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September 2, 2014

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August 29, 2014

Congressional Cemetery’s Day of the Dog: It Could Get Ruff

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Congressional Cemetery. It’s gone to the dogs. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Congressional Cemetery will help usher out the dogs days of summer with its Day of the Dog, welcoming local breweries, food trucks, dogs and the people who serve them on Saturday.

The free event, which lasts from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., is just the latest good-vibe party to swoop in on the final resting place for so many Capitol Hill denizens. Last week, the cemetery’s latest 5K, Flee the British, brought the historically minded running crowd over for a race on the 200th anniversary of the burning of Washington by the British army. The British muskets that doubled as the starting gun were a nice touch, as was “Dolly Madison” fleeing the redcoats in a golf cart. There were even redcoat hecklers. “Run, you cowardly Washingtonians!” one said from a hillock full of family mausoleums.

 Congressional Cemeterys Day of the Dog: It Could Get Ruff

“Dolly Madison” attempts to get away from a marauding British soldier and save Gilbert Stuart’s portrait of George Washington. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)

Washington Post writer Joel Achenbach recently recounted how weird a conflict the War of 1812, including that “we are a little vague on the question of who won,” and “we have a decent idea of when it happened, because of the name, but given the critical events of August 1814, the conflict possibly should be called ‘the War of Approximately 1812.’”

In other words, the Flee the British race and Day of the Dog fits in perfectly for a quirky cemetery that last year employed a herd of live goats to dispose of the poison ivy and invasive weeds that threatened the grounds.

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Release the goats! (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

Every so often someone gripes about how appropriate it is to host such things at a cemetery. Pish posh. They’re probably the same sticks in the mud who groused about the Brits’ recent Twitter ribbing about the 200th anniversary of the burning, “a rather unfortunate event in UK/US relations” as the British Embassy’s press people dubbed it. Unfortunate, too, when so many people don’t get the joke.

But back to Congressional Cemetery. Amid the beer (Atlas Brew Works and Port City Brewing will be on hand), dog costume contest, raffle drawing for gate prizes and overall bonhomie, it’s a decent way to spend a Saturday.

When they stick me in the ground, I hope it’s in as lively a place as this.

 Related:

The Ghosts Who Stare at Goats or All-You-Can-Eat at Congressional Cemetery

Dog Days at Congressional Cemetery

Cemetery’s Sales Pitch: We Want Your Body

Roll Call After Dark Quaff of the Week: Iced Coffee Challenge Part 3

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Is Dunkin Donuts worth the iced coffee hype? (Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

“Please autumn hold your breath/ While summer collects the last/threads of her dress.”
— Carol Trawick, as viewed on a bench outside the Bethesda Library

Summer’s not over yet.

August may be winding down, but there are arguably a few more weeks of iced coffees, before the fall arrives and and pumpkin spiced latte craze** takes over.

Our iced coffee challenge continues with three final contenders (Read Part 1 and Part 2 of the Roll Call After Dark Iced Coffee Challenge).

La Colombe: ($2.75 for iced coffee or iced Americano, 16 ounces, sales tax included in price) Tucked in an alleyway in D.C.’s Shaw neighborhood, La Colombe arrived in Washington as the latest coffee craze. The over-caffeinated hype is much deserving; La Colombe roasts its own beans and the clever post-modern décor is ideal for anyone looking for a quiet coffee shop haven that doesn’t have “bucks” in the name. There’s no soy milk available, but La Colombe does offer hemp milk (!), another dairy-free alternative, at no extra charge. Extra bonus: free sparkling water from a tap. Decaf drinkers beware: a decaf drink carries a 50 cent surcharge. The coffee may be good enough to lure in repeat customers, but there is no loyalty program to reward your business.

Peet’s Coffee: ($2.55 for iced Americano, $2.45 for iced coffee, both 16 ounces) Hello, Washington, D.C., meet Peet’s Coffee, the new coffee spot replacing the kitschy ski-lodge themed Carbiou Coffees and then some. The West Coast chain is super clean, medium fast, and reasonably priced. Soy creamer and simple syrup are available at the coffee bar, which can somewhat make up for the fact that there is no rewards program for frequent visits.

Dunkin Donuts: ($2.59 for 16 ounces of iced coffee — because, really, why would you order an Americano from Dunkin Donuts?) We get it, East Coasters, the love for Dunkin’ Donuts coffee knows no bounds. But let’s call it for what it is: all right coffee. How seriously can you take a coffee brand that comes in flavors like “cookie dough” and “blueberry”? (Not that “pumpkin spice” is any better, looking at you, Starbucks.) It may be the salt of the earth among coffee taste buds, but the fandom knows no bounds. Control freaks beware: Dunkin adds cream and sugar for you and the milk options are limited to skim, whole, and cream (no soy or 2 percent). Dunkin values loyalty, and the DD Perks app provides a free medium coffee just for signing up. Also, keep an eye on your snail-mail, as the seasons change Dunkin has been known to send out coupons for free iced coffees on Monday morning. No catch, no “with purchase” gimmick. Just free coffee. And who can’t appreciate that?

