Happy Hour with Fritz Hahn

Oct 10, 2019

Every other Thursday, Washington Post Weekend reporter Fritz Hahn discusses all aspects of going out: happy hours, date ideas, weekend getaways, new exhibits and other ways to have fun in the Washington D.C. area.

Hi everyone. So much going on right now, with the Nats win last night, the Mystics playing for a title tonight ...

Oh, and Tom Sietsema's Dining Guide dropped today. I wrote a "by the numbers" piece about the restaurant data that interested me. 

But wait, there's more: We've ranked the area's scariest Halloween attractions, and there are a bunch of great fall festivals this weekend

(And there are a LOT of Snallygaster questions.)

We didn't get the VIP tickets before they sold out. Will any beers sell out before the regular people get in? What breweries should we go to first?

This is a great question - and not just because I was wondering the same thing. I reached out to Greg Engert, the beer director for Snallygaster (and ChurchKey, and other great bars), and this is what he said:

"That's always hard to say, but I'd imagine the Barrel-Aged Abraxas [a spicy, roasty imperial stout from Perennial] and the Monkish brew might go quickly. But honestly, we have great volume on a ton of rare beers.

"The list is so packed with rarities now that fewer kick as quickly as they used to. We get a great spread of tasting interest."

So there you have it. Personally, I'm going to say that the advantage of this year's unlimited-pour model is that you can tick off a lot of beer boxes. Never had Cantillon Gueuze on tap? Wondering why beer nerds freak out about Bissell Brothers IPAs, Crooked Stave's barrel-aged sours or pFriem Pilsner? This is a chance to find out.

The other consideration is, well, price. If you usually blanch at how much a glass of Jester King costs, or a bottle of Blackberry Farm's saison, or anything from Lost Abbey, you can get at least a small pour. 

Also, the pro-tip: If you get to, say, the Veil, and there's a long line, send a friend to a nearby booth to grab something that sounds interesting, refreshing and, more importantly, complementary: Don't try to down a big barrel-aged stout while you're waiting in line for a tropical-flavored IPA, for example.

I heard a rumor that there will be one Screen on the Green movie showing this Saturday. Is it true?? Please, please say "yes"!!!!

I think there's a little confusion here, but it's not your fault.

The Capital City Public Charter School in Manor Park - a neighborhood in Northwest between Takoma and Brightwood Park - is hosting a screening of "Black Panther" this Saturday at 6:45 p.m. The movie will be shown on the school's soccer field, so they're calling it "Screen on the Green." No connection with the massive movie parties on the Mall, I'm afraid. 

Game 5 for the WNBA Championship tonight - where are folks watching it?

If you can't be at the sold-out Entertainment and Sports Arena tonight -- aka "The House that Chamique Built" -- The Mystics and the city are hosting a fan-fest and viewing party at the nearby Gateway Pavilion, which is also on the old St. E's campus. Gates open at 6:30, and tip is at 8.  

In terms of sports bars, there are a number of places where you can watch, including Dock FC and Walter's. (The Caps are playing in Nashville tonight, but come on: This is the WNBA championship. Bars better have their TVs on the Mystics.)

OK, so what's a good place to watch the Saturday Nats/Cards game? I would love to go to Midlands, but college football makes me think that might be a bad idea.

My hat is off to you for this question, because I had not even considered this scheduling nightmare. My instinct is to cross any place off your list that you think of as a college football bar (ie Penn Social, Union Pub, Lou's City Bar), because they have large alumni groups who are going to want to watch their teams. 

It's supposed to be lovely on Saturday, but man, I'm wondering whether you're more assured of a pro-Nats crowd if you watch indoors at Duffy's or Walter's. The Brig beer garden at the bottom of Barracks Row has been something of a Nats pre-game hot spot this season, and I'm sure I'd enjoy watching the game there with a large stein of Oktoberfest lager. 

Chatters? Your thoughts?

Hi Fritz, I'm looking at the Snallygaster map and am totally overwhelmed! Any suggestions for a hop-loving, IPA-drinking (but open to new stuff) person for making the most out of the event? Thank you!

First, make sure you go to the Snallygaster website and get the Excel spreadsheet of all Snallygaster beers, which is sortable by style. I noted on Twitter the other day that 83 of the 395 beers on the list contain the word "hazy," as in "hazy ipa, hazy pale ale, hazy double ipa," so you've got your work cut out for you. 

Personally, I'd hunt down the IPAs that you can't regularly find in this area -- Bissell Brothers, Other Half, Hoof Hearted, Maine's Wolfe's Neck, Alvarado's fresh-hop Precious Oils, haze from The Answer -- and see how they compare to your favorites. That's the whole point of a day like this, right?

