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#DCBW2016’s Solidarity Beer is a Dry-Hopped Grisette

Since 2012, area brewers have collaborated on a beer for DC Beer Week. This year is no different. This year’s Solidarity Beer is a grisette – a style reminiscent of a saison, but with a slightly lower ABV. Unlike a saison, though, a grisette was typically made for miners instead of farmers. It was brewed at 3 Stars Brewing Company, will make its debut this Saturday, and will feature across DC Beer Week from September 24-October 1.

Your pals at DCBeer, along with other media members, attended a tasting for the Solidarity Brew and came back with some facts and info for you.

The beer clocks in at 5.3% ABV and 28 IBU, which is a bit deceiving. This style doesn’t typically have a high hopping rate, but this year the plan was to dry hop the beer. This gave it an aroma of Meyer lemons and wildflowers. While folks taste many different things with this ambitious blend (including Hersbrucker, Rakau, Galena, Motueka, Calypso, and Citra), your author noticed a distinct lemon-citrus flavor coupled with a spicy presence, no-doubt derived from the Bastogne yeast. The yeast was provided by Denizens Brewing and isn’t typically one used for this beer style. Both DCBeer folks in attendance, myself and Jacob Berg, appreciated the beer’s dryness and high attenuation.

Some of the hop additions from the Solidarity Beer brew day
(Some of the hop additions during brew day)

Wheat and pilsner malt make up the bulk of the grist, and the beer pours a cloudy gold color with a white head. Many of the folks at the tasting noted the “juicy” character of the beer. The the southern hemisphere hops combined with the more noble and American West Coast varietals to provide a complex hop character that complements the spicy and acidic yeast character.

Chris Graham (DCBrau, foreground) chats with Michael Donovan (3 Stars, background) on brew day
(Chris Graham, foreground from DC Brau, and Michael Donovan, background, 3 Stars, chat during brew day)

This beer tasted mighty fine on a warm and muggy night. It’s a testament to the brewers that a beer with so much going on tastes so on-point. Occasionally, collaboration beers can taste of the sum of their parts. This beer, however, is a welcome departure.

DC Brau President Jeff Hancock checks on the mash
(DC Brau President Jeff Hancock checks on the mash during brew day)

Not only is the Solidarity Beer brewed collaboratively, it also features donations from a number of area breweries and other beer world entitites. This year's included: 

  • Malt – Unmalted wheat (Courtesy of Copper Fox Malting)
  • Grain- Pilsen, vienna, red wheat and oats (courtesy of Country Malt group)
  •          – White wheat (donated by Hellbender Brewing and Atlas Brew Works).
  • Yeast- Fermented with Bastogne (donated by Denizens
  • Hops-  Hersbrucker (donated by Port City Brewing), rakau and galena (donated by Denizens), Motueka (donated by 3 Stars Brewing) and calypso hops (donated by Devils Backbone).

The DCBW Solidarity Grisette will be available starting this weekend, so keep an eye out. It’s a beer that should please both hop lovers and non-hop lovers alike.

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