Wednesday, May 18, 2011

American Craft Beer Week Feature: Port City Brewing

We started a little Wednesday tradition at the day job, sort of a team building exercise, by sharing a growler of craft beer. Our first brew was crafted locally in nearby Alexandria by Port City Brewing Company; the unfiltered Belgian Wit Bier: Optimal Wit. This beer is brewed with raw wheat and oats, and steeped with coriander, orange peel and grains of paradise. This is a classic Wit, refreshing with loads of mouthfeel and a nice balanced finished. Nice to see good beer produced immediately from a start-up.

For Port City is an infant, opening Super Bowl weekend of this year. And yet its presence is felt throughout the year thanks to owner, Bill Butcher's , contacts within the distribution system. Before opening Port City Bill was managing sales and distribution for Robert Mondavi Winery and Folio Fine Wine Partner. He leveraged contacts made from those ende to have Port City brews available throughout the Washington D.C. Metro area. Now its up to brewer, Johnathan Reeves formerly of Sweetwater Tavern), to keep the distribution in place based on the beers' quality - not from old contacts. Besides the Wit, he crafts an Essential Pale Ale, Monumental IPA, and Porter. The last is actually my favorite from the portfolio, smooth with toffee flavors and a slight bitter finish. Very nice.

Port City is open Friday nights and weekends for tours so plan a visit during American Craft Beer Week. On these occasions, Bill or a staff member guides visitors on a brewery tour and possibly a tasting from one of the fermenting tanks. Be sure to see the proprietary Hop Blaster that sends hops flying into the fermenting tanks whenever dry hopping is required.

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