As I said in my last post, we’ve been trying to do most of our Christmas shopping at local DC businesses this year. Both because shopping local is good for the community and because it’s a million times more enjoyable than going to the mall at Christmas time (shudder). I have actually managed to avoid malls completely this year, which may have been what kept me from totally losing my mind this Christmas season.
In addition to hitting some holiday markets and Harper Macaw for chocolate, we did a bit of liquid shopping at a few DC breweries and distilleries.
Yes, in my world, drinking counts as Christmas shopping. It was all in the name of research, and we actually got quite a lot accomplished. And because it’s the season for giving, I thought I’d give you some last minute ideas for the libation lovers on your lists.
We had to stop by DC Brau after our trip to Harper Macaw, seeing as how they share a parking lot.
DC Brau is one of the district’s most famous local breweries. You can buy their beer at grocery and liquor stores and many restaurants around town. However, there’s something special about drinking it straight from the source.
We each sampled a few brews. I tried the Brau Pils, the Corruption Nitro and On The Wings of Armageddon. All three were good, but the Pils and Armageddon were my favorites. I’m not a huge IPA fan, which is what DC Brau is known for, but the Armageddon is smoother than most so I can handle it in small amounts.
We decided that chocolate and beer weren’t quite enough to make a balanced meal, but the addition of pizza made for a very well-rounded “lunch”. DC Slices was parked outside ready to serve us, which was ever so handy. We shared a pepperoni “personal” pizza and a tasty salad with pepitas, pickled apples and apple cider vinaigrette.
Have a beer lover on your shopping list? DC Brau sells six packs of their canned beers as well as growlers from their tasting room. Just stressed over the holidays? They offer half-priced pints on Fridays!
One Eight Distilling
Another boozy adventure was to One Eight Distilling in Ivy City.
One Eight has long been on my district to-do list, so I was excited to have a good excuse to visit.
Tastings of One Eight’s three signature craft spirits are complimentary as are tours that are done from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.
We didn’t take a tour, but did partake in a tasting. Or, Tom did. I really can’t do straight liquor.
They currently offer their Ivy City Gin, District Made Vodka and Rock Creek (white) Whiskey along with their Untitled Series, a collection of five small batch whiskeys.
I had a fruity vodka cocktail while Tom sampled Untitled #3, a whiskey aged in coffee barrels.
The space at One Eight is open and gorgeous, with plenty of seating for sipping a leisurely drink. We had a great time, after completing our gift purchases, slowing down for an hour and spending time together.
Need something for your boss? A bottle of DC spirits may be just the thing.
Hellbender Brewing Company
Our trip to Hellbender Brewing Company was actually a happy accident. We had originally intended to go to Three Stars for a holiday market, but didn’t realize that we were supposed to buy tickets in advance and the event was completely sold out. Luckily, Hellbender was a short drive away.
I hadn’t actually heard of this brewery prior to visiting, but it turned out to be such a treat! They have an excellent selection of beers – my favorites were the Bare Bones Kolsch and the Hell’s Horn Imperial IPL, which was tangy and smooth which just the slightest hint of bitterness – at great prices. A four-beer flight costs $6 and our server was very generous, pouring each sample right up to the top.
Hellbender’s tasting room is large and open with two big screen TVs for watching sports. They also have board games to enjoy while you drink.
I gladly took the chance to put my English major skills to use and hand Tom a healthy whoopin’.
It was actually a pretty pitiful game, but still such a fun way to pass a couple of hours.
Family coming to town for the holidays? Take them to Hellbender for a round of Monopoly or to watch the big game. The beer will keep everyone is good spirits.
These are just a few of the boozy adventures you can have this holiday season, and year ’round. Other DC breweries and distilleries include Bluejacket, Atlas Brew Works, 3 Stars Brewing, Right Proper, Jos. A. Magnus and more.