Category Archives: Food and Booze

A Chat With James Warner Of Brookland Based City-State Brewing Company

James Warner

Step inside the ground floor of James Warner’s Brookland home and you’ll find yourself inside the current headquarters of City-State Brewing Company. Inspired by his love of beer (both drinking it and brewing it), Warner is hard at work founding a beer line – and a brewery – that celebrates the history and spirit of the District of Columbia.

We sat down with Warner in his office/brewing den for a chat about City-State Brewing Company: its origins, its aspirations, and its potential future as a brick-and-mortar brewery.

Where did your interest in brewing beer come from?

I always loved cooking and being in the kitchen, and I always had a thing for beer. I went to college in Scotland from 1994 to 1997, and the beer culture there really inspired me. It wasn’t like anything I’d found here in the United States. When I moved to D.C. in 2007, I got some brewing equipment someone was giving away, and a buddy and I went and made a batch of beer. From the time I made that first batch, I was obsessed. We were two total amateurs making a bucket of beer on a front porch – and we came out with something that tasted good and made people happy when we shared it with them.

What made you want to start your own brewery in D.C.?

After 17 years of public service, I wanted more control of my life and my future. I realized that D.C. was a place where it was relatively easy to become an entrepreneur, and watching DC Brau and 3 Stars succeed gave me the confidence to start a brewery of my own. Then the idea for City-State started to hatch. D.C. is one of the best places to be in the alcohol business in the country. You’re allowed to self-distribute your beer, and if you sign up with a distributor, it’s not exclusive. D.C. really gives you that freedom.

 How did you get started building up City-State Brewing Company?

In 2014, I left government to devote myself full-time to building up the brewery. I’d never tried to start a business before, so I spend a lot of time just going out there talking to everyone I could and making connections to great people in the industry. I had money from the sale of a house on Sherman Avenue and put as much as I could into the project. I took a short apprenticeship at Glacier Brewing in Polson, Montana. I waited tables at Churchkey to learn what they were doing with beer, both in terms of the selection and the education of their servers and customers. In 2015, I got a job with Legends, one of the region’s leading craft beer distribution companies.

 What’s your beer portfolio like?

Our beers are meant to be for everyone, not just people who know they like craft beer. We want to make beautiful, wonderful beers for everyone in the city. We’re planning to launch with a portfolio of five beers to offer people a range of tastes and characteristics. There’s Holy Go-Go, an abbey dubbel that’s our strongest beer; the Brookland, a tart saison; Equal Marriage, a dark wheat beer with notes of clove, banana, and cocoa; the Self-Determinator, a German-style lager; and our 8 Wards Independent Pale Ale, brewed with an ingredient for each of D.C.’s wards.

What’s the current status of City-State Brewing Company?

We’ve got just over half of the money I set out to raise, and that’s enough to put down a deposit on a location and on the brewing equipment (once we have the space). Every six weeks or so, I try to host tasting events for current and potential investors. Right now, we’re in talks with a landlord on a location in the District. The biggest question we get every time I make a pitch: Where will the brewery be and when will it open? Right now, the goal is to be open or almost finished with construction by December 2018. We’re still accepting investors, so if you want to be a part of City-State, please get in touch!

 Learn more about City-State Brewing Company at citystatebrewing.com

District Space Offers Neighbors A Discount On Upcoming Pop-Up Event

Previous Event at District Space

Brooklanders who haven’t had the chance to check out District Space yet have an extra incentive to do so, a 15% discount off of their upcoming event starting this weekend. The pop up event from 1 Ounce or 2 Cocktail Club will run this and next weekend and the discount applies to the earlier (6PM-8PM) seatings on Friday, 1/19 and Friday, 1/26.  Owner Elan Bar told us “I’d love it if we could get more neighborhood folks through the door. If readers put “BROOKLANDFAM” in the notes section on the checkout page, they’ll receive a refund 15% of their total ticket purchase within 24-hours.” Reserve your spot via the event page here. Now, about the pop event itself, it is:

…a custom-crafted cocktail experience, featuring 5 original drinks with a light bite food accompaniment prepared by Chef Johanna Hellrigl (Johanna’s Table and XII by Johanna).

For this edition, the nice boys want to show that you don’t have to choose between having great beer and great cocktails. Featuring local Flying Dog beers, these aren’t “beer cocktails”; these are cocktails that highlight how beer can be incorporated thoughtfully and tastefully (pun intended!) into mixed drinks. From fortified beer to warm you on a blustery winter evening, to stout beer turned into a cordial as an homage, the drinks will both delight and force you to rethink even a basic boilermaker.

District Space is located at 3522 12th Street NE. Keep up with them via their Twitter feed and Facebook page.

