Every July Pizzeria Paradiso honors craft beer’s most popular style: IPA.

This year’s celebration is different because one of the IPAs on offer is a commercial batch of the winning recipe from Pizzeria Paradiso’s inaugural homebrew competition. With over 40 entrants submitting their hoppy offerings, I was lucky enough to steward this competition along with Paradiso’s Executive Beverage Director Drew McCormick, who masterminded the operation.

DC Brau’s President, co-founder, and brewmaster Jeff Hancock judged beers alongside Paradiso’s owner and founder Ruth Gresser. Other judges included Paradiso’s Erin Gilbert, Patent Brewing Company’s Matt Humbard, Beer Me podcast host Sarah Jane Curran, and Beer Judges Certificate Program certified Jeanne Burns, who also works and brews at Lake Anne Brew House.

JulyPA homebrew contest judges choose Hotel Amarillo
Pizza Paradiso JulyPA homebrew contest judges Erin Gilbert, Michael Stein, Jeff Hancock, Ruth Gresser, Jeanne Burns, and Matt Humbard

DC Brau scaled up the award-winning batch and on Monday, July 1st, Paradiso will release the beer at each of its locations.


Tim Ryan won the homebrew competition with Hotel Amarillo. The name for the beer originates with a song by one of Ryan’s favorite Virginia-born singer-songwriters, Caroline Spence. The beer’s recipe also featured Amarillo hops and thusly the name was born. Per Ryan’s entry form for his homebrewed batch: “hazy, lots of fruity and orange-juicy character, low bitterness, with a soft and creamy mouthfeel. This one is almost all Amarillo, but Mosaic and Falconer’s Flight check into the Hotel Amarillo during a second dry hop.”

According to Paradiso, JulyPA will run from July 1-14, featuring drafts from Ocelot, Hardywood, SingleCut, DC Brau, Dogfish Head, Heavy Seas, Diamondback, Stone, Dynasty, Crooked Run, Jackie O’s, Fine Creek, Public Access, Vasen, Maine Beer Co., Firestone Walker, Elder Pine, Stillwater, Kiuchi, Abomination, Evil Twin, BrewDog, Hoof Hearted, and more.

Come out to Pizzeria Paradiso on July 1st and enjoy the strength of homebrew culture thanks Pizza Paradiso, DC Brau, and the DC Homebrewers: keepers of the District’s beer culture.

Michael Stein is co-chair of the DC Homebrewers Education Committee and an employee of DC Brau Brewing Company.