Celebrating DC Beer Week 2018 With A Lot Of Beer

Hi everyone, and Happy #WineWednesday! To celebrate DC Beer Week 2018, I’m sharing the lineup I have set for the week and tasting 2 beers with you — DC Brau The Corruption American IPA and 3 Stars Brewing Above the Clouds Farmhouse Pale Ale. Cheers!

The beer mentioned in the video are:
🍺 Right Proper Brewing Company Raised By Wolves American IPA
🍺 Atlas Brew Works Dance of Days Pale Ale w/ Citra & Mosaic 
🍺 Atlas Brew Works District Common
🍺 3 Stars Brewing Above the Clouds Farmhouse Pale Ale
🍺 DC Brau The Corruption American IPA 
🍺 DC Brau Space Reaper Double IPA
🍺 Port City Brewing Integral IPA American IPA

Question of the Day: Have you had a DC Beer? Do you have a favorite?

Bonus Question of the Day: What are you thoughts on shower beer? Do you drink them or are they not your thing?

DC Beer Week at Bluejacket

As I prepared to participate in DC Beer Week last year, I had difficulty finding beer from participating breweries in my local stores.  Unfortunately, that isn’t something that improved this year.  In fact, it was even more difficult to find actual DC beers in the local grocery stores.  Admittedly, this is a little frustrating because it’s sometimes nice to just enjoy a beer in the comfort of my own home, rather than having to head out to a local restaurant or brewery to drink local.  That said, on Monday when I mentioned to a couple of coworkers that it was DC Beer Week and suggested we head to a local brewery to indulge a little, neither of them hesitated to accompany me.

This wasn’t our first visit to Bluejacket Brewery by the DC Navy Yard, but one of the interesting things about Bluejacket is that there is a regular rotation of the beer available on tap.  This does have its cons, as my coworker found out when he went to order one of his favorites–Mexican Radio–only discover that it was no longer on tap.  However, it also means that there is constant experimentation happening at the brewery by both the brewmaster, who is innovating with new styles and techniques, and the customer, who always has something new to taste.

On tap lineup at Bluejacket

On tap lineup at Bluejacket

Haywire on tap at Bluejacket

Haywire Hoppy Wheat on tap at Bluejacket

On this visit, I started with the Haywire, which is a “hoppy” wheat ale.  It was added to the menu at the start of DC Beer Week, so it seemed only right to begin with this lighter beer.  It was a hazy, golden-yellow with an off-white foam and some lacing on the side of the glass.  On the nose, there were lemons and wet hay.  In the mouth, there was citrus, hay, and a hint of something herbal.  The beer had the bitterness I expect from hops, but not as much other flavor as I expected, especially considering the nose.

Chicken burger and caesar salad at BluejacketBecause I was feeling more adventurous with my beer than with my food, I ordered my Bluejacket usual – the Chicken Burger, which is a ground chicken patty with  fried shallots, red wine aioli, and arugula, and the kale Caesar salad instead of the fries.  The Haywire probably wasn’t the best pairing with my lunch, although that was my own bad pairing choice.  I definitely preferred both the beer and the burger on their own rather than together.

Ultimately, my impression of the Haywire was it had some nice wheat beer characteristics upfront, but the finish fell off the cliff leaving me wanting more from the beer.  I was glad I tasted it, but it’s probably not a beer I will order again.
Overall: 3

Spectre Brett IPA on tap at Bluejacket

Spectre Brett IPA on tap at Bluejacket

After the Haywire, as an admitted Brett- and IPA-lover, I couldn’t resist tasting the American IPA that was brewed with brettanomyces–Spectre.  The beer was a cloudy yellow-gold.  On the nose, there was a mixture of pineapple, Riesling, and wet horse.  In the mouth, there was pineapple, grapefruit, and hints of honey and hay.  I thought the beer was interesting and well-worth tasting, although it’s also a beer I could only drink one of before being ready to try something else.  If you like beer that is fermented with Brett, this is definitely a beer you should try.
Overall: 3.5

The Stroppy on tap at BlueJacket

The Stroppy American Pale Ale on tap at BlueJacket

The last beer of the day was The Stroppy, which is an American Pale Ale.  The beer was a clear, medium-to-dark amber.  On the nose, there was some grapefruit and some dry grass.  In the mouth, there was citrus, dry grass, and a hint of something floral.  This beer was the winner of the day for me, although I wish I had some of Bluejacket’s wings or tater tots to eat with it as The Stroppy was very food-friendly.  The beer was very much my style, so I hope Bluejacket keeps it on tap a little longer as I’d love the opportunity to drink it again.
Overall: 4

While Bluejacket’s brews are only available on location, if you like visiting craft breweries and live in the area or find yourself visiting DC, Bluejacket should be on your list of places to go.  It’s particularly convenient if you combine your visit with a baseball game at Nationals Park, which is only a few blocks away.

Question of the Day: Do you drink local beer or wine at home or is it something you tend to order only when you’re out at a restaurant or bar?

Tröegs Brewing Company Beer Dinner at Willow Restaruant

Troegs Pale Ale Welcome Beer and menu

Troegs Pale Ale –Our welcome beer and the menu

On February 19th, several friends and I went to a Tröegs Brewing Company beer and dinner pairing at Willow Restaurant.  I’ve been to several of beer and wine pairing dinners there before, and it’s always a fun experience.  There is always someone from the brewery/winery to walk attendees through the tasting, and often the restaurant will unveil a new dish or serve something that is made specially for the tasting.  In fact, one of my favorite dishes at Willow, the Pigs in a Blanket (a Jamie Stachowski French Garlic Sausage wrapped in house-made puff pastry, baked until golden brown, and served with a black garlic aioli) was introduced at a Flying Dog Brewery beer pairing event I attend there in last fall.

