DC Brau

Finally made it to a pretty well known local DC brewery, DC Brau.

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I knew it was somewhere in NE DC, but wasn’t sure where.  Finally as I was getting there I figured out it’s in one of the developing areas, right off 50, near the relatively new Costco.

Went on a Sunday, a bit after they opened so it was pretty quite.  Opted for a sampler so that I could try several of their brews.  Ended up with the first six on the list.  Of course there is a quite a bit of power to most of them.

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Info on the beer, straight from the DC Brau’s site:

Brau Pils was our newest summer seasonal alongside El Hefe Speaks, NOW YEAR-ROUND.

EL HEFE SPEAKS! is a traditionally brewed German-style Hefe. It is fermented around 65°F and hopped with German Tettnang hops. 11 IBUs and 5.3% ABV make this one extremely drinkable.

The Citizen is one of the original flagships brewed here at DC Brau and draws inspiration from the stronger ales made famous over the centuries by the Trappist and Abbey brewers of Belgium. Although the label denotes “Pale ale” this is mainly a reference to the color of the beer and not the bitterness of the beer as is commonly associated with American Pale Ales.

The Public™ Pale Ale is brewed in the classic American Pale Ale style. Assertive bitterness backed by C-60 and Vienna malts which lend notes of rich, yet semi-dry caramel. Then followed up with a nice white grapefruit and citrus aroma that begs for a follow up sip.

The Corruption™ IPA is DC Brau’s take on a Pacific Northwest IPA. Brewed with Pale 2 row, C-10, Honey and Victory malts. Exclusively hopped with 40 lbs of Columbus hops per brew to ring in at 80 IBU. “The Corruption” comes in at 6.5% ABV. This beer straddle’s the line between IPA and Imperial IPA and has a supportive malty backbone with an assertive hop presence that smacks your mouth with a dank, resinous bitterness followed by pleasant aroma’s of pine sap and burnt spruce.

The Hefe was great with the Citizen being another great one.  The Imperial IPA was a bit strong.  Overall, a great time and the staff was awesome to talk to.

The final one is a cask beer that changes all the time.  Very strong…

The Hefe and Citizen were probably my favorite.  Overall great time at the brewery, chatting with the staff and enjoying some local, cold beer.

 

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Smiths Craft Beer House, Queenstown, NZ

Another spot visited in Queenstown was the Smith Craft Beer House.

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You can pretty much deduce what they have based on the name.  And you can order a sampler of whatever you like.  Based on their large selection, the bartender chose several for the table based on our taste.  The six that came to the table were:

From left to right:

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Garage Prospect, Teas & Tea, Spicy Brown Ale, 6.2% — very dark

Horse Box, Vigilante, IPA, 5.8% — tasted a bit like tea

Horse Box, Storm Hopper, APA, 5.7% — crisp and not too hoppy

Beer Barrons, Lady Danger, Red Ale, 6.5% — red definitely describes it

Wigram Tornado, IPA, 6.6% —  bit of fruit, not much else, slightly bitter

Tuatora/Coucher, Summer Gold Golden Ale, 4.5% — light, totally an ale

For lunch we ordered a pizza, half with cheese half without.  The crust on this thing was amazing.  So light and fluffy!  One of the best pizzas I’ve had.  Great stuff.

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New Brews

Had the chance to sip some new brews this weekend.  Love veering from wine from time-to-time.

First was Flying Dog’s Single Hop HBC-431 Imperial IPA.  You could sip this beer all day.  And, if you did you would be in extreme trouble, both physically and financially… It’s 10% ABV and runs about $15/6-pack.  I’d never had a single hop beer.  You could taste some orange, apricot and it was a tiny bit thick.  So good and worth the money.

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Also had Blue Moon’s First Peach Ale.  I love the majority of their stuff so had to try this.  Could be a pro or con depending on your palate.  It tasted just like peach iced tea.  I am not an iced tea fan, let alone peach tea.  So, I would much prefer just a traditional Blue Moon.  But for some, this Seasonal could be a winner.

IMG_3048[1]Have you tried either of these and have any feedback?

Ommegang

Was at a happy hour the other day and found a new (to me) brew on tap, so that of course meant I had to try it.  Ommegang was the wonderful producer, out of Cooperstown, NY (also the home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame).  The beer proper was their Rare Vos Amber Ale.

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Very nice.  Matches the name by color, light hops, some herbs & fruit and nice & smooth.  ABV is 6.5%.  Totally worth checking it out if you’re an amber beer fan, or just a beer fan, in general!  Cheers.

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It’s Punkin Time!

Oh, yes, it’s (almost) fall, football is here, which means another round of seasonal brew is due.  That means Dog Fish Head has Punkin Ale!

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Great stuff (along with many other pumpkin brews).  Went to the tapping of it last week at the Dog Fish Head restaurant in Falls Church.

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It was so fresh on tap that they hadn’t even posted it on the (chalk) board.

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Ordered one and started to enjoy.  I finally got around to looking up this morning why they call it Punkin.  It’s based around the local Punkin Chunkin on Discovery Channel.  Hilarious show!  Well, the beer was perfect, its normal pumpkin and spice taste, as one would expect.  And, the bartender wasn’t totally sure the ABV, but I had look it up, and it’s on that previous link, 7%.  Fall, Halloween and Thanksgiving will be here before we know it.  Cheers!

 

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Beers from SA and nearby

Not only does South Africa have amazing wine to offer but they have quite a few brews for one to enjoy.  There were many opportunities to sample ales, lagers and more and add some names to my list.

My first, and ultimate favorite, was Carling Black Label.  A bit dark and smooth.  Apparently it’s the biggest selling and most awarded beer brand in SA.

