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Celebrating Flagship February, 2020!

This month is Flagship February.

In the words of Flagship February:

What sometimes gets lost amid the constant stream of special releases are the beers that paved the way for today’s remarkable global beer market, or in other words, the flagship beers that got us here.

We asked brewers and brewery owners which of their flagships they liked best, who else’s flagships they liked best, and where they liked drinking them. The following responses were briefly edited for clarity and grammar.

Bill Butcher, Founder, Port City Brewing Company

Bill Butcher celebrates Flagship February.
Bill Butcher of Port City Brewing Company

Why is Flagship February important?

Flagship February is important because it is an opportunity for beer drinkers to revisit some of their favorite beers from a favorite brewery that they may not have tried in a while.

Why are Flagship beers important?

Flagship beers are important to our brewery because they represent over 80% of our volume. If beer drinkers weren’t drinking our Flagship beers, our company would not be able to continue to grow. We have worked for over 9 years to improve the quality and consistency of our flagship beers, and we are very proud of how we have developed these brands. We are also very proud of the national recognition that our Flagship beers have achieved.

Our three top sellers, Optimal Wit, Monumental IPA and Porter have won 6 medals at the most competitive beer competition in the US, The Great American Beer Festival. These are the beers that we brew, sell and drink every day. They are the beers that fuel innovation at our company as well. Without the success of our Flagships, we would not be able to brew experimental beers or develop our barrel-aging program.

What is the favorite flagship beer your brewery produces?

Optimal Wit, because it is the beer that most people identify with us. It has won Gold, Silver and Bronze medals at GABF, three Good Food Awards, three Gold and three Bronze at the Virginia Craft Brewers Festival. It also has unique sustainability credentials; it is brewed with 100% locally grown Virginia red winter wheat. We buy over 100 tons of Virginia grown wheat per year, which makes us the largest purchaser of food-grade wheat in the state of Virginia. This beer supports local agriculture and family farms.

Where is your favorite place to order your brewery’s favorite flagship beer and why?

Nationals Park, home of the 2019 World Series Champions! I have a great appreciation for the Washington Nationals’ true commitment to their local food and drink partners. They are committed to local beer because it’s what Nationals baseball fans want. They offer a great rotating selection of beers from local independent breweries on the District Draft carts throughout the stadium.

What is one of your favorite flagship beers from another local brewery?

Atlas District Common. No one else is brewing this distinctively American style locally. It is crisp, with a good malt character and it’s easy to drink.

Rob Rodriguez, Head Brewer, DC Brau Brewing Company

Rob Rodriguez celebrates Flagship February.
Robe Rodriguez of DC Brau

What is the favorite flagship beer your brewery produces?

I love our Corruption IPA. It’s a traditional West Coast IPA that is dank and hoppy with an excellent and well-balanced malt profile.

Where is your favorite place to order your brewery’s favorite flagship beer and why?

I always love visiting a brewery, but if I’m venturing outside I really enjoy Earls. Great food selection and happy hour, plus I can get Corruption and Public in addition to many of our friend’s beers or a cocktail when I’m not looking for a beer.

What is one of your favorite flagship beers from another brewery?

Big Choice Brewing’s (Brighton, CO) Poblano Stout. It’s a great American stout with fire-roasted poblanos for a great roast and pepper profile with no heat.

What else should the DCBeer readership know about your flagship beer(s)?

Our flagship beers also spur on one-off varieties only available in the tasting room.

Nassim Sultan celebrates Flagship February.
Nassim Sultan of Gordon Biersch Tysons

Nassim Sultan, Head Brewer, Gordon Biersch, Tysons Corner

What is the favorite flagship beer your brewery produces?

Golden Export (a German Helles lager) and Marzen (a German amber lager). I’m listing two because these are both are best sellers and the sales numbers are very close between the two.

What is one of your favorite flagship beers from another local brewery?

Optimal Wit from Port City.

What else should the DCBeer readership know about your flagship beer(s)?

Our two flagships are clean, crisp, easy-drinking lagers!

Barrett Lauer, Head Brewer, The District ChopHouse and Brewery

What is the favorite flagship beer your brewery produces?

Barrett Lauer celebrates Flagship February.
Barrett Lauer of District ChopHouse. Photo: Yours For Good Fermentables.com

I truly love all 6 of our flagships, so it is like picking a favorite child, but Light Lager has a special place in my heart. I usually have one every day after work.

Where is your favorite place to order your brewery’s favorite flagship beer and why?

Most definitely at the District ChopHouse because that is the only place you can get it, other than occasionally in my kegerator at home. Why? Most likely because I’m done working!

What is one of your favorite flagship beers from another local brewery?

This is a tough question, especially when considering what is considered local nowadays. Let’s keep it ‘made in DC” and I’m going to have to side with my “brewpub brethren” and go with Bluejacket’s For The Company.

What else should the DCBeer readership know about your flagship beer(s)?

I’ve been alternating a hazy/juicy IPA called Crunchy’s with the Nut Brown Ale since October 2019. Sales of the Crunchy’s are about triple that of the Nut Brown Ale, so Bill DeBaun better increase his consumption before the Nut Brown Ale goes the way of the dodo bird!

Justin Cox, Founder & CEO Atlas Brew Works

What is the favorite flagship beer your brewery produces?

Justin Cox celebrates Flagship February.
Justin Cox of Atlas Brew Works

My go-to flagship beer at Atlas is Dance of Days. It’s a beautiful pale ale full of fruit notes from the classed combination of Citra & Mosaic. [It is] balanced with a light grain bill that includes raw wheat for a silky mouthfeel. At 5.7% ABV, it satisfies my hop craving but at a reasonable ABV which makes it a perfect choice for a shift beer (or two) after work. It tends to be our brewers’ shift beer of choice as well.

