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Recap: Brewer’s Ball

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Papa Love and my brother, Christopher, came to D.C. over the weekend, which meant I had a list of home improvement tasks for them: hang lighting, install shelving, re-do kitchen cabinets—it went on and on.

It made for a great weekend together making my home tip-top. We drilled and hammered, spackled and polished, and I danced around gleefully as my “Dream Home” Pinterest board slowly came to life.

By Saturday night, they were beat, and ready to get out of my tiny condo. Off we went to the DC Brewer’s Ball, held at the National Building Museum. They had no idea what they were in for.

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The event promised endless microbrews, delicious food, and live music from The Congress. That sounded perfect to them. Little did they know our tickets were benefiting an extremely worthy cause: the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

The enormous museum was lined with stations serving up food and beer—30 breweries and 20 local restaurants in all. Where to even begin?

Capitol City Brewing Company was serving up its Milk Chocolate Stout and its Falconers IPA. Starr Hill Brewery was pouring Northern Lights and Starr Saison. Chocolate City Beer had its Cornerstone Copper Ale and Cerveza Nacional de la Capital Dark Vienna Lager. Port City Brewing Company had the strongest in the room—the Monumental IPA—along with its classic Optimal Wit.

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But our favorite brew was a surprising one. It wasn’t even on our tasting menu. Dominion was serving up Cherry Blossom ale that was absolutely delicious. We kept going back for more.

For the food, Papa Love kept getting in the long line for some of Hank’s freshly shucked oysters on the half-shell. But my pescatarian dad decided his favorite dish in the room was the roasted pear soup with crystallized ginger and pistachios from Jack Rose Saloon. He was so impressed he insisted we have brunch there the next day, but sadly, Jack Rose doesn’t serve brunch (yet—we just got word they’re starting brunch service this very weekend, in fact).

Carnivorous Chris was won over by Rampart’s Jack Daniels Pork Sliders and Mon Ami Gabi’s Beef Bourguignon Sliders. I totally loved Todd Gray’s red beet and horseradish cured salmon on toast.

We were so stuffed with food and beer we didn’t even make it near the dessert tables, which included cookies and brownies from Brown Bag, plus Georgetown Cupcakes.

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The silent auction, stationed in the center of the museum, was incredible: signed sports memorabilia, trips, gourmet food and wine, and items from skis and golf bags. We also gave up some twenties for the “Hop”ortunity to win $700 of Beers from Around the World.

The program started and Dennis O’Leary, the chair, told an amazing story about his 11-year-old son, Casey, with the aid of an incredible video (created by Caroline Lacey) that showed the young man’s life with CF. It was touching, and it inspired everyone to give more when the live auction started. Everything from a trip to LA see an Ellen show taping to a Grecian Getaway was auctioned off. And they raised tens of thousands of dollars in minutes.

In total, the event usually raises more than a quarter of a million dollars for the cause. Which is awesome—and much needed. I learned a lot about cystic fibrosis that evening. I didn’t realize that people with CF die in their 30s (terrifying), and that it was only a year ago that the FDA approved the first medicine to treat the underlying cause of CF (even more terrifying).

Only 1,000 of the 30,000 people living in the U.S. with CF are able to take the drug, but it’s helping them to live more normal lives. So why are we celebrating at a beer event? Because nearly every CF drug available today was made possible because of Foundation support. Through their efforts, the life expectancy of a child with CF has doubled in the last 30 years.

Indeed, this event served up plenty of hope, one pint at a time. Cheers.

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