Monday, July 28, 2014

Weekend Report: DC Breweries Bike Tour

DC's breweries -- Chocolate City, DC Brau, and Atlas to name a few -- are all realatively new and all in super obscure locations, as breweries tend to be. So clearly the best way to hit them all in one day is by bicycle! This genius tour de beer was devised by SpeedyKate, and it is a must if you're in DC and enjoy beer and biking and fun.

Liz, SpeedyKate, B-Riel, me (duh), Hannah, and Caroline at DC Brau.

After borrowing a friend's bike for the day (mobility! It's glorious!), I met SpeedyKate at noon on Saturday. That may sound like an aggressively early time to start touring breweries, but between biking and beer tasting the whole experience took allllll afternoon and I'm really glad we started when we did. Also, most tasting rooms close at 4pm, so plan accordingly. Joining us on this venture were a couple of my grad school friends, plus one of my friends from college.

Sidenote: Though I can see some of you raising eyebrows (drinking and biking Mollie?!? Is that really a good idea?), it's actually very little drinking. Since most breweries (except Atlas) only offer tiny tasting sizes, we probably each drank a total of three beers over the course of five hours. See? Safe.

Anywho, the 11.7-mile route was devised by SpeedyKate (and questionably navigated by myself). We started in Colombia Heights because that's where we live, and biked three miles to Chocolate City in Brookland, then about five miles on to DC Brau (north of the Arboretum). We then headed about a mile south to Atlas Brew Works, which is just a few doors away from New Columbia Distillers (aka Green Hat Gin). Green Hat was closed by the time we got there, so we'll have to try again another time. Also, our original plan (see route here) had us ending at Bardo, a beer garden in Trinidad, but we decided to forgo that stop in exchange for ice cream at Union Market. Always a good idea.

This bike ride is by no means scenic. It covers parts of the city I only vaguely knew existed and traverses some busy roads and a few strip malls and warehouse areas. But though the ride is not exactly nice, it really is the best/only way to get to these places. And it's fun!

So about the breweries. Chocolate City was the first and most low key. We just showed up and walked into what looked like a small warehouse/garage and a woman at a table offered us tastings of three beers. I wasn't especially wowed by any of them, but it was a nice way to start.

Next was DC Brau, probably the most well known of the three. I feel like their standard The Public Pale Ale is just a generally solid beer but nothing special. But in addition to that, for tasting they had El Hefe Speaks, a really delicious hefeweizen, and also an imperial IPA called On the Wings of Armageddon. When you walk into DC Brau they give you four drink tickets to use for tasting, and the tasting sizes are about 4oz each, so that's pretty great. Also they have an excellent local pride logo. 

Our last, and my favorite, stop was Atlas Brew Works. It's a brewery but also has a bar, and just this weekend started serving pints. Hallelujah there was a food truck outside, so we shared some fries and proceeded to taste. The bad news is that the tastings are not free, but the good news is that for $7 you get four tastings and one half-pint and it is ten thousand kinds of worth it! Their beer was unique and really good -- my favorites were the Rowdy, a rye beer, and NSFW, a double black IPA yummmmm. Atlas is a pretty big space and has tables and corn hole and a few (nowhere near enough) fans. And for future reference, I'm pretty sure you can get their beers at Nats games. 

The beer portion of our tour ended there around five o'clock, then we made our way to Union Market because Trickling Springs Creamery! 

We sat in the air conditioning enjoying our ice creams, basically the perfect end to a perfect tour. Then of course we had to bike ourselves home. What a great day!