The 2020 Virginia and DC Best in Beer features a community surviving and even thriving in this most unusual year. It was a time of coming together where local breweries invented new ways to reach their loyal customers, and those customers took their “drink local” mantra to new heights. Together, the local craft beer community weathered the storm with remarkably few breweries closing, and even a few new ones opening.
Local breweries continued to put out some wildly creative and delicious beers and perhaps more than ever proved their worth as creators and sustainers of social bonds. The Virginia and Washington, DC craft beer communities look forward to a more “normal” 2021 while taking pride in their remarkable resiliency throughout the unprecedented global challenges of 2020.
While nothing is exactly traditional these days, the holiday season is typically the perfect excuse or occasion to enjoy Dark Lagers, Barrel-Aged Stouts, Double IPAs, and generally any kind of extra boozy beers that will help warm the soul.
One of the greatest benefits to our “What We’re Cooking” series is that PorchDrinking has the chance to do our own special kind of recipe development. Any chef will show you how alcohol can be present in just about any kind of dish for breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert but beer is mysteriously underrepresented. However, just like home brewing, it means there’s a world of undiscovered projects just waiting to be uncovered. And Scott Johnson may have found a new beer-tasting seasoning to hit the shelves with Imperial Stout Salt!
Bounty Hunters may like to consume more than Blue Milk. It’s also possible they enjoy some mystical ale fermented on Endor with its unique natural yeast and microbiota that must add a unique flavor to the ale not seen on planet Earth. The Bounty Hunters fill Star Wars lore and their stories have given us fantasy and fascination with the likes of characters such as the Mandalorian. Freelance Bounty Hunters must enjoy our planet’s exquisite craft beer on special occasions (never when piloting their aircraft!) and this is what we have chosen based on their backgrounds and personality. For the uneventful weekday an easy-drinking Lager, such as the Big Yellow Truck by Territorial Brewing, might commonly be found in the bounty hunter ships in the beer fridge or cooler.
In a saturated Denver craft beer market, Crooked Stave has managed to remain a standout brand for a decade. They’ve recently chosen to move out of the River North Art District and return to their brewing roots in the up-and-coming Sunnyside neighborhood with a recently refreshed taproom. They also recently added a satellite location about an hour outside of Denver up the road in Fort Collins.
People are always told to sit down when they are about to be told big news. Thankfully, Braxton Brewing’s Evan Rouse was doing just that when he found out he was named to Forbes 30 Under 30 list in the Food & Drink category.
While it has been used for thousands of years in brewing, honey is an up and coming star of the craft beer world. Brewers are becoming more aware of the myriad possibilities it presents. Honey provides multiple potential contributions to beer depending on how and when it’s used in the brewing process and has a dizzying range of flavors. Factors such as terroir, the botanicals visited by the bees, and even the time of year the pollen was gathered all affect flavor. So what exactly does honey do for beer, and why do breweries use it?
In part two of our series on the state of barrel-aged beers (read part one here), we’re generating some word-of-mouth buzz by letting the brewers share the most anticipated barrel-aged beers lurking in their barrel programs. The ever-present bourbon barrel-aged stout makes an appearance or two, but it’s the experimentation and creativity highlighted by brewers across the board that really gets me excited. Foeder-aged ales, tequila Goses and barrel-aged Cream Ales? That’s just a sampling of some of the compelling creations these breweries are looking forward to releasing to consumers.
Sunday, December 20, marks the 10-year anniversary for one of Grand Rapids, Michigan’s most celebrated breweries: Brewery Vivant. The brewery is the world’s first LEED certified commercial microbrewery and a Certified B Corporation. It is beloved among Michigan’s beer loving community for their Belgium-style brews, as well as their commitment to the local community. To celebrate 10 years, on December 17 the brewery released J’aison, a Petite Saison brewed with orange peel and Tellicherry black peppercorns. It is currently available on draft and in cans for sale at the brewpub.
