Here’s what we wrote last year about stouts:
“St. Patrick’s Day is upon us, which means it’s also stout szn, in particular, Irish-style dry stout snz, and yes, local breweries have you covered. But first, what makes a stout Irish-style? Mostly it’s the use of dry-roasted barley to create that color; a healthy dose of hops, often English in origin, for a nice bit of herbal bitterness; and well-attenuated yeast for a dry finish. As a bonus, Irish-style stouts are often under 5% alcohol by volume, perfect for a proper session.”
But wait, peak cherry blossom bloom is earlier this year, which means it’s time to put cherry juice and puree in beers. Let’s go!
Again from last year: Dynasty’s head brewer Favio Garcia is no stranger to stouts; his wife had a dog named Guinness! 838 Irish-style dry stout, however, “is closer to Murphy’s Stout with its fuller body, sweeter taste, and notes of chocolate,” which he attributes to Virginia grown and malted barley from Murphy & Rude in Charlottesville. “Such great flavor without a whole lot of bitterness,” he notes. Nitro cans of 838 should be available in addition to the usual ones,” and if you buy a 4-pack from either the Ashburn or Leesburg locations on Friday, March 17 you’ll get a free 838 glass while supplies last. Garcia’s former employer, Lost Rhino, took home Great American Beer Festival medals in 2018 and 2019 for Shooter McMunn’s Irish-style dry stout, which shouldn’t be hard to find.
Let’s add a few to our collection, starting with Wishing Well, 4% ABV, from Crooked Run. “A simple grist of barley, roasted barley, and flaked oats,” writes Jake Endres, co-owner and production manager. “Served on nitro at all 3 spots! Slainte!”
Plenty more breweries have stouts in their tasting rooms, including G34.3 and Fair Winds in Lorton, and Denizens in Silver Spring and Riverdale. The latter brewery will package their Cool Breeze Oatmeal Stout, 4.5%, in cans later this year, which should translate to at home drinking this time next year. Bluejacket’s unveiling a stout this year, too. North Strand Road is 4.4% and available at the brewery and Shelter. We’ll note that Fair Winds offering is a little stronger at 5.5%, and is available on nitro. No cans right now, but they do have them on occasion. Speaking of nitro, Mt. Airy, Maryland’s Frey’s Brewery has their stout, Smooching Roy Rogers (5%) on nitro as well, plus an Irish-style red ale that’s 5.2%. Road tripping down I-95? Here’s one for ya!
For cherry blossom beer in cans, the two most established are Oliver Ales Cherry Blossom Wheat and Old Ox Festivale, a saison that has the seal of approval as the official beer of DC’s Cherry Blossom Festival.
In DC, City-State, Hellbender, and Red Bear all have cherry blossom beers on tap, and you can find Red Bear’s Peak Bloom in cans, too.
Updating on 3/15 to add Hellbender’s Shiny New Shillelagh.
Are we missing any? Let us know, we’re happy to add them here, and of course Baltimore’s Guinness Open Gate Brewery is on the “right” side of that city for visits from DC. As always, check out our Events page for festivities. Cheers!