Happy holidays and happy new year! We hope you have gotten over all of your family-related hangovers, made some good memories, and opened up some great beers over the past few weeks. We sure have. Welcome to 2015! This is likely to be another big year for the DC metro area in terms of craft beer, but before we get too far into the new year, we want to look back on the year that was. (Be sure to also check out John Fleury’s excellent beer prognostications about 2015 over at DCist.) Here’s the year in review through the lens of our coverage of the scene.
In 2014, we were big fans visiting local breweries and events, as well as photo slideshows. We got to check out both Mad Fox, Port City, and Beltway Brewing as well as breweries in West Loudoun County via Brew Bus. We paid Millstone Cellars a visit and had the chance to sample straight from the barrel! We also went to New Belgium’s Tour de Fat, which raised $54,000 for local bicycling nonprofits, and Capitol City’s annual Oktoberfest.
We had the chance to check out some out of town breweries and beer scenes. Whether it was heading to Lagunitas to help them Brew Fusion 19, romping around Chicago to attend CiderCon, or checking out everything Kansas City had to offer while attending Boulevardia, we definitely got around this year.
It wasn’t all fun and games around here though. We also covered important industry topics. Examples included @The_Beermonger’s frustrations around craft beer distribution, a look at industry insiders’ views on allocation, and the ethics of DC’s beer laws. We also analyzed the big beer changes that could come from a law change in Montgomery County. We mused on the state of the IPA as a style, and we kept you updated with our second annual State of the Scene. We also had the list of all of the GABF awards won by local breweries (congrats!). It wasn’t all so serious though. As a staff, we let you know which local beers would make our personal fantasy teams and we offered up a go-to guide on where to buy beer in the DC area.
We also had the pleasure of conducting some great interviews in 2014. We chatted with:
- Chef Bart Vandaele of Belga Cafe
- Terrapin Beer's Spike Buckowski
- Local homebrewer and “the Mad Fermentationst” Mike Tonsmeire
- Stillwater Artisanal Ales’ Brian Strumke
- Greg Jasgur and Sam Fitz of Pizzeria Paradiso (though both are now formerly of Pizza P)
- Andrew Geffken of Charm City Mead
- Neighborhood Restaurant Group’s Greg Engert (in four parts: 1, 2, 3, 4)
- Randy Kuczor, Whole Foods P Street's Beer Buyer
- Right Proper Brewing Company’s brewer Nathan Zeender
- Bluejacket’s Brewing Team (in two parts: 1, 2)
You may have heard that 2014 was a big year of growth for DC breweries. It’s not a rumor. It’s true. Consider that both DC Brau and 3 Stars announced expansions. We had all the pics of the shiny new equipment at the latter and also let you know when they started selling bottles, kind of like when we announced that Atlas would start selling cans. Right Proper also announced their expansion and move from brewpub to production brewery. It wasn’t just the extant breweries, though.
We also covered Catalog Brewing, which has an interesting new brewing model in Prince George’s County. Speaking of interesting models, area stalwarts Flying Dog announced plans for “Farmworks Brewery” in Virginia. We also let you know when Silver Spring’s Denizens Brewing and the Atlas District’s Bardo Brewing opened their doors. We were there when Hellbender Brewing Company opened up and released their first beer. Unfortunately, it wasn’t all growth as we bid farewell to Chocolate City Beer, which closed at the end of 2014.
Looking back on 2014, we were amazed at how much there was to cover, some of which we had actually forgotten about. We hope if there’s anything big that you missed on the first time through that you’re getting a second chance to check out some of our great posts. We’re looking forward to continuing to cover more big developments in 2015. Thanks for reading and cheers!