A quick recap of a few events on Tuesday night:
– It was impossible to find a seat during Paradiso’s happy hour which is typical but always disappointing. It is worth noting though that their happy hour will also be taking place on Thursday this week (usually just Tuesday and Wednesday) so it may be less crowded then. They cleverly had both North Coast’s and de Molen’s version of a Russian Imperial Stout named Rasputin on the menu next to each other. De Molen has appropriately changed the name to Disputin’ however since the threat of a lawsuit by North Coast.
– The beer and cheese pairing at Kramerbooks thankfully started a bit early as a large, thirsty crowd was congregating in the tiny bar space. The Brewmaster’s Reserve beer, Buzz Bomb (braggot), was more of a wit than a mead, but was enjoyable nonetheless. The Black OPS (RIS) was much more akin to the coffee/vanilla/chocolate flavors of Kahlua than the expected bourbon flavors from the barrel-aging. This was presumably due to nearly a year of mellowing in the bottle as many earlier reviews complained of overly prominent alcohol and bourbon flavors. The cheeses from International Gourmet were exceptional as well, with special recognition going to the double-cream bleu cheese paired with the Black OPS.
– Next up was the Big Hunt which was featuring Victory and Heavy Seas offerings. A cask of Cascade dry-hopped Loose Cannon sat on the bar and Saison du Buff was pouring as well. The Victory rep filled in some of the details of the one-off saison brewed in conjunction with Dogfish Head and Stone. Each brewery crafted a version of the beer from the same recipe, but using locally sourced herbs (parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme). Apparently Victory’s version came out the most well-balanced (although this observation was coming from an obviously biased source), and I can’t say I was disappointed to have difficulty picking out the more floral notes the herbs should provide; it is definitely a top-notch saison which won’t be seen on tap at more than a couple bars in DC. Also on tap for Victory was the Baltic Thunder.
– A night-cap at Meridian Pint revealed that many of the Great Lakes offering from the previous night were still flowing (unfortunately save the Lake Erie Monster DIPA). Allagash Fluxus Belgian Stout was also a nice surprise and the Gordon DIPA provided a stylistic counter-point and spoke to the quality of their draft lineup this week. They will even have to take several of their current drafts off Wednesday night to make room for the Belgian Bonanza, which is surely not to be missed. In addition to the advertised Rare Vos, Belgian Pale Ale, Scotch Ale, Abbey Ale, Hennepin,and 2008 Biere De Mars, they will also have bottles of the new Oud Bruin, Zuur.