Sonora’s 2016-17 Hockey Beer Picks:
I’m very excited to be back rink-side watching the Washington Capitals (hopefully) skate to victory. Last year, our Stanley Cup dreams were sadly dashed yet again in Round 2, as we fell to the eventual Cup winners, the Pittsburgh Penguins, in Game 6. But it’s a new year, and so far, the Caps are playing well. My husband and I have attended two games in person, and actually invested in a partial season plan this year, so we’ll be attending many more!
Last year, I talked about diminished local options at the Verizon Center upon its partnership with Anheuser Busch. Someone must have been listening, because this year, I found a few more options! While the draft lines are still pretty limited in terms of variety, three local options are now available in cans – Devil’s Backbone Vienna Lager, Devil’s Backbone Eight Point IPA, and Flying Dog Snake Dog IPA (it should be noted, though, that Devil’s Backbone was recently purchased by Anheuser Busch). In addition to the new cans, Devil’s Backbone is now the featured beer at The Bone, previously home to Heritage Brewing Co. (sadly, I did not see any of their beers at Verizon Center this year).
While beer during the game is key, the arena is also located in walking distance of several great spots for beer. I love to grab a pregame pint at Iron Horse Taproom, a no-frills bar located in Penn Quarter. They have a wonderful craft beer selection, which changes almost daily and gives equal tap time to local favorites and national rock stars. Iron Horse also offers an excellent happy hour – $2 off all of their drafts. Yes, all of them – including the rare stuff. Their happy hour is 4 – 8 PM on weekdays and 5 – 8 PM on weekends, perfect timing for an evening hockey game.
Down the street from the Verizon Center is RFD. They offer beers in both full pours and sample sizes, the latter being a good option if you’re staying for several hours and want to stretch your beer mileage (not to mention your pennies). They offer ample tap space to local favorites like DC Brau, Right Proper Brewing, and 3 Stars; while also bringing in many popular craft beers from other states and a few from other countries. RFD is also a great place to watch a Caps game when the Verizon Center is out, boasting several TV screens and three different areas to watch the game in. They love the Caps, and often hold promotions or offer food+drink specials on game days. One highlight this year was watching the Caps’ season opener, an away game against the Penguins (really, NHL, just rub salt in the wound why don’t you), in RFD’s backroom bar. The game was shown on the big screen, and the night featured free finger food, discounted beer, and a raffle – where yours truly won a puck signed by Alex Ovechkin.
Here’s to a great year for the Caps and some good beer to go with it!
April’s 2016-17 Hockey Beer Picks:
Hockey’s back and I couldn’t be more pleased. The hockey season typically runs my life and attending games at the Nationwide Arena, cheering on the Columbus Blue Jackets, is my favorite pastime. The Blue Jackets started off slow but are now above .500, meaning they have won more games than lost. Opening night was filled with the usual highs and lows. The highs consisted of partying outside the arena before the game, the excitement of being inside the arena for the first time since last spring and of course that first goal scored. A few more goals were scored that evening and we were riding high; then came the blow of losing the game. Oh well.
What made my day though was the abundance of craft beer on tap. The normal stands were set up: “Ohio Crafts & Drafts” and “Arch City Ales.” Arch City Ales has over 20 drafts to choose from ranging from Southern Tier, Bells and of course local brews. As you can imagine by the name, Ohio Crafts & Drafts offers several Ohio beers on draft and canned.
Besides these two, I stopped by several more small stands around the arena that night. Now, either I don’t remember them being there (good possibility) or they are new to the arena. This made by day because Arch City and Ohio Drafts are located on the first floor of the arena and on the opposite side from my seats. I now have the luxury of walking a short distance to grab an IPA or whatever I’m drinking for the night. My drink of choice on opening night was Hoptoberfest by Barley’s Brewing Co., from Columbus, Ohio. It tastes like an Oktoberfest but has the fruity aspect of an IPA, brewed with Australian Galaxy Hops. I had several. Maybe it’s not a good thing the stand is so close. Anyway my husband and I had a wonderful time as usual and hopefully the Jackets can keep up the momentum.
Side note: While checking facts, I googled Nationwide Arena Ohio Drafts & Crafts. Listed as the fourth result down was the hockey article written last year by Sonora and I, titled Pucks and Pints: Our Favorite Hockey Beers – Stouts and Stilettos. I got a kick out of that!