DDOT public meetings on proposed FY2015 – 2021 transportation projects

DDOT released the following notice of public meetings on proposed FY2015 – 2021 projects in the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program. Item of interest for our neighborhood is completion of the Metropolitan Branch Trail (see image at bottom of post). It is worth taking a look at the entire draft project list.

DDOT to Hold Public Meetings for Statewide Transportation Improvement Program 
The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will hold two public meetings to present for public feedback the transportation projects included in the Fiscal Years 2015 to 2021 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).  The public is invited to participate in one of the following meetings:
When: December 2, 2014 6:30pm – 8:30pm 

Where: Petworth Neighborhood Library

4200 Kansas Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20011

When: December 3, 2014 6:30pm – 8:30pm

Where: Department of Employment Services

4058 Minnesota Avenue NE

Washington, DC 20019

The STIP is a statewide prioritized funding program of transportation projects covering a six-year period that is consistent with the long-range statewide transportation plan, also known as moveDC.  The STIP includes those projects with federal funding and/or regional significance, but it does not include individual projects with 100% local funding to address local transportation needs (these are included in the District’s Capital Budget process).  At the meetings, DDOT will present the Draft FY 2015 to 2021 STIP Project List, which includes information on the type of project, project funding, and the estimated project schedule.  In addition, DDOT will provide an overview of the STIP and how it was developed.  The Draft FY 2015 to 2021 Project List is located here on DDOT’s website.
MBT plan

MBT plan

Interview with Hellbender Brewing Company – Official tasting room opening November 15

Thanks to reader H for alerting us to Hellbender Brewing Company’s arrival in the neighborhood.

Hellbender, founded by Patrick Mullane and Ben Evans, is located at 5788 2nd Street NE and will have its official tasting room grand opening on November 15, 1:00 pm – 6:00 pm.

We got in touch with Mullane, who took some time to answer a few questions for us.

  1. Can you tell our readers how you got started? 

Both of us were avid homebrewers and had been brewing together for a couple of years.  Ben had been considering opening his own brewery for sometime. He was a research scientist at the time and recognized that research funding was dropping nationwide.  However, his background as a microbiologist and experience working at other breweries gave him much of the experience he needed to start his own brewery.  Confident in my brewing and business skills, Ben approached me about partnering in the endeavor and Hellbender Brewing Company was born.   

  1. How long were you brewing prior to deciding to start a production brewery in DC? 

Both Ben and I started homebrewing before we met.  Ben began homebrewing over 12 years ago while still in college and eventually assisted on the side at 3 separate breweries while also pursuing a career as a microbiologist.  I began homebrewing about 8 years ago after working in the bar industry opened my eyes to all the great beers out there.  We met through Ben’s wife, a long time friend of mine, when they started dating.  We began brewing together on a routine basis in 2009.

  1. What made you select a location in Riggs Park? Was it just a matter of available space? Were you familiar with the neighborhood beforehand?

We were not familiar with Riggs Park.  There’s not much affordable warehouse space in D.C. that would still fit the needs of a production brewery.  We were lucky enough to find our location on 2nd Street before the Ft. Totten Square project began driving up prices in the area.  Not being familiar with the area, we found the convenient metro access and economic development to be potential boons for our business.  Just as important, the neighborhood has been very welcoming with many residents stopping by during construction to introduce themselves and express their excitement about having a brewery come to Riggs Park.

  1. Will you offer tours  of the brewery?

We will.  Our tasting room will be open every Saturday from 1pm-6pm and tours will be offered at 2pm, 3pm and 4pm.  The tasting room will also be open Thursday and Friday evenings from 5pm-8pm, but no tours will be offered at that time.  To thank our neighbors, residents of the 20011 zip code will receive a standing discount of 11% on all purchases in the tasting room.

  1. Do you have a signature Hellbender beer?

We actually have three.  Our flagships are the Bäre Bönes Kölsch, a crisp, dry German-style ale, the Red Line Ale, an American Red Ale perfect for the fall, and Eft I.P.A., a hoppy and citrusy India Pale Ale.  We will brew all three year-round.

  1. Do you plan to bottle/can your beer?

We hope to begin canning in 2-3 years.  Cans are more environmentally sensitive, safer to transport and more versatile.

  1. How much beer are you planning to produce in your first year?

Up to 5,000 barrels (10,000 kegs)

  1. You had your first beer tasting at Iron Horse.  How was that experience? How competitive is it to get your beer sold on draft at popular beer bars (like Meridian Pint, Iron Horse, Churchkey) and are you planning to launch beer at these locations?

Our launch event at Iron Horse Taproom was every bit at successful as we could have hoped.  It was a big crowd and we kicked all the kegs they had on hand, which they probably expected to last them about a week!  We will be reaching out to every bar we can and the goal is have Hellbender beers served in every D.C. neighborhood.  

