The first area brewery opening of 2023 will be in DC proper; on Thursday, January 19, 2023, Crooked Run and Pizza Serata toss open their doors at 550 Morse Street NE, a block south of Union Market. We chatted with Crooked Run Co-owner and production manager Jake Endres about the new venture, and we have the first look at the beer menu.
The initial batch of Alora, an Italian-style pilsner exclusive to Crooked Run Union Market, was brewed in Sterling; in the future they’re doing something that’s not uncommon in brewing, but is unusual in the area: making the wort–the result of water boiled with grains–in Sterling and then moving it to DC for fermentation and additional hopping. “Alora is the only beer we plan to brew that way, but that could change,” says Endres. Crooked Run is no stranger to “wort trucking,” their coolship is in Leesburg and they move that liquid to their Sterling location. The Bruery, whose East Coast store is across the street from Crooked Run and Pizza Serata, has also moved wort as a way to keep unwanted yeasts and microbes out of their “clean” beers, that is, beers fermented with lager or ale yeasts as opposed to bacterias and Brettanomyces. In Crooked Run’s case, it’s more about saving space as real estate is cheaper in Sterling than in DC. The Union Market location has a 10 barrel fermenter and a 10 barrel serving tank to finish Alora.
We found the beer to be grassy and pleasantly bitter, with a pronounced softness on the palate and less carbonation than other Italian-style pilsners on the market. At 4.5% alcohol by volume, the beer certainly warrants multiple pours, and a crowler machine on site means the beer can be sold to go as well. Read on for more on this beer, exclusive to the Union Market location, and other plans, including cask ales!
DCBeer: The Sterling location is co-located with both food and cocktails, how have your experiences there informed the play between alcohol and food at Union Market?
Endres: I’m fairly familiar with pizza; my girlfriend works in pizza and I went through a major home pizza-making kick. Snappy, crisp lager is what you want, but also a nice hazy IPA or a little mixed ferm sour work great, too.
Overall, pizza and other shareables are a pretty natural fit, and the carbs help cut the alcohol to a more manageable level–something patrons and staff can both appreciate!
DCB: Speaking of lager, in your 2022 Beer in Review discussion with Phil Runco you mentioned some help from DSSOLVER (NC) and Good Word (GA) on Alora, what did that entail?
Endres: Both those breweries make fantastic Italian-style pils. Todd DiMatteo (Good Word) and Vince Tursi (DSSOLVR) are both friends of ours and share a passion for a lot of the styles we make, and are guys I know I can turn to for advice. We’ve brewed a lot of styles of lager, but Italian pils was something we had never done before; it involves a lot of hopping for a lager. We had our own ideas on how to best approach it, but I wanted to run it by those guys for some feedback.
DCB: Two beers on cask engines? We very much like to see that in 2023!
Endres: Thanks, us too. Cask is having a renaissance, and we’re proud and glad to be a part of it. Our system doesn’t allow oxygen in, which makes it easy to train staff. Temperature control is key as we’re serving these beers [a bitter and a porter] at 55 degrees.
DCB: Will there be sales to go? Bottles? Crooked Run wines and ciders as well?
Endres: You bet. Everything we offer at our other locations. No cocktails, though, but we are working on some cocktail-style seltzers.
Crooked Run releases new beers on Fridays–first up is a sour with mango, coconut and sticky rice–and Union Market will be a part of that as well, every Friday at least early on. Drinking on site? Look for beer and wine slushies, and all lagers are poured from LUKR taps.
Opening beer list:
- Alora, Italian-style pils
- Coast, NZ-style pils
- Glade, German-style pils
- Heart and Soul, hazy IPA
- White Oak Scorpion, West Coast style IPA
- Spinning Circles, hazy IPA
- Raspberry Empress, sour IPA w/raspberries
- Merrang, Berliner weisse w/lemons, vanilla, milk sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg
- Garth, kriek-inspired coolship ale w/VA cherries
- Shire, English-style bitter
- Errant, English-style porter
- Wisdom, bourbon barrel aged barleywine
- Social, bourbon barrel aged imperial stout w/pistachios and vanilla
- Skilletized, imperial milk stout w/coffee, hazelnuts, vanilla, and maple syrup
- Bless, bourbon barrel aged Belgian-style quad
- Pineapple Upside Down Cake Swirl
- 2022 Pippin
- 2022 Rosé
- 2022 Orange Piquette
One response to “Crooked Run and Pizza Serata Opens at Union Market”
Love this interview write up! Jake over here crushing the beer journalism.