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Screwtop: I Heart You

An October pumpkin beer tasting and so much more

If someone made an “I heart Screwtop” T-shirt, I would wear it proudly as both a wine lover and an Arlingtonian.

There is so much to this local eatery and wine bar. has a plethora of wines from various regions with rotating seasonal choices and featured favorites.

Their wildly popular wine club hosts monthly pickup parties. Fun, right? Members get to bring home two carefully selected bottles each month paired with the perfect cheese. On top of that, members get various discounts and VIP access to events. Check Screwtop's website for wine club membership options.

If you’re looking for a good tasting now and then, Screwtop doesn’t make you wait for special events.

They serve wine flights daily, which includes three options to check out and pair with your food. My favorite feature of a tasting is the personal placemat the glasses are served on, telling me what I’m drinking – a fun but practical detail. Screwtop's generous charcuterie boards, hearty sandwiches, and (mmmm....) truffle salt popcorn compliment any wine selection.

Besides the wine, the bar offers a lot to celebrate. Screwtop has fun gifts for the foodie in your life, a great locally farmed cheese selection, and a broad range of hard-to-find beers. The food is worth the trip, imbibing or no. Their generous cheese boards, bacon-wrapped dates -- a favorite; they're savory and sweet -- and full dinner dishes can easily stand on their own.

Last week, I visited Screwtop for its Oktoberfest beer tasting featuring pumpkin beers. I’m not always a flavored beer fan, but these brews proved perfect for a fall meal or a flavorful happy hour.

The tasting was led by Hop & Wine Beverage, guiding a large group of eager beer-loving folks through four tasty beers.

Taste 1 – Post Road Pumpkin Ale from Brooklyn Brewery came in as my top choice. The host sold it as a taste of pumpkin pie, and that proved to be true.  Delicious. And it gets the job done. A perfect answer to the need for a lighter but flavorful fall beer. A six-pack of Post Road made it home with me.

Taste 2 – Hailing from Michigan, New Holland Brewing's Ichabod Pumpkin Ale brought forward nutmeg flavors and a heavier, throaty body with a spicier, more powerful taste.

Taste 3 – Shipyard’s Smashed Pumpkin was a close runner-up, as it also offered pumpkin pie notes, but markedly different from Post Road. With 9 percent alcohol and a fruitier sweetness to it, this signature series wheat brew caused rumors to swirl around the tasting area: It can guarantee an equally hearty hangover. Shipyard’s website recommends pairing the ale with nuts, pumpkin pie, hearty stews, sharp cheese and lamb. Any of those seem like a great idea to compliment the strengths of this beer. I learned that Smashed Pumpkin is brewed with Ringwood yeast, a high-brow brewing yeast most frequently used in England.

Taste 4 – The on-tap selection was Great Pumpkin Ale from Cambridge Brewing Co. in Massachusetts, which I found to have more of a cinnamon-nutmeg-spice theme like Ichabod, but much lighter and easier on the palette. Its popularity is no mystery: It’s full of spice and body, the kind you taste in the back of your throat, with a great aftertaste.

Overall, it was a great tasting session.

Thanks, Screwtop, for another great experience.

I heart you.

is located on North Fillmore Street in Clarendon.

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