Kicking off DC Beer Week with a DC Brau

As this week is DC Beer Week (August 11-18), I’m going to skip Mailbag Monday in favor of giving the local brews a little love.  Not to worry, though, wine lovers…this Wednesday is the return of Wine Blogging Wednesday, so there will be wine making an appearance during DC Beer Week.

Sundays in the A Glass After Work household are fairly routine, and yesterday was no exception.  We hit two of the grocery stores in our neighborhood, and both were pretty empty of people, probably because August in DC means everyone scatters for vacation.  Once got home and I unpacked the groceries, we grabbed a quick lunch before Hubby got to work on the food and I put the first load of laundry in.  Once the clothes were set, I grabbed my running shoes and for a 3.5 mile run.  I have to admit my excitement about this run.  It was my longest one without intervals since my surgery, and while I was definitely sore afterwards, the run itself felt fantastic!  Afterwards, I fired up the laptop and cracked open a cold DC beer as inspiration while writing this blog post (and a couple of others) before Hubby and I relaxed on the couch for some True Blood.

My DC Beer Week Lineup

My DC Beer Week Lineup

In preparation for DC Beer Week, I went to Grateful Red Wine Shop to buy a 6-pack of single beers, all from the DC Metro Area.  The staff was very helpful in trying to make sure I had an assortment of beers from a number of local breweries.  I opted to start DC Beer Week off with something from DC Brau Brewing Company, as it was the first production brewery inside the District of Columbia proper in almost 60 years.  According to their website, as a production brewery, DC Brau produces cans and kegs of beer for sale through their distributor, as well as offer growler-fills, can sales, tours, and tastings onsite.  The three year-round DC Brau offerings–The Public (American Pale Ale), The Corruption (India Pale Ale), and The Citizen (Belgian Pale Ale)–all have a fact on the side of the can, and the factoid changes every year.  Admittedly, I haven’t been to the facility yet, but it’s definitely on my short-list of things to do.

DC Brau "The Corruption" India Pale Ale

DC Brau “The Corruption” India Pale Ale

DC Brau’s The Corruption (website) is an India Pale Ale made in the District of Columbia.  The beer had an off-white, almost pale yellow foam on top with an orangy-amber liquid that was slightly murky. On the nose, there was lemon zest , grapefruit, and pine sap with a hint of something that reminded me of unbaked pizza dough.  In the mouth, there were pine needles, grapefruit, and hints of something floral.  The beer had a medium body and carbonation.

Is this worth a glass after work? Sure…you won’t be drinking anything out of the ordinary, but you’ll have a decent, reliable beer.   At $2.57 for a single 12-ounce can, this was a solidly enjoyable beer but not one that blew me away.   I expected more taste considering the great nose, but after the beer’s initial flavor attack, the finish tasted a little sudsy and faded.  All in all, though, while there are other IPAs I would buy to drink at home, The Corruption is a beer that I would (and have) enjoyed getting when out at a bar or restaurant, as it goes well with hamburgers and good friends.

Question of the Day:  Does your local area have a craft beer scene?  If so, how do you feel about the local beer in your area? 

Price: $2.57 for a can or $13 for a 6-pack
Purchased at Grateful Red
Overall: 3 Corks

Running & Relaxing with Sneaky Pete

Last Monday was a quiet day at work, which was a nice change from the craziness of the week before.  I think everyone was having a slow start coming off the holiday weekend, but it was exactly what I needed.  Mondays are my planning day for the whole week, so it was nice to have the organization time without being pulled in several different directions.

I arrived at work in time to catch up with emails from the four-day weekend before I sat down with my assistant to create a weekly to-do list.  After that, she and I headed to our weekly department strategy meeting, which is often rather lengthly.  After the weekly strategy meeting, I had just enough time to respond to a few more emails and schedule a couple of meetings for the week before heading out to a lunch meeting.  The afternoon was more of the same, with a monthly organization-wide staff meeting and ice cream social to break-up the afternoon.  My day ended at a reasonable hour, which is one of the many things I love about my new job.  Leaving at 5pm meant I had time to go home, throw on my running shoes, and get in a short run before dinner.  It was only my second week running post-surgery, so I did short run/walk intervals and at a very slow pace, but it felt great to be out there.  And of course, all of my runs end in a “recovery beer,” and this one was no exception.

