Well, we all know what we’ll be doing in two weeks: sweating out election returns. And next week is Halloween. But what about this week — particularly if you’re not on the trail or otherwise — should you find yourself in Washington, D.C.?
Phillips Goes to The Wall
The Phillips Collection is getting a little help with its exterior decorating this week, inviting four Senegalese artists — Muhsana Ali, Fode Camara, Viye Diba and Piniang (Ibrahima Niang) — to paint a mural on the wall of the museum’s Hunter Courtyard that will be unveiled to the public Thursday at noon. “The Leading Edge Ideas: Inside the 21st Century Museum” is part of the Phillips’ partnership with the State Department’s Office of Art in Embassies and is designed to set the stage for this weekend’s International Forum Weekend. (Don’t act like you didn’t know it was International Forum Weekend.)
Lincoln Gets Pressed
Thinking about an Honest Abe costume for All Hallows’ Eve? Bone up, then, on a relatively unexplored chapter of the 16th president’s biography — his relationship with the press — Thursday at the National Archives. Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer will discuss his latest book, “Lincoln and the Power of the Press: The War for Public Opinion,” with Frank Bond at the Archives’ William G. McGowan Theater at 7 p.m. Admission is free. In his review of the book for Roll Call, John Bicknell wrote, “With his usual sparkling prose and exhaustive research, one of America’s foremost scholars on the 16th president has given us a robust portrait of the nexus between American politics and the press. As much as it is a telling slice of Lincolniana — the kind of detail-rich tapestry we have come to expect from Holzer — it is also a lively history of mid-19th century journalism.”
The lively folks over at Congressional Cemetery get into the swing of Halloween things on Saturday with their annual Ghosts and Goblets party on the cemetery grounds. The event follows in the footsteps of the cemetery’s Dead Man’s Race 5K earlier this month and August’s Day of the Dog, which combined animal adoption with food trucks and local breweries at the historic resting place that also doubles as D.C.’s premier dog-walking park. The party starts in earnest at 8 p.m., though VIP access gets one in the gates at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $70, which includes drinks. To purchase tickets or learn more, go here.
For anyone bummed that the Russians are buying All-American beer Pabst Blue Ribbon, fret not. There’s plenty of home-grown beer and booze right here in the nation’s capital.
It’s even a kind of anniversary season for the growing list of D.C.-based craft alcohol outfits. Atlas Brew Works, which joined the D.C. beeraissance last year, celebrated its one-year anniversary last month with a shindig at its Ivy City brewery. And on Wednesday, local bistro Boundary Road will fete New Columbia Distillers to celebrate the second anniversary of Green Hat Gin, the first legal distiller in Washington since Prohibition.
Boundary Road Owner/Chef Brad Walker and his merry crew focus not just on seasonal and local foods and drinks, but also on local talent and businesses. In this case, the New Columbia folks will trundle over from their Ivy City digs (sensing a trend here), with some of their choicest hooch. That will include some of their seasonal gin batches, such as their memorable “Ginavit” 2013 winter offering, which incorporated spirits genever and aquavit. Full story
As Atlas Brew Works celebrates its first year anniversary of pouring for D.C., it’s worth sipping a few of their noteworthy brews. Foremost among them is the Rowdy, a rye beer that tips the alcohol by volume scale at 6.2 percent. The rye mixes in with the normal assortment of hops and friends much the same way rye whiskey puts a different taste on a cocktail. Rye’s peppery character makes it stand out. It’s a little bitter. A little sour. A nice quaff on a hot day.
Has it really been a year? Atlas Brew Works honchos Justin Cox, right and Will Durgin will party this weekend to celebrate the milestone. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo.)
Local beer makers Atlas Brew Works is celebrating its one-year on Saturday with a fiesta at its Ivy City HQ, complete with its signature beers, local foods and live music from area bands the Bumper Jacksons, Sunwolf and Baltimore-based Unstable Heights.
Tickets are $10 for the 1-5 p.m. party, and can be purchased here. In the meantime, here’s a sampling of the music to help prepare you for some weekend beer drinkin’.
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.
“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.’”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Denver Beer Company patrons come in all sizes. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)
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.
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.
“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!
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?
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?
Roll Call After Dark is about what Washington does when it's not at work.
The District of Columbia is a cultural capital where you can you get your kicks from movies projected on the National Mall, lectures on vermouth or Russian avant-garde art. There's always something to do.
Jason Dick is the Hill Life editor for Roll Call and has also worked at Greenwire, CongressDaily and National Journal Daily during his time in Washington. @jasonjdick