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Bluejacket Brewery: Washington D.C.'s Breakout Beer Star

Bluejacket Brewery: Washington D.C.'s Breakout Beer Star

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We toured the gigantic brewery in D.C.’s Navy Yard

Bluejacket's collaboration beer with Brooklyn Brewery's Garrett Oliver.

Bluejacket opened in D.C., around the corner from Nationals Park in October 2013. The brewery is housed in a huge four-story warehouse space. They share the space with the restaurant side of the operation, The Arsenal at Bluejacket. The 5,600 square foot space used to be a manufacturing complex for the Navy. The space is open, with tons of natural light, allowing folks drinking and dining at The Arsenal can see what goes on in the floors above.

The fermenting, brewing, and aging all happens on-site. Beer director and James Beard award nominee Greg Engert, plus his team of brewers, have created a brewery with a ride range of flavors and styles. They have 20 beers on tap at a time, plus five on cask. Their current cask offerings are New Zealot (Pale Ale), The Stroppy (Pale Ale with cascade hops in the cask), The Wake (Imperial Stout), Mexican Radio (Spiced sweet stout) and The Fix (Vanilla coffee brown ale).

The remarkable flavor of some of their sour beers can be attributed to their use of a coolship. This unique technique of beer-making uses a large shallow pan adjacent to open windows that allows the yeast natural air to be absorbed by the wort. After it’s exposed to the air, it’s put in barrels and the fermentation process begins. Click through our slideshow to see more of Bluejacket and The Arsenal.


Some of Bluejacket's beers are aged in a variety of casks, including some that held wine and whiskey.


In the coolship, the wort is exposed to natural air overnight through the open vents, before the fermentation process begins.

Jane Bruce is the Photo Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @janeebruce.

Market Watch

ChurchKey opened in 2009 as one of NRG's first Washington, D.C., venues. Located upstairs from sister restaurant Birch & Barley, the bar has made a name for itself by offering hundreds of craft, cask and bottled brews.

“We never open a new business without doing a great deal of planning on the beverage program,” says Michael Babin, owner of Alexandria, Virginia-based Neighborhood Restaurant Group (NRG). “Beverage is never an afterthought. We believe that guests discriminate on the basis of quality beverage programs.”

Indeed, Babin’s business has developed a well-earned reputation in the D.C. market for offering cutting-edge beer, wine and spirits programs at some 14 diverse venues. The 17-year-old company has placed such a focus on drinks that it employs individual category experts to develop and manage each of its beer, wine and spirits operations: Greg Engert serves as the beer director, Brent Kroll is wine director, and Jeff Faile is bar and spirits director. “We’ve invested in some great professionals,” Babin says. “I encourage them to be ambitious and to think big.”

NRG’s concepts run the gamut from fine dining venues, such as the historic Iron Gate in Dupont Circle, to casual eateries like the nearby GBD (Golden Brown Delicious), which specializes in doughnuts and fried chicken. But each venue shares a commitment to its local community, whether it’s Evening Star Cafe in Alexandria, Virginia’s Del Ray neighborhood, The Partisan in D.C.’s Penn Quarter, or Bluejacket brewery and restaurant in the old naval yards section of southeastern D.C. The concepts range in size from the 840-square-foot B Side restaurant and bar in Merrifield, Virginia, to the 7,000 square-foot Bluejacket, located in a space that was formerly part of a ship and munitions manufacturing complex. Babin declines to reveal annual revenues for the company, but he says unit sales range from $500,000 to $10 million. NRG employs about 800 workers.

The Arsenal restaurant and bar at Bluejacket brewery features cocktails like the Start Your Digging and the Hands Up.

Multi-Concept Approach

Babin’s first foray into the restaurant business came in 1997 with the opening of the 1,800-square-foot, 50-seat Evening Star. “At first, we didn’t have room to offer a great wine list,” he concedes, but in just two years, the restaurateur took over an adjacent convenience store and transformed it into a wine outlet. The addition of Planet Wine Shop, with more than 2,000 wines, was an “eye opener” into the potential that a good wine selection can bring to an operation and marked the company’s first step toward what he calls “a great beverage program.” Between 2003 and 2009, Babin unveiled a string of unique concepts in the D.C. suburbs, including Vermilion, Columbia Firehouse and Buzz Bakery in Alexandria, Virginia, and Rustico in Arlington, Virginia.

In 2009, Babin expanded into D.C. with Birch & Barley and ChurchKey, a downstairs restaurant and upstairs bar renowned for extensive artisanal beer offerings. For the past five years, NRG has debuted an average of two new venues annually in D.C. and Virginia. Those launches have included the reopening of the landmark Iron Gate and the company’s venture into brewing with Bluejacket—both in 2013—as well as the unveiling of meat-centric restaurant The Partisan next to its Red Apron butcher shop earlier this year. Babin remains owner and majority shareholder of NRG, although he has financial and operational partners within the company.

“A lot of what drives the projects that we undertake is the interests, passions and commitment of the operational partners in the group,” Babin explains. “Early on we decided that we wanted the restaurants to be staff-driven.” That passion has been rewarded with loyal customers. “It’s hard for people to feel an emotional attachment to a chain,” Babin admits, noting that because the company doesn’t open multiple units of single concepts, it doesn’t benefit from economies of scale on the management side of the business. Due to the varied nature of NRG’s venues, Babin declines to reveal the company’s overall food-to-beverage split or a breakdown of wine, spirits and beer sales. “It’s all over the map,” he explains.

Bluejacket brewery offers 20 draft and five cask beers on tap, along with hand-bottled brews.

Dream Team

Kroll, who joined NRG in January 2013, says The Partisan, Iron Gate and Vermilion are among the group’s most wine-focused restaurants. Wine by the glass is a big driver of the company’s program, so he strives to offer guests a broad selection. At The Partisan, for example, some 40 wines are typically available by the glass, generally priced from $7 to $45. The venue’s bottle list can stretch up to 700 selections, with prices starting at $35 a 750-ml. bottle and going up to $641 for the 2011 Domaine Coche-Dury Meursault-Perrieres Premier Cru Burgundy. Vermilion, meanwhile, serves modern American cuisine and features about 130 wines priced from $28 to $175 a 750-ml. bottle, with 30 selections by the glass ($7 to $20). At Iron Gate, the wine menu highlights indigenous varietals from southern Italy and Greece, such as the 1999 Kir-Yianni Ramnista Xinomavro from Macedonia ($30 a glass $120 a 750-ml. bottle). The D.C. restaurant features about 250 wines by the bottle
($32 to $300) and 32 wines by the glass ($8 to $40). But even Bluejacket brewery has a solid wine list, with bottles priced from $35 to $110 for the 2011 Larkin Cabernet Sauvignon, while glass offerings range from $8 to $12. Kroll adds that he updates the wine lists at many of the venues seasonally.

NRG has built a reputation on its beer program since launching Rustico in Alexandria in 2006—the same year Engert joined the company (a second Rustico location opened in Arlington, Virginia, in 2010). At the time, Rustico featured one of the most extensive beer programs in the region. But Birch & Barley and ChurchKey have since emerged as benchmarks for beer-focused eateries around the country. The two venues share the same selection of 50 draft brews and five cask beers ($6 to $14 a pour, depending on the serving size), along with a bottled beer and cider menu of more than 500 offerings, with prices ranging from $6 to $200 for a 3-liter bottle of New Holland Dragon’s Milk stout, which is aged in Bourbon barrels. The beer list at The Partisan features 17 drafts ($6 and $13) and 70 bottles ($6 to $70) and leans toward sour beers and saisons—styles that match well with the venue’s meats and charcuterie. While Engert is charged with creating and maintaining the frequently changing beer lists at most NRG locations, as well as staff education and organizing beer-focused events, his duties grew dramatically last year with the opening of Bluejacket. Engert oversees three brewers in the creation, recipe design and tasting of every beer produced. The brewpub offers 20 drafts and five casks ($6 to $9, depending on pour size) and 10 hand-bottled brews (around $10 each). The beer menus are organized according to flavor profile, including “crisp,” “hop,” “malt,” and “fruit and spice.”

Faile is the newest member of what Babin calls NRG’s “beverage dream team,” having joined the company a year ago after making a name for himself as a premier mixologist at D.C’s Fiola restaurant. So far, he has developed the cocktail programs at Iron Gate, The Partisan, Bluejacket and B Side. “In D.C. now, the focus is on cocktails,” Faile says of bar trends. “If you want a successful restaurant, a good cocktail list has to be part of it.” While prices vary by venue, well drinks generally start at $9 and signature cocktails are priced between $12 and $13. Among the company’s more popular signature cocktails is The Partisan’s Sailin’ On ($13), comprising Old Overholt rye whiskey, Cocchi vermouth, Los Amantes mezcal, chili oil-infused Averna amaro and Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate bitters. Faile emphasizes fresh ingredients in his drinks, seeks to vary offerings depending on the season and works closely with restaurant chefs to complement flavors coming out of the kitchens. “With so many different locations, I really like the cocktail list to reflect what the restaurant itself represents,” he says.

Iron Gate features a Mediterranean-influenced cocktail menu with signature drinks like the Negroni Bianco.

Good Neighbor

NRG is a big supporter of the communities in which it operates. Four years ago, Babin founded the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food & Agriculture, a nonprofit organization that works through a network of local farms to get affordable fresh food to underserved D.C. neighborhoods. “It’s doing really good work all over the city,” says Babin, who serves as the group’s chairman.

The restaurateur reveals that he would like to grow his holdings in coming years beyond the nation’s capital and surrounding areas. “I think expansion is next for us,” he says, with initial development likely to occur along the Eastern Seaboard. But whatever the market, Babin maintains that the bar will continue to play a huge role. “The beverage program for any of our locations isn’t ancillary to the main thrust of the concept it’s integral to it,” Babin says, noting that any future NRG concepts will include serious drinks programs. “Beverage is core to what we do.”

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Baltimore, Maryland's Oliver Ales announces major expansion

In case you hadn't heard the news announced via Twitter over the weekend: Baltimore, Maryland's venerable Oliver Ales will be opening a new, much larger, production facility elsewhere in its home-city, in 2014. The original, successful, Pratt Street Alehouse —at present the home-site of Oliver Ales, located across Pratt Street from the Baltimore Convention Center— will remain open as a non-brewing restaurant, featuring, of course, the brewery's English-styled ales and cask-ales.

This is a lot of expansion for Baltimore's oldest continuously-operating brewpub.

Opened originally by Baltimore 'craft' beer pioneer Bill Oliver in 1994 as the Wharf Rat, the brewpub was purchased in 2008 by a team headed by local businessman Justin Dvorkin, and re-named the Pratt Street Alehouse.

The restaurant was (and is) spacious, but the basement brewing facilities are not. Jones brews with a small 8-bbl kit into open fermenters, and heads must be ducked when walking through his subterranean brewery. Despite that, the beers are sold not only at the brewpub but elsewhere in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and northern Virginia. According to the Baltimore Business Journal, the move will increase production capacity from a current maximum of 2,000 barrels to nearly 10,000.

In December 2012, Dvorkin opened a second non-brewing location, the Alehouse at Columbia, in Columbia, Maryland. And, now, he has plans for this much larger brewery. These are heady times indeed for good beer in Maryland (and Virginia and the District of Columbia). Congratulations to Dvorkin, Jones, assistant brewer J. Derick Davis, and the entire Oliver Ales gang.

