It’s springtime, and the gates of Nationals Stadium in Southwest have officially been thrown open for the season. And just as the Nats begin their April quest for October glory, dozens of craft breweries and food vendors will be taking over the baseball diamond this weekend for the DC Beer Festival Saturday.
Visiting brewers to the home of the reigning NL East champs will hail from far and wide, including many from around the DMV. These include Devils Backbone of Roseland, Virginia, Full Tilt Brewing from Baltimore and Eastern Shore Brewing Company, based in St. Michaels, Maryland. From their base along the Chesapeake, the appropriately named Eastern Shore will be bringing not only its year-round perennials like the Knot So Pale Ale and St. Michaels Ale, but also the seasonal Duck Duck Goose Porter.
Beers from as far away as Maine and Washington state will also be on hand for bottomless tastings, allowing adventurous tasters to sample the wares of malted beverage makers from both near and far without having to book a flight to those far-off tasting rooms.
Oddly enough, the District’s beermeisters are underrepresented in this year’s crop of beverage purveyors: Right Proper Brewing Company of Northwest will be the only District-located craft brewer representing the home team — which hopefully will provide motivation for DC Brau, 3 Stars, Hellbender et al. to up their game for ensuing festivals to adequately represent the capital, which is quickly becoming one of the nation’s prime spots for craft beer.
To soak up the unlimited suds, D.C.-area food trucks will be on hand to offer tastes of District flavor. Wafting deliciousness will tempt patrons with both free samples as well as heartier platters for those who need to take a (well-advised break) in their drinking. (Remember, the name of the game is pacing.) A select few of the notable food truck businesses to park it at Nationals Stadium include DC Slices, Red Hook Lobster, DC Crab Cake n Co., Bada Bing, Tasty Kabob and DC Empanada.
Lawn games and various other fun activities will be offered on the infield amid the beer proprietors.
Two sessions will be offered Saturday, the afternoon fun from 1-4 p.m. and the second from 6-9 p.m. Each session requires separate admission. As the seasons are still in transition, bringing a light jacket would be advisable.
And remember, pace yourself. The $40 entry fee might tempt you to want to drink the entrance fee — and then some — but cabs and a slow-and-steady rhythm will keep your unforgettable night out at the ballpark from morphing into a forgotten evening getting better acquainted with D.C. Metro police. Take advantage of an Uber or, better yet, hop the Metro and walk to the Nats Park from the Navy Yard stop on the Green Line.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: DC Beer Festival
WHERE: Nationals Stadium, 1500 S Capitol St SE, Washington, DC 20003
WHEN: Saturday, 1-4 p.m. and 6-9 p.m.
INFO: Tickets are $40, which includes unlimited beer tastings with food sold separately; visit DCBeerFestival.com to buy tickets