Posts tagged “JBass

Roundtable Discussion: Favorite Brewery

There are over 1500 breweries in the United States alone. Some of them people love and others unfortunately not so much. What qualities are needed to make someone pick their favorite with so many options available? Is it purely based on flavors? Is it due to experiences had while enjoying the beer? Is it from knowing and befriending employees of the brewery? Not surprisingly this varies from person to person as we see here at J Street Beer. One choice was absolutely shocking…wait no Shintern did indeed pick Shiner.


Brew Review: Ithaca Gorges

Smoking is one of my biggest pet peeves. The smell of cigarette smoke absolutely disgusts me and the ensuing coughing is not something I enjoy either. Despite my hate for smoking I absolutely love smoke beers.  Initially I was a bit confused at how the flavor could be anything besides repulsive but after my 2nd taste of Stone Smoked Porter I’ve been hooked. Throw in the fact that my brother went to Cornell and loves Ithaca brewery and I couldn’t resist trying out Gorges, their smoked porter.

Gorges pours a dark brown with a solid 1 inch of creamy brown head. The smell of smoke comes on strong immediately but not in a way that is too overpowering.  One sip of this beer and I was hooked. Despite smoke being the dominant flavor, this beer is well balanced with a very nice malt backbone. The sweetness and a bit of smoke linger sensationally leading to a surprisingly mellow feel on the tongue as the flavors linger.

When Ithaca produces a quality beer I’ve found that they tend to be not only solid but also usually phenomenal. Gorges falls into this mold very well and is certainly in the upper echelon of smoke beers that I’ve tried.

Even though you won’t ever find me smoking don’t be shocked if I’m enjoying a great smoke beer like Gorges in the near future.


Brew Review: Super Brew 15

Sometimes I have very odd reasons for buying a beer. This one caught my eye while browsing Cleveland Park Liquors and Fine Wines, not because of the name or style but rather the country of origin: Romania. One of my best friends is Romanian so I decided that the worst-case scenario was that it’d stink and I could mock her country playfully. Besides, how bad could a 15% ABV Barleywine be, even if the name is as pathetic as Super Brew 15.


Super Brew 15 poured a hazy orange with a very faint head. The nose is where this beer started going downhill in a hurry. I can’t describe exactly what I got, possibly because I have tried to block it from my memory, but it was so putrid I gagged several times and felt as though I could vomit any second. In spite of this I began to drink and immediately regretted the decision. I’ve never tasted asshole before, but I imagine that it tastes pretty similar to Super Brew 15.

Drain pours are not something I do, but this piece of garbage had me as close as I get. I finished the bottle but suggest never even looking at this disgusting offering. Super Brew 15 makes Natty Light look like Hopslam, yeah that’s how bad I think this beer was.

Please don’t make the same mistake I did and avoid Super Brew 15 at all costs.


Sixth and I Synagogue to Host a Heavy Seas Tasting

I’m sure the first thing that most people think of when they hear the word synagogue is beer. Wait, you’re telling me that isn’t normal? Well, let me see if I can convince you that it is.

On Wednesday, August 10th, at 7 p.m. , Sixth and I Historic Synagogue will be holding their 3rd beer tasting in the past eight months. The previous two sold out well in advance and included a wide variety of craft beers, with an emphasis on drinking local. Featured breweries have included Port City, Baying Hound, Dogfish Head, and Flying Dog.
Loose Cannon

The featured brewery for this event is none other then Heavy Seas, who will be showing the virtues of one of my favorite IPA’s: Loose Cannon. At least five different varieties will be showcased during this event and I’m sure I’m not the only one curious exactly what they will be. Three great representatives will be on hand in the brewer, hop farmer, and the cellarman. I’m sure each will provide insights from their point of view in the brewing process.

Tickets are only $15 and are available for purchase at the Sixth and I website. This event will sell out so if you plan on going make sure to purchase your tickets as soon as possible.

Once again Chris O’Brien, author of the book Fermenting Revolution: How to Drink Beer and Save the World, will be hosting the event. Chris does a great job imparting beer knowledge and keeps the crowd laughing.

Finally I hope that no one decides not to attend this event because they are not Jewish. Sixth and I hosts a wide range of events and everyone is more then welcome to come and enjoy some Loose Cannon. Just try not to be like Paul Rinehart and say that a beer pairs well with pork! If for some reason you need any more incentive to come, I’ll be passing out the beers so you can mock me while you have a great time.


