When most people romanticize about the holidays they think of presents, scrumptious pies, Christmas trees, jubilant houses beaming across the parkways with lights, menorahs and yes even inflatable statues of Santa and Jesus Christ, but I (Thee Ridiculous Nicholas) am also reminded of the epic quantities and palatial opportunities to drink good beer with friends and family…of course I would, I’m a hophead.
Conversely, after New Year’s we make resolutions to do better in the new year…well, in 2012 let’s drink better beer shall we? Make a resolution to step outside the beer box and soak up the tasty craft suds abundant in the DC area. As Nike says, Just do it!
What better way to start a holiday beer run than with a trip to The Westover Market (5863 North Washington Blvd., Arlington; 703-536-5040; www.westovermarket.com) home of a plethora of good craft beer, a kick ass patio and a helluva little deli. Tom “Frothy Rothy” and I sat down and enjoyed a bowl of chili and cornbread and pounded down a few tasty libations. Epic/DC Brau Fermentation without Representation Imperial Pumpkin Porter (7.5% abv) was a yummy collaboration porter with a slight pumpkin spice that wasn’t overwhelming—more of a porter with a hint of the spice than your average pumpkin brew. Rating: Seasonal delight!
The Lost Rhino Wheat (7.5% ABV) is an Ashburn,VA based wheat beer. It’s the kind that I typically hate. I’m not a fan of wheat beers, most Hefeweizens or anything you put a wedge of fruit in. However, this wheat beer is crisp with a dry bitter German-style after taste that was immensely enjoyable. Rating: Drink your Wheaties!
Lastly I pounded a Lagunitas Sucks Holiday Ale (7.85% ABV) because anyone who’s had their IPA or Lil Sumpin Sumpin ale knows, Lagunitas does indeed not suck—it’s an awesome brewery and this beer was no exception; uber hoppy with a grapefruit/sour finish, I was sucking down this Imperial Double IPA like it was the antidote to holiday hell. Rating: Sucking great!
Next I traveled down to Evolution Craft Brewing Co. (501 N. Bi-State Blvd., Delmar, DE 302-907-0377 evolutioncraftbrewing.com) on the way home to see my folks for the holidays and oh what a pit stop it was! I met the tasting room expert Kathy and learned that soon they’ll be moving the brewery to Salisbury, MD and opening a restaurant as well—always a good sign that their beer is amazing—and it was, as I took home two growlers. Highlights include their Secret Spot Winter Ale (6.3% ABV—a slightly hoppy but smooth Alt Bier), Lucky 7 Porter (5.7% ABV— a tasty chocolate/coffee smoked porter) and my personal fave the seasonal Bourbon Barrel Dark ale (10.5% ABV, a dark strong ale aged in bourbon barrels for eight months that made my face blush). This brewery is a hidden treasure in Delmarva. Rating: Top area brewery with a tasty, killer beer selection!
Lastly there is nothing more fun than an invitation to a seasonal tapping party (On Tap has it perks). Capitol City Brewing Company (www.capcitybrew.com) invited me down for a tapping of their new Fuel (9.5% ABV), an imperial coffee stout served in small 10 ounce goblets because of its high alcohol content. It’s delicious, like a coffee flavored Guinness topped off with some rocket fuel (hence the name I guess). Rating: Dynamite!