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"Sensitivity is on the menu in abundance at the Black Squirrel Restaurant at the Dunn-Loring Metro stop, if you believe in the civilizing power of estrogen.

The accidental gender make-up comes out to three female managers and Amy Bowman, the proprietor who has embraced the craft-beer industry the last 10 years in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of the city.

This is her initial foray in the suburbs, on the mean streets of Vienna.

"Hear us purr," Bowman says.

This was not the plan, if by plan you mean gender was a determinant factor in the process. It was not.

"The outcome merely reflects the growing influence of women in the craft-beer marketplace," Bowman says. "They were the best available candidates."

And why not?

Brewing beer was the province of women thousands of years ago, it being deemed a "household assignment" yet essential to human existence. You could depend on a woman's ale to survive. You could not do the same with the local water.

Paula Pisarek, who joined the operations from the Eggspectation restaurant group, was all too eager to move into a culture that has been a regional pioneer in the craft-beer industry.

Her fevered breath is no longer fogging the window pane as she stares outside the craft-beer carnival in eager anticipation. She now has a prime seat on the inside. She'll take a mound of cotton candy with her pilsner, thank you very much.

"This has been different in a fun way, visiting breweries, meeting with reps, getting ready to open what will be a featured place of brewers," Pisarek says.

Ah, yes. The grand opening is this weekend, starting on lucky Thursday the 13th, with an All-Virginia Happy hour. The celebration will continue all weekend with a celebration of local food, beer, wine, and spirits.

Avalon Haas Barnes and Caitlin Turner each bring a plethora of experience to the managerial triumvirate. Their beverage background hits all the right notes, with an emphasis on local craft beer, small-batch spirits and Northern Virginia wineries.

"Just because the Black Squirrel long has been associated with craft beer, that does not mean we will be overlooking all the interesting things that have been happening in spirits and wines,'' Barnes says. "You want a craft cocktail whose recipe was hatched in a barn on the other side of Leesburg? We'll have you covered."

That mind-set extends to wine as well, with the help of Turner, who had work stints at both the Hillsborough and Breaux vineyards in Loudoun County before landing with the Black Squirrel.
"The explosion of wineries in Loudoun and Fauquier counties in the last generation has been remarkable," Turner says. "It's only natural that we carry products from the Commonwealth of Virginia."

Now that is the spirit."

The Black Squirrel Dunn Loring is now open at 2670 Avenir Place in Vienna.