  1. How would you describe collaborative efforts between production brewers in the DMV area?

The craft brewing community in general is very supportive of each other and breweries collaborate frequently with each other.  The other breweries in D.C. have been very helpful with their advice during our start up and we look forward to creating some fun brews with them in the future.  In fact, every year all the D.C. breweries collaborate.  This past summer, the D.C. breweries collaborated on the Solidarity brew, a session I.P.A.  The recipe changes every year and we look forward to collaborating for the first time next year with the 2015 Solidarity brew.  

  1. We noticed you plan to partner with Casey Trees to plant trees in Riggs Park.  What was the  impetus for that collaboration?  Do you plan to be involved in the community in other ways?

We have a strong environmental focus at Hellbender Brewing, stemming from Ben’s experience as a microbiologists and our combined desire to operate an environmentally responsible manufacturing operation.  This is why we chose a new style of brewing system that can reduce water usage by 30%, ingredient usage by 20% and utilities by a similar amount.  Working with Casey Trees is another way we’re trying to meet our green goals.  D.C. is better than most urban areas in respecting and preserving green spaces but we’d really like to see better tree care and coverage in this city and we’ll start at the brewery.  

As we get our feet under us, we definitely want to interact with and become a contributing part of the community.  As we grow, we will seek out Riggs Park residents as job applicants, be available to host community events and be open to other ideas.  Now that we’re open, we’re looking forward to getting to know our neighbors better! 

  1. The tasting room grand opening is scheduled for November 15.  What can people expect?

It should be a great event.  We’ll have all three flagship ales on hand for customers to sample and to purchase.  Plus, Ben will be giving tours to show off our new facility and talk about the brewing process. Since this is our big opening, we expect a large crowd for the day.  So, we’re bringing in the BBQ Bus food truck to give everyone a great food option.  We hope our Riggs Park neighbors can join us for the opening or any of our public hours.  Even for the non-beer drinkers, we hope the BBQ bus and tours will be enough to entice folks to stop by.


More area bookstores on the horizon

Book lovers, soon enough we will have a few area bookstores to satisfy our book needs. In July, Barnes & Noble opened the Catholic University bookstore in Monroe Street Market. Now the Washington Post brings us news that the forthcoming Brookland and Takoma locations of Busboys and Poets restaurants will also be home to satellite locations of the Politics and Prose bookstore. For readers unfamiliar with P & P’s operation, in addition to carrying a wide selection of titles, the independent bookstore often hosts author discussions and writing classes. P & P will operate bookstores at all of the Busboys locations except the flagship location at 14th & V Street NW, which will continue to be operated by Teaching for Change. The Brookland Busboys and Poets is expected to open next month.

Edit: I neglected to mention Upshur Street Books, which recently opened on November 1 in Petworth (827 Upshur Street NW)

Hellbender Brewing Company tasting tonight

In non-election news, Riggs Park brewery Hellbender Brewing Company will offer its first official beer tasting tonight, 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm, at Iron Horse Taproom (507 7th Street NW).  Hellbender secured a location in Riggs Park last year and has been working diligently to open up shop.

It will have its official tasting room grand opening on November 15, 2014, 1:00 pm – 6:00 pm.  Hellbender Brewing Company is located at 5788 2nd Street NE.  Details of the events are available on the company’s website.

Mayor-Elect in our midst

Congratulations to Mayor-Elect Muriel Bowser.  It might still be news to some that Bowser is a Riggs Park resident.  She launched her campaign for mayor from her childhood home in nearby North Michigan Park.  For residents on the Ward 5 side, you can often catch her father at ANC 5A meetings.  Bowser already had some security during the campaign, but residents can probably expect to see more security detail as long as she lives in the neighborhood (and maybe that will help curb the uptick in burglaries we are seeing in the neighborhood).  For residents on the Ward 4 side, you can look forward to electing a new councilmember in a special election next year.

It’s Election Day!

Polling centers will be open 7:00 am – 8:00 pm. There are a number of items on the ballot besides mayor. Happy voting!

On the ballot for Wards 4 & 5:

Delegate to the US House of Representatives

Mayor of the District of Columbia

Chairman of the Council of the District of Columbia

At-Large Member of the Council of the District of Columbia (select up to 2 candidates)

Ward 5 Member of the Council of the District of Columbia (Ward 5 only)

Attorney General for the District of Columbia

United States (“Shadow”) Representative

United States (“Shadow”) Senator

Ward 5 Member of the State Board of Education (Ward 5 only)

Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner

Initiative 71 – “Legalization of Possession of Minimal Amounts of Marijuana for Personal Use Act of 2014”