The DMV Brewers BBQ

In case you haven’t heard Smith Commons is hosting an amazing BBQ this Sunday, July 3rd. What more American way is there to spend Indepence Day then with awesome people, food, and of course lots of beer. This event will pair DMV Brewers BBQsome great food with beers from 8, count them 8, local breweries.

First take a look at the food menu from Tonzi’s post. I’m not going to name names but one employee of an attending brewery mentioned that the short rib was some of the best he has ever had, so I trust the food will be excellent.

Onto the beer. The 8 breweries that will be attending are 3 Stars, DC Brau, Port City, Baying Hound, Flying Dog, Heavy Seas, Lost Rhino, and Stillwater. Representatives from each brewery will be on hand and on the 2nd floor at about 7 they will be introduced and speak a bit about their beers and I’m sure share lots of entertaining stories.

On Draft:

The Syndicate Saison-3 Stars (6.8% ABV)

The Public APA-Dc Brau (6% ABV)

The Corruption IPA-DC Brau (6.5% ABV)

The Citizen BPA-DC Brau (7% ABV)

Backyard Ale Smoked Amber -Flying Dog (7.5% ABV)

Table For Two Belgian Style Table Beer-Flying Dog (5% ABV)

Raging Bitch  Belgian IPA-Flying Dog (8.3% ABV)

Holy Sheet Uber Abbey Ale-Heavy Seas (9% ABV)

Loose Cannon IPA-Heavy Seas (7.25% ABV)

Plank I Old Style English Ale-Heavy Seas (8% ABV)

Rhino Chasers Pilsner-Lost Rhino (5.6% ABV)

Face Plant IPA-Lost Rhino (6.2% ABV)

Optimal Wit Belgian Wit-Port City (5% ABV)

Porter-Port City (7.5% ABV)

Existent Ale American Farmhouse Ale-Stillwater (7.4% ABV)

Stateside Saison American Farmhouse Ale-Stillwater (7.4% ABV)

Bottle and Cans:

Taj Mahound IBA-Baying Hound (7% ABV)

Lord Wimsey Mild Pale Ale-Baying Hound (6% ABV)

Dubbel Cannon Belgian IPA-Heavy Seas (7.25% ABV)

The Public APA-Dc Brau (6% ABV)

Cellar Door American Farmhouse Ale (750 ml)-Stillwater (6.6% ABV)

Optimal Wit Belgian Wit-Port City (5% ABV)

All pints are only $5 so if you are in town this weekend, there is no other place to be.


Baying Hound: The Unheralded Local Brewery

Baying Hound

Like everyone else in the DC area I’m ecstatic about all of the new local breweries. When Port City’s beers started popping up I couldn’t stop drinking them, especially the Monumental IPA. Being at Meridian Pint for the release of DC Brau’s Public was one of the coolest days of my life, and also the day I met Tonzi and asked if I could help on this blog. Seeing the excitement on Dave Coleman’s face when he released 3 Stars Syndicate at Churchkey continued to reinforce the significance of having local options. When the tweet came up that Chocolate City finally got power and was that much closer to production I couldn’t help but smile. However lost in the shuffle of all these new local breweries is one spot that beat them all to the punch.

That spot is Baying Hound.


Brew Review: Surly Coffee Bender

Surly Coffee BenderAfter trying Surly’s Bender and not loving it, I was hoping to find redemption trying the kicked up version known as the Coffee Bender.

I’m going to preface my thoughts on the beer by admitting that I actually don’t drink coffee. There has never been a time in my life where I’ve ordered coffee and aside from a sip here and there when someone has told me I needed to try it, I simply have no interest. With that said, I am willing to give any flavor a shot in beer and enjoy many coffee beers, especially stouts, on occasion.

The Coffee Bender pours a very dark brown with a generous amount of head. Not surprisingly the aroma is dominated by coffee from the moment the smell finds your nostrils. Coffee flavor dominates the palate throughout and it lingers on the tongue in a very pleasant way.

This beer is a home run for the style. Considering the fact that I don’t drink coffee and loved it I think that anyone who enjoys the taste on a daily basis will love it.

Thank you Coffee Bender for redeeming my faith in Surly.


Brew Review: Surly Bender

Surly Bender

I’m sure that I’m not the only one out there who has a bucket list for beer. SAVOR week was obviously a way to knockout a good chunk of that, but of course there’s always more to try. In my eyes there was one brewery clearly on top of my list: Surly. Luckily I was able to procure 3 different cans at Connecticut Wine and Liquors, which is my go to store for harder to find beers.

