The Female Stranger-honoring Long Black Veil isn’t the only Halloween-themed beer from Port City Brewing Company: the Alexandria brewery announced a Tasting Room-only event this Friday for a new pumpkin ale.
The new beer is Optimal Witch, described as a “Belgian-style pumpkin ale brewed with spices”, and a play on the popular Optimal Wit.
The company said there will be five kegs available at a draft-only event, meaning it won’t be available to take home. The draft will be available at the Tasting Room (3950 Wheeler Avenue).
The brewery is also hosting a “Black Magic Trivia” event on Friday with a magic and witchcraft theme.
Coming only to the Tasting Room
This Friday 10/20/23
We have five kegs.
Do not wait to try this. pic.twitter.com/fnJJa1CNvy
— Optimal Witch (@OptimalWit) October 16, 2023
(Updated 6 p.m.) Who was the female stranger?
It’s a question that’s haunted Alexandria since 1816, when a sick woman arrived by ship and died on Oct. 14, and her husband swore the local doctor to secrecy. Her grave in St. Paul’s Cemetery bears no name but tells the story of her passing.
The mystery is a local legend in Alexandria and the inspiration for a local Port City Ale that returns every year near the anniversary of her death.
Today, visitors still leave flowers at her grave and it’s rumored that she haunts Gadsby’s Tavern. There’s endless speculation about who the Female Stranger was, including suggestions that she may have been Theodosia Burr.
The ale, Long Black Veil, first debuted back in 2014. The 7.5 ABV pale ale is being released this Friday, Oct. 13.
— Port City Brewing Co (@PortCityBrew) October 9, 2023
Like yeast in a beer barrel, Alex Lynch has been patient for the last several years.
In June, the D.C. native had enough beer brewed to open Mieza Blendery at 109 Clermont Street in Alexandria’s West End. With 12 distinct flavors this season, Lynch opened his tasting room to the public.
Lynch is now making beer for next year, blending berries and other flavors to make distinct beer, like his “Moon Driven Sea,” a barrel-aged American sour ale with elderberries, or “Keeper of the Dance,” a barrel aged blond sour with apricot and green cardamon.
“There’s just something about the simplicity and humanity and control of making beer,” Lynch said. “It goes back to our very roots of civilization. There’s a lot of art to it.”
Lynch started brewing professionally in 2011, after graduating from the University of Virginia. He spent years learning brewing at Lost Rhino Brewing Company in Ashburn and at Bear Republic Brewing Company’s quality control lab in Sonoma County, California. In preparation of Mieza Blendery’s opening, he made his batches at Dynasty Brewing Company in Ashburn.
“I can make something that never could have been made in a single batch,” Lynch said.
Lynch says he next wants to host public blending sessions at his blendery.
“It will be great to have events every week where I pull a keg off of given barrel day and people can have the different samples in front of them and try to create a blend with them,” Lynch said. “I think that’s the only way to sort of get a sense of the magic of it.”
The Mieza Blendery tasting room is now open Friday from 3 to 9 p.m., Saturday from 1 to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 3 to 8 p.m.
Good Thursday morning, Alexandria!
☀️ Today’s weather: Expect mostly sunny and hot weather today, with a high of 99°F and heat index values reaching 106°F. Showers and thunderstorms are likely after 5pm, accompanied by 10-14mph southwest winds and gusts up to 24mph. The chance of precipitation stands at 60% with rainfall amounts varying. For Thursday night, anticipate showers and thunderstorms before 2am, followed by a slight chance of showers, mostly cloudy skies, and a low around 76°F. The 60% chance of precipitation continues, with potential rainfall amounts between a quarter and half an inch.
🚨 You need to know
It’s going to be a busy Saturday with the “Beats, Bites and Brews” event at John Carlyle Square Park (300 John Carlyle Street).
General admission is free and the event is from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., with the following performances:
- 12 p.m. — Timbrel Records, Inc.
- 2 p.m. — Urban Revolution
- 3 p.m. — The Silver Books
- 5 p.m. — DJ music
Chic Events D.C. listed the following food vendors for the event:
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📅 Upcoming events
Here is what’s going on today in Alexandria, from our event calendar.
Alexandria’s summer will kick off this weekend with the Portside in Old Town Summer Festival. Here’s what you need to know.
“This free festival features an array of live music, local craft beer from Port City Brewing Company and fun for the whole family on the Alexandria waterfront,” said Visit Alexandria.
The musicians were chosen by the 2023 Alexandria Jazz Fest Activation Team, which includes John Hasse, a music curator at The Smithsonian Institution, Suraya Mohamed of NPR Music and Jeremy Castillo, the director of Performance and Contemporary Music at the Levine School of Music.
Port City Brewing Company will provide the beer, as well as:
- Lost Boy Cider’s Comeback Kid
- Breaux Vineyards wine
- Hopwell, Port City’s hops-infused sparkling water
The Portside Festival is organized by Visit Alexandria and the City’s Office of the Arts and is sponsored by Ting Internet.
