Monday, July 13, 2009

DC Beer Week Update

I received an email today from 'Hoppy' Jeff Wells, supplying more detail on the upcoming DC Beer Week: 16-20 August 2009.

Rather than being simply a 'beer' week, DC Beer Week seems to be moving more toward a celebration of beer culture in Washington D.C. —beer, food, people, and music. Since Jeff's email wasn't an actual press release —which Jeff promises will follow— I've taken the liberty of paraphrasing to a small extent (with permission).

DC Beer Week [16-20 August 2009] has actually been in discussion for quite a few months- even before Savor, when a distributor [Premium] decided to do their own 'DC Craft Beer Week'.


I should mention that, even though I have been involved with a lot of the planning, this is the brainchild of Chef Teddy Folkman, a partner in Granville Moore's, Capitol Lounge, and H St Country Club. There —and at The Reef and Vermilion, where he worked in the past— Folkman has been instrumental in helping to foster the beer culture in DC.

It won't only be bars to be involved. Also active in the planning have been restaurant entrepreneur Joe Englert and the folks at Matchbox.


The idea is to celebrate the diversity of the DC bar & restaurant scene, and, in doing so, to emphasize beer's prominent role. So, although many of the brands of my employer [DOPS, a DC and Maryland wine and beer wholesaler] will be involved, no one company will have an exclusive on this.

We chose the summertime because the restaurant business is generally slow at that time, it allowed us more time to get folks organized, and many brewers will be in town for Brew at the Zoo.


The general idea is to start with the concert at the Rock & Roll Hotel (as you know beer & music go so well together!) on Aug 16 that will reflect the diversity of the DC music scene.

We will then have events Mon, Tue, & Wed (Aug 17-19) in different parts of town- an event each night in Adams Morgan, H ST/Atlas District NE, U St/Logan Circle, & Dupont/Georgetown, etc.

We are also trying to do events that are beer & food related— such as dinners— to further elevate beer in the culinary world.

This is the first year of us trying to do something like this in DC. We are deciding to start small and grow. This includes the amount of breweries and venues. We are planning on a dozen or so breweries participating and 20- 25 bar/restaurants. We are still working on many details, getting commitments from many people involved, and promoting DC Beer Week through all of the smart channels.

And then Jeff gets to Why:
It seems as if everyone wants to emulate "Philly Beer Week". Those guys have done and absolutely incredible job and the planning involved with something that huge took many people and lots of time. Washington, D.C. is growing and its beer culture is evolving. I think our main hope for us to all realize that Washington, D.C is fast becoming a great beer town. Let's celebrate that.

Thanks and will send you more information as we have it.

Jeff Wells

Jeff's point is well-taken. This year's first DC Craft Beer Week had less to do with the craft beers of DC than with the craft beers supplied by that distributor (some of which, to be fair, were local beers).

Personally, I'd like to see something even more in that direction: a week-long, region-wide celebration of local beer and local food. Have local farms and farmers, local watermen, local dairies, local breweries and brewers, and local restaurants and chefs team up for a true and joyous celebration of the local mid-Atlantic gustatory experience. (SAVOR —a national beer-with-food exposition held in D.C. surprisingly failed to do that.)

But it is not I who am planning DC Beer Week. Jeff and Chef Folkman are. So, I wish them well. And, I wholeheartedly support them.
  • UPDATE 2009.08.03: More events announced.
  • UPDATE 2009.08.16: Interview with organizers Teddy Folkman and Jeff Wells.

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