Welcome to The Mash-In! This feature is a hodgepodge of contributions from our staff that we hope you enjoy. Want to sign up to receive the Mash-In and other emails from DCBeer? Use the sign-up box on our front page!

Hey hey! It has been a while. Things like DC Beer Week and non-beer life have really waylaid us. Sorry about that. We’ve got a mash tun filled to the brim with Mash-In goodness for you today, so buckle up!

Upcoming Beers/New to the Area
Here are some new beers/breweries/bars/restaurants that have entered the scene since our last Mash-In!

Upcoming Event Spotlight
We’ve picked out an event that caught our eye. To see even more events check out our calendar at bit.ly/dcbeercalendar!


Since it has been a while since we checked in with you, here are three events that should be on your radar:

Reader Email
Need to get in touch with us? Feel free to do so. Email us at editor@dcbeer.com!

We recently got an email from the folks behind the beer documentary Blood, Sweat, and Beer. This is a feature documentary about the explosive growth of the craft beer industry and the dramatic journeys of two start-up breweries.

The film follows a trio of 23-year-olds as they struggle to start The Brew Gentlemen Beer Company in Braddock, PA. Matt, Asa, and Brandon hope their brewery will help this once-prosperous steel town bounce back from decades of neglect, violence, and population loss. (Bill, this is where we ran into your friend!)

The film also tells the emotional story of Danny Robinson, a Maryland boardwalk brewery owner and restaurateur whose empire is threatened by an aggressive trademark lawsuit that could leave him penniless.

Alexis and Chip interviewed us and many others for a documentary on craft beer. They’re in the final push and need a hand, so if you’d like to support them, go ahead and do that here.

Recent Beer We’ve Liked

Let’s go back, back, waaaaay back to DC Beer Week during the Old Ebbitt Brewhaha. We got a chance to sample Full Tilt’s Berger Cookie Chocolate Stout.Much more stout than chocolate or cookie, this was a crowd favorite. With the well known Berger cookies from DeBaufre Bakery and lactose in the boil, cacao nibs in the secondary, and vanilla in the brite tank this beer is surprisingly balanced and far from a gimmick. Be on the lookout for it next time you’re in Charm City.

Beyond the Berger Cookie beer, be sure to check out Lagunitas Imperial Red, which returns from a four year hiatus. This nearly 8% hoppy red ale has a formidable malt backbone redolent of caramel and toffee and a hop profile that is positively dank with resinous pine notes. The balance in this beer is amazing and offers something for malt lovers and hop heads in a very rare way. Only Dogfish Head’s very well done Indian Brown Ale offers something for everyone in that department the way that Petaluma’s finest do here. Get it while it’s here, you won’t want to wait another four years.

Here’s a brief cautionary tale about what happens when you don’t revisit beers from time to time. This weekend while we were visiting Port City, the DCBeer team had a chance to have Essential Pale Ale. It had been a while since we’d had one, and we were pleasantly surprised to find a beer that had a much brighter citrusy hop profile than we previously remembered. It was a good reminder to check out again those beers you think you know well.

“What’s Brewing?”
Interesting batches/recipes from local homebrewers with the occasional spotlight on a specific kind of brewing ingredient. Brewing something good and want to see your batch highlighted? Email us at editor@dcbeer.com.

Are you a hop head looking for a new DIPA recipe? Check out this (extremely detailed!) one courtesy of local homebrewer and WTOP beer contributor Rob Fink. Rob writes: “The below recipe is for a double IPA that I’m still honing and tweaking, but it’s one that I’ve made several times  with increasing success (1st place for DC Homebrewers “Irresponsibly Hopped” club competition this July J).  I’m including as much detail as possible.  It’s called Heady Keene because I take inspiration from Alpine and the Alchemist (the former for hop profile, the latter for yeast).  

Heady Keene (all grain) 

Target OG: 1.070 

Target FG: 1.010 

IBU: 156 (theoretical) 

Target ABV: ≈ 8% 

Yeast: Yeast Bay Vermont Ale (lab propagated “Conan” yeast from the Alchemist; build yeast starter to 480 billion cells) 

Batch Size: 11 gallons (assumed 1 gallon loss to hop and protein trub)

SRM: 5.9° (yellow to gold)

Water: I use filtered Arlington, VA water and target the following mineral parameters (numbers in parts per million (ppm)):  Ca – 145, Mg – 18, Na – 27, SO4 – 300, Cl – 55, CO3 – 110 

Fermentables: 18 lbs 12.8 oz Crisp Maris Otter (80.2%), 2 lbs 6.6 oz Weyermann Rye Malt (10.3%), 1 lb 3.3 oz Briess Carapils (5.2%), 11.6 oz Briess White Wheat (3.1%), 4.5 oz Weyermann Acidulated Malt (1.2%; used for mash pH adjustment)

Mash: Target a mash pH of 5.4; mash in grains with 1.4 quarts of water per pound.  Hold at 152° for 60 minutes or until conversion is confirmed (I use the iodine test).

