A few things you need to know about the local craft beer scene at Nats Park as the home schedule begins.
The local taps will be changing
I noted recently that 3 Stars plans to switch up its offering every homestand this season. Well, they aren’t the only ones. Each of the five local craft brewers — 3 Stars, Atlas, DC Brau, Port City and Mad Fox — will be changing out their offerings frequently this season. (Last season, they mostly stuck with one brew apiece.)
“The breweries have so many different beers, and we wanted to give our fans an opportunity to try different brews,” Nats senior director of guest experience and hospitality operations Jonathan Stahl told me. “So we worked with them to basically do a draft to decide what they wanted to do.”
That’s right: a draft. All the brewers and Stahl gathered in the park a few weeks back to draft tap handles and styles. The team will now have four local beer carts, in sections 119, 138, 225 and 309. Each cart has four handles. That makes 16 total. So for any given homestand, one brewery will get four handles in the park, and the other four breweries will get three each. And they drafted homestands and then slotted in their brews, to try to make sure that everyone didn’t bring a pale ale at the same time, for example.
So what do we have to start?
The schedule, of course, is subject to change. But for the first homestand, the scheduled beers are Atlas District Common, Mad Fox Irish Dry Stout, Port City Monumental IPA, 3 Stars Citra Lemon Saison and DC Brau Everyday Junglist. For the second, expect Atlas Rowdy American Rye, Mad Fox Irish Dry Stout, Port City Optimal Wit, 3 Stars Movement APA, and DC Brau’s The Tradition.
How do the brewers like this plan?
“When we built this cart last year, we instantly started to become these brewers’ largest customers,” Stahl said. “And we wanted to make sure not to take away from other stuff they’re doing. Coming up with a schedule ahead of time allows them to plan their brewing for the entire summer.”
What about those craft beer floats in the Red Porch?
Yeah, beer floats.
The idea for those came from Levy Restaurants. It’s a dessert that’s easy to carry back to your seats, and might be a less imposing option than a brownie sundae or apple pie.
And what of the 1500 South Cap Lager?
Atlas is brewing a Nats-themed local beer that will be sold outside the District Drafts carts.
The team talked to all of the local breweries to gauge interest in a Nats-specific beer. Atlas wanted to do it; the beer will be available at “Baseline Brews” concessions throughout the park, and will be in addition to the draft beer Atlas will deliver for the District Drafts carts. The team is open to collaborating with other local breweries on Nats-specific products.
This isn’t local, but the team is working with Sam Adams to get specialty Sam Adams products that aren’t commonly available in the D.C. market into the Sam Adams Brewhouse in 112. That location has typically featured Sam’s seasonal products and more commonly available brews, but the team is hoping to bring in rarer Sam products.
Also, the team will now offer Flying Dog 16 oz. cans in the seating bowls and in some concessions areas.
And what of Firkin Fridays?
The team will have two cask beers on sale at the main bar in the Red Porch every home Friday.
The 12 oz. pours will cost $5, and 100 percent of the sales — not the profits, but the sales — will go to the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation. The team might announce the specific beers available the day before or morning of the promotion, but is trying to keep it sort of suspenseful. Today’s offerings are from Flying Dog and DC Brau.
Note: While the team had told me the cask beers would cost $5 with 100 percent of the sales going to the team’s foundation, the Red Porch menu said the cask beers cost $10, with all proceeds benefiting the foundation.