Sneaky Pete Imperial IPA

Sneaky Pete Imperial IPA

The Sneaky Pete Imperial IPA (brewery) is from Idaho and had a 10% ABV.  The beer had about an inch of off-white foam on the top, and the liquid was a dark amber.  On the nose, there was citrus with hints of honey and something woody.  In the mouth, there was citrus, honey, pine, and hints of carmel.  The beer had medium body and carbonation with a slight bitterness in the finish.

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this beer in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed.  At $7 for a 22 oz bottle, this beer was exactly what I needed after a busy day and was refreshing, as I cooled down from the run.  I sipped away, decked out in my compression socks and icing my hip, while Hubby   prepared sauteed chicken and steamed broccoli for dinner.  The pairing went well, but what was even better was when I topped off my glass, laid down on the couch, and watched some trashy TV.  It was a good beer for a relaxing summer evening.

Question of the Day:  Are you a runner?  Do you enjoy having a recovery beer or wine after your run?

Price: $7
Purchased at Whole Foods Market
Overall: 3.5 Corks

Kicking Back With A Jersey Beer

The week after quitting my job was a little stressful, even though I knew I was leaving my position.  I wanted to make sure everything was organized in a way that I could hand it off to my little boss, and he could, in turn, hand it off to my replacement when s/he starts.  What was most awkward for me, though, was that 5 days after I gave notice…which was 5 days full of copying files, organizing notes, and writing down details…Hubby and I left DC for a week on the Jersey Shore.  The vacation was planned long before I knew I was starting a new job, and I certainly wasn’t going to lose the deposit and miss my vacation.  So, off we went!

Flying Fish Brewing Company Extra Pale Ale

Flying Fish Brewing Company Extra Pale Ale

The four-hour drive was mostly traffic free, but the weather was not cooperating.  After a summer of very little rain, drops threatened to become a down pour almost the entire time.  Thankfully, as we arrived, the rain stopped long enough for us to unpack the car, walking the 3 miles round trip on the Promenade, and grocery shop.  Hubby and I were on our walk back from the liquor store, with some wine and beer in hand, when the drops started falling.  And, as soon as we walked into our home-away-from-home-for-the-week, the skies opened up.  It clearly was a sign that I need to crack open my beer, grab my book, and sit out on the porch to settle into the first night of vacation.

The Flying Fish Brewing Company Extra Pale Ale (brewery) is from a New Jersey brewery and is an American Pale Ale.  The beer was a light golden yellow with a small layer of head.  On the nose, there were citrusy aromas—lemons and orange peels—with a touch of yeast.  In the mouth, there were lemons, oranges, and a bit of baked bread.  The beer had a light body and good carbonation.

Is this worth a glass after work? Sure…you won’t be drinking anything out of the ordinary, but you’ll have a decent, reliable glass of wine.  At $10 for a six-pack of glass bottles, this beer was a nice way to start off the vacation. I picked something that was local to get into the spirit of the location, as well as to try something that may not be as readily available at home, and it was a good choice.  I wouldn’t say it was my favorite beer and I probably wouldn’t go searching it out as I do with some others, but I enjoyed it while reading on the covered porch and watching the rainstorm, as well as while watching Hubby grill hot dogs and corn.  The beer was very food friendly, a nice compliment to the cookout food.  It was perfect for what I was looking for.

Question of the Day: When you go on vacation, do you try to drink the local wines and beers or do you stick with the breweries and wineries you know? 

Price: $10
Purchased at Montreal Liquor Store
Overall: 3 Corks

A Friday Night Full Nelson

Blue Mountain Brewery Full Nelson Virginia Pale Ale

Blue Mountain Brewery Full Nelson Virginia Pale Ale

August is Virginia Craft Beer Month, and I had grand plans of tasting and writing a lot about beer because, let’s be honest, when it comes to alcohol while wine is my first love, beer isn’t far behind.  However, big things have been happening in the A Glass After Work household, and while I’m not quite ready to share the news publically yet, let’s just say that my focus has been elsewhere and suddenly the month has gotten away from me.  Last Friday was the culmination of everything that’s been going on, so in a true Mid-Atlantic celebratory fashion, Hubby broiled some crab cakes and I cracked open a Virginia craft beer to kick back with and just enjoy the moment.