Sparge: Upon the completion of the mash, slowly recirculate the wort until it runs relatively clear (usually 5 or 6 quarts). Begin to slowly draw wort off of the grain bed at the rate of 1 quart per minute until the level of the wort is 1 inch above the level of the grain bed. Target a sparge pH of 5.7. Fly sparge with 168° water, continuing the flow rate of 1 quart per minute. Collect 13.9 gallons of wort (estimated pre-boil gravity should be around 1.056 SG)

Boil/Hop Schedule: Boil wort for 90 minutes, adding ingredients at the following intervals: 


Fermentation: After 90 minute boil and 80 minute hop steep, cool wort to 62°.  Transfer wort to fermentor and aerate (shaking/splashing/stirring is usually sufficient, but pure oxygen to 10-12 ppm is best).  Pitch yeast and hold fermentation temperature at 68°.  After primary fermentation is complete (usually 5-7 days), dump yeast/trub (I use a stainless steel conical fermentor) or rack off of yeast.  Add one half of total dry hop and hold at 68°.  After two days, add second half of dry hop and hold at 68° for an additional two days.

Packaging: After the completion of the dry hop, carbonate to 2.4 volumes.  I personally prefer to force carbonate hoppy beers in kegs.  Drink as soon as possible!

Comments: In my experience, the three most important components of this beer are the water profile, yeast selection, and 80 minute post-boil hop steep. Do everything you can to avoid oxygen pickup while adding dry hops or transferring beer to keg/bottling bucket. If possible, purge everything with CO2 in order retain as much hop character as possible.  

Non-Beer Read of the Week
Because sometimes you want something non-beer while you beer.

Listen, if you don’t read Serious Eats already, do yourself a favor and start doing that. Bookmark them, follow them on Twitter, put them in your RSS, whatever. Just absolutely one of the best food websites out there. Recipes, restaurants, explainers, even their craft beer articles are good. Get on it. Lately they’ve been even better than usual. Check out some of their recent posts which caught our attention. Whether it’san introductory guide to olivesa how-to on making better cocktails at homea crash course in sheep’s cheesesome suggestions on creative uses of ginger, or providinga recipe for the most insanely delicious dessert we’ve ever seen, Serious Eats always has something new on the non-beer front. Enjoy!

/Facepalm’able Craft Beer Venue Yelp Reviews
Yelpers can’t help it, sometimes they write things in their reviews that are nonsensical. We will keep an eye on Yelp reviews of craft beer venues across the city and report back with anything of note.

Well, just to show you that it isn’t just in DC that we get these odd little Yelp reviews, here’s one from Uproxx for a taco spot in Brooklyn with a staff that really likes ice cream.

On the DC craft beer venue front, this review of Pizzeria Paradiso is facepalm’ablefor a few reasons. First, the author visits a top beer bar during beer week and then says that an error on the beer menu, “speaks to the knowledge of the staff.” That’s a fallacy we can’t begin to delve into the depths of. Next up, very sorry to hear that the  server, in a likely busy restaurant (evidenced by the hour long wait for a table), didn’t have time for you to explain the very complex, very in-depth science of splitting a check. The kicker here is that the restaurant’s acronym is indeed “PP,” I mean, “for heck’s sake” that is enough to set even the most ardent Yelper, or toddler, off and ready to give 1 star to a great venue. We totally understand the criticism now. It all makes total sense.

Tweet of the Week

This is decidedly not cool. Venues, do not put “manmosas” on your menus unless you’d like some Twitter ridicule sent your way. Beermosas are equal opportunity hangover treatments at breakfast. Brunch is a difficult time for everyone (remember to tip on all of those bottomless Bloody Mary and mimosa pours, not just the first one), no need to get sexist about it, okay?

#DCBrews Photo of the Month
Take great photos? Of your dog? Good for you. Take great photos of the goings-on of the #dcbrews scene? That’s more like it. Tweet/Instagram @dcbeer or tag your post #DCbrews and you may find your photo right here.

Everyone knows mustaches are a big deal in the beer world, but this shot here is a microcosm of the whole craft beer and facial hair phenomenon. Wet hopped handlebar. Amazing. We trust that none of that luxurious mustache made it into the beer at Bluejacket.

We’ve finished with this edition of The Mash-In. Until next time, don’t forget to close your tabs and tip your bartenders. Cheers!

Header modified from Flickr user beerbrewingman, some rights reserved.