by Sean Meehan September 16, 2015 at 4:50 pm 0

Heurich House, photo via

Oktoberfest — at least here in America — is a time to celebrate German culture and beer, and few places know either subject better than the Heurich House Museum in Dupont Circle.

The historic D.C. home of German immigrant and brewmaster Christian Heurich, who built a beer empire in the District in the early 20th century, will host its fourth annual Oktoberfest this Saturday 1-4 p.m.

The festivities will occur in the garden of the house at 1307 New Hampshire Ave. NW. The museum is partnering with the D.C. Brewers Guild to supply beer to partygoers. All eight local breweries in the Guild will bring their best Fall- or German-inspired beers.

Emma Stratton, the events coordinator for the museum, says this is the second year that the Brewers Guild has sponsored the festival. She added that the Heurich House tries to highlight local beer as a way of connecting the past and present of District brewing.

“Oktoberfest is a really great way to showcase the beer scene here in D.C.,” she said. “Heurich was a member of the local brewer’s guild during his time, so there’s a nice connection to the museum

For those with an interest in beer that goes beyond drinking it, representatives from the Brewers Guild will also have an informational booth, and the museum, which documents the history of Heurich, the Districts most successful brewmaster, will be open for the first half-hour of the event.

In addition to beer, guests will also find Oktoberfest staples such as bratwurst, homemade pretzels and sauerkraut and music from German trio Die Drei.

This year’s festival will also include representatives from the German Information Center, a branch of the German Embassy. While the festival will feature plenty of opportunities to learn about D.C. history and German culture, Stratton says that beer is still the main focus of the event.

“We have many things going on, but the primary focus is highlighting the D.C. Brewers Guild members since Christian Heurich was a brewmaster here,” she said. “We always like to feature local breweries whenever we can.”

Tickets for Oktoberfest at the Heurich House are $60 and available online.

Photo via

by March 14, 2013 at 9:00 am 0


Local aficionados enjoy beer at DC Reynolds on Sunday. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Rob Fink. Follow him on Twitter @RobDFink or email him at rob[AT]

Craft beer shares a cultural affinity with the slow food movement in that it celebrates beer as artisanal, and most importantly, local. Craft beer in general would not be where it is today without that.

Ultimately, that sentiment goes beyond the cultural realm; craft beer really started in the kitchens and backyards of homebrewers such as Jim Koch of Sam Adams and Ken Grossman of Sierra Nevada. Regardless of the size of those breweries now, their current tie to the homebrewing world remains inextricable, and is in my opinion part of the reasoning behind their wild success.

Third Annual Homebrew Competiton


Rob Fink takes Best of Show Runner-up for his Belgian IPA. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Yours truly had the opportunity to participate in the third annual homebrew competition at the sponsored by the Neighborhood Farm Initiative, a wonderful, local organization that provides urban gardening education throughout the DC area.

This year, the event was held at the Petworth watering hole DC Reynolds, and I was fortunate enough to snag Best of Show Runner-up for my Belgian IPA. However, the best part of my day was actually talking to fellow homebrewers and others who were genuinely interested in good beer at the most local of levels.

It’s a source of happiness to be surrounded by such wonderful and interesting people because homebrewers are representative of everyone — with doctors, lawyers, retirees, bartenders (and the occasional grad school student) among them. Big ups to my fellow homebrewing comrades and those who just display a genuine interest in good beer, and most importantly, cheers!

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by February 20, 2013 at 12:00 pm 0

From Rob Fink. Follow him on Twitter @RobDFink or email him at rob[AT]

"port city"

Port City Brewing Company in Alexandria. (Kate Fink)

Over the last several years, the DC area has seen a vast proliferation in local craft beers. We have seen the likes of DC Brau, 3 Stars and Chocolate City, amongst others. However, the first craft production and packaging brewery in the area was not any of the aforementioned breweries, but in fact Port City Brewing Company.

Adopting its name from the vibrant and storied history of Alexandria as a colonial port, Port City served to revitalize craft beer for the entire metropolitan region, making  artisanal, honest local beer not merely a possibility, but a reality.

Only a few turns off of I-395, 3950 Wheeler Avenue is the Alexandria home to Port City Brewing Company. As someone of direct Bavarian descent, the blue and white emblazoned tasting room was a welcome first sight.

My Three Favorites

Considering this was my first return visit since Port City opened, I opted for the flight of all six beers currently on tap. The following three were my favorites of the bunch.

  • Revival Stout — 5.5 percent ABV, 38 IBUs — This English/Irish inspired stout utilizes War Shore Oyster Company oysters throughout the brewing process (shell and all) to contribute a whiff of briny salt water to an already complex beer. Oats help to add a mouth-feel of round silkiness while ample hop bitterness balances against residual sweetness. If you’re fortunate enough to snag a growler while it lasts, take it out of the fridge for 15 to 20 minutes, pour yourself a pint, enjoy with raw oysters on the half shell, then quickly repeat.
  • Essential Pale Ale — 5.5 percent ABV, 35 IBUs — Essential Pale Ale is a crisp drinker of a Pale Ale that displays its elegance in its restraint, meaning it’s not an IPA masquerading as a Pale Ale. Columbus, Chinook and Amarillo hops create a pleasant interplay of dank herbal spice and sweet citrus with enough hop character to entice even those like myself with an unapologetic penchant for hop flavor.
  • TWO — 9 percent ABV, 50 IBUs — To commemorate their second anniversary, the brewers at Port City concocted a mammoth imperialized version of their already delicious Porter, but swapped much of the regular base malt for German beech wood smoked malt, allowing flavors of smoky and savory caramelized ham to accompany dry bittersweet chocolate. This was easily my favorite of the day. Despite its American bravado, a nice German meal of bone-in roasted pork loin and Bavarian potato dumplings would be a great accompaniment for TWO.

Thankfully, Port City is widely available throughout the District, including Borderstan mainstays such as Whole Foods on P Street and Hank’s Oyster Bar on Q Street NW. If you’re at the 9:30 Club for a show, you can grab a Port City beer there, too. Having just celebrated its second anniversary earlier this month and armed for firm plans for expansion, Port City thankfully shows no signs of stemming the tide of craft beer in the DC area.

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