Sunday, August 02, 2015

Two days before DC Beer Week, it's Cask Night!

The 7th annual DC Beer Week officially begins next Sunday, 9 August ...

...but just before that, on Friday and Saturday, 7/8 August, Barrett Lauer, brewer at the District Chophouse in downtown Washington, D.C., hosts an unofficial kickoff: Cask Night & Cask Day, a two-day festival of locally-produced 'cask-conditioned' ales.

Cask Night and Day_2015

What is 'cask-conditioned' ale —often referred to as 'real ale'? CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale in the U.K.) has this handy definition:
a natural product brewed using traditional ingredients and left to mature in the cask (container) from which it is served in the pub through a process called secondary fermentation. It is this process which makes real ale unique amongst beers and develops the wonderful tastes and aromas which processed beers can never provide.

In the U.S., American 'craft' brewers often infuse their cask ales with non-traditional ingredients and flavorings, such as fruits, vegetables, or spices.

Several breweries in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia have already pledged to send a cask ale apiece to Cask Night & Day. The line-up, so far, will be twenty-four beers: nine each from breweries in the District and Maryland; and six from Virginia. Each cask ale will be served Friday evening for Cask Night, and, again, Saturday afternoon for Cask Day. Plans may change and different casks appear, and ten of the beers remain yet to be announced. I'll update this post as new details arrive.

  • WASHINGTON, D.C. (9)
    • 3 Stars Brewing (Washington, D.C.)
      Brewer: Mike McGarvey
      • ---> Peppercorn Saison
      • Style: Belgian Style Farmhouse Ale, brewed with peppercorns; aged on cherries.
      • Specs: 6.5% alcohol-by-volume (abv); cask infused with cherries.
    • Atlas Brew Works (Washington, D.C.)
      Brewer: Will Durgin
      • ---> TBA
    • Bluejacket (Washington, D.C.)
      Brewer: Josh Chapman
      • ---> TBA
    • DC Brau (Washington, D.C.)
      Brewer: Jeff Hancock
      • ---> TBA
    • District ChopHouse (Washington, D.C.)
      Brewer: Barrett Lauer
      • ---> Cheque Please
      • Style: Czech Style Pilsner
      • Specs: 5.7% abv; 70 IBUs; cask dry-hopped with Hallertau Blanc; infused with hull melon.
    • Gordon-Biersch Restaurant Brewery (Washington, D.C., downtown)
      Brewer: Scott Lasater
      • ---> TBA
    • Gordon-Biersch Restaurant Brewery (Washington, D.C., Navy Yard)
      Brewer: Travis Tedrow
      • ---> Cream Stout
      • Style: Milk Stout with lactose
      • Specs: 5.6% abv; 23 IBUs.
    • Hellbender Brewing Company (Washington, D.C.)
      Brewer: Ben Evans
      • ---> Saison
      • Style: Hopped Saison
      • Specs: 5.9% abv; 25 IBUs; cask dry-hopped with Galaxy.
    • Right Proper Brewery (Washington, D.C.)
      Brewer: Nathan Zeender
      • ---> TBA

  • MARYLAND (9)
    • The Brewers Art (Baltimore, Maryland)
      Brewer: Steve Frazier
      • ---> Birdhouse
      • Style: American Style Pale Ale
      • Specs: 5% abv; 32 IBUs; cask dry-hopped with Simcoe hops.
    • Franklin's Restaurant and Brewery (Hyattsville, Maryland)
      Brewer: Mike Roy
      • ---> Sourgarden
      • Style: Kettle Sour ale with garden herbs.
      • Specs: 5% abv; 9 IBUs.
    • Gordon-Biersch Restaurant Brewery (Rockville, Maryland)
      Brewer: Christian Layke
      • ---> ESB
      • Style: Extra Special Bitter
      • Specs: TBA
    • Heavy Seas Beer (Baltimore, Maryland)
      Brewer: Chris Leonard
      • ---> Cross Bones
      • Style: Session IPA
      • Specs: 4.5% abv; 35 IBUs; cask infused with dried grapefruit.
    • Key Brewing Company (Dundalk, Maryland)
      Brewer: Mike McDonald
      • ---> TBA
    • Oliver Brewing Company (Baltimore, Maryland)
      Brewer: Steve Jones
      • ---> One Last Laugh in a Place of Dying
      • Style: Southern Hemisphere IPA
      • Specs: 7.5% abv; 80 IBUs.
    • Rock Bottom Brewery Restaurant (Bethesda, Maryland)
      Brewer: Geoff Lively
      • ---> Scottish Export
      • Style: Scottish Export
      • Specs: 5.5% abv; 19 IBUs.
    • Union Craft Brewing Company (Baltimore, Maryland)
      Brewer: Kevin Blodger
      • ---> TBA

  • VIRGINIA (6)
    • Capitol City Brewing Company (Arlington, Virginia)
      Brewer: Kristi Mathews-Griner
      • ---> Biere De Garde
      • Style: Biere De Garde with fresh ginger, and black peppercorns
      • Specs: 7.4% abv; 31 IBUs.
    • Devils Backbone Brewing Company (Roseland, Virginia)
      Brewer: Jason Oliver
      • ---> TBA
    • Fairwinds Brewing Company (Lorton, Virginia)
      Brewer: Charlie Buettner
      • ---> Howling Gale
      • Style: American Style IPA
      • Specs: 7.2% abv; 82 IBUs; cask dryhopped with Citra and Amarillo.
    • Lost Rhino Brewing Company (Ashburn, Virginia)
      Brewer: Favio Garcia
      • ---> 2200 lbs of Sin
      • Style: Barrel-aged barleywine
      • Specs: 10.5% abv; 96 IBUs; cask infused with Virginia honey, and lemon, orange, and grapefruit peels.
    • Mad Fox Brewing Company (Falls Church, Virginia)
      Brewer: Bill Madden
      • ---> TBA
    • Rock Bottom Brewery Restaurant (Ballston, Virginia)
      Brewer: David Peeler
      • ---> TBA

Mr. Lauer at the tap
Cask Night host brewer Barrett Lauer is going a different route. His cask 'ale' will be a hoppy lager: Cheque Please, a 5.7% (abv) kellerbier with a bracing 70 IBUs imparted by Czech hops.

The District Chophouse & Brewery is located in Washington, D.C.'s Penn Quarter (which old-timers used to call Chinatown) at 509 7th Street NW, between E and F streets, just 1 1/2 blocks south of the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metro stop on the Red, Green, and Yellow lines.

Admission to Cask Night (or Cask Day) is $50 for unlimited tasting (within reason!), a food buffet, and a complimentary tasting glass (NOT plastic). For more information, and to purchase a ticket, call the Chophouse on (202) 347-1922 or email:

  • DC Beer Week officially begins Sunday, 9 August, and continues through Sunday, 16 August. For more information, including events, go to the festival website: [But NOT 'dcbeerweek dot com.' A cyber-squatter has taken that '.com' address as financial hostage.]
  • Never post in the morning before a cup of coffee. It's the 5th year for Cask Night, but it's the 7th year for DC Beer Week. I've made the corrections!

  • For more from YFGF:

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