My husband Mark and I met when I was waiting tables at Hard Times Cafe in Clarendon. He came in to visit his friend on a slow weekday afternoon where I was the only server on the floor. The two of them had attended Bishop Ireton together. At the time, Mark was a real estate agent in Old Town and was dressed in a suit when he sat down at booth #33. To be clear, while guys in suits are dapper, my 1990’s vibe was a little more grunge. However, I wanted to know more about this guy who had caught my attention. Our mutual friend was no help. “Awww Alicia, you don’t want to go out with McCaslin…” Destiny was at play and our buddy was dancing at our wedding five years later.
Mark left real estate and took a job at the Old Town Hard Times Cafe. The management track led him to come over to Clarendon occasionally where we would do crossword puzzles at the bar after a shift and share a beer. I attribute my appreciation for micro brews to the love I developed for Hard Times Lager that was brewed by Dominion Brewery out in Ashburn, VA. Fred Parker was the older of the two brothers (Jim Parker died in 2014) that opened Hard Times in 1980 on the 1400 block of King Street. The two were lifelong best friends. Fred was the creative genius who merged his love for beer and his brother into one kick-ass tagline, “It Ain’t Heavy, It’s Our Lager.” Fred recently died of cancer on April 26th of this year.
I consider beer a great unifying beverage. Beer comes without pretense. And it just so happens I fell in love over a lager.
Mark has taken other career turns and now owns part of Key Brewing Co. out of Dundalk, MD. Key Brewing was founded in 2014 and has been gaining steady momentum in the Baltimore area. Momentum came to a hard stop in the middle of March. The onset of COVID-19 pressed Key Brewing to start thinking outside the box since bars and restaurants are the main arm of a brewery. Mark would come home from Dundalk and start sharing some of the ideas that were brewing during the management meetings. Being an “outside the box” kind of thinker and problem solver, I was eager to throw an idea out as well.
During the Stay at Home order, I utilized my Instagram feed and promoted the Key Brewing door drop. What was the Key Brewing Door Drop you ask?! Key Brewing has a varied portfolio of beer. I described the beers and had people DM if they were interested in trying a mixed case while quarantined at home. The orders came in and Mark and I delivered beer every Friday for a month. I have since designated myself the Beer Fairy! Yes, Virginia, there is a Beer Fairy! ~ if you live in Alexandria or Arlington!
With the success of the door drops, I suggested to Mark that we offer this as a Father’s Day promotion to Alexandria Stylebook viewers. Great news… the partners agreed! All four of the Key Brewing Co. partners are fathers and are pretty stoked to get in front of Alexandria and Arlington. I’m taking the effort one step further and encouraging you to ask for Key Beers at all of your favorite watering holes too this summer.
There are 24 Father’s Day Taster Cases set aside for me to offer for Father’s Day. The taster case includes a variety case of lagers and ales, two Key Brewing Co. pint glasses, two Key Koozies, a tap room voucher good for two beers of your choice, and some swag stickers. Here’s the best part…Mark will deliver! Deliveries will be arranged for June 19th and 20th. If you are unsure if you’re within the delivery area, please email me. We’ll do our best to accommodate for the sake of love, beer, and Father’s Day. The price of the Key Brewing Father’s Day Package is $75. All you need to do to secure your order is contact me at 703-340-0647 where we’ll arrange payment via PayPal or Venmo, capture your address, and select a date for delivery. How simple is that?!
The brewery is a great day trip destination this summer. They have rotating food trucks, outdoor picnic tables, and plenty of social distancing.
Key has really fun artwork on the cans. Last summer I put on my latest TSALT purchase from Smythe (absolutely adore this dress!!), hopped on a skateboard, and shared my personal favorite Key beer, Speed Wobbles. All of the beers are exceptional and beer geeks have agreed. If the dad in your household is a beer guy, he’ll feel the love this Father’s Day!