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The most common beer seen and available was Castle Lager.  Light, crisp, refreshing.  After that, Windhoek came around a lot.  This one is from Namibia.  Another light beer.

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Beer has the same health notes as wine.

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On a sunset cruise (while watching rhinos yawn and elephants swim across the river), I tried the Bohlinger’s Lager, made with maize, malt, hops and water.  Pretty simple, just another light lager.  This one is from Zimbabwe, and I was enjoying while in its country, near Victoria Falls.

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The trip also brought a Golden Pilsener.  The label says it’s Zimbabwe’s premier Pils, but per the site it’s brewed in Czech.  It had a unique taste for a pils, just ‘off’ but still good.

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There was also a Zambezi Lager to be sampled.  Fairly traditional lager taste, but fairly light.

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And finally, a cider, the Savanna Cider.  Not super sweet, just dry, which was very nice!

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Rasp-beer-y

The snow ‘storm’ in DC brought a government shutdown.  This was the first time I’ve ever been able to actually have a paid snow day!  So, come 1pm, the snow was gone, the sun was out.  What did that mean? Time to go (Christmas) shopping.  I only had the intention of finishing off getting gifts for those on my list but when I went to the mecca of grocery, kitchen gadget, wine and beer store, things changed.  After some discussion with the beer man and other shoppers of the current offerings, New Belgium’s (new) Frambozen came up.  Nobody had actually had it for several years.  The name itself screams raspberry then the description lures you into a brown ale.  You can’t leave that poor thing sitting on the shelf!  Had some a bit later.  Very nice, smooth, nice hint of the fruit, but not overwhelming.  Pick some up for a friend, yourself, or to take to a party to celebrate the season.  Happy Holidays!

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I’m in a Colorado State of Beer

I had Billy’s Joel New York State of Mind rolling through my head so couldn’t think of a better title for the post.  So, after visiting wine country in Oregon, I headed a time zone east and a couple states south to check out Ft. Collins, Colorado.  I had my fix of wine so hit the breweries this time.

The problem when you go to breweries (proper) is that there are too many choices.  Sometimes overwhelming.  I tried to do samplers at most of them when possible.  The other problem with beer?  *NOTE — I am not dismissing beer, turning it down, or crossing it off my list at all!  Just making travel notes for future reference. Unlike wine where you can spit, that’s not really an option with beer.  Proceed with caution.  And jumping three days forward, my hosts mentioned that when they moved to Colorado they noticed the beer hit them much more quickly (than when at sea level) for awhile.  Thanks!  You couldn’t have told me that when I got here?  I wasn’t going to say anything…

Anyway….

Brewery 1:  Black Bottle Brewery.  Too many, way too many, beers to pick from.  I honestly can’t remember which one I finally opted for to enjoy over dinner, but it was good!  Some of the beer names are great, Social Insecurity being my favorite.

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Brewery 2:  Cooper Smith’s Pub & Brewing.  Great place to both enjoy some great food and beer.  I had a sip of several before deciding what to have.  I do remember one that had the name ‘chili’ in it.  You could taste that green chili in there — it wasn’t necessarily hot but you knew it was there.

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Brewery 3:  Pateros Creek Brewing Company.  It’s a little bit hidden, so you have to know where to find it.  They apparently have great social events in the evening, FYI, if you’re a local.  It’s a small place, but nice brews.  I happened to get there right before a downpour so spent a little bit of time there chatting with the beermaster.  Aside from that conversation, I think I  found that CO, or at least Ft. Collins, has a like of chilis, because they also had a beer with some kick.  Hmmm…  They also make gluten free beer.  I have several friends who would be thrilled.

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Brewery 4:  Equinox Brewing Company.  Sampling flight = 6 beers in 5 oz. pours at 5,000 ft. elevation.  That’s where that whole idea/thought of no spitting/dump bucket REALLY came into play.  I loved the (light) IPA.   I say light as in I didn’t feel like I was bouncing off the walls, on a trampoline or on those OLD SCHOOL pogo sticks.  Just a nice amount of hops.  There was a red on there, too.  Dang!  The weekend I was there, the Great American Beer Festival happened to be in town (Denver, close enough) and many brewers were near the bar so I shared my sampler with them and it was very interesting getting their feedback/comment/sipping notes on the beer.

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More to come…

Three weeks, three people, three new tastes

Good things come in threes, right?  So I’ve met some great people over the past few weeks and all of them have introduced me to some new drinks, all in different ‘categories’ — liquor, beer, wine.  Great way to keep the mind and palette active.   Wanted to share them so more people can learn about them (or nod and say — oh yeah, I’ve been loving that for ages, glad she’s finally caught on).

#1 — Gin & Tonic, the wonderful G&T, with cucumber vs. lime.  The important part about this concoction is that you MUST muddle the cukes to release the juice, you need good gin (everybody does have their favorite — mine is Bombay Sapphire but I will never turn down a host who provides Hendrick’s) and apparently if you don’t use Q tonic, why bother making it?  The things you learn.  There are apparently some measurements to this drink which could/would not be revealed…

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#2:  Westmalle Trappist  Ale Tripel.  It was the kickoff to college football.  Great Belgian beer to enjoy while sitting on the couch watching sports for many hours.  This stuff is potent — 9.5% alcohol!  It’s good to be watching football because you don’t want to drive for awhile and the food you eat while being sedentary for hours on end soaks up that percentage.  My friend served it in the appropriate glass to which you fill to the 33cl line.

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#3:  Bloem Red.  Amazing wine from the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa.  Since I’m headed there next year I want all the ‘amuse-bouche’ I can get.  It had a light-medium body with fruit and spice.  Was enjoying this over Labor Day weekend and it was served with just that perfect chill for a red that made it even better.  It’s a blend of about 65/35 Syrah/Mourvedre.

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May these inspire you for the weekend to come.