- 6:00 – 6:10 p.m. — Opening remarks by Master of Ceremonies C. Alexandria-Bernard Thomas
- 6:15 to 7 p.m. — Joe Baione Quintet
- 7:15 to 8 p.m. — Michael Hawkins and the Brotherhood
- 8:15 to 9 p.m. — Sharón Clark
Poetry will be read between sets by:
- Zeina Azzam, Alexandria’s Poet Laureate
- Sami Miranda
- Two poet laureates from Alexandria City Public Schools
- 1 to 1:15 p.m. — Opening remarks
- 1:15 to 2 p.m. — Ouros (Flamenco)
- 2:30 to 3:15 p.m. — Kalkidan Meshesha (Ethiopian folk and jazz)
- 3:45 to 4:30 p.m. — Oh He Dead (Indie soul)
- 5 to 5:45 p.m. — The Linwood Taylor Band with special guest Sol Roots (Blues)
- 6:15 to 7:15 p.m. — Curley Taylor & Zydeco Trouble (Zydeco)
- 7:45 to 9:00 p.m. — Hermanos Galvan y Orquesta (Latin)
Image Via Facebook
Atlas Brew Works announced today they plan to open a third location later this year in the new Carlyle Crossing development.
The location will feature a brewery and a tap room at 2501 Mandeville Lane, just across from the AMC theater in Carlyle.
“Our Team is super excited to bring an Atlas brewpub to Alexandria,” Atlas Brew Works Founder and CEO Justin Cox said in a release. “While our beer has been available in Virginia for a while, having a brick-and-mortar brewery in the state will allow us to continue to grow our relationship with our customers while brewing new and exciting recipes.”
The 6,000 square foot space will have a brewery with a production capacity of 2,000, the company said in the release. The adjoining tap room will feature 16 draft lines and a kitchen, along with 1,500 square feet of outdoor patio space.
“Regulars will find comfort in the brewery’s six core beers including Bullpen Pilsner, which recently won a bronze medal at the 2022 Great American Beer Festival, in addition to special limited releases brewed in and only available at its Alexandria location,” the release said.
Aslin Beer Co. opens new scratch kitchen in Alexandria — “For the past two years, Chef Taylor Gates has been learning about pizza and dough — and now the taproom at Aslin Beer Co. in Alexandria’s West End is ready to serve it up. Aslin is opening a new scratch kitchen concept this week called Knead.” [Alexandria Living]
City Council approves additional eviction prevention resources — “City Council’s decision funds $457,000 for two service navigator and two housing relocator positions; storage assistance for household belongings; and additional legal services provided by the Legal Aid Justice Center to assist people at risk for eviction due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” [City of Alexandria]
Inova Alexandria Hospital brings peer recovery to the emergency room — “Patients visiting the E.R. for a substance-related crisis can speak with a specialist once they are medically stable. The idea is to help them take that first step toward recovery.” [Zebra]
Today’s weather — “Plentiful sunshine. High 74F. Winds NNW at 5 to 10 mph… A mostly clear sky (in the evening). Low 51F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]
New job: Employee Rotation Program with the Office of Historic Alexandria — “Work involves writing, editing and planning layout of brochures and flyers, newspaper articles, press releases, and/or planning and implementing publicity and fundraising campaigns. Work requires the exercise of creativity, independent judgment, and a familiarity with Alexandria’s African American history. The work is performed under general supervision of the Director of the Alexandria Black History Museum in consultation with the Director of OHA.” [Governmentjobs.com]
Via Claire Going/ACPS
There will soon be a new beer in town.
On August 28, to commemorate the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have A Dream” speech on the National Mall in 1963, a group of local entrepreneurs will unveil Rocket Frog’s newest socially conscious creation — “BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL” beer.
The 9% alcohol imperial stout includes vanilla from Goodies Frozen Custard and Treats and coffee from Swings Coffee Roasters, and will be unveiled at The Loop coworking space (215 N. Payne Street) in Old Town from 12-6 p.m.
Proceeds from the event will go to Black Lives Matter.
Tickets cost $15, which gets you a can of BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL beer, two hours to hang out at the event, and a souvenir glass. Food trucks will also be parked at the venue, and there will be a DJ.
Brandon Byrd, owner of Goodies, came up with the idea.
“Let’s just boil it down to the basics of what Dr. King was trying to inspire in everyone,” Byrd said. “Now in this uncomfortable time, there needs to be some inspiration, there needs to be some hope to establish positive energy.”
City Councilman John Taylor Chapman was on-hand at The Loop to discuss the event.
“As I heard the name, I was like, ‘Okay, this is going to be interesting,'” Chapman said. “You don’t always see organizations being so socially conscious. I think that’s really what I appreciate.”
David Hartogs, the owner of Rocket Frog, said that he’s made 350 souvenir glasses for the event. He also said that $12 of the $15 admission will go straight to BLM and that he is looking for a distributor to sell the beer in Alexandria.
“There’s nothing better than sitting down with different people and having beer and just talking about life, so that’s kind of where we come at with with our philosophy about who we are as a company,” Hartogs said.
Christopher Campagna recently opened The Loop, and this will be his first event.
