolia’s at the Mill is hosting a five-course, eight-beer dinner with head brewer Jason Oliver this Thursday. See the menu and make reservations here.
Maryland’s two medalists both came from the Baltimore area. The brand-new Union Craft Brewing, headed by former Gordon Biersch brewer Kevin Blodger, won a gold medal in the German-style Altbier category for Balt Altbier. (You can try that tasty brew right now at Meridian Pint.) DuClaw won a silver in the chocolate beer category for its X-1 Imperial Chocolate Rye Porter. (It’s not currently on draft at any of the brewpubs, including Bowie.)
International Arms Race
Speaking of competitions, tonight is the International Arms Race between Maryland’s Flying Dog Brewery and Scotland’s boundary-pushing BrewDog Brewery at R.F.D. Washington. The two breweries are both known for hoppy IPAs, so they decided to challenge each other to create a beer using no hops at all. The brewmasters agreed on a list of acceptable ingredients, including rosemary, juniper, and bay leaves, before each coming up with a recipe.
You can try the results in a blind taste test, beginning at 6 p.m. Pay $7 and you’ll get two unlabeled glasses of non-hopped beer, and after you vote for a favorite, you get happy hour prices on Flying Dog and BrewDog beers for the rest of the night. A winner will be announced at 9 p.m.
Oktoberfest draws to a close
While Oktoberfest is over in Munich, there are still a few places celebrating in Washington. The three branches of Pizzeria Paradiso continue to pour Oktoberfest and pumpkin beers and seasonal ciders, and Scion and Crios are hosting a joint Fall Beer Festival on Thursday, with 25 pumpkin and harvest beers on draft and another 10 in bottles. All will be $3 off the regular price from 5 p.m. to close, and there’s no cover charge.