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Coronavirus Concerns Lead D.C. Brewers’ Guild to Postpone Regional Beer Festival

The sixth annual HopFest will be held at a later date this year

Scenes from DC Brau’s annual HopFest.
Mel Gold/DC Brau

Organizers for a D.C. beer festival that would have attracted representatives from more than 35 local breweries to Northeast this weekend announced Wednesday they have postponed the event as a precaution to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.

DC Brau was set to host the sixth annual HopFest, which was expecting a crowd of 600 to 800, Saturday at its home base on Bladensburg Road NE, near the Maryland border.

“It’s an important event for all of us and breweries around the region. It was definitely a hard decision,” DC Brau rep Mel Gold says. She adds that the festival, which typically sells out, will be moved to a later date this year.

HopFest supports the DC Brewers’ Guild, selling tickets to an event that shows off some of the hoppiest selections from breweries, cider houses, and meaderies from across D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. The nonprofit guild uses the daytime drinking fest as one of its biggest fundraisers each year. DC Beer Week, in September, is the other big event that supports the local group.

Participants set for HopFest included 3 Stars, 7 Locks, Adroit Theory, ANXO, Denizens, District Chophouse, Old Ox, Port City, Red Bear, Right Proper, and Valor Brewpub. Tickets for the event ($50-$75) included unlimited pours of dozens of hoppy beers.

Wednesday morning, DC Health officials released a recommendation that “non-essential mass gatherings, including conferences and conventions, be postponed or cancelled” through the end of the month. The recommendation specifically cited events expected to draw 1,000 people or more.

Late Wednesday afternoon, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser declared a state of emergency in the city, saying there were 10 confirmed or presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in the city. D.C. restaurateur Alan Popovsky (Lincoln, Teddy & The Bully Bar, Declaration) tells Washingtonian that canceled events have cost him $35,000 worth of business. Leaders at Episcopal churches across the region announced their facilities will close for two weeks. Concert promoter I.M.P. has postponed shows at all of its venues through March.

Wednesday night, the NBA suspended its season after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert reportedly tested positive for COVID-19. The NHL was still consulting with experts and planned to make a statement Thursday.

At HopFest, DC Brau was expected to debut its Continuing Resolution. The new series from the brewers takes its Joint Resolution hazy IPA and spins the recipe each quarter (the inaugural version is a mix of Azacca, Citra and Idaho Experimental hops).

As a temporary and precautionary measure, DC Brau’s tasting room (3178-B Bladensburg Road NE) will now only offer canned to-go beer (no growler fills or pours for on-site consumption), effective Friday, March 13, through the end of the month. Offerings include the new Continuing Resolution in 16-ounce four-packs.

DC Brau’s next big event, Braustomp, is slated for mid-April. It’s still on for now, Gold says. The annual concert, which doubles as DC Brau’s 9-year anniversary party, features DJs and a lineup of D.C.-based and touring ska bands, including headliners the Pietasters.

DC Brau

3178 Bladensburg Road Northeast, , DC 20018 (202) 621-8890

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