Editor’s Note: This sponsored column is written by Nick Anderson, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway).
2013 is in the books, and it was a great year for beer and those of us who enjoy it. As we enter 2014, I’ve been taking some time for self reflection and reassessment (as one does), and I’ve come up with some beer-related resolutions of my own. Like most new year’s resolutions, mine will more than likely be forgotten a month from now, but it’s good to set goals even you don’t reach them, right?
Right? Well, in any case…
Get out more often. The retail schedule means a lot of late and weekend shifts, which in turn means I don’t get out that much. There are just too many great options in our area for beer lovers, from ChurchKey to Right Proper, Meridian Pint, Black Squirrel, Mad Fox, Port City, DC Brau, BlueJacket and so many more—this year I’m hoping to get out there a little bit more and spend some more time among the wonderful folks of the DC beer scene instead of just writing about them.
Focus. The number of new breweries available to us in Virginia not only from the U.S. but from all over the world, is increasing at a rate that makes it hard to keep up with. I want to focus in 2014 on keeping the space for our longtime favorites while not getting carried away with chasing down every new beer that comes in. Of these resolutions, this will be the one that I’ll break first and with the most zeal.
Travel. There are so many places and breweries I want to visit, and I’d really like 2014 to be the year when I start finding the time to. I haven’t done the Dogfish Head brewery in years—I’d love to pass through there again. I have an entire New England swing I planned out in my head a year ago that would be fun; Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, etc. There are breweries scattered across North Carolina: I’d like to visit again, maybe spend a couple days in Asheville again. Then there’s the west coast—Oregon, Washington, California. I could make trips of each of those states, and still find reasons to go back.
What I’ve Been Drinking This Week:
Dogfish Head Namaste: Now available year-round in six-packs, Dogfish Head’s Witbier is spicy and at 4.8 percent ABV light enough for most any occasion. The use of lemongrass among classic Wit spices is a wonderful touch, and Namaste was an excellent pairing for some great Thai food we had.
The Bruery Melange No. 1: Went to a bottle share with some friends over the weekend, and this rarity from The Bruery popped up. A blend of their Black Tuesday bourbon barrel-aged Stout and the red-wine barrel-aged Flemish Sour Oude Tart, Melange 1 finds a great balance between rich malt and intense acidity. Very cool, and as a Bruery fan this was a treat.
The Bruery Bourbon Barrel-Aged 4 Calling Birds: More Bruery goodness. This hard-to-find version of one of The Bruery’s 12 Beers of Christmas Series was delicious; with a couple years of aging the flavors have mellowed into something resembling a beer doing an impression of boozy eggnog. I know how that sounds, but it was pretty awesome.
Mother Earth Windowpane Series Double Wit Raspberry: An Imperial Wit aged with raspberries in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir barrels. The wine influence is strong — very strong — but it makes the beer work for me, and I hope that we’ll see this series of beers up here sometime this year.
Aventinus Eisbock Barrique (Tap X): A small amount of this was sent to Virginia last summer, and I’d been dying to try it. This is a small batch of the already unique (and massive) 12 percent ABV Aventinus Eisbock aged in Pinot Noir barrels for two years before bottling. The rich, malty, dark fruit notes in the standard Eisbock mesh perfectly with the cherry notes in the wine barrel. Eisbock Barrique was a joy for the Burgundy fan in me, and even the non-wine drinkers at the bottle share dug it.
Until next time.
Nick Anderson maintains a blog at www.beermonger.net, and can be found on Twitter at @The_Beermonger. Sign up for Arrowine’s money saving email offers and free wine and beer tastings at www.arrowine.com/mailing-list-signup.aspx. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.
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