We don’t normally cover Rochester and Western New York, but something interesting happened there last week. Strangebird Brewery, with roots in the DC-area, won the Brewery of the Year award at the New York State Craft Beer Competition, hosted by the New York State Brewers Association. Pretty impressive for a brewery that’s a year old. Well, they co-won the award, along with Grimm Artisanal Ales, which used to contract brew at Beltway Brewing in Northern Virginia before opening their Brooklyn facility. It was Grimm’s second consecutive win, and you can find Grimm on tap occasionally in the District. 

Winning Brewery of the Year is no small feat. According to Brew York, with 1,264 entries from 185 breweries the NY Craft Beer Competition is the largest state-level competition in the country. 

Micah, pic via Strangebird

Strangebird’s founder and brewer, Micah Krichinsky, started professionally brewing in DC as an intern at District Chophouse with Barrett Lauer. He then worked at Capitol City Brewing Company before moving to Dogfish Head.

But wait, there’s another connection! Strangebird’s brewing system used to be Capital City’s, in Northern Virginia’s Shirlington neighborhood. It was disassembled and trucked to Rochester when that brewery closed in 2018. (The Capitol Kolsch and Amber Waves on tap at the New York Avenue Capitol City location are contract brews.)


In a homecoming of sorts, Strangebird poured at last year’s Snallygaster, and the Churchkey Beer Shop got a hold of a few styles for sale in DC in 2021 as well. Will we see more of their beer down here? “Definitely reaching out to the Neighborhood Restaurant Group folks to see if they’re interested in more beer and hopefully they’ll have us at Snallygaster again,” says a brewery representative. Here’s hoping, and congrats to them!