Greetings from the front line of DC beer bars, Cinco de Maniacs! While you are chugging Coronitas and dodging margarita salt and lime wedge assaults like web blasts from Spiderman for Cinco de Mayo this month, please don’t forget to treat your palate to a few additional selections at your local craft beer bars. Sure, Jersey Shore’s Snooki and The Situation’s tequila-based karisma will be fist pumping its way through your veins this holiday while you salsa dance on the bar tops with scantily clad bar babes with reckless abandonment (Ay Dios Mio!), but when the party’s over there’s still 30 other days in May to get your proverbial craft beer swerve on. So swerve away amigos, just don’t drink and drive!
This month I hit The Boundary Stone (116 Rhode Island Ave. NW, DC; 202-621-6635; www.boundarystonedc.com). Not to be confused with last month’s featured bar Boundary Road, the Boundary Stone is a great tiny neighborhood bar in Bloomingdale DC complete with DJs, great craft can beer, bourbon selections and scrumptious little entrees that are perfect for a great date. I had the tasty Schlafly Helles Style Summer Lager – 4.5%, in- can. It’s a German Style golden crisp and refreshing summer lager that’s malty with lemon and grassy accents and faint floral hops. Its carbonation in particular makes it super easy to drink. Rating: Helles Yeah! Next I had the Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA – 7.2%, a bitter bombed IPA with a bold taste profile. Its a piney tasting IPA with plenty of hops, but the carbination made it a little more drinkable than you’d think—definitely a hop head beer with a bitter finish. Rating: Hops and Bitters that will sink your battleship!
Next I headed down to Petworth to DC Reynolds (3628 Georgia Ave. NW, DC; 202-506-7178; www.facebook.com/dcreynoldsbar) and basked on their enormous patio with the super nice owner and barkeep Jeremy Gifford. I walked into a “neighborhood bar lover’s” paradise. Slightly divey, but extremely enjoyable, DC Reynolds has darts, a free jukebox and one helluva “buy one get one” happy hour (on everything!) that can’t be beat. They also have craft beer—coincidence? I think not. I started with the DC Brau Stone of Arbroath – 8%, which had strong coffee and dark chocolate notes that only got stronger as the air got to it. It had a molasses sweetness to it with its caramelized malts. Better hurry though, it’s a limited release! Rating: Bro-tastic! Next I went with the Starr Hill Jomo Lager – 5.57%, a slightly sour, spicy and bitter hopped German amber lager that’s pretty easy to drink. It’s not overly complex, and is another great brew from the Starr Hill collection. Rating: A craft beer for folks who don’t like craft beer—it’s an easy libation!
Last on my adventure I arrived at Ramparts (1700 Fern St., Alexandria, VA; 703-998-6616; www.rampartstavern.com) for their nightly acoustic music. There’s a great guy there named Cajun Kelly who rocks out some bad ass covers by Motley Crue and Rage Against the Machine. Ramparts also has a great selection of bottles, some arcade games and the old win-a-lobster-with-a-giant-claw game (whoooo!). I had Avery Ellie’s Brown Ale – 5.5%, a nice nutty, caramel/chocolate tasting American ale with sweet malts. Rating: Get down with the Brown! I ended the evening with a great Anderson Valley Brewing Company Hop Ottin’ IPA – 7%. Not only is Anderson Valley a solar-powered brewer, but you’ll also notice some strange phrases like “Bahl Hornin’” on the can which means “good drinking” in the native Bootling dialect there. They have their own beer language folks! Pretty cool fact and also a pretty cool beer! The Hop Ottin’ was bitter and sweet, loaded with hops and citrusy at the end with grapefruit notes. Rating: You guessed it, Bahl Hornin’!