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Posted at 3:37 PM ET, 08/ 4/2006

Starr Power

By Fritz Hahn

During yesterday's Got Plans? chat, a reader from Arlington wrote in to ask where they might find Starr Hill beers in the Washington area. I'm a fan of the Charlottesville-based microbrews, having tried them at local beer festivals and on trips to the University of Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley, but I hadn't seen it on tap in a while. This afternoon, I got a call back from Starr Hill brewer Mark Thompson, who has some very good news for Arlington and other beer-loving Hoos.

Starr Hill recently expanded its Crozet, Va., brewery, and now has the capacity to produce around 10,000 barrels a year, which is roughly double its 2005 output. As a result, the beer will be more readily available in Washington, though Thompson says Starr Hill is moving into the market gradually and patiently. "We've throttled [our distributors] back to five taps," Thompson explains. "We prefer a focused approach, rather than just loading the shotgun and seeing what sticks."

Five lucky restaurants in Arlington and Alexandria are currently pouring Starr Hill's signature Amber Ale, winner of a silver medal at the 2005 Great American Beer Festival: the Birchmere, Murphy's of Alexandria, Rustico, Stars and Stripes and the Union Street Public House. Of that quintet, I'd steer you toward the cozy Union Street or Rustico, where the 30 micro-centric taps are already developing a following of beer geeks.

If you'd rather sip your beers at home, Thompson says the Amber Ale and Jomo Lager (another 2005 GABF silver medal winner) will also be available at Total Beverage stores in the next few weeks.

-- Fritz

By Fritz Hahn  | August 4, 2006; 3:37 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs  
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Hey, Fritz! Two heads up on fine beer stores, a request for the girlfriend, and an odd warning. Anyone who happens to find themselves in Frederick should check out the store on the main drag in old town Frederick that has quirky English and other products that has a very small, but excellent, collection of brews. The government beer and wine store in Olney (the shopping center with Cold Stone Creamery) (one can go to whenever visiting Mannequin Pis, of course), has a much, much larger and very excellent collection of brews (and wines), and the young owner knows his shelves inside and out. Question: (1) Where in DC or the Metro area might one find the hard cider Woodpecker from England (NOT Woodchuck from Vermont!)? (And what is YOUR favorite cider?) Off-topic warning: Bottle Caps do the same thing as Mentos when mixed with diet soda, so it will go up your nose if you follow one with the other.

Posted by: Kalorama-Sheridan | August 7, 2006 9:24 AM | Report abuse

On the Woodpecker cider thing, optimally I'm looking for a place that sells closed bottles to go, and a place that is Metro-accessible (so Olney is out, in case I had inadvertently answered my own question and they carry it there). Secondary would be a bar that serves it (a) on tap or (b) in bottles. Thanks. Bonus question: After Zidane and Landis, who will round out the trio (everything comes in threes) for greatest sports disappointments of the year (if not the decade)?

Posted by: Kalorama-Sheridan | August 7, 2006 11:36 AM | Report abuse

I think ClevelandPark liquors occasionally carried Woodpecker (in addition to Woodchuck). Equally important, they carry Strongbow cider once again

Posted by: dcgent | August 8, 2006 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Since there is already a beer thread, I thought I would post my question here. There is a beer I had in Berlin and loved but forgot the name of when I came back to DC. Randomly, I ordered a beer at Pizza Paradiso Georgetown that looked good and it was my amazing beer! They are no longer carrying it, but I was wondering if anyone else was or if I could buy it at the store (close to Scott Circle if possible). It is a Heffiviesen (sp?) with a banana taste called Weinstephan. Any ideas? Thanks!

Posted by: Scott Circle | August 8, 2006 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Scott Circle, you might want to try and find Victory's Golden Monkey Ale. A bar I worked at in College carried it seasonally and I've had it at Big Hunt a month or two back. It's (if I am remembering my details right) a belgian triple (so it's got a cloudy look and sweeter taste like a hefeweizen)and has that faint banana taste and smell. It's also really high alcohol content, 8-9% I think.

Posted by: Arlington Gal | August 9, 2006 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Scott Circle:

The beer is called Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbeer. It's one of the better hefe weisses available and is readily available in the area. Cleveland Park and Chevy Case Liquors should carry it, as will Cairo or any other place making a good effort to carry good beer. If you can find them, Kapuziner Weissbier or Schneider Weisse are also rather good. Most hefes will have either banana, clove, or bubblegum flavors to them. Sometimes a little smoke, too. Good ol' yeasts.

Posted by: Mike | August 10, 2006 11:25 AM | Report abuse

If all else fails, visit the Brickskeller! If they don't have it, no one will. Now, if I can just convince Dave Alexander to get the iceberg beer from Greenland!

Posted by: Wisecracking Tofu Midget | August 10, 2006 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Thank you!!! Whole Foods had the Stephen one and I kept your list for future purchases. You guys are great....

Posted by: Scott Circle | August 14, 2006 5:45 PM | Report abuse

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