These Are the 7 Best Beers on the Metropolitan Beer Trail

Here’s exactly what to order while participating in the summer’s best activity

May 31, 2022 6:45 am
friends cheers-ing with beers
The best of the Metropolitan Beer Trail
The Good Brigade via Getty

Earlier this month, Washingtonians were given a fresh opportunity to learn something that Europeans have known for years: biking goes better with beer. The Metropolitan Beer Trail, linking seven breweries and bars along the Metropolitan Branch Trail, is officially open. To further entice riders to travel the length of the trail, there’s a web-based digital passport, with discounts and more — plus anyone who visits all seven destinations gets a free T-shirt.

A collaboration with the NoMa Business Improvement District, the Beer Trail extends from Union Station north through NoMa, Eckington and Brookland and formalizes casual bike-and-beer trips along the trail — something proprietors had noticed were becoming more popular, especially as the weather improved.

With that in mind, here’s what to expect — and a suggestion of what to order — at each stop along the trail.

Stop #1: Right Proper Brewing Co.

Tucked away at the northernmost end of the trail is Right Proper Brewing Company’s Production House and Tasting Room. Open since 2015, drinkers can sample the brewery’s offerings inside or outside. Along with staples like its dry-hopped pale ale Raised By Wolves and light lager Senate Beer, don’t miss Material Gworl, a wild saison brewed with blackberry, ginger, thyme and vanilla. Since Right Proper is, happily, open at noon on weekends, bartenders have noticed riders grabbing a beer here and then hanging around as they wait for the next stop to open.

Stop #2: The Dew Drop Inn

The owners of Columbia Heights institution Wonderland Ballroom opened The Dew Drop Inn in 2015, and it’s been holding it down as a neighborhood favorite ever since. With plenty of outdoor space, the bar is a refuge for riders in the hours before sunset, from 4 p.m. until late on weekends. The drink menu features plenty of cocktails, crushes, combos and a couple frozen drinks, but for those making multiple stops, there are two offerings from DC Brau that work perfectly: the low-ABV lemon radler or Wonder Drop, a lager made exclusively for Wonderland.

Stop #3: City-State Brewing Co.

City-State Brewing opened one year ago and has already made a mark in the local beer scene with its DC-themed brews. Its Edgewood facility is also a must-stop, especially for riders with children in tow. With a long, shaded patio, plenty of toys and even a couple arcade games for older kids (or kids-at-heart), City-State goes beyond being kid-friendly to being kid-welcoming. For those hot summer days, bikers prefer its Equal Marriage wheat ale, which is now available as a blonde.

Stop #4: Metrobar

Perfectly suited for urban bikers who are also big fans of all types of non-car transportation options is Metrobar. The 11,000-square-foot venue is centered around a refurbished Metro car, which also informs its mission of connecting people from all of DC’s eight wards. Metrobar boasts a loaded event calendar, food trucks and a drink menu heavy on DC-made spirits. Riders should try Chamolite, a light ale brewed with chamomile from Urban Garden Brewing — D.C.’s first Black woman-owned beer brand.

Stop #5: The Eleanor

The Eleanor is the only stop on the Metropolitan Beer Trail where you can trade cycling shoes for bowling ones. The combination bowling lounge, bar and grill — which also has its fair share of screens and arcade games — has the most extensive food menu of any of the MBT stops, so this is your best bet for pre-ride carbo-loading or a recovery meal. While cocktails are the specialty, try something different like the Strawberry Rhubarb Otter, a sour from Richmond’s Väsen Brewing.

Stop #6: Red Bear Brewing Co.

Just blocks from the Union Market and La Cosecha markets is Red Bear Brewing. Along with plenty of indoor and outdoor space, the brewery has stacks of board games, a full kitchen and a selection of regular and seasonal beers that nod to the hop-forward tradition of the Pacific Northwest. These days, you can grab a glass of Syla, a Belgian-style Tripel brewed from a recipe from Lviv’s Pravda Beer, with proceeds benefiting the Ukrainian brewery.

Stop #7: Wunder Garten

No day of bikes and beers would be complete without a stop at an actual beer garden. Wunder Garten is just steps from one of the ends of the Metropolitan Beer Trail and feels like a secret spot hidden in an otherwise anonymous corner of NoMa. Loaded with tents and cabanas for your reveling pleasure, the best bet is to embrace the Germanic vibes and get a boot-shaped stein of Franzishkaner Hefeweizen or Reissdorf Kolsh. Make it easy on your host: Raise your glass and say “Prost!”


Join America's Fastest Growing Spirits Newsletter THE SPILL. Unlock all the reviews, recipes and revelry — and get 15% off award-winning La Tierra de Acre Mezcal.