Buuuuuuuut it's also a chance to check out the stuff that you might ordinarily skip over while you were scanning the "hops" section of the ChurchKey menu. Toronto's Bellwoods, for example, had my favorite beer of 2018 with their sour Jelly King, and they're bringing a new variation aged on cherries, raspberries and plums that I'm dying to dry. Make sure you visit the section of traditional German lagers served from gravity kegs. And if you've never tried barrel-aged beers from American Solera, Crooked Stave, or Grimm, why not give them a taste? After all, you've paid for the beer. All you have to do is ask. 

Any chance the game will be shown on the Jumbotron at Nats Park like last night?

We can dream, right? I just checked with Scott Allen over at the D.C. Sports Bog, and right now, the Nationals haven't announced anything, but I think they'll be keeping a close eye on it. Would definitely solve the where-to-watch-on-Saturday conundrum. 

I forgot to add - bonus points for a Petworth/Columbia Heights location.

Back patio of D.C. Reynolds, then, for sure. Maybe the indoor projection screen at Hook Hall?

Other Half has been flooding the market the last few months, especially at Downtown Crown. Not sure I'd include it in the short list of beers to seek out at Snallygaster.

Also, if you're going to Oyster Wars at the Salt Line the next day, Bissell and Other Half will be on tap there.

BUT. If you don't have a car and therefore have a hard time getting to Gaithersburg [raises hand], then you might want to try some Other Half. It's definitely not as easy to find as, for example, the Veil. 

I’m a bourbon drinker, ordering it mostly on the rocks. I’ve noticed bar tabs are adding a charge for the ice. Sometimes it is a fancy big cube, and you get charged again even if you use the same cube. Sometimes it’s just the same ice that you get with your water. One place charged $2 just for the ice. I’d like to understand the reasoning behind theses charges. Maybe I’ll just order it neat. Thanks!

This does depend on the bar. Part of the reason for the charge is that many bars actually pay for giant, crystal-clear blocks of ice, made from filtered water, which they hand-cut into those giant cubes. The larger cubes melt more slowly, which means your drink stays undiluted. 

But if you're using the same cube -- and hopefully just topping up the glass with the same bourbon -- I can't understand why they'd charge you double. 

If you are going, what are you excited to check out?

It's going to be a fall day outdoors, so I'm going to be thinking seasonal. The German gravity kegs, because this is Marzen season. Pilsners from Denver's much-lauded Bierstadt and Hood River's pFriem. Anything with fresh hops, such as Alvarado Street's Precious Oils and Fremont's Field to Ferment, which was terrific from a can at the Go West Beer Fest last month, but I'm very curious to sample on draft.

In terms of rare stuff, I tend to look for things that don't show up in this market all the time, such as Creature Comforts, the Lost Abbey, Foam or Cloudwater (which tasted so good when I was recently in London). If I go local, it would probably be for the guys from Dewey Beer Co, Sapwood Cellars (which I still don't seen in D.C. as much as I'd like) or the recent releases from Burley Oak. 


As an addendum, here are some other top tips from other people:

When I talked about Snallygaster with beer director Greg Engert for our guide to area fall festivals, I asked him to suggest six beers that have never been on tap at ChurchKey or Rustico. He chose:

De Garde – The Vanille Kriek (Draft)
Bierstadt Lagerhaus – Slow Pour Pils (Draft; Side-Pull Dispense)
Sante Adairius – Variations on a Theme (Draft)
Fyne Ales – Everyone Loves Chinook (Cask)
Dewey Beer Company – Secret Machine Triple Double (Draft)
Zehendner Mönchsambacher Lagerbier – Kellerbier (Draft)

Also, the guys from DCBeer.com put out their "Snallygaster Power Rankings"  today, which are heavy on lambics and lagers. 

I’m done with the sugar highs from the Haze. What’s your go-to English/American IPA? I like Ale to the Queen at Queen Vic and Monumental from Port City. What about you?

Monumental's pretty high on my list, too. I'd also suggest you check out Silver Branch, which will occasionally have their English/East Coast IPA on cask, alongside a mild or bitter.

Bluejacket recently had an English IPA named after Massive Attack's "Blue Lines" that was packed with stupidly grassy, spicy, earthy East Kent Goldings hops. 

Oliver Brewing, the makers of Ale to the Queen (or at least they were, can't remember if they still are), also deserves a look, especially for the malty Ironman. 

Okay, that's going to do it for today. Thanks for reading joining in. Hope you enjoy the weekend, and if you're going to Snallygaster, remember to drink plenty of water and make sure the day starts with a hearty breakfast. 

In This Chat
Fritz Hahn
Fritz Hahn has covered bars, drinks and nightlife for the Washington Post Weekend Section since 2003, but he also writes about everything from Civil War battlefields to sailing classes.
Recent Chats
  • Next: