Über Pils = Über Good

Heavy Seas Small Craft Warning Über Pils

Heavy Seas Small Craft Warning Über Pils

Admittedly, but the time the end of the week arrived, my enthusiasm for DC Beer Week 2013 was waning.  The experience gave my a good sense of what local brews I would order on tap when I’m out, but the Port City Brewing Company Derecho Common was the only one I would consider buying for home, and that one will be a seasonal option for me.  Ultimately, what I was finding during my week of DC beer is that everything just tasted average.  And then I opened The Heavy Seas Warning Über Pils.

The Heavy Seas Warning Über Pils (brewery) is an Imperial Pilsner from Baltimore, Maryland.  The beer is a medium amber with about an inch of foamy head.  On the nose, there were oranges with hints of corn, flowers, and biscuits.  In the mouth, there was citrus and toffee with hints of flowers, honey, and biscuits.  The beer is a medium body with medium carbonation.

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this beer in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed. At $2.47 for a 12oz bottle, this beer is the perfect mix of hoppy and malty.  Admittedly, I don’t tend to buy Pilsners, as they’re often a little light for my tastes, but I’d never tried an Imperial Pilsner before.  It was a pleasant surprised!  I drank the Über Pils on its own on a Friday night, and I was very sorry that I didn’t have another couple of bottles to go with dinner, as I suspect that it’s a good food beer. Hands down, this was my favorite of the beers I tried during DC Beer Week 2013!

Question of the Day:  Have you ever had an Imperial Pilsner?  If so, which one was it and is it a beer you would recommend?

Price: $2.47
Purchased at Grateful Red Wine Shop
Overall: 4 Corks

Deliciousness in the Derecheo Common

Because I wanted to support a local small business that supports local brews, I did all of my shopping for DC Beer Week 2013 at Grateful Red Wine Shop in Clarendon.  There are number of local shops that support the craft beer scene and carry DC brews, and admittedly some have much larger beer selections, but I’ve always found the selections of wine at Grateful Red to be a little more unique and the staff to be the perfect mix of “in the background” so I can browse without feeling pressure and attentive when struggling with my selection.  And, that was what I was really looking for–staff that wasn’t going to make me feel intimidated when I asked made it clear that I wasn’t a beer expert.  The woman who helped me was very honest with her thoughts on which DC beers were most popular versus which ones tasted the best, as they aren’t necessarily the same.  Therefore, when she pointed me towards a limited edition the Port City Brewing Company beer, I didn’t even hesitate.

Port City Brewing Company Derecho Common

Port City Brewing Company Derecho Common

For those of you who aren’t in the DC Metro area, you may not be aware that on June 29, 2012, a fast-moving, severe thunderstorm system known as a derecho moved through the mid-Atlantic.  The storm’s hurricane-like winds knocked down hundreds of trees, leaving over 1 million DC-area residents without power during a record-breaking heat wave.  The Port City Brewing Company happened to be among this group, and they were afraid the beer in 6 of their fermentation tanks would spoil.  As it turned out, 5 of the tanks were fine.  The lager in the 6th tank, though, fermented at a high temperature.  Thankfully, Port City was able to turn this into beer into an unexpected surprise—a 60-barrel batch of California Common or “steam beer” that they named the Derecho Common.

The Port City Brewing Company Derecho Common (brewery) is a California Common that was brewed in Alexandria, Virginia.  The beer was a light, hazy goldish color with a 1-inch white foam head.  On the nose, there was some citrus and grass mixed with a bit of maltiness.  In the mouth, there was lemon zest mixed with toast and hints of spice.  The beer was light-to-medium bodied.

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this beer in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed. At $2.47 for a 12oz bottle, I think this is a good everyday beer, particularly during the warmer weather.  I’ve only tasted one other California Common, and that’s Anchor Steam–the well-known “steam beer” that is often synonymous with California Common.  So, admittedly, my experience with the style is limited, but it has refreshing citrus notes, is fairly light, and goes down very easily.  In fact, it’s my favorite of the Port City beers that I’ve tried.  All in all, the Derecho Common is the perfect beer for hot summer afternoon by the pool or one of those warmer fall days where you’re outside tailgating with great friends and good food.

Question of the Day: Are you a California Common fan?  Which ones have you tried and loved?

Price: $2.47 for a 12oz. bottle
Purchased at Grateful Red Wine Shop
Overall: 4 Corks

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

Letting Loose with a Loose Cannon

Tuesday was a fairly quiet day at work.  Congress is in recess, so the Members and Congressional staff are either back in their districts or states working or they’re on vacation.  As Hubby and I aren’t escaping DC until the end of the month, I’m using the time to catch up on the things that piled up during the chaos of June and July.  That meant Tuesday was an email day.  I spent it going through, literally, hundreds of emails.  It was definitely not fun, but I had to do it.

After a day of emails, I headed home to the monthly condo association meeting.  It’s one of those things I have a love/hate relationship with.  I’ve been on the board for 5 years and have been president for 2 of those.  There is definitely a thankless aspect to the job, but I love the community and most of the time the people who live here are friendly and respectable. All in all, we’re lucky that even though our board doesn’t agree on everything, we get along well and we are fairly efficient, not one of these horror stories with 3-hour long meetings and board members yelling at each other.  So, Tuesday evening was the monthly meeting, and there was a lot on the agenda.  The meeting was about an hour and half, which is long for us, and by the time I got back to our condo, I was ready to relax with dinner and a beer.

Heavy Seas Loose Cannon Hop3 IPA

Heavy Seas Loose Cannon Hop3 IPA

The Heavy Seas Loose Cannon Hop3 IPA (brewery) is an American IPA brewed by the Clipper City Brewing Company in Baltimore, MD.  The beer had about an inch of white foam and was a dark orangey, topaz color.  On the nose, there were yellow grapefruits, oranges, and Pine Sol with hints of thyme and something floral.  In the mouth, there were pink and yellow grapefruits, French bread crust and a touch of bitter grass and pine needles on the finish.  The beer had a medium body.

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this wine in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed.  At $2.37 for 12oz bottle, I enjoyed this beer, although I expected a little more from it because the Loose Cannon is their flagship beer.  I paired this beer with Hubby’s grilled tilapia seasoned with his own cajun spice mix and a three bean salad, both of which went nicely with the beer.  A lot of casual beer drinkers don’t realize how food-friendly a beer can be, but don’t make that mistake!  Beer and food (and not just bar food) are meant for each other, and the Loose Cannon his one is definitely a beer worth opening with dinner as it was a great compliment to the meal.

Overall, this was one of the beers I was most looking forward to trying during DC Beer week because I see it on tap all over DC, and in the toss-up between it and another local brew, the other local beer has always won.  But, not this time, and I was glad of it because the beer was very good, went down smoothly, and would definitely be something I ordered out if it was on tap.

P.S.—Yes, I know that Heavy Seas is brewed in Maryland, but they were big supporters or DC Beer Week 2013 and were listed as one of the participating breweries, so I’m sticking with the DC Metro area during DC Beer Week 2013.

Question of the Day:  Have you tried any of Clipper City Brewing Company’s Heavy Seas beers?  What did you think?

Price: $2.37 for a 12oz. bottle or $8 for a 6-pack
Purchased at Grateful Red Wine Shop
Overall: 3.5 Corks

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