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Posted at 2:41 PM ET, 09/27/2010

Our cups overfloweth with fall beer events

By Fritz Hahn

As summer winds down, beer-tasting season is gearing up, with tastings, festivals and, of course, Oktoberfest. This week is busier than usual for D.C. beer lovers. Let's run down what you can expect:

The Sly Fox Brewery just outside Philadelphia makes tremendous British and Belgian-style ales, and brewmaster Brian O'Reilly is coming down to Birch & Barley and ChurchKey to show off some of his creations. There's a five-course/seven-beer dinner at Birch & Barley tonight ($76 plus tax and tip), beginning at 7 p.m., or a pay-as-you-go selection of five traditional cask ales poured upstairs in ChurchKey. (The by-the-glass selection includes Chester County Bitter, Gang Aft Agley Scotch Ale, Phoenix Pale Ale, RT 113 IPA and Grisette Farmhouse Ale.)

Excellent small-batch Belgian-style beers from San Diego's the Bruery were among our highlights during this summer's Savor Festival. For one night only, Meridian Pint is putting six of them on draft: Mischief, a strong golden ale; the rare 7-Grain Saison; the spicy, complex Trade Winds Tripel; the refreshing Orchard White; the seasonal Autumn Maple, which is made with a variety of spices, maple syrup and yams (for sweetness); and the rich, dark Ragbrod, made with rye bread.

It's rare to see beers from Utah's Unita brewery, and even rarer to see them on draft. But Galaxy Hut has somehow managed to snag three kegs of the very limited Crooked Line series. How limited is it? "There are only nine kegs in the world," says Galaxy Hut owner Lary Hoffman. "Three kegs of each of these three beers, and we have one of each." Detour Double IPA, Labyrinth Black Ale and Tilted Smile Imperial Pilsner will be tapped at 5 p.m. If you're curious, you might want to arrive on the early side -- each keg holds about only five gallons, or 40 pints.

California's North Coast Brewing Company has made great inroads in Washington-area beer bars, thanks to Red Seal Ale, Scrimshaw Pilsner and Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout. The brewery's selection is much deeper, though, and it's being shown off at several events this week. First up is North Coast Night at ChurchKey, which is turning over seven taps to North Coast. Check out the Belgian-style Pranqster, Blue Star wheat beer or Le Merle farmhouse ale, and arrive early to pick up free glassware. The party runs from 6 to 9 p.m. -- or whenever the kegs kick.

As mentioned in our Oktoberfest event roundup, all 28 draft lines at Pizzeria Paradiso and Birreria Paradiso are being switched to Oktoberfest and pumpkin beers on Oct. 1 in honor of the first OctoBEERfest celebration. Beers will stay on until the kegs kick, at which point they will be switched back to the beer bar's usual mix of ales and lagers. Beer director Greg Jasgur says there will be no overlap between the Dupont Circle and Georgetown locations, so you'll have to do a little barhopping to try them all. (Tip: The Rosslyn-Georgetown-Dupont Circulator bus stops near both Paradiso locations.)
MONDAY P.M. UPDATE: The full beer list for the event -- now renamed "Autumn Fest" -- is on the Pizzeria Paradiso Web site.

The first Chesapeake Beer Madness festival kicks off in Annapolis with 16 breweries vying to work their way through a March Madness-style bracket to be crowned champion of the Delmarva region. The list includes well-known breweries (Starr Hill, Fordham, Flying Dog, Heavy Seas) as well as smaller operations, including Delaware's Evolution and 16 Mile breweries, and Virginia's St. George Brewery and Williamsburg Ale Werks. Sample all 16 beers while listening to live music and enjoying free snacks, then vote for your favorites. All proceeds will be donated to community groups in the Annapolis area.

The beers of the Great Lakes Brewing Company have found many fans since arriving in D.C. from Cleveland, and on Saturday the brewery is taking over seven draft lines at the Black Squirrel. This is a chance to try two seasonals -- Oktoberfest and the hoppy Nosferatu red ale -- in addition to the usual Burning River Pale Ale, Commodore Perry IPA and Dortmunder Gold Lager. Grab a pint ($5-$8) or a flight ($15), or a giant one-liter mug of Oktoberfest ($15). Doors open at noon for college football viewing.

One of North Coast's best beers (in my opinion) is Brother Theolonious, a Belgian-style Abbey Ale named after jazz great Theolonious Monk. A portion of every sale is donated to the non-profit Theolonious Monk Institute of Jazz, which trains young musicians. North Coast brewer Mark Ruedrich is in town this weekend to host a special benefit dinner at Brasserie Beck, in which five courses of food will be paired with five North Coast beers (one example: veal sweetbreads and Brother Theolonious). Dinner begins at 7:30 p.m.; all-inclusive tickets are $100.

-- Fritz Hahn

By Fritz Hahn  | September 27, 2010; 2:41 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs, Events  
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I have a four pack of Great Lakes Nosferatu sitting in my fridge right now...and two more four packs on reserve.

Posted by: BrokenClipboard | September 27, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Minor typo: Uinta brewery, not Unita

Posted by: awiseman1 | September 29, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

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