Where is your favorite place to order your brewery’s favorite flagship beer and why?

My favorite place to drink a Dance of Days is Roofers Union. That location has been such an establishment in the DC craft beer scene all the way back to its days as The Reef. Dave does a wonderful job of curating the selection there, so there’s always something new and interesting on tap. A nice cold beer on the rooftop patio overlooking Adams Morgan can’t be beat!

What is one of your favorite flagship beers from another local brewery?

As for a beer from another brewery, Port City’s Porter is amazing. PC does a wonderful job of executing its solid and classic recipes and the Porter is a perfect example of that.

What else should the DCBeer readership know about your flagship beer(s)?

In other flagship news, we have tweaked the recipe for Ponzi recently making our fastest moving beer even better. In our new iteration we shifted the hop bill back a bit resulting in a tad less bitterness and more delicious orange notes on the nose. Ponzi is now a much larger player in my personal rotation.

Brett A. Robison, Co-founder & COO, Silver Branch Brewing Company

What is the favorite flagship beer your brewery produces?

Brett Robison celebrates Flagship February.
Brett Robison of Silver Branch

Glass Castle is my go-to beer. It’s just so satisfying after a long day of work, oftentimes my bartenders will start pouring me one before I have a chance to order anything else because they know that’s what I want.

Where is your favorite place to order your brewery’s favorite flagship beer and why?

Shamelessly, my favorite place to order it is at Silver Branch. We have these beautiful Czech towers that enable us to serve the same beer in a variety of methods, just like in the Czech Republic. I order mine Hladinka, or what we refer to as “smooth”. It knocks out a touch of carbonation, creates a very creamy head, and makes for a sublime lager drinking experience.

What is one of your favorite flagship beers from another local brewery?

The Brewer’s Art Beazly is so good, I love that beer in practically every setting. I’ve been a fan of The Brewer’s Art ever since I moved back to this area in 2011. Beazly, formerly known by another name, has been consistently excellent ever since I’ve had the privilege to try it.

What else should the DCBeer readership know about your flagship beer(s)?

We embrace the four major brewing cultures at Silver Branch and each one of our flagships represents a distinct cultural tradition. We strive to provide a glimpse into the very large world of beer and brewing. Enjoying each one of our four flagships would give you the opportunity to see the world through beer, which is a favorite past-time of mine.

Favio Garcia, Head Brewer, Dynasty Brewing Company

What is the favorite flagship beer your brewery produces?

Favio Garcia celebrates Flagship February.
Favio Garcia of Dynasty Brewing

Dynasty Brewing’s flagship beer has to be Dynasty Lager. It’s the only beer we consistently had on tap since we opened up a year and a half ago. We mostly brew new style IPAs which means a new hop combo almost for every batch, and, of course, a new name. For the Lager, it is only minor tweaks as we refine the recipe.  Brewed with Idaho grown pilsner malt and a blend of American and European hops, I would say the lager is in-line with classic American Lager with a little more hop flavor.

Where is your favorite place to order your brewery’s favorite flagship beer and why?

The few places we drink Dynasty Lager outside our brewery is Capital City and Smoke & Barrel. Hopefully, as we grow and ramp up production of our Lager and PIlsner you will see Dynasty Lager throughout the city.

Julie Verratti, Chief Brand Officer/Founder, Denizens Brewing Company

What is the favorite flagship beer your brewery produces?

Julie Verrati celebrates Flagship February.
Julie Verrati of Denizens

Do I have to pick just one? Right now I am really enjoying both our Born Bohemian Czech- Style Pilsner and our Animal Hazy IPA. I tend to enjoy hoppy lagers and IPAs in general, so these two always hit the spot. Animal is being released in cans for the first time on March 7th at our Riverdale Park taproom, and then will be available year-round in any store that carries us. I drink Born Bohemian year-round and it always tastes extra delicious on a warm day in our Silver Spring beer garden.

Where is your favorite place to order your brewery’s favorite flagship beer and why?

I love ordering our beer on draught at local neighborhood bars and restaurants. A few of my personal favorites are Brookland’s Finest, Pizzeria Paradiso (any location), and Midlands Beer Garden. I wish DC Reynolds was going to be sticking around – I’ve had so many fun memories there. The Park View neighborhood will be losing a true gem when they close later this year.

What is one of your favorite flagship beers from another local brewery?

Again, do I have to pick just one? I am a big fan of Right Proper’s Raised by Wolves Pale Ale and Atlas’s Dance of Days Pale Ale. If I am looking for a lager I go with DC Brau Pils. And Port City’s Porter is always at the top for me, especially in the winter months.

What else should the DCBeer readership know about your flagship beer(s)?

We sell our five flagship beers (Southside Rye IPA, Lowest Lord ESB, Born Bohemian Pilsner, Third Party Tripel, and Animal IPA) year-round in both our taproom locations (Silver Spring & Riverdale Park) and in package stores all over DC, MD, and Northern VA. Our Quality and Packaging Manager, Tim Fothergill, spends his days making sure you will always have a high quality and consistent experience with these beers whether you are drinking them on draught or buying a six-pack at your local package store.

As for me, this month I’ve been buying the flagships recommended above. It had been too long since I last bought Atlas’ District Common and Port City’s Porter. Since both breweries are sold at my Trader Joe’s I rounded out my build a six-pack and threw in Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and the world’s first Pilsner, Pilsner Urquell. I’ll be sure to buy a sixer of it before the month’s over and in March, April, and May.

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