Bender pours a deep brown with minimal head. The aroma is subtle with oats slightly dominant and a small bit of vanilla. Taste starts out with a somewhat light flavor of oat and leads to a little bit of vanilla on the finish. As it warmed I started to get a bit of coffee flavor at the end. Bender is very very light on the mouth.

Overall it’s a good beer and had I not had such high expectations I would probably have been satisfied. I’d give it 1.5 on our scale and in an effort to grade the beer and not the hype I’m going to round up.

Since it was a good brown ale I still believe the Coffee Bender and Furious will live up to my lofty expectations.



Shake Shack: It Only Takes One Guy, not Five, to Make a Great Burger

I love Five Guys to death. When one opened only 5 minutes from my college campus I went more times then I can count.

After having Shake Shack I doubt I can ever go back.

Everything at Shake Shack is tremendous, starting with the shakes. My favorite is the black and white, which is rich, thick, and has a bit of a peanut butter taste. They are absolutely perfect for a DC summer cool down.

The fries are simply amazing. Unlike many places, they choose to do them crinkle cut allowing them to come out crispy and delicious. Taking my co-worker there for the first time she nearly finished her order on the walk back to the office.

Burgers are sensational and cooShack Stackked medium unless specified. The patties are juicy and practically melt in your mouth. Easily the biggest surprise to me is the mushroom burger I’ve enjoyed as part of the Shack Stack, which is a cheeseburger topped with a mushroom burger. It is a fried Portobello stuffed with munster and cheddar cheese that explode out after biting in. I’ve never even thought to order a mushroom burger but this has opened my eyes.

I have to admit that I had never had or understood the Chicago style hot dog. Curiosity got the best of me and I tried the Shack-cago Dog that is topped with pickles, relish, onion, tomato, cucumber, mustard, salt, and pepper. There is some nice spice to it, but the hot dog is pretty lost in the sea of veggies.

Most importantly Shake Shack serves beer, and good beer at that! They make good use of their 2 taps serving ShackMeister, a beer brewed for them by Brooklyn Brewery that seems to be a pale ale with just a bit of bitterness at the end, as well as a rotating seasonal which is currently Flying Dog’s Old Scratch Amber. If for some reason you want something macro they offer Amstel and Budweiser in bottles. There is also an Abita tap handle but don’t be fooled as it pours root beer.

My biggest piece of advice to anyone who goes during lunch: Don’t be surprised if you are slightly less productive at work afterwards, as Shake Shack leads to a very strong food coma.


SAVOR Beer Week Event Review: Short’s Takeover at Churchkey

Short's BrewingUpon hitting the bar at Churchkey Thursday I was not only handed the regular tap list but also a smaller piece of paper that reminded me of a golf scorecard. Quickly I realized that it was the list of all the drafts from Short’s for the night and I became slightly overwhelmed.

After my queries of what should I order of the 30 options were met with no specific response, I decided to order the way many pick their March Madness bracket: I picked the things with cool names. Let me give a short (no pun intended) recap of some of the wacky beers I tried.

With no clue where to start I figured I would take a chance and go with Gambler. Apparently it was a smoke beer with just a faint hint of peat and bourbon flavor holding onto my tongue, certainly a good start.

I actually consulted the regular menu just to pick a style for my next beer and decided a Tripel sounded good and got a Richard in the Dirt. A solid beer for the style with a nice citrus kick but ordering a full glass may have been a mistake.

The last three beers I should bring up had to be ordered simply because they sounded so unique and dessert-like. Chocolate Wheat was exactly what it sounds like and was very enjoyable. A blast of chocolate upfront yet very smooth and low on the ABV spectrum. The other two were Key Lime and Carrot Cake. I have no idea how Short’s did it but these beers tasted exactly like their food names. A bit too sweet for some, certainly, but if you like either dessert you would be in Heaven. I swear I could taste the dollop of whipped cream on the finish of the Key Lime.

This event came up anything but short.


SAVOR Beer Week Event Review: (Indoor)Patio Party at Capitol City

RainGrilling on the patio with a few beers and a bit of music sounded like a great event. Unfortunately, rain started pouring Wednesday afternoon forcing Capitol City Brewing to call an audible and move their event inside.

With their team operating like the Packers instead of the Redskins, they were able to deal with tough conditions perfectly.

