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.
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