Masala Story, Brookland’s New Indian Restaurant, Is Open And Serving Up Casual Deliciousness

We are going to bet that readers don’t need a lot of backstory on this new restaurant, or the storied history of its location. And since this is our first blog post of 2018, we are hitting the re-set button on the northeast corner of 12th and Kearny all together. Masala Story is here my friends, and it is so yummy.

Perhaps opening during the arctic blasted first days of 2018 is fortuitous, since spices and rich sauces that warm the belly are what we all need right now. Bottom line, Masala Story is a decidedly casual and family affair. As much as I love all the new restaurants that opened on 12th Street in recent years, I think there is a real need for inviting yet affordable places for everyone from young families eating out to those wanting a quick but homey plate of food to go. Not to mention, we are excited to see greater variety in our local dining options. Here are some pics from our visit (you need flash to see the photos. If you can’t see them click here.)

The menu is written out on a large chalk board and one of the first things we noticed was the variety of vegan ($12/platter) and vegetarian ($13/platter) options as well as meat dishes ($12 -$15/platter). There is also a pretty good selection of beer and wine including local beers from breweries like Atlas, DC Brau, and Right Proper, as well has basic hard liquor options like vodka, gin, and rum.

The set up is that you order and pay at a register, get a table number, find a spot to sit down, and enjoy the Bollywood dance videos while you wait for your order to come out. Here is what we had:
  • A Veggie platter – you pick two from a variety of dishes. We selected palak paneer and shahi paneer, both were very tasty
  • Curry Goat  – the meat was very tender and the sauce was yummy
  • Chicken Tikka Masala – we found it to be a little bit salty, but once we combined it with the rice and chick peas, everything leveled out
  • Curry Lamb – this was probably our favorite dish of the day. It was really excellent and the meat was very tender and the sauce was so flavorful
  • Garlic flatbread – tasty, tender and warm
  • Chickpeas – really delicious, with just the right amount of spice
The platters come with rice, chickpeas, and  spinach. A couple of the folks with us chose to go low-carb and skip the rice, and get double spinach instead, which is a nice option. However, we assumed the spinach would be cooked, but once everything was mixed together, the heat from the warm ingredients wilted the spinach and it was much better. I tried a mango lassi – it was really sweet and good, and provided a nice contrast to the spices in the food. We really look forward to going back and trying more dishes, especially the samosas. One thing we found a bit off-putting is that the food was served in to-go containers, even when dining in. While we understand that full dishwasher service may not be available, it would be nice to eat on more of a plate, even if it is disposable. As with any new establishment, they have some kinks to work out, but it was great to see so many neighbors supporting this new business on their first day.
Masala Story is doing to-go service via call ahead orders, and they will start delivery soon. They are still getting their social media up and running, but can be found on Facebook here and Twitter here.

Masala Story is located 3301 12th Street, NE (12th and Kearny) – welcome to the neighborhood!

Momo Yakitori, A Casual Japanese Restaurant, To Take Over Nido’s Space On Rhode Island

An example of Yakitori from a street vendor in Osaka,Japan. Image courtesy of WikiCommons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:YakitoriM0826.jpg

When we spoke to the owners of Nido, (the now shuttered restaurant on Rhode Island) recently, they assured us that they were close to securing  a new tenant for the space. So we were happy to hear that Momo Yakitori, a new casual Japanese spot is planning on opening there soon. According to a story in the Washington City Paper, the ground floor of the restaurant will be more of lounge and the lower level will be the restaurant space. The restaurant’s menu will center around Japanese-style Yakitori, which are grilled skewers of meat and vegetables. From the article:

Momo means thigh in Japanese. It’s one of the most popular parts of the chicken to order at yakitori restaurants, where food is grilled over binchotan charcoal. Chiou and Morishita plan to use these grills at Momo Yakitori and hope their restaurant feels like a place you could stumble upon on a side street in Japan.

The target opening date is February 1st, but they are looking for some help getting over the finish line via a GoFundMe effort to raise $20,000 to help to secure the rest of the permits, licensing, and some equipment. It seems like a worthwhile investment, donors get  a gift certificate to Momo Yakitori for the same amount they donate plus an invitation to the grand opening. We will let you know when we hear anything new. Momo Yakitori will be located at 2214 Rhode Island Ave. NE.

 

Rundown Of New Years Eve And New Years Day Events In The Brookland Area

We started doing a rundown of New Years Eve events a few years ago, and every year seems to bring more and fun events and a wider array of choices.  Yay! Here is this years rundown of NYE events for those who want to stay local. Cheers!