Clamps & Gaskets: News Roundup for Weeks 35/36, 2013.

A bi-weekly, non-comprehensive roundup
of news of beer and other things.

Weeks 35/36
25 August - 7 September 2013

    Chef Lucy Saunders announces Kickstarter campaign for new cookbook: "Dinner in the Beer Garden." Via YFGF.

Bluejacket Brewery: Washington D.C.'s Breakout Beer Star - Recipes

2014 Washington, D.C. Area Rising Stars: Why They Shine

We spent our summer canvassing the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, from Baltimore on through D.C. and southward to Richmond, visiting more than 120 chefs, artisans, bartenders, and sommeliers. Everywhere we went we came across industry professionals proudly showcasing the bounty of the Chesapeake. We sunk our teeth into rockfish and luscious blue crab, and slurped more than our fair share of oysters as we found the Chesapeake once again overflowing with them. But even though a strong mid-Atlantic sensibility emerged, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. each have their own distinct character and pockets of personality with chefs and artisans working to express their immediate surroundings. The vast and vital body of water that is the Chesapeake unifies this market and its chefs.

Dining in the D.C. area was like coming home to all our favorite things. The food community here fed us well. But it was the critical mass of impeccably executed classics—the seeming sleepers—that defined the market and reminded us that simplicity is the mark of a mature kitchen. And still, chefs surprised us by shaping pasta around cork screws, and creating dishes inspired by storm clouds, cherry cola, and even coal.

A new generation of chefs is coming to the region from some of the country’s best kitchens, bringing with them their myriad experiences—taking all they’ve learned and infusing it with Mid-Atlantic pride. They’re building a community dedicated to exalting regional product through inspired, personal visions. Here are 2014 D.C. Area Rising Stars, their visions, and why they shine.

Kyle Bailey came of age in the kitchen with chefs the likes of Shea Gallante and Dan Barber. Now at The Arsenal at Bluejacket, he’s helping usher in a new age of chef-driven, casual American dining. And beer is his creative juice. A long-time collaborator with D.C. beer guru turned brewer, Greg Engert, Bailey is cooking amped-up pub cuisine that has the rib-sticking refinement to match the nuance (and variety) of Bluejacket’s house-brewed beers. Bailey’s food is approachable and has the technique, polish, and power to mold the palates of a drinking crowd—and permanently alter their dining expectations. We’re waiting for the day when there’s an Arsenal-caliber restaurant in every American town.

Dishes that Clinched It:

  • Seared Gnocchi, French Beans, Summer Sausage, and Parmesan
  • Papa Weaver Pork Loin, Chanterelles, Asian Pears, Red Quinoa, and Pecans

There’s a shack in Virginia—Ian Boden’s The Shack—and you should visit it. At his 26-seat restaurant in tiny Staunton, Virginia, Boden cooks with rip-roaring originality, walloping guests with flavor, bite after addictive bite. Some dishes you have to taste to believe: pretzel gemelli in French’s mustard sauce. He elevates the simplest of ingredients to their highest potential, mashing up his New York training with the foodstuffs of his adopted home. Boden’s technique is as flawless as his menu is daring and playful. And as much as we believe in him, Boden has even more faith in what Shenandoah Valley cuisine can be.

Dishes that Clinched It:

  • Pretzel Gemelli, Edward’s Surryano Ham, Mustard Sauce, and Wild Arugula Flowers
  • Schmaltz Aïoli, Grilled Okra, Fried Okra Greens, Pickled Okra Seeds, and Finger Limes

He may be an adopted son, but Austin Fausett is a Virginia chef through and through. At Trummer’s on Main, he spends as much time planting and harvesting as he does in the kitchen, all to more deeply explore the region’s cuisine. From that rooted starting point, Fausett serves his guests the full spectrum of restraint and theater. Smoky grape gazpacho is subtle summer in a bowl, and a bone marrow whiskey luge is pure manly decadence. Fausett’s food and personality are vibrant, playful, and sometimes larger than life, and as he cooks up a Virginia storm, he’s carving out a regional—and national—identity for himself and the region that defines his food.

Dishes that Clinched It:

  • Duck, Foie Gras, Popcorn, Red Onion Marmalade, Wild Rice, Port, and Balsamic Reduction
  • White Grape Gazpacho, Smoked Grape Jam, Black Garlic Chips, Raw onions, White Muscatel grapes, and Silver Queen Corn

The Red Hen is a modern-rustic Cathedral to classic Italian cuisine. It’s all due to the care and craftsmanship of Chef Mike Friedman, who’s making it cool to have grilled chicken on your menu again. Dining at The Red Hen is like being invited to a family feast, with Friedman at the head of the table, welcoming you with open arms, and feeding you fresh pastas till you have to sit back and loosen you belt. His creamy-dreamy sauces and slight of hand with spice are whole-heartedly soothing. The master of simplicity, Friedman is single-handedly making the case for straightforward, no-nonsense gastronomy.

Dishes that Clinched It:

  • Ricotta Cavatelli, Sugar Snap Peas, Smoked Bacon, Spring Onion, Pea Purée, Torn Basil, and Mascarpone
  • Mezze Rigatonni, Fennel Sausage Ragu, Pecorino Romano, and Parmigiano Reggiano

Chef Lee Gregory is celebrating the food of the South, taking the pedestrian and putting his charismatic spin on it. He cooks distinctly Virginia cuisine, starting with the basics—salt, pepper, acid, and some fat—and relying on execution, a modern sensibility, and an improvisational spirit to round out the rest. His food at The Roosevelt is refined, balanced, light, and clean Southern living. A feast à la Gregory is nothing short of extravagant decadence where pickled watermelon rinds goes swimming in beef tartare and blue fish reaches exalted heights. With his quiet ambition and focused vision, Gregory is getting to the heart of the culinary community in Richmond and influecing contemporary Southern cuisine beyond.

Dishes that Clinched It:

  • Wagyu Steak Tartare, Soft-cooked Egg, Squid Ink Bread Crumb, and Pickled Watermelon
  • Smoked Blue Fish, Raw Squash, Beets, Cucumber, and Tzatziki Dressing

At Parts & Labor, George Marsh is setting a new standard for charcuterie. And he’s doing it with soul, representing the often under-represented Mid-Atlantic, digging up traditions, and striving to define what Chesapeake cuisine means. His traditional hearth cooking and recipe resurrections (see: Lebanon bologna) reveal a deep belief in the interconnectivity of all things food. Beyond the thoughtfulness and intellectual pursuit of true regional cuisine, Marsh is also a good old-fashioned, badass butcher, breaking down animals for all of Chef Spike Gjerde’s Baltimore restaurants. He knows his way around a knife and a carcass and he’s not afraid to use them to change the way we see and eat meat.

Dishes that Clinched It:

At RANGE, Matthew McGhee lives and breathes flavor and, with the restaurant doing close to 400 covers on an average weekend, he’s bringing his passion for cuisine to the masses. McGhee’s deceivingly matter-of-fact food comes teeming with taste—every last morsel is deliberate and every ingredient has been studied and turned over in his mind until it submits to his ultimate plan. His polished yet mischievous approach to modern American cuisine tugs at joyful childhood memories—first, pulling you in with a hint of the familiar, then jolting with a burst of lively imagination. From his 7,000 square-foot kitchen, McGhee is setting the standard for contemporary national cuisine.

Dishes that Clinched It:

  • Octopus, Lentils, Sprouted Wheat Berries, and Pistachio
  • Chilled Garden Soup, Local Crab, Tequila, and Yuzu

Joe Palma’s pension for reinvention goes two-fold at Bourbon Steak. He’s taking his old-school French training, modern sensibility, and love affair with the South and packing it into a steakhouse menu. Meat is the main character at Bourbon Steak, but Palma has created an exemplary and intriguing supporting cast. He brings simple luxury to everything he does, adding furikake and shoyu to fluke and smoking beurre blanc. His vivid plates bring a laser-like focus to a single ingredient and let every other element bow to its glory. And his deep-rooted belief in simplicity reveals a restraint that’s transforming the little slice of Americana known as the steakhouse.

Dishes That Clinched It:

  • Fluke Crudo, Furikake, Golden Beets, Herb Jus, Baby Turnips, and White Shoyu
  • Sweet Pea Agnolotti, Smoked Beurre Blanc, Corn, Chanterelles, and Baby Lettuce

Richmond Chefs Phillip Perrow and Caleb Shriver don’t cook Southern food. They are cooking in the South and use Southern ingredients for experimentation and inspiration, but their cuisine is born of their brain-trust and raised on spices that span the global pantry. The duo’s process begins with an idea—pine, wine, flowers—and develops through a back and forth that ends with them injecting duck liver mousse into gooseberries. At the end of it all, they’re running a good, honest restaurant that serves fine food—all from the tight confines of their tight Dutch & Company kitchen. But those confines are tight enough to hold in the influence of two chefs who are at the forefront of the Virginia culinary scene.

Dishes that Clinched It:

  • Perfect Egg: Rye Crusted Soft-Boiled Egg, Cured Salmon, Herbs, Sprouted Quinoa, Braised Red Cabbage, and Cumin Yogurt
  • Lamb Merguez, Roasted Turnips, Turnip Greens, Pickled Grapes, Mustard Seeds, Warm Yogurt Sauce, and Sub Rosa Bread

The flavor doesn’t stop at VOLT. Because Graeme Ritchie doesn’t stop. For Ritchie, classic dishes are an invitation to jump into the deep-end and fashion a whole new world on his plates. He obsesses over details. A dish of sourdough, tomatoes, ricotta, capers, and olives is simple on the surface. It’s flavors are clear and resonant, but it belies the technical intricacies grafted onto each ingredient. Tweezer food gets redeemed, beatified, in his kitchen. Ritchie also has a natural penchant for taking concepts, as varied as Maryland summers or Japanese charcoal, and translating them for his diners. Ritchie’s imagination is boundless, and the fruit of no-holds-barred thinking (and constant refining) is one of the most inspiring dining experiences in Maryland.

Dishes that Clinched It:

  • White Asparagus, Coconut Milk, Our Bay, Dashi, and Sea Urchin
  • Wagyu Beef Short, Rib Malt, Salsify, and Binchotan Hardwood

Aaron Silverman has guts. At Rose’s Luxury, his personal playground and outlet for his quirky imagination, he cooks that way, too. Silverman is the master of creating combinations others would not dare to dream. But it’s safe to say he’s cooking comfort food—just the type that simultaneously shocks and delights you. Strawberries find their way into pasta sauce and popcorn becomes soup. For all its wild gusto and cuisine-crossing maneuvering, the food at Rose’s emanates from a humbleness that comes straight from Silverman’s core. His mantra, “everything done perfectly imperfect,” represents the voice of a chef that transcends the confines of the nation’s capital.

Dishes That Clinched It:

  • Pork Sausage, Habanero-Lychee Salad, Whipped Coconut Milk, and Garlic Chips
  • Strawberry-Tomato Pasta, Ricotta, Black Pepper, Red Onion, and Chile Flakes

Johnny Spero is the ultimate scientist-chef. He’s at the helm of culinary innovation and all that’s avant-garde at minibar. Knowing when to push boundaries and when to push them further, his post-modern style expands minds course by course, delighting and thrilling as you go down the rabbit hole. With his funky, playful, and sophisticated food, Spero takes you by the taste buds on an epicurean journey through his imagination, where anticipation is high and revelation is guaranteed. With his deep-rooted belief in clean, uncomplicated flavors, Spero is defining what modern cuisine is in America.

