The Beer Heads made their inaugural visit to DC Brau on Saturday for a tour and tasting. Notable changes included a roomier sample area with tables turned booths moved against the wall leaving more standing room and an extension to the brew house itself with the addition of many more brew tanks. Brandon Skall was on hand for questions and praise and Chris Graham gave an entertaining tour as always with his wealth of knowledge on all things brew.
We sampled the breweries flagship beers: The Public (American Pale Ale), The Corruption (Pacific Northwest IPA), and The Citizen (Belgian Ale), and their limited release, The Penn Quarter Porter. The beers are consistently great with many collaborations and limited releases making an appearance. Currently in the works is a coffee dopplebock with The Pietasters and Ska Brewing due out in March 2013. Read more about other collaborations on their website.
We look forward to watching DC Brau’s growth and expantion in the coming years!
DC Brau is currently available in Washington DC and Virginia only, find a location near you here.
A night with DC Brau and Big Buns. They don’t call them Big Buns for nothing.
Last night my boyfriend and I popped over to Big Buns at Ballston for a DC Brau food pairing. It was a very simple affair with sliders from Big Buns and DC Brau’s flagship beers. We were greeted with the beer of our choice, The Citizen has always been a favorite of mine (though this time it was too cold and I couldn’t taste anything). We munched on french fries, onion rings, and sweet potato fries while waiting for the late-comers.
We finally began our dinner with The Public (Pale Ale) paired with a Portabella Mushroom, Goat Cheese, Braised Red Cabbage, and Balsamic Glaze slider, followed by The Corruption (IPA) paired with the, Marinated Chicken, Swiss Cheese, Fire Roasted Red Peppers, Honey Mustard, then the Angus Burger, American Cheese, Lettuce, Tomato, Pickle, and Chipotle Aioli slider paired with their new beer The Rider, and finally The Citizen (Belgian-style Pale) paired with Wild Salmon Burger, Cucumber Chutney, Caramelized Onions, Spiced Tarter Sauce. We finished off the tasting with a Penn Quarter Porter float that was really delicious even with it being 30 degrees out.
It was a stark contrast to the fancy Stone dinner I had the night before but I enjoyed the simplicity of it. The sliders were great and as always DC Brau’s beer was phenomenal. Definitely check out Big Buns if you find yourself hungry and in the Ballston area!
Beer dinners. When you pair delicious food with outstanding beer the stars seem to align. I found myself being invited—last minute—to the Stone Vertical Epic 12.12.12 dinner at Tuscarora Mill in Leesburg VA last night. I’m not usually one for last minute plans or traveling to Leesburg—I live in Arlington so it’s an hour drive—but free food and beer is hard to turn down.
We were greeted with a pint of Stone’s flagship beer, the Pale Ale, which is their interpretation of the British style pale ale. At just under 5.5%, it was the perfect beer to start off the night. Since I was invited by a friend that works for the distributor here in the DC metro area, we were seated with the Stone Rep, Michael Saklad (East coast sales rep) and the new DC Sales rep Melanie Knepp. Of course they wouldn’t offer up any insight to future collaborations—citing we would have to wait for that news like everyone else—they were great company none the less.
The beer and food pairings came out seamlessly, each dish more sumptuous than the last. Mike offered up the details on each beers beginning, the stories related to them, and a lot of insight to the history of Stone Brewing. A few highlights (there were 6 courses) include the bacon wrapped prawns paired with the Cali-Belgique (Belgian IPA), the Smoked Brisket paired with the Smoked Porter with Chipotle Peppers, and finally the sticky“Double Bastard” pudding and Nutella with the Double Bastard Ale (American Strong Ale).
And one cannot forget the flight of Stone’s bottle-conditioned Vertical Epic Ales. We sampled the 2008 through 2012 (2008 being my favorite as it was almost like a sour) paired with roasted pears and blue cheese. There wasn’t a single beer I didn’t like, even the smoked beer which I am normally not a fan of and the Double Bastard I had once before and didn’t like. But pairing the beer with food gave these types of beers a new dimension that I really enjoyed.
Having experienced my first true beer pairing dinner it will be difficult to resist them going forward. I am actually going to the DC Brau / Big Buns dinner this evening in Arlington VA. I will be sure to report back ASAP!
