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What We’re Drinking – Week of 2/9/15

Welcome to a new segment we're going to try to complete weekly. In an amazing burst of creativity, we're calling it What We're Drinking, until we find something better. Anyway, every week, DCBeer staff members will tell you about the beer highlights they had from the previous week. Have a highlight from the last week? Let us know what it was via editor@dcbeer.com, and you might just find your post in another new segment, which is aptly named What You're Drinking.

Jacob Berg, Staff Writer

It took a perfect storm of events for me to get Friday off and head up to Max's Taphouse in Baltimore for the first day of their annual Belgian beer festival. Perusing the bottle list, one beer stood out, Cuvee De Ranke. A 70/30 blend of pale ale and lambic, the beer is at once thirst-quenching and -inducing. The beer exhibits a surprising amount of juicy hoppiness given the Old World varieties of Hallertau and Brewer's Gold, but the addition of lambic, from Giardin, makes this beer supremely dry on the back end, with notes of both tropical and farmhouse funk. Not five minutes after our first bottle, Bill DeBaun showed up with a second one. Yes, please. 

Paul Josuns, Staff Writer
 
Braving the cold Sunday, a group of friends and I went to the Air and Space Museum annex out by Dulles.  We stopped at the Fairfax Dogfish Head Alehouse on the way back to DC and I was delighted to see they had Palo Santo Marron on draft.  Palo Santo is one of my favorite beers from DFH and clocks in at 12% abv.  This Imperial Brown ale is incredibly complex and is aged on wood from a Palo Santo tree from Paraguay.  The wood lends notes of toffee and vanilla on top of the coffee and chocolate flavors from the beer itself.  This beer certainly was a cure for the cold weather.
 
Chris Van Orden, Co-Editor
 
When thinking about the validity of the 'session IPA' style, I align myself – as I typically do – with the opinions of the honorable Mr. Danner from Kansas City.  When done right, it's distinct and distinguishable from a pale ale, not just a meager attempt at rebranding an old recipe to include the only acronym with greater appeal than BA-RIS.  Session IPAs should have more late aroma hopping, less crackery, biscuity malts, and a lighter body.  

Even though they opt for 'Throwback IPA' rather than the trendy session moniker, Oskar Blues gets it right with Pinner.  Poured on draft at Lost and Found, it came out a hazy blonde with all the fashionable hop aromas leaping from the glass: pineapple, berries, citrus.  Very light on the dank notes.  Weighing in at a lean 4.9%, overhopping could have easily made evoked hop tea, but there was just enough 'there' there to make it refreshing rather than astringent.  When the night calls for a couple pints, you could do a lot worse than starting with a Pinner.

Michael Stein, Staff Writer

Editors and writers often get antsy tracking the next "it" beer. What is trending is not just a question reserved for social media and for the savvy beer writer (although it is often a ticket to their next freelance piece). So if hops were once the "it" trend, and sour once the "what's trending" beer, what is a beer writer to do? Hopped sour ale you say? Of course! All cheekiness aside I had the chance to try two wonderfully dry-hopped sour ales on Saturday. The first is from a brewer a few states north of us, Pizza Boy Brewing up in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Their Eternal Sunshine is literally advertised as dry-hopped sour ale on the bottle. This beer changed drastically as it warmed; smelling quite restrained when poured cold, the bouquet came more to the nose as the beer warmed. It also became tarter and yet the citrus note of the hops also presented itself more thoroughly as it approached room temperature. Through these layers took a bit of time/temp. to come forward, this was truly a complex beer.

The next dry hopped sour ale was de Garrde Brewing's Rojo Dos. An oak-aged Flanders red, dry hopped with El Dorado and Centennial. A similarly complex ale, this beer really displayed all of its layers (tart, wood, vinous, dank, citrus-like) as it approached room temperature. Two incredibly well made beers. Though there are also fantastic dry hopped sour ales from closer options, Lost Rhino, Right Proper, and Bluejacket. I just didn't have a chance to enjoy them on Saturday, but I hope you do.

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