Dishes that Clinched It:

  • Pesto-stuffed Fusilli Pasta, 63 Egg, Truffles, Parmesan, and Pine Nuts
  • Lamb, Whey-compressed Cucumbers, Whey Sauce, Milk Skin and Dill and Cucumber Blooms

Mike Isabella is a chef’s chef. He knows how to give back as good as he gets. With a mini restaurant empire thriving in D.C, and stretching all the way to Jersey, Isabella is immersing himself in his larger community, and he’s doing it with a whole lot of gusto. From CARE and Share our Strength, to St. Jude's and Autism Speaks, Isabella is not only pushing himself to give, but is using his close relationships with the chef community to get more people involved in causes they believe in. And his industry take-over nights at Graffiato offer chefs a platform to share their ideas with the broader community. Whether as a member of the American Chef Corps or over a beer with his buds, Isabella is creating community through good food and good works.

Nathan Anda was born to cure meats, and his Red Apron Butchery is alive with the piquant scent of fermentation. Anda’s energy is kinetic. He enthusiastically nerds out researching the history of his trade, teasing rare finds out of temperature-controlled chests and (almost) ancient books. Anda’s approach is rooted in Italian charcuterie, but his style is an all-American mash-up. He bends tradition (and expectations) through endless experimentation and curiosity, using ingredients like Asian chiles and Fernet Branca to enliven his program. Anda is pushing butcher-shop boundaries, and with three outlets (and counting), he’s making Red Apron home base for artisan charcuterie in the region.

Dishes that Clinched It:

Giane Cavaliere is the one-woman wonder behind the pastry at Rogue 24. She approaches her desserts much like Monet and his water lilies—with thoughtful restraint, single-mindedness, and a vision. There are no rules in her personal atelier. Pop-rocks lay hidden under sage moss. Black sesame finds its way into wispy cake. Begonia flowers complete a study in strawberries. Textures blend seamlessly: crunchy almonds blur into balmy peppercorn foam and airy mousse. For all her outward serenity, a bite of her feminine, whimsically composed plates is a roaring ride for the senses. With her distinctive voice and just-do-it attitude, Cavaliere is well on her way to earning her rightful place among the American pastry greats.

Dishes That Clinched It:

  • Sour Cherries, Chocolate Textures, Cola Ganache, Pistachios, Sage Moss, and Pop Rocks
  • Black Sesame Chiffon, Coconut Ice, Yuzu Snow, Black Sesame Glaze, Yuzu Gel, Candied Sesame, and Snap Dragon Flowers

Sarah Malphrus is daring in her simplicity. From snack-pack puddings to PB&Js, Malphrus’s desserts are heartfelt distillations of our collective childhood memories. Her flavors are quintessentially American and her plates are comforting and straightforward. But don’t be fooled. Everything Malphrus does has been carefully considered. She breaks her ideas apart completely, studies each individual element, makes it the best possible version of itself, and expertly builds it all back together. With her rustic aesthetic and technical sophistication, Malphrus is out to define new American pastry, and she’s setting the bar high.

Dishes that Clinched It:

  • Buttermilk Sherbet, Oat Granola, Sorghum, and Fresh Peaches
  • Peach-Blueberry Cobbler, Sweet Biscuit, and Goat's Milk Ice Cream

On the tree-lined streets of Hampden, with its technicolored row-houses and funky shops, Roaster Jay Caragay is injecting new meaning into the song “Good Morning Baltimore.” At Spro, he’s roasting and brewing coffee that’s distinctive as the neighborhood itself. Among his nuanced selection, Caragay is selling coffee by vintage, aging green beans for seven months to seven years before roasting. Today, Caragay is creating his own rules, changing the parameters of what is possible, and handing you a cup of coffee that’s ahead of it’s time.

Brews that Clinched It:

  • Honey Macchiato: Espresso, Baltimore Honey, and Half and Half
  • Macchiato di Castagno: Espresso, Italian Chestnut Honey, and Half and Half

D.C. loves its beer, and 3 Stars Brewing Company is giving the city beer like they’ve never seen before. Dave Coleman and Mike McGarvey are brewing big, loud beers, packing a ton of flavor and complexity into every brew. And they whole-heartedly embrace their Odd Couple relationship as a center point of their business plan. Initially self funded, they took a DIY approach to brewing and produced 1,000 barrels this past year on a repurposed dairy system. They even run a homebrew store out of the brewery, supporting the community and harking back to where they started. With their focus on brewing American styles and their impressive barrel-aging program, Coleman and McGarvey are bringing serious style and much needed competition to the D.C. beer scene.

Beers that Cinched It:

  • Peppercorn Saison: Belgian Style Farmhouse Ale
  • Southern Belle: Imperial Brown Ale with Toasted Pecans

Evrim Dogu and Evin Dogu are creating bread culture where there is none: Richmond, Virginia. At their Sub Rosa Bakery, the Dogus select regional and heirloom grains, stone-mill them, and produce breads and pastries that actually taste like whole grain (Abruzzi Rye has the aroma of honey and pepper). Working to spread the delicious word, they collaborate with chefs, farmers, breeders, and historians to recreate a lost culture. Sub Rosa also serves as an education hub, hosting traveling bakers and stagiaires. With quiet reassurance and the courage of their convictions, the Dogus are changing the way Richmond and the country understand breads and baking.

Dishes that Clinched It:

  • Sea Salt-Rosemary Pide Flat Bread
  • Charred Collard, Purslane, Spring Greens, and Feta Tart

Benjamin Thompson has cooked in the refined kitchens of The French Laundry and at 1,600 feet underwater in the galleys of a submarine. Now, he’s in rural Arrington, Virginia, at the helm of The Rock Barn, where he has found his true calling in whole-hog butchery and all things cured. Thompson brings a chef’s mind to the ancient craft of charcuterie, and his precision and skills give him free rein to experiment—even within the strict rules that govern his USDA-certified shop. And his innovative Porkshare program is introducing the larger community to the glory (and value) of offcuts. Thompson proves that with vision, talent, and heart, you can cook and cure anywhere you want.

Dishes that Clinched It:

Julie Dalton makes wine an entryway to an adventure. For her, the intrigue of wine is its ability to be a unifier, encompassing and connecting subjects as far ranging as weather, religion, taxonomy, and botany. She’s all about the textures in a wine: if it’s “crunchy or it sizzles” then she’s putting it on the top of her list—and also sipping it on her nights off. Dalton is happiest on the floor, bringing her electric intensity and sharing her passion with her guests. She is determined to make wine as accessible as possible to as many people possible, and it’s through this determination that she’s creating a whole new wine culture in Maryland.

Pairings that Clinched It:

  • Chesapeake Bay Fluke Sashimi, Cucumber Ponzu, Sriracha Ice Cream, Pickled Onions, and Radishes paired with Cinsault Rosé, Château des Deux Rocs, Coteaux du Languedoc, France, 2013
  • Piedmont Ridge Bone Marrow “Oscar”, Mushroom Jam, Old Bay Chips, Hollandaise Whipped Cream, Royal Glasage, Jumbo Lump Crab Meat, and Garden Soil paired with Chardonnay, Blanc de Blancs, Diebolt-Vallois, Cramant, Champagne, France NV

If wine is the Internet, then Brent Kroll is Google. A tableside encounter with this sommelier can you leave you spinning, but will also leave you sipping a wine you won’t soon forget. Just when you think you know exactly what you crave, he’ll pull out a full-bodied red from Croatia or a heritage wine from Greece. Most importantly, Kroll knows that a good pairing highlights the food, but a great pairing highlights the wine. Not impressed with swanky, high-end selections, Kroll knows that a bigger price tag does not promise a better wine. Kroll’s impeccable taste and penchant for surprise have guaranteed him his due on the D.C. somm scene.

Pairings that Clinched It:

  • Berkshire Cotechino, Grilled Foraged Mushrooms, Sherry Vinegar, and Dippy Egg paired with Nerello Mascalese, Tescante Ghiaia Nera, Tasca D’Almerita, Sicilia IGT, Sicily, Italy, 2011
  • Crispy Soft Shell Crab, Shell Beans, Hothouse Tomato and Anchovy paired with Torbato, Terre Bianche, Sella & Mosca, Alghero, Sardinia, Italy, 2012

Julian Mayor is a classically trained chef, a veteran of restaurant management, a world traveler, and a lifelong student of wine. All these facets, plus Mayor’s quiet, confident manner, come together to create his mystique as the gentleman sommelier. Mayor believes that weight and texture are paramount in pairing, and brings these and other convictions to his wine list at Bourbon Steak, where the real stars are never what you’d expect. A search for the “nonexistent perfect pairing” is Mayor’s Holy Grail, and he continually seeks to push himself out of his comfort zone to find it, expanding the minds and palates of D.C.’s juice drinkers along the way.

Pairings that Clinched It:

  • Fluke Crudo, Furikake, Golden Beets, Herb Jus, Baby Turnips, and White Shoyu paired with Grüner Veltliner, Schloss Gobelsburg, Gobelsburger Steinsetz, Niederösterreich, Austria, 2011
  • Strawberry Gazpacho, Buttermilk Sorbet, Lemon Balm, Cucumber, and Pea Blossoms paired with Demi Sec Traditionelle, Margaine, Champagne, France, NV

Bryan Tetorakis is a self-proclaimed cheftender. He rejoices in a Keyser Söze-style of experimentation, mixing the usual suspects with the most advanced tools of the trade—a rotary evaporator, liquid nitrogen tank, and a vacuum sealer to name a few. Tetorakis spends his time compressing grapes with green Chartreuse and fermenting pineapple for months, all in search of the supremely balanced (and ballsy) cocktail. His technical arsenal comes from years spent in the savory kitchen, and he composes and “plates” his drinks with a mise-en-place that far exceeds the standard cherry, olive, and lime. With one foot behind the line and one behind the bar, Tetorakis gives credence to culinary cocktails like few bartenders before him.

Eating Greener: Tips and a Recipe from Aviva Goldfarb

Eating green is not just about consuming more spinach, peas, and lettuce. In her latest book, SOS! The Six O’Clock Scramble to the Rescue Earth-Friendly, Kid-Pleasing Dinners for Busy Families, renowned meal-planning expert Aviva Goldfarb takes her signature meal planning strategies a step further by advising families on how to also reduce their personal environmental impact through smart dinner-time choices.

Here are some quick tips from the book that everyone can follow to make dinnertime greener:

Eat seasonally. Eating fruits and vegetables that are in season not only tastes better and is smarter for the pocketbook, but it eliminates the carbon emissions caused by shipping foods thousands of miles. One of the most cost effective and environmentally friendly options is to support your local farmer’s market or Community Supported Agriculture program.

Eat organic – but only when it matters. We know that organic produce is better for your body and the earth, but since organic products can sometimes cost 50 to 100 percent more, families need to understand when it’s most important to choose organic. Refer to the Environmental Working Group’s list of the produce highest in pesticides. These items are worth the extra expense of buying organic to avoid ingesting those potentially harmful chemicals.