**Is it worth Roll Call After Dark’s time and calories to review PSLs? Let us know: tweet to @beckgale.

August 18, 2014

Roll Call After Dark Quaff of the Week: Iced Coffee Challenge Part 2

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(Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Before the days of Starbucks in every urban street corner and suburban strip mall, “iced coffee” was rare. It had not yet arrived as a mainstay of American morning beverages, nor had the $4 coffee drink become the norm.

But now, iced coffee is here to stay — it’s come a long way since the days of the Starbucks bottled Frappuccino. Which is good news for just about everyone.

This week, the Roll Call After Dark’s Iced Coffee Challenge continues with three more contenders for Iced Americanos (for those curious why, see here for the explanation). Full story

August 13, 2014

Roll Call After Dark Quaff of the Week: Iced Coffee Challenge

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(Chris Hondros/Getty Images File Photo)

In each of our caffeinated hearts, there is a special place for iced coffee.

Arguably more refreshing than a beer, cheaper than wine, fewer calories than a lemonade, and more caffeine than iced tea: Iced coffee might be the perfect summer beverage.

But not all iced coffees are created equal. So Roll Call After Dark has taken up the challenge to do a quick comparison. Full story

By Rebecca Gale Posted at 1:02 p.m.
Drink

August 8, 2014

Roll Call After Dark Quaff of The Week: B3K Black Lager by Wynkoop Brewing Co.

 Roll Call After Dark Quaff of The Week: B3K Black Lager by Wynkoop Brewing Co.

Mmmm. Black beer. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)

DENVER — It’s not what the president drinks when he visits Wynkoop Brewing Co., but it’s still a great beer worth a quaff: B3K Black Lager.

The brewery that Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper founded back in the 1980s is a fixture of LoDo and frequently cited as the pioneer in revitalizing the neighborhood. And it brews pretty decent beer, too. When Hickenlooper and President Barack Obama dropped by last month to shoot pool and drink beer, the two Democrats drank Rail Yard Ale, the establishment’s best seller, according to the Denver Post’s First Drafts blogger Eric Gorski.

Maybe it’s a contrarian nature, but I went with B3K, a German dark lager that’s unfiltered and black as midnight, because in Colorado, hoppy ales have their run of the place. It was a good choice on a hot (for Denver) day. Smooth, easy to down and refreshing, the dark color belies its light nature. It’s a quaff that shouldn’t be missed.

Maybe next time the president comes to “shoot some stick with Hick” as one of my friends here called the visit, he could go lager.

By Jason Dick Posted at 10:01 a.m.
Drink

August 4, 2014

Roll Call After Dark Quaff of the Week: Graham Cracker Porter From Denver Beer Company

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(Screenshot, Denver Beer Co.)

DENVER — When at 5,280 feet elevation, drink Denver Beer Company’s Graham Cracker Porter. On what passes for a hot day here in America’s mile high city (90 degrees, no humidity, not a cloud in the sky), DBC’s headliner beer is the way to go. The brewery describes their creation this way: “Like a campfire in a glass, this robust beauty has seductive notes of vanilla, smoked cedar, and mulling spices.  A dark pour with mild lacing, she is a rollercoaster of lush chocolate diving into a semi-dry finish of roasted malt and biscuit.” It’s hard to add to that, except to say that it goes down way too easy.  The dog friendly, relaxed vibe reminds everyone that drinking beer on a summer day is a communal thing.

 Roll Call After Dark Quaff of the Week: Graham Cracker Porter From Denver Beer Company

Denver Beer Company patrons come in all sizes. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)

By Jason Dick Posted at 9:09 a.m.
Drink

July 25, 2014

Roll Call After Dark Quaff of the Week: 3 Stars Danny Greene

 Roll Call After Dark Quaff of the Week: 3 Stars Danny Greene

A glass of the 3 Stars Danny Greene, here with its friend, Boundary Road’s cheesesteak lunch. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)

Cleveland has certainly gotten its props lately, scoring the 2016 Republican National Convention and the return of LeBron James to the Cavaliers. If one is looking for further evidence of Cleveland Rising, look no further than D.C.-based 3 Stars Brewing Company’s Danny Greene, an American Double/Imperial IPA.

