Showing posts with label Belgian Ale. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Belgian Ale. Show all posts

July 13, 2011

DC Day 3: Dogfish Head Alehouse

OK.  Now I know what all the hype is about -- and why the line for Dogfish Head at the American Craft Beer Fest was out of control the whole time. With a brewery based in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, Dogfish Head also has three restaurants in the DC area: two in northern Virginia, one in Gaithersburg, Maryland. I walked in, went straight for the bar, and ordered up a glass of their 90-Minute IPA.  The Dogfish IPAs are pretty well known among IPA fans, aka 'hopheads'. Dogfish does a 60-Minute, a 90-Minute, and a 120-Minute IPA, the 'minutes' referring to how long the beer spends boiling with hops. But rather than listen to me tell you about it, why don't you let the Dogfish Head founder, Sam Calagione, tell you himself?


And it was extremely delicious. I followed the IPA with a tasty Alehouse BBQ Burger - two beef patties cooked over a wood fire, bacon, onion rings, and cheese - and spent the next hour or so deliberating which beer to get next. This is where I was just about knocked off my barstool. The beer selection at Dogfish Head was truly mind-blowing. 'Standard' simply isn't part of their vocabulary. Nearly every single beer was made with ingredients that don't typically find their way into commercial beer. I sampled one called Theobroma, derived from a 3,200-year-old Aztec recipe and made with cocoa powder, honey, chili peppers, and annatto (a seed from a tree found in Latin America). I was shocked how light it was - none of those ingredients was overwhelming at all. I tried another beer called Black & Red, which was a strong, dark, fruity beer made with mint - lots of mint. After several samples, I finally decided on the Raison d'Etre, a Belgian Ale made with raisins and beet sugar.  As you might expect, it smelled and tasted somewhat sweet and somewhat fruity -- definitely a unique combination.  At 8% ABV, it also packed a pretty good punch on the alcohol scale.

I would have loved to hang out and try all the beers on the menu, but I figured I'd save some for when I visit DC again next week.  So -- stay tuned...

July 2, 2011

Washington, DC - Day 1: Capitol City Brewing Co.

In DC for the weekend, I wanted to be sure to visit some of the local breweries - that's what I do.  First stop: Capitol City Brewing Company, which has three locations in the DC and Northern VA area.  I visited the one downtown, not far from the White House and the Washington Monument.  Even before I got there I overheard people talking about it on street.

I'll say right off the bat my favorite thing about Capitol City was the feel of it.  Giant windows all the way around and exposed duct work in the ceiling made it very spacious and welcoming.  It had a huge round bar covered in copper that was full of people getting the holiday weekend off to a good start.

The plan was to have a couple beers and head to the Folklife Festival on the National Mall.  Plans, unfortunately, don't always survive in this line of work.  I didn't make it to the Fest, but I did try most of the beers at Capitol City.
  • Prohibition Porter - Relatively light-bodied, with lots of coffee and biscuit flavor.  A good, standard Porter.
  • Belgian Cherry - It had a nice red color to it with a great cherry aroma.  On the first taste, the bitter and cherry flavors just didn't seem to work well together, but it started to grow on me about halfway through.  Pretty tart on the finish.
  • Fuel - Probably the best of what I tried.  This coffee-infused imperial stout packed a punch at 8.5% alcohol.  Strong coffee flavors did well though to mask the higher alcohol content.
  • Amber Waves Ale - A good amber ale with a satisfying hop bitterness and a nice smooth feel to it.
  • Saison - Almost like a hefeweizen - straw yellow and cloudy, but a lot more tangy than sweet.
This bar proved that a good feel and above average brews go a long way to making a winning combination.  Next up: District Chophouse and Brewery.