Sadly, the restaurant wasn’t as organized with Tröegs dinner, although that was definitely no fault of the brewery.  There wasn’t a new dish unveiling, the food arrival and beer pouring wasn’t timed well, and there was general confusion through much of the event.  That said, the Tröegs representative was very knowledgeable and friendly, and he did his best to try and work with the chaos that seemed to be happening.  All in all, the food was good and the beer was delicious, so, while the event wasn’t as smoothly run as previous ones, a good time was still had by all.

Tröegs Pale Ale

Tröegs Pale Ale

Tröegs Pale Ale
American Pale Ale
Medium copper color
Grapefruit, limes, and some maltiness mixed with a hint of something floral.
Medium bodied and refreshing.
Overall, this “welcome beer” was a good way to start the evening.  It cleared the palate, even if it wasn’t something out of the ordinary.
3 Corks

Tröegs Nugget Nector and Creamy Oyster Chowder

Tröegs Nugget Nectar & the creamy oyster chowder

Tröegs Nugget Nectar
American Amber/Red Ale
Available Seasonally (February-March)
Medium-to-deep amber with strong orange flecks
Apricot, hints of pine resin
A strong bitterness that works with the body and flavors of the beer.  Not for the non-hops lover.
Pairing = a creamy oyster chowder with winter vegetables.  The strong bitterness helped cut through the creaminess of the chowder, which made it a nice pairing.
4.5 Corks

Tröegs Hopback Amber Ale & Smokehouse Flatbread

Tröegs Hopback Amber Ale & the Smokehouse Flatbread

Tröegs Hopback Amber Ale
American Amber/Red Ale
Deep amber color
Some citrus, pine, and dust
Bitterness and sweetness, but in a way that isn’t balanced or mixed together
Light-to-medium body
Pairing = the Smokehouse Flatbread, which was made with house smoked pulled chicken, creamy leeks, fried shallots, thyme, and Ilchester smoked cheddar.  The beer worked with its strong flavors.  That said, this was the weakest course all the way around, as neither the beer nor the food left me very excited.
2.5 Corks

Tröegs Perpetual IPA

Tröegs Perpetual IPA

Tröegs Perpetual IPA
Imperial Pale Ale
Medium golden-orange
Grapefruit, hints of spiciness and smokiness
Nice balance
Paring = Seared Day Boat Scallops with goat cheese and fines herb risotto and a blood orange vinaigrette
4.5 Corks

Tröegs Tröegenator Double Bock & the duck duo

Tröegs Tröegenator Double Bock & the duck duo

Tröegs Tröegenator Double Bock
Medium brown with flecks of amber and a beige, foamy head
Molasses mixed with breadiness and hints of nutmeg, figs, and cream
Medium-to-full bodied with nice balance
Pairing = Duo of Duck, which was a duck breast with duck confit, spiked french green lentils, turnip grating, and a Tröegenator-infused duck jus
4.5 Corks

Tröegs Dream Weaver & Kate's Bread Pudding

Tröegs Dream Weaver & Kate’s Bread Pudding

Tröegs Dream Weaver
Hazy medium gold
Yeasty with bananas and cloves with hints of white pepper
Light-to-medium body
Pairing = Kate’s Banana Bread Pudding with salted caramel ice cream and spiced pecans
3 Corks

Question of the day: Have you gone to a beer pairing dinner?  What brewery was it and what did you think?

Port City’s Essential Pale Ale

Port City Brewing Company Essential Pale Ale

Port City Brewing Company Essential Pale Ale

All the preparation for vacation left me little time for blogging, so I never ended up finished writing about my week of DC beers.  Wednesday of DC Beer Week 2013 was a fairly slow workday. With the Congressional recess in full swing, most Capitol Hill staffers were off on their own vacations, as were many of my office colleagues.  That meant I had plenty of time to catch up on the desk work that piled in June and July, but it also meant that there wasn’t the urgency to get everything finished by the end of the day.  Admittedly, I relished the slower pace.  By the time I got home from work, I was ready to just relax on the couch with my book and a beer.

The Port City Brewing Company Essential Pale Ale (brewery) is an American Pale Ale that is brewed in Alexandria, Virginia.  The beer was a brownish yellow with a bit of cloudiness.  On the nose, there were grapefruits and oranges with hints of flowers and grass.   In the mouth, there were some malt balls and pine needles mixed with orange rinds and lemons.  The beer was medium bodied with a bit of a sudsy finish.

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 $2.47 for a 12oz bottle, this beer was not what I was hoping for, as it had surprising citrus, flowers, and mild hops, and I expect a bit more from my Pale Ales.  At the same time, it was a solid choice that was definitely drinkable after a busy day at work.  All in all, while I wouldn’t shy away from drinking the Essential Pale Ale when I see it on draft at a bar or restaurant, it’s probably not a beer that I will keep regularly in my fridge either.

Question of the Day:  Are you Pale Ale drinker?  Do you have a favorite type (ex. Amber Ale, American Pale Ale, India Pale Ale, etc.)?

Price: $2.47 for a 12oz. bottle
Purchased at Grateful Red Wine Shop
Overall: 3 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