Eat more veggies and sustainable seafood. Incorporating more non-meat proteins such as beans, tofu, and eggs into recipes and eating sustainable seafood not only helps families do their part to preserve the planet’s resources, but it also is economical and healthy.

Eliminate food waste. According to the New York Times, a family of four will throw out an average of 24 pounds of fruits and vegetables per month, or by another estimate, 15 percent of their groceries. By planning a weekly menu, creating and sticking to a grocery list and making only one supermarket trip per week, families will greatly reduce food waste and spoilage.

Grow a garden. Even if it is only a small planter, take the time to plant a small garden. It is a sustainable source of food, is a fun activity for all ages and will save money on produce.

Reduce supermarket trips. Aim to shop at the supermarket only once per week. Less trips means less fuel burned, less money wasted and more precious time to enjoy with family

Buy in bulk. Buying in bulk reduces the amount of plastic packaging. Avoid buying individual “snack packs” and package the goods instead in reusable containers. Buy meat and cheese and freeze into individual or family serving sizes. And like many environmental strategies, buying in bulk is a great way to reduce the weekly grocery bill.

Reuse and recycle. Recycling and reusing is about more than just recycling newspapers and plastic bottles. Keep a stock of reusable canvas or nylon bags in the car at all times. Reuse extra plastic or paper shopping bags for other tasks. Pack lunches in reusable containers. Rinse and reuse or recycle aluminum foil, along with other cans, bottles and plastic containers.

Compost. Composting is one of the easiest things the average family can do to reduce their footprint and help the environment naturally. Turning everyday organic waste (like grass clippings, raked leaves, veggie peelings, and fruit rinds) into rich soil not only reduces the amount of garbage picked up curbside by fossil fuel-operated trucks (then dumped into landfills), but also creates 100-percent natural, organic fertilizer.

Mango and Black Bean Salad

(From The Six O’Clock Scramble to the Rescue Earth-Friendly, Kid-Pleasing Dinners for Busy Families)

Prep + Cook = 20 minutes + 20 minutes – 24 hours to chill (optional)

Serve with sliced avocados sprinkled with fresh lime juice and lightly salted.

3/4-1 cup quick-cooking brown rice (about 2 cups prepared)
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed, or 1 ¼ cup cooked black beans
1 – 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen mango, cut in 1/2-inch chunks
1/4 sweet yellow onion, such as Vidalia, finely diced (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup scallions, green parts only, or chives, finely chopped
1 lime, juice only (2 – 3 Tbsp.)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 tsp. salt, or more to taste
6 large Boston or butter lettuce leaves (optional)
6 whole wheat tortillas for serving (optional)

Cook the rice according to the package directions. Remove it from the heat immediately when it is done cooking. (If you want to serve the Mango and Black Bean salad immediately rather than allowing it to chill for a while, put the rice in the freezer for 5 minutes to cool it.)

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the beans, mango, onions, scallions, lime juice, and cilantro. Combine the rice with the ingredients in the large bowl, season it with the salt, and toss it gently. Chill it for at least 10 minutes (an hour or more is ideal) and up to 24 hours.

Serve the salad on its own or wrapped in large lettuce leaves or warm tortillas, or both, topped with the sliced avocado, if desired.

Scramble flavor booster: Stir in fresh cilantro and serve the salad with spicy salsa.

Tip: If you don’t like raw onions, sauté the onions first until they are lightly browned. If you have picky eaters, put some of the beans and rice aside before combining all the ingredients and let them have simple black bean and rice burritos with mango on the side.

Side dish suggestion: Peel and slice 2 – 4 avocados and sprinkle them with 1 – 4 tsp. fresh lime juice (about 1 tsp. per avocado) and 1/8 – 1/2 tsp. salt (about 1/8 tsp. per avocado) (or mash the avocados, lime juice and salt to make guacamole.)

Bluejacket Brewery: Washington D.C.'s Breakout Beer Star - Recipes

The great beer writer Michael Jackson died on this date, 30 August, in 2007, at the age of 65. During his career, Jackson, a journalist by trade, 'beer-hunted' the world, bringing its attention to Belgian beer, telling the birthing stories of America's beer renaissance, writing on malt whisky, and single-handedly promulgating the concept of 'beer styles' when there had been no such thing.

In the September 2013 issue of All About Beer Magazine, past editor Julie Johnson selected her ten favorite columns written by Jackson for that magazine.

But I digress

In that same 2013 issue, Stan Hieronymous —a writer on beer, excellent in his own right— wrote about the Michael Jackson Collection at the Oxford Brookes University library: an archive of 1,800 books, the contents of 29 filing cabinets, and countless handwritten notes.

Jackson's spoken voice was a Yorkshire tang delivered sotto voce, punctuated by an oft-repeated "but I digress," after many would sit entranced by yet another wonderful story.

What did Jackson's written voice sound like?

Here he is, from "A Twist on Tradition: The Right Beer, Dish by Dish," a 1983 Washington Post byline (his first for that paper) on choosing beer, not wine, for the American tradition of the Thanksgiving meal.

The most dismal Thanksgiving I can imagine is the one detailed by Dale Brown in his definitive work "American Cooking": "A glass of spring water stood at each place. No wine here, not ever - except perhaps when the men drank it in the barn." So what should it be next week: A little Seawright Spring Water, from the Blue Ridge Mountains? Or, to be moderately more chic, a glass of Perrier - while the men drink Zinfandel in the garage?

Water taken in moderation cannot hurt anybody, as Mark Twain observed. Those watery celebrants, however, were guilty of what Twain termed "intemperate temperance." There is an idea, whose time has surely gone, that, because they were Puritans, the Pilgrims did not drink alcohol. I have heard of poor souls in New England who, in glorification of this myth, affect to enjoy glasses of cranberry juice with their Thanksgiving meal.

To give thanks is a matter of joy should that be confined by excessive sobriety? Better still, Thanksgiving is an annual opportunity to refresh old friendships and make new ones, in which matter both the ritual and effect of a shared glass is the best tie.

Wine should be more than acceptable at this feast, for even the most ordinary meal without the grape is, proverbially, like a day denied sunshine. Unless, of course, you prefer beer.

Parkinson's Disease

Eight years ago, Michael Jackson died of complications related to Parkinson's Disease. Today, consider contributing to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, in Jackson's name. Or, at no cost, link your PC or Mac into [email protected], a distributed computing campaign run by Stanford University: a network of thousands of home computers working to find a cure to Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Huntington's, and many cancers.

Tonight, to the man who described himself as "sometimes the quiet, courteous, friendly Lithuanian Jewish Yorkshire Englishman," I say, in fractured Lithuanian: "Labanaktis, Ponas Jackson." (Good night, Mr. Jackson.)

Sours are quickly becoming the funky gateway into the world of craft beer

A trio of Allagash beers — Avance, Ganache and Little Brett — were just a few of the sour offerings at Denizens’ annual Make It Funky festival on Sept. 30 in Silver Spring. Sours are surging in popularity and turning nontraditional beer drinkers on to craft beer. (Salwan Georges/The Washington Post)

To a mainstream beer drinker, the list of featured beers at a recent Washington-area festival might sound like a truly weird beer geek’s Christmas list: a crisp, briny gose that gets its flavor from local oyster liquor — the liquid you slurp from the half shell — and is fermented with yeast cultured from the shells of oysters tart Berliner weisse-style beers brewed with blood orange, mango and passion fruit, or a mix of cucumber and mint, that taste more like juice bar treats and a sour Belgian-style brown ale with half the spices in your local supermarket, including star anise, ginger and grains of paradise.

Yet hundreds of people paid $60 to $75 each to wander around the Make It Funky Festival, an annual festival at Denizens’ Silver Spring brewery and beer garden, on Sept. 30, sampling almost 100 wild-fermented and sour beers from 36 breweries, including Free Will’s 2014 Kriek Sour, a wild ale with notes of sour cherry pie, and Allagash’s Hive 56, which spends 18 months in large oak vessels called foeders with Brettanomyces yeast and the brewery’s own honey, and tastes of fig, strawberry and a hint of vinegar.

The popularity of this event is a sign of the growing power of the sour, which remains a niche style in terms of overall beer consumption but is of increasing importance to brewers who are trying to differentiate themselves in a marketplace swamped by a continuing tide of IPA and golden ale. It's a way for American breweries to put their own stamp on venerable European styles and open their audience's minds to a new range of experiences. And as sours find more devotees and space in taprooms, the variety of styles is also helping to expand craft beer's consumer base beyond stereotypical hopheads: According to a 2016 Nielsen survey of craft beer consumers, women are 75 percent more likely to prefer sour ale than men.

Craft beer aficionados were out in force for the annual Make It Funky festival at Denizens, which highlighted dozens of tart, funky sour beers. (Salwan Georges/The Washington Post)

It’s the spectrum of flavors that appeals to beer fans such as Jen Murphy, 35, of Silver Spring, who attended her second Make It Funky festival with her husband, Brian, 34. Jen first fell in love with lambic beers from Belgium at a bar in New York City, but, she says, “I really like the diversity of beers at the festival: dark, light, fruity, barrel-aged.” Her favorites included Union’s Old Pro Tea Time Tangerine, a gose infused with tangerine, and Bluejacket’s Blue Highway, a blend of barrel-aged saison and wild-fermented ale that was aged on fresh Virginia blueberries. “I tend to order the fruity sours, but I really like any beer that hits you in the jaw on the first sip.”

“Jen got me into sour beers,” says Brian, whose beer of choice is a hoppy IPA. “To be honest, I was not a fan when I first tried them. . . . But I started trying more and more funky beers and started finding those I liked. I think the gateway to more of this style was Union’s Old Pro Gose or the Brett IPAs where you get the funkiness but some good aroma hops.” (His favorite, like hers, was the Old Pro.)

Sour beers are one of the most unlikely success stories in the current American craft scene. Traditional German and Belgian styles, such as gose and lambics, are centuries old. Their trademark sharp, acidic flavors come from the presence of lactic bacteria, including Lactobacillus and Pediococcus, during fermentation. Modern brewers approach the creation of these beers in different ways: Some allow wild yeast and bacteria to enter the wort, a process known as spontaneous fermentation, while others carefully control the yeasts that find their way into the brew. Some brewers make sour beers with these wild organisms only in the brew kettle, while others prefer to leave fermenting beer in tanks or wooden vessels for months while nature takes its course.

Union Craft Brewing’s Jenna Dutton was one of the industry representatives on hand at the annual Make It Funky Festival. (Salwan Georges/The Washington Post)

Hannah Gohde, a brewer at Free Will Brewing in Perkasie, Pa., remembers her first taste of oud bruin, a tart brown ale from Flanders, when she was in graduate school. “At first I was like, ‘I’m not so sure about this,’ and then I took another sip, and I was like, ‘Yeah, this is so cool.’ ”

When Free Will began brewing sours a few years ago, Gohde says, it was “from a selfish standpoint. It was hard to find a great sour that was available for a decent price on the market.” But more than that, she enjoys the process. “I like the creativity that goes into sours,” Gohde says. “It’s more of an art form than a science. You have all of these barrels and vessels and various styles of aging, and it’s up to you to come up with a blend that fits into your vision.”

