Brewing in Solidarity

by April Anderson

The DC Brewers Guild proudly presents the 9th Annual DC Beer Week, taking place August 20th - 27th 2017. The eight day festival celebrates the Capital region's craft beer community… and throughout the week, local breweries, restaurants, bars & community partners bring the area's best craft beer tastings, educational seminars, and events to the people!

Since 2012 breweries from across the DMV region have joined together to celebrate DC Beer Week with a collaborative brew they call Solidarity Beer, a style which changes from year to year. This beer is exclusively featured during DC Beer Week, creating a celebration of community, and lending to its limited availability. That said, in years past “Solidarity” has only been available on draft. However, that is all about to change, as this year for the first time ever it will be packaged and available for purchase!

 As part of the DC Beer Week tradition… D.C., Maryland, and Virginia craft breweries come together to collaborate on the Solidarity Brew. Each year a different brewery is awarded the opportunity to play host and craft the “Solidarity” beer at their respective facility. Recipe construction of course is a collective effort, lending the opportunity for input from each of the regions talented brewers. This year’s Solidarity Beer style is a Brett IPA, a beer reflective of the unity and vibrant nature within the local community.

Hosted this year by Right Proper Brewing Company, the brew day for “Solidarity” took place Thursday, July 20th at the Brookland Production House on Girard St. The breweries in attendance were Atlas Brew Works,Bluejacket, DC Brau, District ChopHouse,Denizens Brewing Company, Gordon Biersch – Downtown, Gordon Biersch –Navy Yard, Hellbender Brewing Company,The Public Option, 3 Stars Brewing Company, and Port City. Aside from the humidity and sweltering heat (not to mention the brew kettle) the atmosphere was lively and full of industry humor, as the brewers took the opportunity to catch up with each other and talk “shop”.

Those who donated time, materials, and ingredients to help make this beer happen include United Bottles & Packaging, Blue Label Digital Printing,Andy Sides Designs, YCH HOPS, and Country Malt Group. And just in case that wasn’t enough… Holly Haliniewski, the Operations Manager for theD.C. Brewers Guild, facilitated a media segment with The World of Beer – Drink It interns to document the day and interview a few of the brewers. Nathan Zeender, Head Brewer of Right Proper Brookland Production House & Tasting Room remarked “I was glad everyone was on board with a beer fermented with our house mixed culture that would play to the strengths of our brewery by offering something funky, unfiltered, and juicy for the August heat. The fact that it is the first bottled beer we've ever released is meaningful, and more so that it happened with the help of so many friends and partners.”

Additional comments were made in reference to the significance behind the brew and the meaning for which it stands. Barrett Lauer, Head Brewer for The District ChopHouse & Brewery, stated, “"Solidarity" is a celebration of quality beer. It embodies the idea that not only local breweries, but local bars, businesses, retailers, distributors, artists, and suppliers, are all in this together. Working together we are all much stronger than when we work alone. Beer culture exemplifies this and "Solidarity" celebrates our healthy and thriving culture. There is a lot of time, labor, and love in beer. At the end of it all it is awesome to sit back, enjoy it, and celebrate it together.”

As such, “collaboration” is a term which many of us in the beer industry are quite familiar with… whether it be the formulation, participation, or (my personal favorite) consumption of. We are joined together by the notion of creativity, innovation, and passion to craft such a brew. Coming at a time where we may find ourselves divided through mergers, buy-outs, and difference in opinions… it is important to remember community and a genuine love for the craft.

Lastly, “Solidarity” stands for harmony, unity, and fellowship… reason’s for which the beer community has thrived amongst the world. That said, if you get the chance to participate in the week’s festivities throughout the DMV region, be sure to take a moment to reflect on what is in your pint glass… and its ability to connect us! 

- April Anderson