Just east of Rockville’s Town Square, nestled in an industrial park lies the unassuming Baying Hound Aleworks. Founded by Paul Rinehart in 2010, this nano-brewery produces small batch beers on a weekly basis with three flagship beers. These beers include the Lord Wimsey Mild Pale Ale and Hopshot IPA, as well as the seasonal varieties: Long Snout Stout, “Rockville” Kolsch Style Ale, and Sarvara Black India Pale Ale.
When the Beer Heads went to visit, the taps were of a different variety. As we arrived, the owner, Paul was being interview by Ale Street News so I snapped a few photos and headed inside. We each paid $5 for a very brief tour given by one of the brewers and then proceeded to the tasting.
Our first beer was the Pepper Saison (7.1% ABV) which had some nice spice and fruity notes to it. Second taste was the slightly smoky S’mores Stout (9.3% ABV) with hints of roasted marshmallow and chocolate. Next was my personal favorite, the Fumida smoked Rye (6.4% ABV) which only got better as it warmed up. And finally, we finished our tasting with the Sif’s Harvest Barleywine (9.3% ABV) which had a strange viscosity to it but was overall enjoyable.
Overall, we had a great visit and met some people that are clearly passionate about their craft. The place needs some organizing and maybe a rug to tie the room together, but we are definitely looking forward to a return trip in the future and thank Baying Hound Aleworks for accommodating our fairly large group that day!
Meantime Brewing Company is situated in Greenwich, London and like most Americans I have no idea where that is. So I look it up and judging by Google maps Greenwich is to London what Alexandria is Washington DC except no one ever says Alexandria, DC so I could be wrong there… Maybe London really is just a huge city on that island and Greenwich is a neighborhood.
Founded in 2000 by Brewmaster Alastair Hook, Meantime Brewery’s aim is to get back to the 18th c. English beer roots. Porters were traditionally a blend of old and young ales with the addition of dark roasted malts. But the light lagers and ales quickly became more popular until the porters recent revival. There doesn’t seem to be a real difference between porters and stouts, except when someone labels something a porter they seem to be labeling it authentic.
Meantime’s London Porter is a great example of a modern English Porter. It pours a ruddy coffee color with a frothy tan head, slightly smoky and earthy nose with a very clean, light coffee finish. Be sure to give this or any Meantime beer if you have the opportunity.
Cigar City open its brewery in Tampa Florida in 2008 and though they do not sell cigars they do make one hell of a cigar themed beer. In their Humidor Series they take their Jai Alai India Pale Ale and toss in some cedar wood during the secondary fermentation to impart some amazing piney smells and flavors. If you have no idea what you are drinking at the time, you are definitely struck by that unique smell.
This was my first time having anything from this brewery so I didn’t quite know what to expect and I am not a smoker (any longer) and do not particularly enjoy the Rauchbiers so I was a bit reluctant at first. But one smell of this beer and I was smitten. I had to smell it several time before finally asking what the scent was. After learning that it was cedar I was immediately reminded of my grandmothers cedar chest that she stored all her handmade blankets in and I had a big smile. I couldn’t wait to taste it.
My first sip was a small one, but the flavors were big. Very bright, sappy resin flavor with hardly any malt let the hops shine through. The beer has a beautiful copper color with a thick off-white head and beautiful lacing. Once you are familiar with the cedar scent you start to get the undertones of citrus and apples that disguise the 7.5% ABV pretty well.
We started out our brew session last Sunday with a bottle of Jolly Pumkpin’s 2012 Oro de Calabaza. With the unseasonable warm weather from December, this was a great beer to sip on while chatting and getting all of our equipment and ingredients ready. I have had a few Jolly Pumpkin’s in the past and have not once been disappointed. This Michigan brewery is big on open fermentation, oak aging, and bottle conditioning which make for some amazing beers when done right, and they do it right.
The Oro de Calabaza is a strong golden ale brewed in the Franco-Belgian style (French- and Belgian-style) with an ABV of 8% and a light hop aroma, making this a very drinkable beer.
Here are my breakdown notes from the tasting day:
Sight: Beautiful golden straw color, slightly cloudy with a nice bright white head that quickly dissipates.
Smell: Mild hoppiness with a hint out tarty funkness, not too much of a spice smell.
Taste: Citrus, funky, and slightly spicy - light hint of banana.