Nuclear-free beer

by Hyon-Young Kim

It’s back and bigger than ever.

The fifth annual Nuclear-Free Beerfest will take place Saturday, Sept. 21, a month earlier than usual, at the historic Cady-Lee House on the southeast corner of Eastern Avenue and Piney Branch Road, starting at 4 p.m. and running until 8 pm.

The Takoma Foundation, creator of the Beerfest, has confirmed 11 brewers so far to attend, and expects to add more to the lineup, according to the Takoma Foundation website.

Familar and new

These brewers, many of whom are not newcomers to this fundraising event, include 3 Stars Brewing; Baying Hound Aleworks; D.C. Brau; District ChopHouse; Franklin’s Restaurant, Brewery and General Store; Gordon Biersch; Growlers Brew Pub; Old Dominion/Fordham; Port City Brewing; Rock Bottom Brewery; and Union Craft Brewing.

“I always like seeing familiar faces,” said Paul Rinehart, founder of Baying Hound Aleworks. “It’s always good to meet new people and get them to try something new.”

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The upcoming Beerfest will be the fourth for Rinehart, who said that he would be bringing his bourbon barrel aged version of pale ale, as well as bottled varieties and at least three varieties of beer.

“It’s a fun time when people can get together with their neighbors and meet new neighbors,” said Peter Feiden, a board member of the Takoma Foundation and the chair of the Beerfest. “People can enjoy a full evening with good music and sample the excellent local food from restaurants.”

Good local eats

Local restaurants and eateries will donate their dishes to accompany the beer tasting, which Feiden said will encompass about 15 to 20 total varieties of beer.

To name a few, Feiden mentioned Olive Lounge & Grill, Capital City Cheesecake and Roscoe’s Pizzeria, all three of which have donated food to Beerfests in previous years.

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Music will be another familiar presence at the Beerfest.

“I’m looking forward to the fire dancing,” Rinehart said.

The Beerfest will welcome back the country, folk and blues trio Sciatica and the local six-member fire-dancing team, Dance Afire, both of which have attended the last two Beerfests.

It ends in fire

Feiden said that Sciatica will be performing throughout the evening and Dance Afire will perform towards the end of the show at sundown.

The proceeds from the Beerfest will go towards improving the community. Every year, the Takoma Foundation hands out about 15 to 20 grants to community programs in the Takoma Park and Washington area, funding youth programs, sports leagues and other local organizations.

Last year’s Beerfest raised about $20,000, and this year’s Beerfest will aim for the same total, according to Feiden.

Growing

The annual Beerfest continues to grow in scale with each passing year—about 450 people attended last year’s event and Feiden said that he expects about 500 or 600 to attend this upcoming Beerfest.

“There were a couple hundred who came to the first Beerfest,” Rinehart said. “The past fests have grown incrementally and we saw a lot more people in the last two years than in previous years.”

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Despite the increased number of attendees in past years, Rinehart said that the Takoma Park Beerfest was put together in previous years in such a way that sets it apart from other beer festivals.

Intimate

“It’s a little more intimate than other beer festivals, where it’s a mish-mash of tents and is all over the place,” Rinehart said. “The (Beerfest) venue that they use is perfect.”

Those who wish to attend can buy presale tickets online for $35 until Aug. 15, and after this date can buy tickets in advance for $40 or at the door for $45. The cost is partially tax-deductible.

The historic mansion is located at 7064 Eastern Avenue in Northwest Washington, only two blocks away from the Takoma Metro station. Limited parking is also available in the neighborhood.

About the Author

Hyon-Young Kim
Hyon-Young Kim, a writer with a bachelor's degree in English and Classics from Johns Hopkins University, is currently a journalism student pursuing a master's degree at University of Maryland at College Park.