Atlas celebrates four years in Ivy City with a party featuring exclusive beer releases, food trucks and live music by Small Time Thieves and Outside Smoke. Tickets include one beer — they're all $5 each after that — and a donation to the Living Classrooms Foundation. Noon to 7 p.m. $15.
Go West Beer Fest at Eastern Market, Sept. 15
One of the city's best small beer festivals is a joint effort among the state societies of Alaska, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. The draw is a taste of home: These host states' beers aren't often sold in D.C., such as Alaskan Brewing or Missoula, Mont.,'s Big Sky Brewing. Thankfully, you can be from anywhere to attend. Tickets include unlimited drinks, and $5 from the price of admission is donated to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, which helps injured firefighters and the families of firefighters killed in the line of duty. (Pro tip: Each of the state societies sells its own tickets. If one is sold out, another society may have some left.) 6 to 10 p.m. $35.
RhinO'fest at Lost Rhino Retreat, Sept. 16
Lost Rhino's RhinO'Fest is a fantastic maerzen beer, with plenty of toasted malt and toffee flavor. No wonder it's been awarded a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival, a silver medal at the World Beer Cup and Washington Post Beer of the Week. RhinO'Fest makes its seasonal return at a beer festival at Brambleton Town Center, alongside other house brews and experimental beers from Lost Rhino's Genus Loci program. The day includes German food, live music by Most Savage Gentlemen and Big Al's Truck, and activities for children. Noon to 6 p.m. Free admission; food and drinks priced individually.
Fairfax County breweries — including Aslin, Caboose and Fair Winds — are teaming up for the second Fairfax County BrewFest at Mustang Sally. Sample beers, tour the brewery, play corn hole and listen to music by the Blues Buckets and Scott Kurt and Memphis 59. A portion of ticket sales benefit local charities VAVETS and K-9 for Warriors. Noon to 6 p.m. $10 in advance, $15 at the door.
The second Amps and Ales festival is straightforward: Listen to seven bands, including the trippy blues-rock of People's Blues of Richmond and the brass-driven funk of Higher Hands, while sampling beers from 26 local and national breweries. Noon to 8 p.m. Regular admission, which includes 10 sample tickets, is $30 in advance or $35 at the gate. VIP tickets, which include entry at 11 a.m. and unlimited samples, are $75.
Snallygaster at Yards Park, Sept. 23
Snallygaster is more than just D.C.'s best beer festival — in terms of scope, ambition and sweet, sweet beer nerd cred, it's the best beer festival in the Mid-Atlantic region. It's easily one of the best on the East Coast, and maybe one of the best in the country. A whopping 400 beers will be available on tap, including crazy-rare offerings from Hill Farmstead, Jester King, Creature Comforts, Melvin and Allagash. The trick here is to prepare: Do your homework, make a list of beers you want to try, and figure out where they are. And if you don't get that pour of Hill Farmstead Arthur or Jester King RU55, well, there's probably something amazing nearby. A fleet of food trucks and pop-ups by Neighborhood Restaurant Group restaurants provide sustenance. 1 to 6 p.m. General admission is $35 in advance, which includes 30 food and drink tickets. VIP is $60 in advance, which allows for entry at 11:30 a.m. and includes 30 food and drink tickets.
Cantillon Zwanze Day at the Sovereign, Sept. 23
Beer geeks have a very difficult decision to make on Sept. 23. Not only is it Snallygaster, it's also Zwanze Day, the annual release of a one-off beer from cult Belgian lambic and gueuze producers Cantillon. This year's version is a blend of two-year-old lambic beer and Oolong tea, which the brewery describes as “delicate and round, with notes of fruit and slight bitterness.” Seventy bars around the globe will tap the Zwanze beer at the beer at 3 p.m. ET. Doors at the Sovereign open at 11 a.m., with five Cantillon beers on tap right away, and you'll be able to pre-purchase a glass of the limited-edition Zwanze. 11 a.m. Free admission; beers priced individually.
Sour and wild ales remain incredibly popular, so you might want to buy tickets for Denizens Brewing's annual Make It Funky Festival in advance. Thirty breweries from the Mid-Atlantic and beyond have signed up to bring at least 100 goses, sour or bretted ales to Silver Spring, including Avery and Crooked Stave from Colorado; Indiana's Upland; and Pennsylvania's Free Will and 2SP. Closer to home, Burley Oak, Ocelot and Strangeways are among the local representatives. Soul Stew plays funk music in the beer garden, while DJs spin inside the brewery. Tickets include unlimited samples, so arrive early and thirsty. 1 to 5 p.m. $60.
After 17 years of oompah music, bratwurst and German-inspired beers, Capitol City Brewing's Mid-Atlantic Oktoberfest has become a fixture on the local Oktoberfest calendar. At least 65 breweries will bring beers to the 18th edition of this block party in the streets of Shirlington, while restaurants sell food on the sidewalks. As always, the musicians and dancers of the Washington Saengerbund choral group provide the entertainment. Noon to 7 p.m. Free admission. A tasting costs $30, which includes 10 four-ounce samples.