  • Bluebird Sky Yoga is offering up  a class called “Tranquil New Year Celebration: Extended Restorative Yoga Class and Intention-Setting”. From the class description: Please join us to close out 2017 with a special Restorative Yoga class focused on settling into the New Year with peace and tranquility. The practice of Restorative yoga invites us to find moments of pause in our lives. Together we’ll pause and take time to calm our physical and emotional bodies before embarking on another trip around the sun. As a community, we’ll clear out the mental clutter from 2017 and set a collective intention for positive change, being present in our lives, and sangha (community full of love and compassion) in 2018. Bring a journal and pen and perhaps a friend or family member to join in the fun. The class begins at 5:00 pm on New Years Eve and you can sign up here. Bluebird Sky is located at 3101 12th St NE.
  • Brookland’s Finest will serve up a three-course dinner for two this New Year’s Eve. Priced at $75 (for two people), guests can enjoy a Shrimp Cocktail to start, made with Gulf shrimp, spicy cocktail sauce and Old Bay vinaigrette. Surf and Turf is the second course served with rib eye, whole wild Maine lobster, grilled rapini, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, and Béarnaise sauce. Red Velvet Cakea recipe from Chef Shannan’s grandmother, rounds out dessert. The full menu can be found here. Also, they will have a New Years Day brunch featuring a bloody mary bar, details can be found here. Brookland’s Finest is located at 3126 12th St NE.
  • Brookland Pint  will be open on New Years Eve from 10:00 am – 2:00 am and on New Years Day from 11:00 am – 2:00 am. They will be having some NYE specials including pan seared scallops, Sea Bass with white wine sauce, grilled pork chops and chocolate peanut butter pie. Brookland Pint is located at 716 Monroe Street, NE.
  • Busboys and Poets will have an event called “Seeding the Resistance in the New Year”. From the event pageWelcome the New Year with Busboys and Poets to refuel and renew! We will be offering Happy Hour All Night! As a special gift, we will offer guests seeded paper to write your intentions, visions, goals and strategies for a new you- or a new, better world.  Busboys will also be having a New Years Day pajama brunch from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm.  Busboys and Poets is located at 625 Monroe St NE.
  • Dew Drop Inn is offering up their annual New Years Eve dance party again with a DJ from 8:00 pm – 2:00 am. From the event page: “Come join us for New Years Eve down by the tracks. Doors open at 8pm and its free to get in. We’ll have DJ Jerry Jones making the dance party happen and an intergalactic ice luge (we’ll leave you guessing on that). And of course a champagne toast at midnight. Help say goodbye forever to 2017 and bring good vibes to 2018. Dew dance inn!” The Dew Drop Inn is located at 2801 8th Street NE.
  • Hellbender Brewing Company is a bit north of Brookland, but we included it for the beer lovers. This NYE party boasts a “chill vibe” and costs $25 a person. From the event page: “Your ticket gets you dinner plus your first beer, and this year we’re upping our food game with the Project Milanesa food truck, purveyors of amazing Argentinian street food fit for carnivores and veggies alike! Everyone’s favorite bartender, LT, will play the tunes again and we’ll have a linup of great craft beers for you to enjoy all night long. We’ll even have a bit of cider for that friend that “doesn’t drink beer.”  The party goes from 8pm – 2 am. Hellbender Brewing Company is located at 5788 2nd Street NE.
  • The Public Option invites neighbors to raise a glass of their local microbrew to ring in the new year. The event page simply says: “Come celebrate the end of 2017 with us! It’s gonna get crazy!” The The party goes from 5pm to 12:30 am. The Public Option is located in nearby Langdon at 1601 Rhode Island Ave. NE

We haven’t seen any NYE news from Right Proper, Steel Plate  or Smith Public Trust, but will update this post if we do. Unfortunately,  newcomer Primrose will not be open. We hope everyone has a fantastic New Years no matter what your plans!

Christmas Eve Martini Tasting At Wardman Wine

Here is a great event for those needing to get out of the house on Sunday, December 24! From the event page:

Our 2nd annual Christmas Eve Martini tasting, hosted by the store’s owner Hiram, is coming! We are spending December pouring 8 bottles of Washington DC’s own distilled spirits. Spirits from Eight, Republic Restoratives, New Columbia Distillers, and Cotton & Reed, Jos. A. Magnus, District and neighboring Blue Dyer are available to taste. Try our version of a local Manhattan and Hiram’s take on the Martini through local Spirits on Christmas Eve.

The event is from 1 PM – 5 PM. Wardman Wines is located at 625 Monroe Street NE.

Tastemakers Opens Today With Captain Cookie Ice Cream And Cookie Dough Bar

Many neighbors will be happy to know that Brookland’s new food hall/incubator Tastemakers opens today. Their first food stand, Captain Cookie, will offer up made-to-order ice cream sandwiches and an “edible cookie dough bar” with flavors like chocolate chip, salted caramel, birthday cake, gingerbread spice, and double chocolate buzz. According to the tweet below, there will be a ribbon cutting today at 11:00 am.