The Blue Mountain Brewery Full Nelson Virginia Pale Ale (brewery) had a medium amber color with very little head.  On the nose, there was something a floral mixed in with hints of orange peel.  In the mouth, there was citrus and hops that gave it a touch of bitterness without being too much.  The beer had a lighter medium body with lighter carbonation.

Full Nelson Virginia Pale Ale CloseupIs this worth a glass after work? Sure…you won’t be drinking anything out of the ordinary, but you’ll have a decent, reliable beer.   The beer was a little lighter than I expected, but had good flavor.  What was particularly exciting for me, though, was that this beer was a great match with the crab cakes.  Instead of overpowering the food’s flavor, this beer played a great supporting role during dinner, and in fact, it actually enhanced the flavors of the crab cake.  After dinner, I opened another can, which was enjoyable on its own.

Question of the Day: Are you a beer drinker or do you mostly stick with wine?  If you enjoy a cold one every now and then, what type of beer do you generally grab?

Price: I forget (sorry!)
Purchased at Arrowine
Overall: 3 Corks

Running & Hoptober to Get Back Into the Swing

I’m so behind in blogging it’s embarrassing.  There are a lot of reasons for it, but I miss sharing what I’ve been drinking, particularly as there have been some fabulous things to share.  So, instead of allowing myself to continue being overwhelmed by the backlog, I’m taking the stack of purple index cards I use for tasting notes and diving in.  It will take me a while to catch up, so expect to see a mix of reviews from a  few weeks (or months) ago mixed in with what I’m drinking now, but hold onto your glasses because I’m back to your regularly scheduled blogging!

To get myself back on track, I’m actually going to blog about what I’m drinking tonight (Sunday night)…New Belgium Brewing Company’s Hoptober Golden Ale.   Since running my first half marathon in Nashville back in April, my running has been sporadic.  I ran a few 5ks, logged about 12 miles a week, and just couldn’t get my running legs back under me.  As someone who has only been running for about a year and a half, that’s probably not too surprising, but I needed something to get me motivated again.  So, when my friend suggested that I join her for the MCM10k, it was just the incentive I needed, and by Labor Day, I was in full training mode.

Sunday morning was the race.  I was up before the sun and headed out to the National Mall to meet the two girlfriends I was running the MCM10k with.  It was a cold 34 degrees Fahrenheit and still wet from Saturday’s unusually snowy weather.  We all started off strong, but fairly soon into the race we were headed off the Mall and onto the 14th Street Bridge, which was a sheet of ice.  We ended up doing a mix of running/shuffling and fast walking for the next mile or so because it was impossible to avoid slipping while actually running.  After that, it was a tough run, but felt good. That last .25 mile uphill, which was a killer way to end, but having the Marines there cheering us on was really motivating.  I felt bad for the full marathoners who had to go up that hill after running 26 miles, as it was hard enough doing it after 6 miles.  All in all it was a good race, and it left me feeling tired, a little sore, and all-to-ready for a good beer, my must-have after running drink.

New Belgium Brewing Company Hoptober Golden Ale

New Belgium Brewing Company Hoptober Golden Ale

The New Belgium Brew Company’s Hoptober (brewery) was a light-to-medium topaz color, but it was bright and clear.  On the nose and in the mouth, it was a little malty with the tiniest hint of citrus, but no overpowering flavors or aromas.  It was medium-body beer with a thick, foamy head.

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this wine in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed.  At $10, this beer was the perfect for a relaxing Sunday afternoon.  Admittedly, I wanted to fall in love with this beer, partly because it was my after race drink and partly because New Belgium Brewing Company just started distributing in the DC Metro Area.  So, the fact that it was well-balanced and enjoyable obviously worked in its favor, but there also felt like there was something missing…some sort of pizzazz or personality that just wasn’t there.  Overall, if you see this beer, grab it before it’s gone because I’m sure it will be hard to find after October  But,  if you miss it, that’s probably ok too.

Question of the Day: Is there a particular food or drink that you look forward to indulging in after a particularly good workout?

Price: $10
Purchased at Harris Teeter
Overall: 3.5 Corks