Free Will now has “about 450 wooden vessels of various kinds” to age beer in a 17,000-square-foot cellar, ranging from traditional kriek lambics with cherries to key-lime sours aged in tequila barrels. Five times a year, Free Will hosts events dubbed Sour Sunday, putting at least 10 sours or wild ales on the brewery’s 15 draft lines. (The next one is Oct. 29.) “We get 600 or 700 people over the course of the day,” Gohde says, with some driving for three or four hours for samplings.

Denizens Brewing founders Jeff Ramirez and Julie Verratti are all about experimentation at their Silver Spring brewery, and sours are one of their favorite playgrounds. (Salwan Georges/The Washington Post)

Jun Rossetti admits she didn’t know what sour beer was when she first visited Denizens a few years ago. “I don’t keep up to industry trends,” the Silver Spring researcher says. But after she told a bartender about her love of vinegar and citrus flavors, he steered her toward a sour ale. Now she’s spreading the gospel: “My husband doesn’t like sour beer — he’s a hoppy IPA guy. He didn’t get why I like it. He came [to the Make It Funky festival] last year and tried some beers and said, ‘I get it now.’ ”

One barrier to entry might be the terminology: “Sour” is not always a positive descriptor for beverages, outside of certain cocktails. And so many different styles now fall under the umbrella of sour that it’s hard to know what’s meant without context: A tart gose, made refreshing by the addition of coriander and sea salt? A lemony, face-puckering Berliner weisse? The bright, acidic funk of a traditional gueuze? The sweet, woody tartness of barrel-aged blond Belgian ale? Or something else entirely?

“I think it’s a challenge with all the terms,” says Allagash brewmaster Jason Perkins. The Maine brewery has made some of the more interesting wild ales in the United States and was the first on this side of the Atlantic to use a large, open pan called a coolship to brew tart, complex Belgian-style ales through spontaneous fermentation. “I think it’s a confusing thing for the consumer. But I wouldn’t want to tell a brewer, ‘If you want to call it this, it has to go into one of these boxes.’ That goes against craft brewing, frankly.”

At the same time, “I don’t love the term ‘sour beer,’ ” Perkins says. For some beers, especially those with what he perceives as “more nuanced” acidity, “to say, ‘That’s a sour beer,’ it doesn’t really describe that beer, it doesn’t do that beer justice.”

Barrels are on display at Denizens during the Make It Funky festival. (Salwan Georges/The Washington Post)

Whatever you call them, supermarket sales of sour beers tripled between 2015 and 2016, according to market research firm IRI, and are up an additional 9 percent through August, says Bart Watson, the economist for the Brewers Association trade group. He thinks that is probably underselling the style’s popularity because many sours are still most popular in brewery taprooms, and others are counted in overall sales numbers in different categories: A summer-only gose might be counted as a seasonal rather than a sour, for instance.

Still, some larger breweries have found success with more sour styles: Sierra Nevada’s Otra Vez Gose was the fourth-best selling new craft beer brand in supermarkets in 2016, according to IRI, and New Belgium’s new Wood Cellar Reserve series of sour and wild ales has been gaining buzz in beer circles.

Sours are still a niche, Watson says, “but a fast-growing style and one that a lot of brewers think is going to be important in the future.”

Melissa Reitkopp of Silver Spring got into beer by traveling to breweries across the country with her husband, Jeff Peters. She started drinking Belgian ales and then moved into Flanders red ales — “the more sophisticated ones hit your tongue in three or four different places,” she explains. Reitkopp and her husband attended their second Make It Funky this year, and she wasn’t surprised that the festival was more crowded. “People are getting more adventurous,” she says. “I think sours bring in a segment of the population who aren’t big beer fans. For friends who don’t drink beer, sours are an interesting way to get people into beer.”

Your Best October

October is our favorite month because of our Bentzen Ball Comedy Festival and Halloween. The funniest, most charming people come to D.C. to hang out with us and a few days later it’s socially acceptable to dress as ghouls and goblins. This year’s Bentzen Ball is our most popular yet and it hasn’t even happened. All three Jonathan Van Ness shows are sold-out, one Amanda Seales show is sold out and the other is about to sell out, one Handmaid’s Tale: The Musical show is sold out and the other is about to sell out and closing night with Tig Notaro is sold out. We’re bringing that up because you may want to get those tickets sooner rather than later so your Halloween isn’t ruined when you can’t get Bentzen Ball tickets. So, yeah, October is great. And unlike the last few Octobers, this October features a new Robyn record. New Robyn record! October!

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Your Best Months of 2018 are presented in partnership with our friends and partners at Hilton

The DMV’s most mysterious museum has been busy. Located on 230 acres in the middle of a neighborhood packed with mansions in Potomac, Maryland, Glenstone has been working on their dramatic expansion since 2013. The new gallery space will add 50,000 square feet of pure art, making it one of the largest private museums in the country. And did we mention it was 100% free? Sure, getting out to Potomac is a chore, but Glenstone is unlike any museum experience we’ve ever had. Their reservation system might sound bougie, but it keeps the crowds down and allows them to not have a single station or line throughout the space. If you still have flashbacks from the line nightmare that was Kusama, Glenstone is here to be your salve. -Kaylee Dugan

I don’t know why we’re still telling you to go to Artechouse, because by this point you should know what to do. When a new Artechouse exhibition opens up, you go. It’s that simple. You know there’s going to be a groundbreaking blend between science and art. You go because they’re going to do basic things like motion capture and VR the right way. You go because there’s nothing in the city like it. You just go. New Nature, their upcoming exhibition, throws the lush weirdness of plant and animal life into the mix, transforming the black box museum space into an organic sci-fi fever dream. You know what to do. -Kaylee Dugan

If Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors was the most talked about/Instagrammed art exhibit of 2017, OPUS is a strong contender for 2018’s. Building upon the first edition, also held at Merriweather, this year’s must-see installation promises to be bigger and more impressive with its interactive, immersive and large scale multi-sensory experiential art. What excites me the most about it is the potential for deep insight and self exploration that is posed by the gap between the art and its setting: the serene wooded surroundings clashing with the evidently artificial installations. It is cognitive dissonance with an immediate payoff, sending your pleasure receptors into overdrive. -Jose Lopez-Sanchez

One of the more overlooked print styles of the Renaissance period, chiaroscuro woodcuts, which involves printing an image from two or more woodblocks inked in different hues, are technical marvels. The astonishing craft of chiaroscuro woodcuts produced by revolutionary printmakers of the day (Ugo da Carpi, Antonio da Trento, and Andrea Andreani to name a few) is still baffling and serve as the stylistic precursors of some of the greatest painters in history. The National Gallery’s exhibit is a carryover of the chiaroscuro woodcut exhibit first displayed at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in September, which was the first major presentation of the subject in the United States. As someone who loves the strong contrasts of light and dark in the artwork of Caravaggio, this is a must-see exhibit. For everyone else, this exhibit serves as requisite experience in understanding the seismic evolution of art in 16th and 17th Century Italy. -Ruben Gzirian

The Greatest Love Story Ever Told: An Oral History by Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally available October 2

Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally have really embraced the whole “super horny married couple” vibe that they established during their run as a heated, on-and-off couple on Parks & Recreation, with The Greatest Love Story Ever Told: An Oral History. The book is a series of conversations with the pair detailing the wild, passionate series of events that brought them together, with plenty of showbiz-type anecdotes and words of wisdom to boot. -Matt Byrne

Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami available in English October 9

What, you’re not going to read the new Murakami? It’s a new Murakami! It’s called Killing Commendatore and it’s, as is to be expected from the beloved Japanese author, a vibey, thoughtful tale of a quiet, creative type who gets all wrapped up in some sort of light magical realism. -Matt Byrne

From Crook to Cook: Platinum Recipes from Tha Boss Dogg’s Kitchen by Snoop Dogg available October 23

Snoop Dogg wrote a cookbook? Sure! From Crook to Cook: Platinum Recipes from Tha Boss Dogg’s Kitchen by Snoop Dogg features primarily straightforward, easy-to-make recipes, because like, think about who’s gonna pick this thing up, you know? -Matt Byrne

I Might Regret This: Essays, Drawings, Vulnerabilities, and Other Stuff by Abbi Jacobson available October 30

Broad City co-creator and star Abbi Jacobson’s new collection of personal essays, is a great look into the wild stories and lessons learned during her unlikely rise to the top of the TV comedy world. Grab a copy for yourself and another one to hold onto until the holidays, it’ll make a great gift for the coolest person on your list. -Matt Byrne

Kick off the four most magical nights of the year with your good friend / person you want to be when you grow up, Phoebe Robinson. She’s bringing her unbelievably funny / sad / so many other emotions I can’t even get into without making this all about my personal reading of her book, which is perfectly titled Everything’s Trash, But It’s Okay. If you want to know Phoebe’s feelings about intersectional feminism, the garbage fire that is dating in 2018 or about the secret trash person we all have inside, look no further. -Kaylee Dugan

This show is 100% gauranteed to make you a better person. It’ll make you smarter, prettier and more capable. Your boss will give you a raise. Your family will recognize your accomplishments. Your romantic partner will finally do that chore they promised they would do. The combination of Butea, Carlos, Notaro and Wang is unstoppable. If they can’t bring light to your life, who can? -Kaylee Dugan

But did you also know Aslin makes a mean lager? It’s true. The Herndon (and soon-to-be-Alexandria) operation has a German brewhouse, and the brewers have used it crank out some bottom-fermented gems like the rotating-hop pilsner Anthem (which made a massive leap forward at the beginning of the year), an exceptional Helles called Much Ado, and the recently released Vienna Lager Stating the Obvious. (ISO ISO ISO). Aslin has haze bros Googling “triple decoction,” and that’s amazing.

I am assuming that Aslin’s next lager will be a Festbier, because next weekend the brewery will host a four-day Oktoberfest celebration of “traditional German live music, food, and of course beer.” They also promise “multiple lagers that were brewed using time-honored Bavarian techniques in addition to some Aslin fan favorites.” (Alexa, is Bavarian a type of hop. )

Unlike the September’s #exclusive Aslin birthday party featuring #rare beer, this “family friendly event” is open to the public. No tickets needed! No teku glasses to covet then bitch about! Sorry not sorry! -Phil Runco

In brewing nomenclature, “first runnings” refers to the heavy, concentrated wort extracted from the mash, prior to rinsing the grain with more water (or “sparging”) to wash out the residual sugars.

So, the first runnings is the extra rich sugar water. It’s the good stuff. When a brewery is making a decadent imperial stout, it will often only use the first runnings. Extra H2O need not apply. (See: DC Brau’s The Wise & The Lovely.)

First Runnings is also the name of a new interview series at the Heurich House, hosted by Phil Runco. Wait… that’s me! What a twist!

The concept is pretty simple: First Runnings will consist of conversations with the area’s very best breweries in the intimate, historic space (that was once home to the area’s most distinguished brewer). I’m going to ask deep, hard-hitting questions, and I won’t be satisfied until there are tears. Obviously, we’ll have beers from those breweries, and you’ll have time to tour the castle whilst sipping on one.

