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Posted at 2:10 PM ET, 10/21/2009

Drink the flavors of fall at local beer dinners

By Fritz Hahn

So, you thought you got a break from beer after Oktoberfest? Wrong, wrong, wrong. There are five six tasting events going on next week that should be on the radar of any right-thinking beer-lover.

Update: After this was written, I received information from Rock Bottom about a beer dinner on the 26th, so I've added it to the list.

Monday, Oct. 26
Smuttynose Beer Dinner at Birreria Paradiso (Seatings at 6:30 and 9 p.m.)
Birreria Paradiso's beer dinners never disappoint, and I've been to a bunch of them. The kitchen goes all out with creative pizzas heavy on seasonal ingredients, and the beers are often ones that you don't see on draft too frequently. Tonight's appearance with New Hampshire's excellent Smuttynose craft brewery features six beers, four food courses, and an introduction and commentary from Executive Brewer David Yarrington. Tickets are $65 including tax and tip. Call the restaurant to make reservations.

Chef and Brewer's Oktoberfest Dinner at Rock Bottom Brewery - Arlington (6:30 pm.)
The Ballston brewpub's monthly dinner takes on a German theme this month -- think wiener schnitzel, asparagus and red cabbage with an Oktoberfest lager or grilled sausages and bier cheese alongside and unfiltered hefeweizen. Each of the five courses is paired with a beer. The whole package costs $50, including tax and gratuity. Call the restaurant for reservations.

Tuesday, Oct. 27
Garrett Oliver at Brasserie Beck (7 p.m.)
Few have pushed the pairing of food and beer as much as Garrett Oliver, the award-winning head brewer at the Brooklyn Brewing Company and author of "The Brewmaster's Table" cookbook. This four-course/five-beer dinner at Beck marks the debut of two Brooklyn beers: Reinschweinsgebot, a bacon-infused beer aged in Rittenhouse Rye bourbon barrels, and the Manhattan Project, a smooth dark beer aged in Rittenhouse Rye barrels to give it the flavor of a Manhattan cocktail. (I tasted the latter in Boston earlier this month and it's very, very good.) All-inclusive tickets are $85, not including tax or tip; see for a full menu and to make reservations.

(More events and an early warning after the jump.)

Why is There Beer? at the Brickskeller (7 p.m.)
Have questions about any aspect of beer? They'll probably get answered at this in-depth talk and tasting. Panelists include Bob Tupper, the creator of Tupper's Hop Pocket Ale and a man who has tasted more than 17,000 beers over the years; Greg Kitsock, the Post's beer columnist and editor of the Mid-Atlantic Brewing News; Larry Robinson, the owner of Chevy Chase Wine and Liquors, the store with the largest (and best) beer selection in D.C.; Bill Catron, who launched the beer program at Brasserie Beck and now works as a distributor and importer of Belgian beers; and Dave Alexander, the owner of the Brickskeller and R.F.D. As they talk, you get to sample two beers selected by each of the speakers. All-inclusive tickets are $35 from

Meet the Brewer: Magic Hat at Magnolia's at the Mill (7 p.m.)
Vermont's Magic Hat Brewery will be at the airy Magnolia's in Purcellville, dispensing samples of their new and seasonal beers at the bar. There's no charge to taste or ask questions -- just pay for pints of anything you like.

Wednesday, Oct. 28
Great Pumpkin Beer and Food Tasting at the Black Squirrel (7:30-10:30 p.m.)
I'm not usually one for pumpkin beers -- often too sweet and candy-like -- but this year, I've been really impressed with a couple of drafts, most notably Dogfish Head's Punkin, a rich brown ale with pumpkin, brown sugar and loads of spices that should be great on a fall evening. The Great Pumpkin Beer and Food Tasting at the Black Squirrel features Dogfish Head's brew, but also a variety of beer styles that involve pumpkins, including Weyerbacher's Imperial Pumpkin Ale, Fisherman's Pumpkin Stout and Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale. All beers will be paired with passed hors d'oeuvres like venison pigs in a blanket and mini Berkshire pork belly kebabs. Tickets are $40 in advance from the Black Squirrel's Web site or $45 at the door.

In the future:
And a heads up: On November 4, Tuscarora Mill (aka Tuskie's) is hosting a beer dinner with Frederick's Flying Dog Brewery, which was named the Mid-Sized Brewery of the Year at this year's Great American Beer Festival. The $75 ticket includes five courses and six beers. (Spiced buffalo burger sliders with the Dog Schwartz Smoked Lager? Down boy!) Make reservations on

-- Fritz Hahn

By Fritz Hahn  | October 21, 2009; 2:10 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs, Restaurants  
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