Greene, an Irish-American mobster in Cleveland in the 1970s, has enjoyed a mini-boomlet of fame himself, even though he’s been dead since the Disco Era. Partial credit must be due to 3 Stars co-owner Dave Coleman, a Cleveland native.

As far as the beer goes, I’m happy to report it’s good for all occasions, whether at a leisurely weekday lunch accompanied by a cheesesteak and fries at Boundary Road or on a weekend bender at a 3 Stars summer jam.

For context on Greene and his time, Cleveland Magazine has a great treatment from 1978 in the wake of Greene’s murder. There’s also a gritty crime movie from 2011 by Jonathan Hensleigh, “Kill The Irishman,” starring Ray Stevenson, Vincent D’Onofrio, Val Kilmer and Christopher Walken.

By Jason Dick Posted at 9:30 a.m.
Drink

July 18, 2014

Roll Call After Dark Quaff of the Week: Dead Rise Summer Ale

 Roll Call After Dark Quaff of the Week: Dead Rise Summer Ale

(Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)

If it’s summer in the capital region, it’s time for beer, crabs and Old Bay. And sometimes, it’s good to combine as many as possible in one package, such as Flying Dog Brewery’s Dead Rise Summer Ale.

The Frederick, Md.-based brewer’s latest mad scientist concoction, complete with Ralph Steadman bottle art, has been popping up more and more in Washington. I purchased my latest six pack at Hayden’s Liquor Store at Eastern Market, and partook of a flowing tap at Kelly’s Irish Times on Thursday.

For those counting themselves at Old Bay skeptics, give it a whirl. The celery salt brininess makes a nice baseline in the peppy ale. For those who can’t get enough Old Bay, you won’t need Roll Call After Dark’s encouragement to potentially overdo it with your table full of steamed blue crab by adding Dead Rise as your beverage of choice.

And if you’d like to go to the source, you’re in luck! This Saturday, Flying Dog is hosting its outdoor music/beer drinking session at its Frederick facility, with musical guests Lucero.

Questions? Flying Dog has an FAQ page for all your Old Bay-laced beer curiosity.

By Jason Dick Posted at 2:01 p.m.
Drink, Eat

July 17, 2014

Roll Call After Dark Tunes of the Week: ‘Women & Work’ by Lucero

“Come on out tonight,” could be the unofficial motto for good-timing Memphis band Lucero, a band dedicated equally to touring and defying easy classification. Country? Sure. Punk? Why not. Roadhouse? Yeah.

You can fulfill their request — words from the “Downtown” track of their “Women & Work” album — a couple of different ways this weekend. On Saturday, Lucero plays at Saturday’s Summer Sessions at Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick, Md. General admission is $25. If you can’t make that, head over to Dewey Beach, Del., where they’ll be playing at the Bottle & Cork on Sunday.

Notice a theme in the venues? That’s right, my friend — fermented spirits!

July 14, 2014

Priorities, Priorities: In D.C., Yoga More Expensive, Beer More Available

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Coming soon to a brewery near you, beer-drinking on the premises! (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

How’s this for a city motto: Washington, D.C., where the yoga’s expensive and the beer is easy!

That might need a little work, but that’s the gist of the fiscal 2015 D.C. spending plan that is on a glide path now that the D.C. Council has over-ridden Mayor Vincent Gray’s veto of its $10.6 billion spending plan. That plan raised taxes on health club memberships and cut funding for a streetcar project, but contained language that allows D.C. burgeoning breweries to sell beer for on-site consumption, according to my Roll Call colleague Hannah Hess.

Get the message? Drink more beer, work out less! Right?

By Jason Dick Posted at 5:53 p.m.
Drink

June 30, 2014

Washington’s Independence Day Patriotic Palooza

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Independence Day in Washington is like Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pa., a patriotic palooza. As if the stakes couldn’t be higher on the grandest stage at the capital of the free world, we could, possibly, be treated to yacht rock legend Michael McDonald singing “Sweet Freedom” with the Muppets as a follow-up act.

Of all the major holidays, D.C. really shines (or smokes, or swelters) on Independence Day, with the capital city coming alive with fireworks, concerts, Major League Baseball and even a fairground with midway rides.

Sure, the National Mall is the big gathering spot in D.C. for watching the fireworks come Friday evening, with the temporary concert venue on the West Front of the Capitol all set to blast tunes from everyone from McDonald to the Muppets to Frankie Valli for the Capitol Fourth celebration. What a fool believes! But the Mall and the Capitol grounds are not the only places to watch the pyrotechnics, not by a long shot.

Any higher ground vantage point, whether it’s Meridian Hill Park or the Iwo Jima Marine Corps Monument in Rosslyn, Va., or the roof of a pal’s apartment building will offer all the views with fewer sweaty souls jostling for precious few spots.