“We’ve got a big, brand new warehouse space, and a big parking lot, so we can have a gathering and observe social distancing,” Campagna said.
Hunger Free Alexandria Has Urgent Need for Volunteers Today — “Urgent need for Thursday, April 23, 4:30-7:00 p.m. Hunger Free Alexandria is working with World Central Kitchen to feed our neighbors in need. Bring your mask and help with bagging pre-packaged food and distributing meals. Location is on Mount Vernon Avenue in Arlandria.” [Facebook]
State Legislators Reconvene in Richmond — “My “desk” at one of the most unusual legislative sessions in Virginia history. We begin at noon. You can watch us on the livestream. Virginia Transparency even during COVID-19!” [Mark Levine/Twitter]
Virginia Minimum Wage Increase Delayed to May 2021 — “Democrats had used the majorities they gained in last fall’s elections to push through an increase to the state’s $7.25-an-hour minimum wage, scheduling it to rise in stages until it reaches $12 by 2023. The initial increase was to take place in January but now will be delayed until May 1, 2021; the later increases will not be affected.” [Washington Post]
IDA Hosting Stanford Virtual Career Fair Today — “The Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) is a not-for-profit organization that operates three federally-funded research and development centers (FFRDCs) supporting federal decision making: two serving the Department of Defense and one serving the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President.” [Indeed]
Washington Post Features Warwick Village — “Comprising 600 red-brick townhouses, the neighborhood offers families and first-time home buyers the convenience of living close to the amenities of Alexandria and the District in a friendly setting. Different paint colors, landscaping and indoor renovations make each house unique.” [Washington Post]
Alexandria Economic Development Partnership Launches New Website — ” With a clean format and simple navigation, our new website is replacing both of our old ones to make accessing information easier for our community. It also showcases our new brand: Alexandria- the Business of Bold.” [Facebook]
St. Stephens & St. Agnes Alum Now A Nurse in New Orleans — “Dr. Elizabeth Bellino ’94 works in the ER in New Orleans and her husband is an Anesthesiologist. She shared: “In these times, it amazes me how many friends from SSSAS have reached out to support us, whether it is a text, an email, or an offer to send masks. Feeling the support of community and family allows us to keep working during these times. Keep up the good work of keeping us all engaged and feeling like a community once again!” [Facebook]
West End Business Association Hosting Stress Management Webinar at 11 a.m. — “Mara Benner, President/Founder of Four Directions Wellness, LLC, will talk us through the stress we are all under and offer suggestions for reducing and managing that stress so that we can be productive in our lives, with our families and four our businesses.” [WEBA]
Hops N Shine Hosting Virtual Beer Tasting at 8:30 p.m. — “From Väsen Brewing Company we’ll be trying their May Rakau DIPA and The Everything Floats on Pineapple. From our friends at Vanish we’ll be tasting their Ghost Fleet and Wraith.” [Facebook]
Junction Bakery & Bistro is Now Delivering — “Neighbors! The new Junction Delivery van is gassed up & ready to rollllll … We bring it to you: groceries, breads & pastries, family meals, beer & wine — and yes, even our new craft cocktails! Cheaper than Uber Eats!” [Facebook]
Heading into the weekend looking for something to take some of the stress off of the national pandemic and social distancing, some local breweries are starting to offer curbside pickups for their products.
Lost Boy Cider (317 Hooffs Run) is offering pickup at their cidery. Customers select their cider online, pay, and pick a date and time for a pickup. At the cidery, they show their ID and receive the cider.
While the taproom for Aslin Beer (847 S. Pickett Street) in Alexandria is closed, the company is offering cans-to-go for pickup at both Herndon and Alexandria locations from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. No minimum order is required and purchases can be made online, over the phone, or in cash on pickup.
The company is also offering delivery of beer and re-heatable meals for a $75 order minimum, with a $10 delivery fee. Deliveries can be made to Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William Counties via phone. All orders of beer will be delivered the next day, with orders of food or food and beer to be delivered within 48 hours.
Deliveries run from noon to 7 p.m.
“We’re offering this service as a way to comfort and compensate our kitchen staff during these uncertain times,” the company said on its website. “We would also like to help our brothers and sisters in the local service industry by donating all of the proceeds of the meal sales. Please DM us on our [Instagram] if you have any suggestions or organizations that would best serve our friends. We will announce in the coming days how we will be applying our proceeds to the service industry family in our area. Thank you for your continuous support.”
While the taproom of Port City Brewing Company [3950 Wheeler Avenue] is also closed the company is offering both curbside pickup and deliveries.
Curbside pickup is Monday-Thursday from 3-8 p.m. and Friday-Sunday 12-8 p.m. Payment is card only.
“Order before you drive up here,” the company said on its website. “No need to get out of your car, pop your trunk and our team will load the beer.”
The company announced today [Friday] that it will be offering beer deliveries for Virginians within ten miles of the brewery. Deliveries are made between 3-6 p.m. and orders made before noon will be delivered in the same day.
“Once we receive your order our team will contact you for payment over the phone,” the company said. “We will charge a $5 delivery fee and require a minimum of $47 [one case or equivalent].”
Image via Port City/Facebook