Excursion: Evening Brewery Hike

Hellbender Brewing Company
Beer flight @ Hellbender Brewing Company

Over the last 3-4 years I’ve done a number of brewery hikes (some might say crawls) in DC’s NE quadrant.

It’s fascinating to stroll through different neighborhoods in DC you would never visit otherwise, often admiring big homes with yards where people live lives you can only guess at.

Getting to the DC breweries can be a chore. You need a car. Or a bike. Or a Uber. But you can hit a few of them in one go during a 3-5 mile hike. Driving and biking is usually just about getting there. Walking is about the journey.

There are many configurations you can try; this one includes the new cidery tasting room by ANXO in Brightwood.

What: Evening Brewery Hike
Days to try: Thursday or Friday after work
Start time: 5:30pm (most places close by 9 or 10pm on Thursday)
Breweries to visit: 2 + 1 cidery
Distance: 3.6 miles
Time walking: < 1:15 hours

Start: Takoma Metro Station
1st Brewery: 3 Stars Brewing Company (after walking 1.2 miles)
2nd Brewery: Hellbender Brewing Company (after walking .9 miles)
1st Cidery: ANXO Cidery & Tasting Room (after walking 1.5 miles)
Food/snack: ANXO has food
Depart: Uber or Bikeshare (1 block away) or you can add another 1.3 miles to Fort Totten Metro if you’re feeling frisky for more walking.

3 Stars Brewing Company – Walk a little over a mile from Takoma and you come to the industrial park that hides 3 Stars. The NE breweries love using industrial parks as their base of operations. Once inside you’ll enjoy the view of the giant conditioning tanks straight ahead, and to the left, the air-conditioned Urban Farmhouse Room where they sell their beers by the pint or as a flight of fancy. They also have a small home brewing shop on the right.

My go-to beers at 3 Stars are usually the darker beers (love Zombie Date Night!) but the last few times I’ve gone, they’ve not had many on draft. Recently I tried the Go-Go Wiesse (6.5% ABV), a quite delicious sour beer. Sadly, this was among four collaboration beers they only did for a limited time. I also tried Knives Out (8.5% ABV), a double IPA that made me happy. This last trip I simply had a pint of the Southern Belle imperial brown ale (8.7% ABV), which was the darkest beer they had at the time. I like that 3 Stars experiments and offers many different styles on a rotating basis, but I say just keep a few more porters and stouts handy (for me).

Hellbender Brewing Company – Take a gander at the neighborhood as you jaunt less than a mile down to Hellbender. With picnic tables and a few TVs, it’s a chill place to hang out in with friends. I’ve never seen it get packed enough where you couldn’t grab a table. This time, I decided to try something new, so I added the Down And Oat (8.7% ABV) pale ale to my flight, which I found to be very drinkable and smooth, and maybe a little smoky. We didn’t have too much time to linger if we wanted to get to the last place with enough time, so we enjoyed the beers quickly.

Legacy Memorial Park – After escaping from Hellbender, on the way to ANXO you will find this park, which opened two years ago to honor the victims of the 2009 Metro train crash. Take a moment.

ANXO Cidery & Tasting Room – This brand new space by ANXO (which first opened on Florida Ave NW near Shaw) is pretty great. It is in the middle of nowhere (Brightwood NW), but by the time you’ve walked there, you already know that. This is where they produce and package the ciders they make; often the ciders are a collaboration with another cidery. The space is small, but with a decent sized bar and a few tables outside, it should work just fine. I tried the collaboration #8 with Snowdrift Cider Co. and liked it. Even though I prefer beer, I do enjoy a good cider now and again. You can also order food, the Vaquero panino hit the spot after the too brief walk.

Find the complete Evening Brewery Hike #1 route via Google Maps.

Author: Jeremy Bailey

Writer and editor living in Washington, D.C.

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