Editor’s Note: This sponsored column is written by Nick Anderson, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway).
There were two beer releases beer geeks like me were buzzing about this week. The first was the arrival of Hardywood Gingerbread Stout in Northern Virginia for the first time, followed (about three and a half hours later at Arrowine at least) by the departure of Hardywood Gingerbread Stout. The good news is that more will be rolling out over the next couple of weeks, so if you missed out this week you haven’t missed out completely.
The other big debut this week is the long-awaited arrival of Oregon’s Deschutes Brewery in Virginia. Part of craft beer’s “Class of ’88”, Deschutes has been producing some of the most renowned beers in the U.S. on its way to becoming one of the top 10 craft breweries in the country (number six on the Brewers Association Top 50 list of 2013).
For decades, Virginia beer lovers have been waiting to get a hold of Deschutes’ Black Butte Porter, Mirror Pond Pale Ale, and special releases like The Abyss, The Dissident, Mirror Mirror, Hop Henge among so many others. Now, the wait is over — or, at least part of it is.
I say that because initially, year-round beers Black Butte, Mirror Pond, and Fresh Squeezed IPA will be available only on draft, and other Deschutes stalwarts like Obsidian Stout will roll out with time. Don’t expect to see six-packs until spring 2015. As far as bottles go, an earlier-than-expected shipment of Black Butte XXVI (anniversary version of the standard Black Butte with cocoa nibs and aged in Bourbon barrels) and Not The Stoic (a punchy oak-aged Belgian-style Quad) was snapped up by some of the big box stores in the area late last week.
More widely available right now are Zarabanda; a Belgian-style Saison made in collaboration with Chef José Andrés, and the aforementioned Mirror Mirror — a recreation of Deschutes’ first Reserve Series beer. Mirror Mirror is, essentially, a double batch of the Mirror Pond Pale Ale recipe, making for a robust Barleywine that is pretty approachable for something clocking in at 11.2 percent ABV.
It’s a bit of an odd way to enter the market for sure, but we’ve waited a long time for Deschutes to get here — I ain’t complaining. If you’ve never tried any of the Deschutes Brewery beers, give them a try when you see them; there’s a good reason for their success. 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. 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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