We also learned a few more details about the other vendors eventually coming to Tastemakers from this article in Eater DC:

The warehouse will also include a Benjamin Franklin-inspired bar and six other vendors: Ball or Nothing, DC Vegan, Alchemist Coffee, DC Steakholders, and DC Ballers, as well as a soon-to-be announced breakfast stall. Construction is under way, with rolling openings starting in early 2018.

The new Captain Cookie counter is projected to operate from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Tastemakers occupies an 8,000 square foot building at the corner of 10th and Franklin.

Neighbors Seek To Protest Liquor License Application At Rhode Island Ave’s Provost

Readers may remember that back in November we posted about Provost, a restaurant that has been in the works since 2013 and just applied for a liquor license.  The owners seek liquor sales and permission for live entertainment Sunday through Thursday 8 am – 2 am, Friday and Saturday 8 am – 3 am for the indoors and for their rooftop deck – liquor sales Sunday through Thursday 8 am – 2 am, Friday and Saturday 8 am 3 am. We recently learned from the email below from ANC Commissioner Odunsi, that constituents voted against supporting the liquor license and that she will be collecting petition signatures to protest the application this evening. We don’t know the specifics of why our Woodridge neighbors are for or against the license, but in any case, looks like there won’t be much seated dining on Rhode Island Avenue NE for a while, given Nido’s closing as well.

RE:  PROVOST Restaurant Petition Signing
When:  Tuesday, 12/19/2017,  7pm – 9pm.
Where:  Woodridge Library, 1st Floor in the stairs seating area,
Neighbors,
I want to thank all of you who came out in November to hear about the specifics of the operations for Provost Restaurant located at 2129 Rhode Island Avenue NE.  The community voted 9-7 against the application as it stands: a class C/R alcohol license with an entertainment endorsement and summer (rooftop) garden with operating hours from 8AM – 2/3AM Sunday through Saturday. The owner, Nina Gilchrist, informed us that the location would be available for rental for private functions as well. Many were concerned about the noise, loitering and parking during such late hours, possibly on a daily basis.
We’re hoping to enter into a community settlement agreement to ensure the peace, order and quiet in the neighborhood so that we can enjoy our homes. In the meanwhile, I’m collecting signatures of concerned neighbors just in case we don’t have a settlement agreement in hand before the deadline to file a protest (12/26/17).
I will be at Woodridge Library Tuesday 12/19/17 1st floor on the steps seating area from 7pm-9pm collecting signatures and email addresses. I will need your email to keep you informed of the upcoming hearings for this license application. So far, there is a roll call hearing set for January 8, 2018 where at least 5 residents who signed the petition need to be present to give our group standing. The actual protest hearing is March 7, 2018.
If you can’t come out Tuesday evening, but would like to sign the petition, please let me know. And, please inform your neighbors who may not already be on this list. If you’d like to walk around and help get signatures, that would be great. I’ll have extra petitions with me. Thanks.
FYI – Attached is the notice of placard from ABRA and a link to an article about PROVOST in 2013 on the Rhode Island Ave Insider:
Yolanda Odunsi
for ANC5C07

Popular Rhode Island Ave Restaurant, Nido, To Close Next Week

Since they opened in June 2015, Nido has been one of our favorite places to dine in the area, whether it was for a date night or entertaining out of town guests. We had been hearing rumors of their closing and now, unfortunately, it has been confirmed by a posting on their Facebook page. From the posting:

As many of you already know, our last night of service will be Friday, December 22nd.

We want to take a moment to extend our sincerest thanks to everyone who has stopped in to share a meal with us. It has been a pleasure to serve you, and we are so grateful for your friendship and support.

We also want to let you know that we are committed to continuing our relationship with this wonderful community. We have been working diligently to find a new tenant who will bring something unique to the neighborhood, and we will let you know more about what will be opening in our building as soon as we’ve found the right fit.

We wish the Nido team all the best and thank them for the years of delicious food and drink. Nido is located at 2214 Rhode Island Avenue NE.

Italian/Austrian Pop Up Restaurant Coming To District Space Dec. 14 – 17th

We recently wrote about District Space, a new culinary pop-up destination on 12th Street. Neighbors interested in checking out the new venue will have their chance next week during a 4 day pop up from Johanna’s Table,  featuring Chef Johanna Hellrigl cooking northern Italian fare.

From the event page:

For her fourth pop-up, Chef Johanna is going home. She is excited to share the food and wine of Alto-Adige, an autonomous province in Northern Italy, and birthplace of her father. Over countless visits to spend time with her family in Südtirol—as it’s known locally—Johanna developed an admiration for the cuisine’s unique marriage of Italian and Austrian flavors.

Sounds delicious! Make your reservation here (requires a $20 per person deposit). To keep up to date on future pop up events at District Space, don’t forget to follow their Twitter feed and Facebook page. District Space is located at 3522 12th Street NE.