The Heurich House will kick off the series on October 11 with (logically) Ocelot Brewing, one of the East Coast’s finest beer operations. We’ll cover the road to Ocelot, discuss the brewery’s unusual business model (and why it worked), unpack the idea of the “Ocelot IPA” (and how their approach to style has changed), and explore Widman’s general thoughts on the beer industry in 2018. Or that’s the plan. I may just ask him Wilco trivia. -Phil Runco

In 2018, DC’s biggest and best craft beer festival gets… bigger and better? Is that even possible. Yes, it would appear so.

For starters, Snallygaster – or “Snally,” as the kids say – is now an October event. Do you know what one downside of the last few Sballygasters was? Trying to enjoy #rare beer whilst your face melted off under the the unforgiving sun. You know what’s better? Mid-October. Mid-October is my time to shine. Puffy vest, not sweaty jeans, cold beer, can’t lose.

Another change: Once the lonely child of Navy Yard, Snallygaster is now being held downtown, on Pennsylvania Avenue between 3rd and 6th NW. So, it’s basically across from the Newseum, which makes it easier to Uber/Lyft/Metro to for everyone who doesn’t live in Navy Yard. Per a press release, the new location will allow for “far more seating, shaded areas, and restrooms.” I DON’T NEED SHADED AREAS, IT’S MID-OCTOBER, LET ME PRAISE RA IN ALL OF HIS AUTUMNAL GLORY. (Here for the extra bathrooms, though.)

As for the beer part of the equation? Well, you’re likely familiar with the drill: 350+ beers personally selected by Neighborhood Restaurant Group #influencer, made man, and beer commander Greg Engert. They’re good beers, Brent.

Last year, I had the distinct pleasure of helping to rank all 399 offerings with my friends at DC Beer. This year brings us the additions of [extreme nasally James Murphy “Losing My Edge” voice]: Monkish, Bellwoods, Omnipollo, Red Dragon. The Alchemist and Magnify. Black Narrows Brewing. The! Rare! Barrel! (And so on.)

$40 gets you in at 1:30 (plus some drink tickets). $65 get you at noon (plus more tickets) (plus the sight of grown men sprinting for barrel-aged stout). -Phil Runco

Studio Ghibli is perhaps the best known animation studio in the world behind Disney. It has been making beloved movies featuring memorable lead characters, gorgeous graphics, and surprisingly deep and mature storylines since it opened in 1985. Led for most of its existence by co-founder and principal director Hayao Miyazaki, the Tokyo-based studio is responsible for some of the most technically ambitious animated films – and characters beloved by children and adults alike. Although it’s biggest hit remains 2001’s Spirited Away, the movie that really put them on the global map was 1988’s My Neighbor Totoro. In celebration of the film’s 30th Anniversary, Studio Ghibli is screening dubbed and subtitled versions of the cult classic around the United States, on September 30, October 1, and 3. If you can’t make it, keep an eye out for the return of Studio Ghibli Festival in the Spring of 2019 – another opportunity to catch this movie, as well as the rest of their catalogue. -Jose Lopez-Sanchez

The Kindergarten Teacher available on Netflix October 12

Maggie Gyllenhaal stars in the extremely creepy looking Netflix exclusive The Kindergarten Teacher, an adaptation of a 2014 Israeli film. Gyllenhaal plays (guess what?) a Kindergarten teacher who becomes troublingly obsessed with one of her students, a gifted child with a knack for poetry. The film got tons of buzz following its Sundance premiere earlier this year, with the film’s director, Sara Colangelo, taking home the award for Best Director in the Dramatic competition. -Matt Byrne

Beautiful Boy in theaters October 12

Adapted from a pair of memoirs written from the perspectives of a son and his father, as the former grapples with a methamphetamine addiction, Beautiful Boy is not going to be an easy watch. Steve Carell and Timothee Chalamet star as David and Nic Sheff, in this brutal meditation on addiction and recovery. -Matt Byrne

Halloween in theaters October 19

Early speculation implied that the latest entry into the Halloween franchise, scripted by Eastbound and Down’s David Gordon Green and Danny McBride, would lean into the campy side of this storied series, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. Eschewing decades of canon, the film acts as a direct sequel to the original Halloween and embraces the ominous, dread-soaked tone that spawned countless imitators. -Matt Byrne

Can You Ever Forgive Me? in theaters October 19

I feel like I’ve been seeing the trailer for Can You Ever Forgive Me? for a year now, and I get frustrated every time. It seemingly gives away the entire arc of a fairly plot-heavy film in an overeager attempt to get viewers invested in what is an inherently super compelling story, starring Melissa McCarthy as a failed author who finds success forging letters from famous writers. Still gonna see it, even though I feel like I’ve seen the whole thing already! -Matt Byrne

Mid90s in theaters October 19

Who would have thought Jonah Hill’s directorial debut would be a fairly earnest coming of age film about California skate rats? Mid90s is exactly that though and early reviews have been kind! A24, ya did it again. -Matt Byrne

Suspiria in theaters October 26

I’m fully aware that it comes across as nothing short of blasphemous to remake one of the best (and most beautiful) horror films of all time, but Suspiria 2018 (from what I’ve heard) will make a concerted effort to pay homage to the OG masterpiece without trying to be a modern-day copycat. That’s not to say I’m going to go into the theater with overly-high expectations, but I do think we could all be very pleasantly surprised, and I will 100% give Guadagnino the benefit of the doubt on this one. If nothing else, the trailer looks pretty incredible, and let’s face it – you can never have too many sp00ps in October. -Megan Burns

Halloween season is finally upon us! That means–if you’re not too busy pulling your perfect costume together–it’s time to get spooked. Markoff’s Haunted Forest is more than your typical haunted house or maze. As the name suggests, it’s quite literally an entire forest of creep. You can choose between two trails through the forest and a whole town in a clearing. Even if you don’t think you scare easily, theres plenty to do. The forest is filled with entertainment from performances like fire twirling to classic carnival games to adventurous adrenaline rushes including a zip line and ‘death jump.’ -Afriti Bankwalla

Crafty Bastards celebrates its 15th year in the District. The show has moved around a bit over the years, taking on Yards Park this year. Crafty Bastards is one of the best craft shows out there, and it’s the place to go for completely unique, handmade arts. I’ve always had an amazing time snooping around the booths at Crafty Bastards for delightfully strange goodies. Sure you’ll find your typical prints and knits and boxes, but you’ll also meet some wonderful weirdos there. There’s soaps designed to look like brass knuckles and packets of ramen, bloody headless deer plushies (my personal favorite), and eerie stained glass puppets of girls with two heads or Edgar Allen Poe. Maybe you’ll even be able to get some holiday shopping out of the way. -Afriti Bankwalla

Anyone who’s talked to me at all this summer knows how excited I am for Troye Sivan’s Bloom tour. As soon as he announced that Kim Petras would be joining him on tour, I have maintained that this will be the pop concert of 2018. Troye Sivan’s second studio album, Bloom, is tender and unafraid. He plays with new and old conventions of the genre in all the right ways󈞼’s and synth has their moment, but so does Ariana Grande. Ironically, I’m even more excited for Sivan’s opener, Kim Petras. The German star just seems to get pop music. Always carefree and bubbly Petras sings about boys, shopping, and partying. It’s exactly the kind of music you want to jam out to alone in your bedroom. And on your morning commute. And on in the shower. And at a house party. And at a club. Literally everywhere: She’s totally infectious and totally dance worthy. Together, this duo are the prince and princess of pop, and you don’t want to miss seeing royalty. -Afriti Bankwalla

Lykke Li has been on my bucket list of “artists to see live” since I missed her performance in Washington, D.C. in 2014. Lykke Li’s nebulous fusion of vocal torment elevated by a soundscape that feels like a drum machine being played in the back corner of dimly lit monastery has been entrancing since she released 2008’s Youth Novels. The four-year gap between her most recent album, 2018’s so sad so sexy, and 2014’s I Never Learn, has only added to the shadow of mystery that has always been part of her appeal songs like “deep end” and “sex money feelings die” feel like evolutions of a formula that keep Lykke Li a mainstream outlier. To say that Lykke Li is back is kind of inaccurate her resonance in indie-pop has always lingered in the subconscious of those listeners who hang on her every word. -Ruben Gzirian

Adrianne Lenker abysskiss available October 5

Adrianne Lenker, songwriter/frontperson for the extremely great indie folk band Big Thief, is releasing abysskiss, her first release under her own name in four years, via her longtime label Saddle Creek. The album’s a collection of hushed, delicate tracks that showcase her knack for capturing heartbreaking details and vivid imagery into relatively straightforward phrasing. -Matt Byrne

Cat Power Wanderer available October 5

I’ll never not be excited for a new Cat Power album. It’s been a while since her last one, 2012’s surprisingly polished Sun, and all signs are pointing to it being well worth the wait. If “Woman,” a dusky pre-releases single, is the Lana Del Rey collaboration that you never knew you needed, is any indicator, Wanderer is gonna be a killer. -Matt Byrne

Echo & The Bunnymen The Stars, The Oceans & The Moon available October 5

Legendary post punk band Echo & The Bunnymen have a new album coming out, which is wild. While their best days are well behind them (how are you gonna top Ocean Rain almost 35 years after it came out?), the Bunnymen’s surprisingly rigorous tour schedule has me intrigued as to what they have to offer. Put me down as “cautiously optimistic” for The Stars, The Oceans & The Moon. -Matt Byrne

Swearin’ Fall into the Sun available October 5

Swearin’ is responsible for one of my favorite albums of the decade, their self-titled debut LP from 2012, a sharp, concise distillation of 90’s pop punk/indie/emo stuff that blows nearly everything else in that category out of the water. Fall into the Sun finds the band regrouping after breaking up in 2015, and, thankfully, they sound great. I’m glad they’re back! -Matt Byrne

Lineup shake ups can’t keep one of D.C.’s best music festivals down. Located at Union Market, All Things Go celebrates the convergence of two of our favorite things, killer tunes and tasty food. This year includes an especially exciting lineup, including the queen of pop (you know it’s true) Carly Rae Jepson, spooky songstress Billie Eilish, hometown hero Maggie Rogers, plus Betty Who, Misterwives, Cautious Clay and FootsXColes. Foodwise, you can expect slices from Timber Pizza, BBQ from Rocklands, burgers from Shake Shack. If the two days of stacked music isn’t enough from you, they’re even taking over Eaton DC on Friday to host a series of conversations about women in music and business. -Kaylee Dugan

When you search Doja Cat in Spotify, you’re immediately recommended a playlist called “Anti-Pop.” That’s funny because when you listen to Doja Cat, she’s anything but anti-pop in 2018. In fact, she is the shining example of what pop music is in the world of Pitchfork and The Fader. Doja Cat’s very real appeal is that she sort of doesn’t really care about what is acceptable and what works (check out her single “MOOO!” if you want to disagree). That nonchalant anything-goes attitude drives treble-heavy raunchy songs like “Go Down” and “Candy,” all the while confidently reclaiming female sexuality with the sort of bluster fitting for a moment in time when the term “power is female” is no longer an empty slogan. -Ruben Gzirian

So there is this subset of hip-hop I just discovered in the 88rising tour which is coming to The Theater at MGM National Harbor. It features 7 Asian hip-hop artists (Rich Brian, Joji, Higher Brothers, KOHH, NIKI, AUGUST 08, and Don Krez) who I’ve never heard of because I’m old but upon listening to I was ALL IN IMMEDIATELY. This is going to be a wildly entertaining show and on the way out you can hit up those slot machines. It’s a win-win situation unless you lost at slots then it’s a win-lose situation. -Jenn Tisdale

