Friday marks the beginning of D.C. Beer Week - eight nights of beer dinners, beer tastings, brewer meet-and-greets and unveilings of rare-in-D.C. ales and lagers at more than two dozen local bars. (We have a list of recommended events on goingoutguide.com). The kickoff event, though, is more cerebral than bacchanalian: A beer-centric edition of the monthly Nerd Nite happy hour.
Showing off their big brains and obscure knowledge via PowerPoint this month are ChurchKey beer sommelier Greg Engert, on the history of the century-old struggle between craft brewing and big business; brewer Brian Strumke of Baltimore's Stillwater Artisanal Ales, known for using wild yeast and bacteria in his beers, on the Belgian brewing tradition of letting nature have its way with fermenting beer; and NIH neuroscientist Tracy Jill Doty, who will explain why our brains like alcohol and examine the positive and negative effects that drinking creates on our gray matter.
Between talks, there's a performance by Imperial China. At 10 p.m., there's an optional seminar with beer pairings and live music by Cobra Commander, the Torches and New Rock Church of Fire.