DC Beer Week Recap

Crazy weekend with friends (Fantastic Time) staying over and another event packed weekend means one thing.  I am not on top of blogging.  Here is a round-up of beer events I attended for DC Beer Week.

Unfortunately this was the big Sam Adams Beer I had to look forward to on Tuesday.

First Tuesday.  Disaster.  Not what I planned at all.  I had planned to go to Georgetown and Thunder Burger on the Tuesday of Beer Week because it seemed like a good time to get a jump on the special Sam Adams kegs.  Sometimes its hard to string a beer event out for a week so it’s just smarter to get to a bar earlier in case some kegs get kicked.  I had mentioned my plan to other people at the Beer Week Cruise and there was some concern that the restaurant might not have everything there.  So, I called and was told the event was on.  I get out to Georgetown (which is no small feat) and sit down to find that they only have the Tasman Red IPA on tap.  The event said 4 kegs, so, we left.  I can find the Tasman Red at the Nats game (Great ball park beer surprise).

We called back on Wednesday and the restaurant didn’t seem to know what was going on with the event.  Not a good sign.  What to do?  Black Squirrel tweets that they have a keg of Terra Incognita on tap.  That was easy.  Terra Incognita is the collaboration beer between Boulevard Brewing Co. and Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. which was made exclusively for the Savor Food and Beer Pairing festival.  You rarely find something like that on tap because most of the beers made for these events are bottle only.   I had been saving the 2 bottles from the event to drink for special occasions which was a problem when I didn’t know how they tasted.  The beer is a rich dark brown with a slight sourness and a little hop undertone to go with the rich darkness of the roasted dark malt.

Totally worth the 30 minute walk in 95 degree DC weather

We then made our way back to the Big Hunt because Pizza Paradiso in Dupont had a 45 minute wait to seat two people and there was no way to even shove your way to the bar (Sorry Rogue Tap Takeover).  The Big Hunt had some of the Michigan Beers from the previous event on tap as well as a Troegs tap takeover.  The big star with the Flying Mouflan Barleywine, which is made following a recipe similar to the Nugget Nectar.  The brewery also had some nice session german beers but nothing over the top.  The trick most breweries use to entice you to attend events is to advertise that they are offering beers that are “only available at the brewery.”  Sounds like something really rare but it can also just be a basic beer they make for the brewery that they don’t like enough to distribute.  This seemed like the latter.

DJ and I found this great gem hanging out in the fridge during the Saturday of beer week. So worth it. Who needs mimosas at brunch if you have this?

I managed to try my first Schlafly Pumpkin ale of the season at RFD on Thursday but the event that I really need to tell you about is the dinner we managed to have at the Birch and Barley on Friday night.  Churchkey/Birch and Barley was celebrating the release of their collaboration beer with DC Brau called Embers of the Deceased.  This was a smoked pale ale that was available on draft, in cask, and conditioned in a cask with thyme.  They were great smoke beers and the thyme cask had a great meaty flavor working with the thyme and paired fantastically with the Birch and Barley cured meats.

What was special about this night was that it was after the restaurant had hosted a Smuttynose Draft & Cask Takeover; Debut of Bluejacket & Brewer’s Art Collaboration Brew: Honeysuckle Rose; and A Rollicking Review of Maine Craft Brewing.  Because Churckey has over 50 taps, the bar doesn’t have to change over all the kegs at once (rarely do you see a tap takeover of more than 20 beers).  This gave us a unique chance to try a lot of these beers without being overrun with the crash of people at the release party.  This is a tactic that some people use when attending beer events because places like Churchkey get crowded quickly, and can be hard to enjoy if you can’t snag a seat.  This is a risky move, so you should consider the event that you’re attending before trying to grab the beer the day after.  The first thing I always ask myself when I see a new event listing is…  Does the event involve rare/popular beer that is hard to come by?  These events involved a large number of well-known beers that are available at local beer stores as well as beers that were made by the Churchkey’s (Bluejacket) brewery.  There was a good chance there would be a lot to go around.  If this was a single keg event of some rare beer, I’d be less likely to attempt this (i.e. Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout).  Other nice beers were the Honeysuckle beer made with flowers with a rich pomegranate red  color with a berry type fruitiness.  There was also a chance to vertically taste the Smuttynose Wheat Wines from 2007 and 2012.  You can see how the beer changes to become drier but also deeper in dark fruit flavor and alcohol.  The newer wine was really sweet but brighter in flavor.
Anyway I hope this helps you decide how you want to attack the next beer week or any beer event for that matter.  I wanted to also let you know that I have some very interesting posts coming up.  First, a post on pumpkin ale because the season is already in full swing.  Also, I will be hosting my first official (to me) beer and cheese pairing for some of my friends.  I hope to have a lengthy post with pictures and notes up for you this Sunday.  Hope you all are drinking as well as I am.

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