Since he sold the Brickskeller in December, Alexander has been commuting between the Washington area and Nashville, where he’s trying to rekindle the career in music he gave up when he took over operation of the Brick in 1982. He reports he’ll be recording four original songs with the Jason Aldean Band on Sept. 8.
I caught up with Alexander last week at the Old Ebbitt Grill, where Premium Distributors was hosting a private party to welcome New Belgium Brewing Co. into the D.C. market. We were clinking glasses of New Belgium’s Ranger IPA, a citrusy ale with a fresh, leafy hop flavor. It’s quenching without being strip-the-enamel-off-your teeth bitter in the style of the West Coast IPAs that Alexander dished up at his annual Lupulin Slams. That suited Alexander fine.
“Not every movie has to be ‘Gone With the Wind.’ There’s room for ‘Dude, Where’s My Car?’ too,” he philosophized.
Kim Jordan, New Belgium’s co-founder and CEO, acknowledged that this is actually New Belgium’s re-entry into Washington. Alexander first served the brewery’s Fat Tire Amber Ale and other beers at a Brickskeller tasting in 1992, way back when Jordan was brewing out of her basement instead of the gleaming eco-friendly facility that New Belgium now occupies.
As it moves into new territory, however, New Belgium will soon bump its ahead against capacity limits. Bryan Simpson, who handles PR for the company, admitted that New Belgium is eyeing four possible sites for an East Coast branch plant. “They’re somewhere between Vermont and Florida, that’s all I can tell you,” he said.
More news on New Belgium: The Fort Collins brewery will be selling its beer in Montgomery County after all, says the brewery’s mid-Atlantic regional director Neil Reeve. Montgomery is unique in that the county is the sole licensed distributor of all alcoholic beverages. New Belgium worried that the county wouldn’t have the staff to service its beer correctly, like keeping it refrigerated at all times, rotating stock, etc. The brewery solved the problem by enlisting a neighboring distributor, Premium in Frederick, to warehouse its beer at the proper temperature and ship it to Montgomery County on an as-needed basis.
Omitting Montgomery County from its coverage area would have been slightly embarrassing for New Belgium, as CEO Jordan grew up here. Her parents still live in Southwest Washington.
More news on that food truck beer dinner we mentioned a few weeks back: The charity event, a collaboration between Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, will take place on Saturday, Aug. 27, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Das Bullpen, a German-style beer garden with picnic tables and tents just outside Nationals Park. Seven food trucks are participating. Beers will include two draft-only rarities — a Vienna-style lager from Sierra Nevada that seldom makes it outside the brewery’s home base in Chico, Calif., and Foam, a pilsner that Sierra Nevada brews exclusively for Phish concerts.
The Nationals aren’t playing at home that evening, assures Brad Phillips, the Washington-area sales manager for Sierra Nevada, so diners won’t have to contend with pre- or post-game crowds.