Denis Villeneuve-directed movies are not for the light-hearted. I’ll bet you never heard anyone say, “Tough day at the button factory, honey, let’s relax and watch Sicario,” or “My boss is such a jerk, I need to clear my head by watching Arrival.” Complex storylines, heavy themes, experimental and ambient scores, and ominous cinematography, are not just common, they are the rule. Put simply, you have to be in the right headspace to get the most out of his movies.
Twenty-two members of the Missouri Brewers Guild teamed up this fall to brew the Guild’s first-ever collaboration brew, aptly named “Missouri Loves Company”. The breweries met via video conference to discuss logistics, ingredients, and unite during a time when social distancing rules tend to keep people apart.
We all remember the first time we waited in an exceptionally long line for an exceptionally small pour of a notable beer. On a sunny SoCal day in May 2015, at The Bruery’s 7th Anniversary party, a beer from local upstart Bottle Logic Brewing named Fundamental Observation showed up like Lindsay Lohan as the new queen bee of The Plastics. An explosion of vanilla followed by the soft cuddle of high-end bourbon barrels, this beer was a delicious needle in the four hours of unlimited tastings haystack. With the next public release of this beer came a block-spanning line, providing a delicious 8oz reward for an hour of your time, and the first memory of waiting in extended anticipation for a single draught of excellence.
Barrel-aged beers are known for big ABVs, bold flavors and brisk ingenuity. The near-constant release of Barleywines, Bourbon Barrel-aged Stouts and everything in-between draw consistent buzz and big purchases from beer lovers every fall and winter due to that warm, fuzzy feeling they can bring. That said, the current landscape of barrel-aged beers is daunting, challenging brewers to create new and bold beers that meet the ever-changing demands of their audience–what’s popular this season might be dull the next year. The current state of the barrel-aged beer industry in the United States is equal parts complex, curious and creative. To learn more, I polled more than 10 breweries known for their barrel-aged beer programs to get their perspective on the state of the industry and their likes and dislikes when it comes to barrel-aged beer.
The holidays are a season for revelry and joy. Few things do more to bring those qualities out than good beer, and few things express them more beautifully than song. So this year, plan your good tidings and cheer by taking inspiration from the classic carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” We may not have much need for seven actual swans a-swimming, but here are some great beers that call to mind the song’s lyrics and will have you as jolly as ol’ Saint Nick himself.
Mile Wide Beer Co. is celebrating their fourth anniversary on Thursday, Dec. 10. Well, sort of. Due to current COVID-19 restrictions in the state of Kentucky, Mile Wide is making the most of their anniversary celebration with the release of two anniversary beers.
When brothers Davin and Kellan Bartosch were younger, their grandma loved to call them “wiseacres” when they were causing trouble. While the two brothers are no longer getting in trouble, she might still call them “wiseacres” for their success as brewery owners.
Barrel, chocolate, marshmallow all packaged up in Off Color Brewing’s notable 250ml bottles — it’s Barrel-Aged Dino S’mores season, and this year’s version is not to miss.
The popular Russian Imperial Stout comes in a non-barrel-aged version and typically a couple of variants as well as the barrel-aged version. This year’s BA beer spent 13 months sitting in Wild Turkey 101 bourbon barrels and the beer took to the barrel like a fish to water.
Welcome back to Faces in Beer! In our new series, we take film photographs of brewers and develop the film in the beer they brewed.
In our first round, we featured Weldwerks Brewing Company, where we developed the brew team’s portraits in a variety of beer–including their famous Medianoche Stout. The results were beautiful, though we did hear from a few of you decrying our use of Medianoche for any purpose other than consumption. (We hear you–it hurt us too, but art is pain.) You can check those photos out here.
Giving the right gift is often as rewarding as receiving one. While beer drinkers can’t share pours at their local taproom at the moment, there’s still an opportunity to celebrate the craft beer passion of a partner, loved one or friend with a variety of beer-inspired gifts for Christmas.
Gravely Brewing Co. in Louisville, KY won two medals at this year’s Great American Beer Festival. Sprockets, a German Pilsener, won a gold medal and Doc’s Dunkel, a German Wheat Ale, won a bronze. Gravely Brewing was the only Kentucky brewery to bring home medals at this year’s Great American Beer Festival.