The fireworks and Capitol Fourth are a small component of the festivities, though.

The Washington Nationals, fresh from a Midwestern road swing in Milwaukee and Chicago, are back for a homestead against the Colorado Rockies, Chicago Cubs and Baltimore Orioles. On Friday, the Nats will play the Cubs in an 11:05 a.m. game that will feature lots and lots of flags and many beer cans emblazoned with Old Glory. Fireworks are usually to be had. Such an early game lets everyone get out in plenty of time to find their ways to the Mall, Capitol or that pal’s apartment building.

And let’s not forget about the D.C. Capital Fair at beloved RFK Stadium, which started June 27 and extends through Sunday. We might not be a state or have a vote in Congress, but we’ve got a fair, complete with a ferris wheel, a petting zoo and wolf show (no word on whether Nats outfielder Jayson Werth will be attending) and illusionists, hypnotists and plenty of greasy food. This week through Thursday, the fair runs from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Starting Friday and going through Sunday, it runs from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Yacht rock, baseball, things blowing up in the night sky, fried food and carnies. What’s more American than that?

June 18, 2014

Which Koch Brother Wanted to Date Marla Maples?

Do you know which Koch brother wanted to date Marla Maples, but thought better of it after Donald Trump picked her up?

How about which Koch brother donned a “Captain Koch” costume at the Wichita Gridiron Club?

Do you know which Koch brother wrote a play that provided source material for the film “Shakespeare in Love?”

How about which Koch brother opened up a bookstore, a John Birch Society bookstore?

Did you even know there were four Koch brothers? Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., only talks about two of them, Charles and David, while leaving Bill and Frederick largely out of the equation.

Mother Jones Senior Editor Daniel Schulman tells the tale of the K-Bros masterfully in his new book “Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America’s Most Powerful and Private Dynasty,” and he’ll drop by Roll Call Book Club on Thursday night to discuss not just the history of the Koch family and its behemoth Koch Industries, but the people behind it.

Be prepared. These folks play hard ball, especially with one another for control of a vast enterprise. How else to explain the Koch brother who subpoenaed his own mother, after she’d had a stroke, to testify in a lawsuit?

Drop by our free event at Hill Center at 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, starting at 6 p.m. Wine, snacks and books included. Register at Hill Center’s website.

June 17, 2014

D.C. Noshes Its Way to Livability.com’s Foodie List

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Local oysters and beer. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s good to know all this eating isn’t going to waste: Washington, D.C., has landed itself on Livability.com’s list of Top Ten Foodie Cities for 2014.

Livability, the list-tastic media venture that loves to compile best downtowns, kid-friendly places and etc., likes to spread the wealth around in the list of Foodie fave towns and cities. In previous iterations, they kept the criteria to smaller cities and highlighted places that wouldn’t necessarily survive a head-to-head matchup with, say, New Orleans. In their 2013, list, for example, nearby Alexandria, Va., was on the list.

Roll Call’s own Warren Rojas can vouch for how much folks in D.C. like to eat. Check out some of his own coverage in our Hill Life Food and Drink Archive. 

This year, Livability’s foodie-ranking criteria included the following:

• Frequency that residents eat at local restaurants

• Amount that residents spend on food

• Access to healthy food options

• Number of farmers markets

• Number of restaurants

• James Beard Foundation Award winners

So here’s to D.C. Now go out and eat something!

By Jason Dick Posted at 11:47 a.m.
Drink, Eat

June 2, 2014

Beer, Bikes and Doughnuts — Like You Need Anything Else

atlas003 091713 445x301 Beer, Bikes and Doughnuts — Like You Need Anything Else

Cox, right, and Durgin will host a Brooklyn Brewery Mash event at their Atlas digs. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

This is a good week if you like to drink beer, ride a bike and eat doughnuts and Nashville hot chicken.

First, the beer. The Brooklyn Brewery Mash Tour is in full swing here in Washington, with its emphasis on local beer, local grub and local hanging out. Full story

May 29, 2014

Fat Tire’s Tour de Fat Rolls Toward Capitol Hill

There are worse ways to spend a Saturday than riding your bike and drinking beer. Thanks to the New Belgium Brewing Company, one may do both come this weekend, at the 2014 Tour de Fat at Yards Park on the Anacostia riverfront.

Starting with a 10 a.m. registration time on Saturday, cyclists/imbibers can hang out, listen to music, partake in a costume contest, engage in a slow ride race and drink any of the Colorado-based brewers’ many varieties of beer, such as the classic Fat Tire or seasonals and specials like 1554 Black Lager or Carnie Blood Orange Saison.

There’ll be plenty of tunes from the likes of The Reals and Reggie Watts, as well as entertainment from folks like The Handsome Little Devils.

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