For all the talents Kali Uchis exudes on her debut album, 2018’s Isolation, the most apparent is how nimble her creative vision is. Through 15 tracks, Uchis confidently jumps from musical influence to musical influence, leaving in her wake a sonic narrative of reggae, funk, and different interpretations of modern pop. Her voice majestically expands and contorts through each production style, creating a reassured artistic identity that hints at something greater in the future. When I first played Isolation for a group of friends, I was struck by how immediate the comparisons to Jorja Smith were. To a certain extent that comparison is true, but Uchis lives in her own world, one unconstrained by expectation and what a female vocalist is meant to do in 2018. -Ruben Gzirian

Kurt Vile Bottle It In available October 12

Restless, prolific troubadour Kurt Vile has become a reliable source of mellow, contemplative but not too serious folk rock albums. His latest, Bottle It In, is another LP full of sprawling, discursive tracks full of textural guitar-driven tangents and laid-back riffage. -Matt Byrne

Love her or hate her, there’s no denying that Trixie Mattel is a superstar. She holds a place in the Drag Race Hall of Fame after winning All Stars 3, hosts her own Viceland TV show, and has two country albums. That’s right: Trixie Mattel is drag queen who sings country music. Not just country music, but good country music with wide appeal. It’s really more of a blend of country, bluegrass, and folk, but that only makes her sound more all the more compelling. I’ve even been able to bond with my mother–who has no interest in drag, but does love bluegrass–over Trixie’s heartfelt music. But if you think her ‘Now With Moving Parts’ tour is just another concert, you’d be wrong. Trixie’s still a queen, and a comedy queen at that, so in addition to live performances of her own hits, she’ll be lip-synching and cracking jokes throughout the night. -Afriti Bankwalla

Robyn Honey available October 26

Do I really even need to write words of justification here? Honey is Robyn’s eighth studio album, and the first one she’s put out since 2010. Let’s just take a minute to do the math on that one. Both tracks released so far (“Missing U” and title-track “Honey”) are FLAWLESS, and I cannot wait (like ACTUALLY starved of Robyn oxygen at the moment tbh) for the rest to drop this month. I can’t imagine it’s gonna be anything but all treats and no tricks, so HURRY UP AND GET HERE, 10.26! -Megan Burns

Julia Holter Aviary available October 26

Julia Holter describes Aviary, her forthcoming record, as an exploration of “the cacophony of the mind in a melting world.” If it’s anything like Have You In My Wilderness, her previous album, we can expect a complex-yet-accessible listen, which reveals the complex layers of sonic experimentation and knotty songwriting quirks upon repeat visits. -Matt Byrne

It’s Halloween, which means it’s time for the annual Halloween Cover Band Benefit show at The Pinch. Local musicians let their proverbial hair down to cover the sort of bands that absolutely deserve the cover set treatment, but rarely get it. This year will feature sets from Joy Division and The Kinks covers bands, but the absolute highlight will be Gnarly Rae Jepsen. Expect their version of “Call Me Maybe” to be extra spooky. -Alan Zilberman

When I heard that Chief Keef was only celebrating his 23rd birthday this past August my mind was blown. For all the influence Chief Keef has had on hip hop, you’d think he was 45-years-old and complaining how no one “has bars” anymore. Bolstered by production that can only be described as quintessentially “Chicagoan,” Keef’s career (his breakout hit “I Don’t Like” was released when he was 16-years-old) has gone through peaks and valleys of unconstructed releases driven more so by laissez-faire emotion than actual direction. With 2017’s Dedication, Keef finally released an album that hinted at a new chapter in his career relying less on bluster and more sequestered vulnerability. Keef’s influence is self-evident if you spend 5 minutes on SoundCloud listening to the next “great” face-tattooed rapper it’s great to know that Keef is moving beyond that calling card with the unstoppable force of a weathered 23-year-old veteran. -Ruben Gzirian

If you want to celebrate some of your favorite local business and go to an amazing party all in the same night, you’re in luck. Think Local First is throwing their annual Local First Awards at The Showroom and it’s hands down the most carefree and cheerful event of the year. The art installations, the locally sourced drinks / food and Makers Market are pretty fun on their own, but watching our favorite local establishments get recognized for their success and innovation infuses it all with an unbeatable joy. -Kaylee Dugan

Big Mouth season 2 available Netflix October 5

If you haven’t seen Big Mouth yet, you’re missing out. I mean, Nick Kroll, John Mulaney, Jason Mantzoukas, Jenny Slate, Fred Armisen, Jordan Peele, and Maya Rudolph in one adult cartoon about puberty? This stacked cast returns to Netflix October 5 for a second season of slightly-uncomfortable-yet-incredibly-apt jokes about teenage sexuality. I know I can’t wait to catch up with that ingenious Hormone Monster…as soon as I finish the latest season of BoJack, that is. -Afriti Bankwalla

Dancing Queen available on Netflix October 5

Alyssa Edwards is finally getting her own show. The queen has been death dropping and tongue popping her way into the hearts of drag fans everywhere since 2013 when she appeared on RuPaul’s Drag Race season 5. Since then, Edwards has starred in her webseries, Alyssa’s Secret started her own dance studio, Beyond Belief danced with Miley Cyrus at the VMAs mothered a successful drag family and given us the best “lip-synch for your life” performance (“Shut Up and Drive”) on RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 2. After all of this, she now has her own Netflix docu-series about her life balancing a busy life with work as a professional dancer and drag queen. If Alyssa’s personality is anything to go by, the show will be hilarious and high energy with lots of wig-snatching dance moments and gag-worthy drama. -Afriti Bankwalla

Flight of the Conchords: Live at the London Apollo premieres on HBO October 6

After several (relatively) quiet years, the Flight of the Conchords are back, with a new special, Live at the London Apollo, coming to HBO. The special features the duo performing a mix of brand new songs and old favorites, plus plenty of their deadpan between-song banter. Love the damn Conchords, baby! -Matt Byrne

Camping premieres on HBO October 14

Jennifer Garner and David Tennant star in Camping, a remake of the acclaimed British series of the same name for HBO. Produced by Girls’ Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner, the series follows a married couple as they join their family on a camping weekend. Things, as is to be expected, don’t go as planned! -Matt Byrne

Harvey Birdman, Attorney General premieres on Adult Swim October 14

The original voice cast of the beloved OG Adult Swim series Harvey Birdman returns for a new one-off half hour special, Harvey Birdman, Attorney General. We revisit the titular Birdman, voiced by Gary Cole, who is on deck to become the country’s next Attorney General. The show’s absurdist tone and rapid-fire pacing was hugely influential on the Adult Swim family of shows, and it’s nice to see them bringing it back for one last go-around. -Matt Byrne

Good Eats: Reloaded premieres on the Cooking Channel October 15

Food Network science guy/game show host Alton Brown revisits (and sometimes revises) some of the most popular segments from his trailblazing cooking show Good Eats with Good Eats: Reloaded. It’ll be nice to see Alton back in the role of instructor, which fits him much better than the like, cartoonish villain type thing he’s been trying on for the last handful of years on shows like Cutthroat Kitchen and Iron Chef Gauntlet. -Matt Byrne

T-Pain’s School of Business premieres on Fuse October 16

Fuse’s new series T-Pain’s School of Business follows the charming musician as he learns about a variety of ground-breaking startups. It’s like Shark Tank meets How It’s Made but with 100% more T-Pain. -Matt Byrne

CONCACAF Women’s Championship October 4 through 10

Are things finally starting to come together for what’s been an ultra-shaky USWNT? Judging by how they fared in this summer’s international matches, my gut is saying definitely maybe. While Chile wasn’t necessarily the toughest competition, narrowly coming out on top in the She Believe’s Cup was (in my opinion) no small feat – all three competitors (Brazil, Japan and Australia) were tough, but there is no doubt in my mind that Australia’s incredibly strong squad (due in large part to secret weapon Sam Kerr) is gunning for a victory at the 2019 Women’s World Cup. Anyway, this has been a long-winded way of saying that while we seem to be on a better path than we have been for a while, there’s still a lot of work to do. And I’ll be very interested to see how the CONCACAF games play out – again, I think we have an advantage over the competition, but the rest of the world is rapidly catching up to us on all fronts when it comes to quality soccer. SO. We’ll see. -Megan Burns

We’re nearing the end of Theatre Week which was actually an entire month! From If I Forget at Studio Theatre to Born Yesterday at Ford’s Theatre you’ll be able to find something for everyone. I’d stick with the October vibe and keep it spooky with Sleepy Hollow at Synetic Theater. – Jenn Tisdale

Some of our favorite queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race are coming to the Lincoln Theatre. The phenomenal line-up includes: Current reigning superstar, Aquaria winners of seasons 7 and 8, Violet Chachki and Bob the Drag Queen along with Kim Chi, Eureka, Asia O’Hara, and Kameron Michaels. There’s a lot to be excited for with these queens. Violet’s acts bring other burlesque performances to shame: you can expect ariels and giant martini glasses. Bob will have you cackling in no time, Aquaria will spout killer dance moves and the highest fashion, and Kim will dazzle with her fun costumes and impeccable make-up. Werq the World isn’t just a lip-synch performance in a club. These girls have money and they’ll show it off on tour. It’s like the Broadway of drag. -Afriti Bankwalla

Alexandria .

Located across the Potomac River in Virginia, Alexandria is one of the oldest settled parts of the region. The historic Old Town Alexandria boasts several original cobblestone streets and a small-town charm that offers a relaxed day of window-shopping. Old Town is the perfect place to stop after visiting Mount Vernon. Closest Metro: King Street ( Blue / Yellow Lines).

Alexandria Attractions:

3200 Mount Vernon Highway, Mt Vernon, Va.

Open daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m., adult admission $20 or $18 online—Several miles south of Old Town Alexandria and most easily visited by car, Mount Vernon was the plantation and beloved home of America’s first president, George Washington. Learn about 18th-century American homes, politics, and ideas through the numerous interactive exhibits found at Mount Vernon. Don’t miss the mansion tour, which requires a timed ticket, and gaze out over the peaceful Potomac River, which looks much like it did in Washington’s time. Make sure to eat lunch at the Inn Restaurant, connected to the Visitor Center. The lunch menu includes historic meals such as hoecakes, which were eaten during the 18th century.

May 17th through 19th Mount Vernon will host its annual Spring Wine Festival and Sunset Tour. Sample wines from local wineries or explore the mansion cellars and learn about George Washington’s relationship to wine. Friday, May 17: $48 Saturday, May 18: $52 Sunday, May 19: $42, 6-9 p.m.

201 King St #3, Alexandria, Va.

Learn about Old Town Alexandria’s spooky past on this guided tour. Operating at 7:30 and 9 p.m. daily.

Alexandria Shopping:

Stroll the picturesque historic streets of Old Town Alexandria through unique art galleries, hip boutiques, and iconic fashion brands.

105 N. Union St., Alexandria, Va.

Housing the nation’s largest number of artist’s studios, this eclectic venue lets you browse working artist’s shops where you can snag your very own piece of art.

