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 [email protected], and you might just find your post in another new segment, which is aptly named What You're Drinking.
Chris Van Orden, Co-Editor
On Saturday, I made a trip up to the northern reaches of DC to snag the first 2015 allotment of 3 Stars' Illuminati program. Since I wasn't stocking up on homebrew supplies, the plan was to make it a quick visit, but it's medically inadvisable to pass up samples when visiting a brewery. I'd been negligent in my duties and hadn't yet tried Above the Clouds, their new farmhouse pale ale, so I got a glass and, man, those new school hops – Galaxy, Topaz, and Amarillo – are present in full force. The bitterness is firm and lingering, but the combination of saison yeast and juicy hops made citrus and overripe fruit shine just as brightly. Like all 3 Stars beers, Clouds doubles down on flavor, but with a reasonable (for them) ABV of 6.3%, won't put you under the table.
Jacob Berg, Staff Writer
Most beer isn't kosher for Passover, but we're a relaxed group, so I opened a bottle of Abita Bourbon Street Barrel Aged Stout with dessert. Notes of dark chocolate and oak dominated, but our company were all impressed by how smooth the beer was, which we attributed to oats in the grain bill; six weeks of lagering; and aging in Pappy Van Winkle barrels, a smooth, wheated bourbon. It complemented the flourless chocolate cake and sweet berry flavors of Bogle's Petite Syrah Port as we toasted freedom.
Michael Stein, Staff Writer
Saturday was Braustomp II, a celebration of DC Brau's 4th year anniversary. The show was incredible with rocking, rolling, bluesing, and souling provided by Frum the Hills and The Pietasters. The highlights beyond the music came from the new Braupils, a truly refreshing and extremely crushable German-style pilsner. Dry, crisp, modestly bitter and mildly malty, it leaves you begging for another liter. On the other end of the spectrum was Grand Cru, a blend of several barrel-aged Belgian ales. Catoctin Creek Rye Whiskey barrels were blended with additional barrels of The Citizen and finally blended with Yonder Cities, a farmhouse ale, which sat for nearly two years in a red wine barrel. The resulting beer was a mildly tart, subtly yeasty, ale with many flavors and a great complexity of depth.
Greg P. of Alexandria, DCBeer Reader (See! You can submit for this too!)
I had the rare treat of receiving a bottle of The Bruery's Black Tuesday as a gift and opened it last week. I'd been dying to try this beer for a couple years and it did NOT disappoint. Incredibly smooth for how boozy it was (19%), with tons of vanilla and caramel and familiar bourbon notes. Some barrel-aged beers end up with the bourbon overpowering everything else but I was especially impressed with how all those flavors balanced out. Probably a top-five all-time beer for me.
Bill DeBaun, Co-Editor
I was at Bluejacket on Friday night and tried Wolfstur, the new collaboration with Oxbow. The beer is a Kolsch, but it includes both oak-smoked wheat malt and cherry-smoked barley (6% of the grain bill). Super crisp, very thirst-quenching. At first I thought it had a strong sulphurous note, but as the beer warmed up just a tad I realized that was the smoke on the back end. Important reminder that even the beers that are the most drinkable will change over the course of a pint. I'll be back for more Wolfstur for sure.