Flashback Friday: The Lincoln Memorial

lincoln memorial

This year, Patrick and I decided to make a list of 12 goals – one per month. They cover everything from a monster truck rally to seeing the statue inside the Lincoln Memorial.

The latter was our goal for January, because even though I am a Washington, D.C., native, and I’ve driven around the Lincoln Memorial countless times since my childhood, I had never, ever seen Lincoln’s statue or the reflecting pool. As Heidi would say, I’m the worst.

So on the last morning of the month – a very cold morning, I might add – we crossed this one off of our list.

Bluejacket in Washington, D.C.

bluejacket 1

Last weekend, I had a brilliant idea: “Let’s do a three-stop beer tour of Washington, D.C.!” We were going to hit up 3 Stars Brewing (a personal favorite), Atlas Brew Works and Bluejacket. (I love living in Annapolis, but I still get a hankering for my hometown now and again.) But then the sky exploded, and as we precariously made our way down Route 50 toward the District, we realized we had made an error in judgment.

Okay, to be fair, Patrick was the voice of reason from the beginning, saying we might want to consider postponing our trip to a time when it wasn’t seriously hazardous to be on the roads. I, on the other hand, held steadfast and true to our original cause. Because I’m an idiot.

Ultimately we decided to reduce our glorious tour through Washington to a single lunchtime stop at Bluejacket, a self-proclaimed “brewery without boundaries” from the enviable brain trust of Greg Engert (beer director for the Neighborhood Restaurant Group) and brewers Bobby Bump, Josh Chapman and Owen Miller.

bluejacket 2

If you’re visiting Bluejacket, you’re going to an expansive, light-filled, industrial beer hall-esque space called “The Arsenal,” which is home to their restaurant and bar, featuring 20 rotating drafts and 5 casks. The design nerd in me wanted to give the whole place, down to the menus, a collective hug.

I’m going to start with the food, because (a) they served me the best tater tots I’ve ever had, and they were in logic-defying CUBE form, and (b) even though I was lame and ordered a cobb salad with chicken, it was incredible. However, I will be back for the duck meatballs with sweet potato gnocchi; the fact that I didn’t order it still haunts me.

The beer was really interesting, and it’s obvious a lot of thought and care goes into what they brew. I tried Mexican Radio (standard and on cask), Velour, Root Doctor, (Valley Below) and Grendel. For me, the clear standout was Mexican Radio, both ways. The others were good and often interesting in taste and back story, but Mexican Radio was hands-down the memorable knockout. I think this was partially attributable to the fact that everything about Bluejacket is so big – from the physical space to the number of beers served – that the initimate human narrative driving the creation of certain brews felt a little lost in translation.

Regardless, it was a delicious experience that has made a return trip unquestioned. You know, for research purposes. And tots.

Production Breweries & Farm Breweries Are Now Allowed in Anne Arundel County

woohoo

Top photo: Councilman Jerry Walker, Jill and Chuck Soja of Lures Bar & Grille, me, Councilman Chris Trumbauer

As you may or may not have heard, Bill No. 8-15 – with the support of “The Entire Council” – was passed by the Anne Arundel County Council of Maryland on Tuesday evening, which is awesome. This legislation opens the door for Class 5M production breweries (Flying Dog and Heavy Seas) and farm breweries (Milkhouse at Stillpoint Farm) to enter the county, which has not been allowed under zoning ordinances up until now.

However, there are still some concerns about the restrictions concerning farm breweries on both sides. On one hand, some residents expressed they are concerned that the law, as written, will allow for farm breweries to hold 3-day, multibrewery events from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. every single month, should they choose to do so.

On the other, there are fears (not expressed at the hearing) that the parameters for farm breweries are too restrictive, including this specific piece of language from page four: “THE FACILITY SHALL BE LOCATED ON A FARM OF AT LEAST 10 ACRES, AND 17 THE FARM SHALL PRODUCE AT LEAST 25% OF THE GRAIN, HOPS OR OTHER NATURAL 18 INGREDIENTS, EXCLUDING WATER, THAT IS USED TO BREW THE BEER.”

Councilmen Trumbauer and Walker both indicated they were open to follow-up discussions on the legislation, as it pertains to farm breweries and events, and then the law was passed.

So there you have it – the door has been opened, Anne Arundel County. Time to walk through it and make some kickass beer. Or as Chuck Soja said during his testimony, “It’s time for beer brewed by the locals, for the locals.”

Previous update from February 4, 2015.