Alexandria Restaurants:

Take the KING STREET TROLLEY from the Metro to the riverfront (walking takes about 20-30 minutes it’s one mile).

105 King St., Old Town Alexandria, Va.

This trendy spot used to be an actual fish market but has been turned into a restaurant that doesn’t skimp on the seafood selection.

112 King St., Alexandria, Va.

We’re all Irish at heart. Here you can join in singing circles (or just watch). All the staff is from Ireland, and they love talking about it. Also try walking around the restaurant to check out their cool décor.

5 Cameron St., Alexandria, Va.

Huge nautical-themed spot with American seafood, three outdoor patios, fire pits, and an oyster counter with a river view.

109/110 King St., Alexandria, Va.

Homemade ice cream parlors across the street from each other and huge rivals try them both and decide who is your favorite.

219 King St., Alexandria, Va.

New Orleans vibe with jazz and blues music nightly starting at 9 p.m. and the most haunted restaurant in the DMV. Locals will tell you to be careful.

116 S Royal St., Alexandria, Va.

Among the best cupcakes you will ever have. Try the flourless chocolate with sea salt and caramel.

General Information about the Mall and the Smithsonian Museums:

The National Mall is a large, rectangular, grassy promenade in the heart of Washington, D.C. It was created as “America’s backyard”—a place where people could walk, run, play games, picnic, and enjoy the fresh air and trees. On the east end of the Mall is the Capitol Building and on the west end is the Lincoln Memorial. The Washington Monument stands at the center of the Mall. This grassy area is surrounded by the many museums of the Smithsonian Institute and several other private museums.

Smithsonian Museums: .

Operating hours—10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. for all Smithsonian affiliates if not otherwise stated in this brochure

Advice—No water or outside food allowed in most museums, metal detectors at the entrance to several, if you have a bag it will be checked, all Smithsonians discourage the use of large backpacks

Metro stations—Archives/Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter ( Yellow / Green Lines) Gallery Place/Chinatown or Judiciary Square ( Red Line) Smithsonian ( Blue / Orange / Silver Lines)

The third-most-visited museum in the world and the most-visited museum in the United States, the Air and Space Museum is grand in scale and vision. Housing thousands of planes, rockets, and other artifacts from man’s experiments with flight, this museum could keep you occupied for days.

Designed to reflect the flowing lines in nature, this museum is home to thousands of anthropological artifacts from Indian tribes across the entire Western Hemisphere. The newest exhibit is called “Section 14: The Other Palm Springs, California.”

The most popular natural history museum in the U.S., this museum walks you through all of earth’s history from the dawn of the dinosaurs through the evolution of modern man. Say hello to Henry the Elephant as you pass through the entrance hall toward the Ocean Hall. Don’t miss the Hope Diamond upstairs in the Gem and Mineral Collection.

From Dorothy’s ruby slippers to George Washington’s uniform, this museum has it all. The Batmobile is downstairs, while the “Star Spangled Banner” can be viewed on the first floor. Don’t miss the “First Ladies” exhibit upstairs, which features First Lady fashion from Martha Washington onward.

One of the newest museums on the Mall, this museum chronicles the rich history of African-Americans in America. Highlights include Harriet Tubman’s hymnal, Nat Turner’s Bible, a plantation cabin from South Carolina, guard tower from Angola prison, and Michael Jackson’s fedora.

The Hirschhorn Museum houses modern sculpture and contemporary art in a fascinatingly designed cylindrical building that is a piece of art in itself. Several interactive exhibits make this museum a more hands-on experience that is sure to wow you. Check out the outdoor sculpture garden across the street for more visual stimulation.

The Freer Gallery of art is the first of two Asian art collections the city of Washington is home to. The famous “Peacock Room” invites you to engage in the dialogue between East and West.

The Sackler Gallery is the other Asian art collection in D.C. Don’t miss “Encountering the Buddha: Art and Practice Across Asia.” This visually stunning exhibit immerses you in the world of Buddhism.

The National Museum of African Art is the only national museum in the United States dedicated to the collection, exhibition, conservation, and study of the arts of Africa. On exhibit are the finest examples of traditional and contemporary art from the entire continent of Africa.

A stamp collector’s dream. Located next to Union Station, the Postal Museum is housed in the historic D.C. City Post Office and hosts the world’s largest stamp and post office memorabilia collections.

10 a.m. to 5 p.m.—George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison all advocated for a national botanical garden to be included in the plans for the creation of Washington, D.C. The current building housing the nation’s collection was finished in 1933. The collection houses thousands of plant species from all over the world, including some of the most rare and endangered species.

Non-Smithsonian Museums: .

Constitution Ave. NW, between 3rd and 9th Streets

Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.—Though it is also free, the National Gallery of Art is actually not a part of the Smithsonian Institute but was privately donated by Andrew W. Mellon, a wealthy American philanthropist. The Gallery is divided into the West Building, which houses the older, classical artworks, and the East Building, which houses the Gallery’s modern art collection. To the west of the West Building is the Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden, which houses many pieces of sculptural art surrounding a large fountain.

Pay Museums: .

Adults, 19 to 64: $24.95 + tax, Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.—Enjoy this one-of-a-kind museum while you can. Unfortunately, the Newseum will be moving locations soon, so now is the time to visit this museum celebrating the First Amendment. The Newseum is located one block north of the National Gallery of Art.

100 Raoul Wallenberg Place SW

10 a.m. to 5:20 p.m. Monday through Friday, free tickets but must be reserved in advance— One of the most poignant museums on the Mall, the Holocaust Memorial Museum is dedicated to education not only about the brutal Holocaust during World War II but other genocides and human rights abuses throughout history. There are three ways to get tickets: advanced tickets online, same day tickets online, or same day tickets in person starting at 9:45 a.m. Advanced tickets are recommended and are a $1 reservation online. The Museum is located south of the Mall at the Washington Memorial.

Daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., adults $19.99 online only, $24.99 walkup—Another new museum on the Mall, this museum explores the history and narrative of the Bible. The collection includes several exhibits relating to the history of the Bible and its impact upon the world. Find this museum two blocks south of the Mall from the National Museum of the American Indian.

Smithsonian Restaurants:

between East and West buildings of the National Gallery of Art

This is one of the better food courts at a public museum and can be accessed through either gallery. Enjoy the waterfall feature and don’t miss the light show walkway.

National Sculpture Garden Café

Take in some art while you enjoy your lunch. This café is situated within the grounds of the Sculpture Garden and is a haven for lunch eaters and wildlife alike.

Monuments: .

Built to honor our nation’s first president, the Washington Monument is in the shape of an Egyptian obelisk. It is currently closed for elevator repairs and is inaccessible to pedestrians.

This monument is to the west of the Washington Monument and is very low-lying on the horizon so as not to obstruct sightlines to and from the Lincoln Memorial. Fifty-six pillars represent the 50 states and several territories that fought for the United States during that conflict. Two large arches represent the Atlantic and Pacific theatres of war. Each of the 4,048 gold stars located on the Freedom Wall represent 100 Americans killed during WWII.

This small, circular Doric Greek temple is dedicated to the 499 residents of Washington, D.C. who died during WWI. It was fundraised and paid for by the citizens of D.C. in their honor.

This little-known memorial is hard to find even for native Washingtonians. Located in the middle of the Constitution Gardens Pond (north of the WWII Memorial), this memorial can only be accessed by a bridge. It is dedicated to the original 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence. Stones bearing each signer’s signature and which state they came from are etched into the ground. This is a wonderful place to see some waterfowl.

Controversial when it was first built, this memorial is one of the most reverent places on the Mall. Relatives and friends of the soldiers who lost their lives in the Vietnam War come to leave mementos and flowers for their loved ones. Park officials carefully collect, chronicle, and store these items in a warehouse. The names of the deceased are arranged chronologically.

Perhaps the most iconic memorial on the Mall, the Lincoln Memorial is modeled on the Parthenon on the ancient Acropolis in Greece. In this temple is housed a seated statue of Abraham Lincoln, who gazes out to the Capitol Building and the Union that he fought to save during the American Civil War.

The 36 Doric Greek columns surrounding the building each represent one of the states in the Union at the time of Lincoln’s death.

Almost as a reflection of the Vietnam War Memorial, the Korea War Memorial has faces instead of names carved into its memorial wall. A patrol of American soldiers creeps out of the dark woods in a scene reminiscent of the kind of warfare the men experienced during the Korean conflict.

Looking out over the Tidal Basin, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial immortalizes the words of one of America’s greatest orators and champions of civil rights.

This memorial can be harder to access, as it is found on the other side of the Tidal Basin. It can be an enjoyable walk, however, to circle the Basin under the shade of the Japanese Cherry Blossom trees (gifted to the United States by the Mayor of Tokyo in 1912) and to arrive at the Jefferson Memorial. A 19-foot-tall statue of Jefferson gazes out toward the White House the trees in between the two structures are trimmed so that he can always be seen from the South porch of the White House.

If you continue to walk around the Tidal Basin you will come to the massive Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) Memorial. The memorial has four outdoor “rooms” that each represent one of FDR’s terms as president. The entire complex is wheelchair-accessible, as FDR himself was the only President in American history to be disabled, though most of the world and America did not know he was at the time.

FDR is the only president to have served four terms. All others have served two at most, and an amendment was ratified in 1947 limiting all future presidents to two terms.

This little-known memorial is found on the north side of the Mall on the lawn of the National Academy of Sciences. You can sit on Einstein’s lap and rub his nose for good luck. The constellations represented on the floor of the memorial were charted exactly as they appeared on the day of the memorial’s dedication.

The White House is not only a private residence, but also the working hub for the U.S. President. The house contains 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, and six floors. You can see the White House from the North or South sides, but you can get closer to the house from the north near Lafayette Park.

The National Mall Restaurants:

W Hotel rooftop bar for pre-dinner drinks overlooking the White House.

Check out happy hour at this famous DC staple and enjoy the oyster bar and people spotting.

going on the Week of May 12-18

Kennedy Center: May 16-17 National Symphony Orchestra

Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center (free evening performances): TBA

The Anthem: May 15 Evanescence, May 19 Pod Tours America

The Hamilton: May 16 Abbarama, May 17 Chris Smither, May 19 Red Molly

930 Club: May 14 The Architects, May 15 LANY, May 16 LANY, May 17 Jim James, May 19 Lizzo

U Street Music Hall: May 15 L’Imperatrice, May 16 DJ Mitchell

  • Car Rental—Enterprise, Budget
  • Bike/scooter rentals and apps Bird, Lime, Lyft, Jump, Capital Bikeshare, Lime Bike – free for everyone, several routes – Take in the view of the monuments from the water.

Local Tour Companies: .

City Segway Tours–See the city from a motorized scooter. Not for the faint of heart or risk avers. (multiple vendors)

DC Insider Tours–For those who would like to see the city by foot, bike or car.

Hop-on, hop-off tours—This type of tour allows you to buy one ticket to get on and off the bus at various stops throughout the day for a one-time fee. Some of the most popular tours are with BigBus and Old Town Trolley.

Urban Adventures—Smaller tour company offering personalized tours of the monuments or more local oriented tours like the “Politics and Pubs” tour or a food/drink tour of H Street. Use discount code “UAWAS22” for 10% off.

Watch the video: Preview: Inside Bluejacket Brewery in DC (June 2022).