Guests were swept into a back room, which left some skeptical, briefly, until things began running smoothly. The bluegrass band, By the By, started to sing beautifully, leading everyone to relax and forget about the downpour and enjoy the moment.

Beer began flowing once again adding to the jovial mood. With beers only costing three dollars a pint, including an amazingly funky Brett saison cask, there was no reason for anyone to lose their smile.

Despite the change of venue the food also remained unscathed. A scrumptious selection of hot dogs, half smokes and burgers found there way into patrons stomachs quickly.

Kudos to Capitol City for dealing with a tough situation and finding a way to put on a great event.


Savor Beer Week Event Review: Magic Hat Steal the Pint Night at Atomic

Magic Hat #9
Sometimes a simple promotion is all it takes to sell beer.

Magic Hat does not brew products that cater to the majority of people excited about SAVOR week, but they certainly piqued the interest of many more casual drinkers Wednesday night.

Pint after pint of Magic Hat was poured at Atomic Billiards during their special promotion of being able to “steal” the pint glass after ordering. Two options were available from the Vermont based brewery: The expected #9 apricot beer and Wacko, their summer seasonal.

As happy as I was to see so many people ordering craft beer I’m not sure what to make of this promotion. Having had Wacko for the first time since the morning of my college graduation I was reminded just how tasteless it is. The #9, which I have not had in ages, seemed full of flavor after the listlessness of Wacko.

Atomic was full of life last night and I hope that it continues to be that way. Since they have Oberon and Two Hearted on draft they certainly deserve a lot of business in Cleveland Park.


SAVOR Beer Week Event Preview: Magic Hat Steal the Pint Night at Atomic

Magic Hat
I have to say I agree with Tonzi’s post about Magic Hat. Their Hocus Pocus and Circus Boy were a huge part of my initial love of craft beer. Roxy Rolles was a key beer in my transition to enjoying hoppier beers. Yet now I never have much of a desire to buy their beer.

This event at Atomic Billiards is quite simple. Order a Magic Hat after 9 and you get to “steal” the pint glass. I’m assuming that the beer will be #9, which is why they’ve chosen to start the event at 9.

Since I live in Cleveland Park and am a sucker for free glassware I’ll probably wander over. Nothing about this will be super crazy, like many things going on this week. Still with all the madness going on, Atomic will be a welcome spot to just relax, enjoy a simpler beer, and add to your glass stash.


SAVOR Beer Week Event Preview: Patio Party at Capitol City

Capitol City BrewingCapitol City will be tapping two casks of a saison spiked with Brettanomyces Bruxellensis at their Postal Square location at 6 ; do I really need to say more?

If Brett isn’t your thing then there are still plenty of other offerings that will be on hand. Brewmaster Micah Krichinsky will be tapping a non-spiked version of his summer saison on draft, as well as pouring other beers perfect for the heat. The drafts include a kolsch, amber, and a pale ale.

In the spirit of summer, grilling will be taking place on the patio. The menu will include half smokes, hot dogs, and burgers.

The band By the By will be on hand to provide live music. By the By is a bluegrass band sure to be a welcome treat for the heat.

Looks like Capitol City Brewing will be bringing the noise and the funk tonight.


SAVOR Beer Week Event Review: 3 Stars Debuts the Syndicate

3 Stars and Evolution

Even though I was looking at two TVs that had the time in the corner I couldn’t help but check my cell phone to see how close it was to six. I was just so excited to try out the Syndicate, a collaboration between Evolution and of course DC’s newest brewery: 3 Stars.

Finally it started pouring…and pouring…and pouring. The amount of Syndicate that got poured led to Churchkey struggling to find enough glassware for it. This lead to each of my 4 pints being put in different types of glasses except for when Jason asked if it would be OK to use the same glass for two beers in a row.

The beer is great and absolutely perfect for summer. The Syndicate is very smooth and delicious for a saison. The peppercorns are a welcome touch but do not make it bitter in any way, they just give it a nice bit of oomph.

After my disappointment at Policy this event reminded me how amazing this week is going to be. Several great people from the DC beer community were on hand to toast the wonderful job 3 Stars and Evolution did with this beer.

I would just like to say congratulations to Dave Coleman and Mike McGarvey for starting out 3 Stars with such a great beer. They will be at many bars this week with the Syndicate and if you have time, seek it out and have a great conversation with these guys.


SAVOR Beer Week Event Review: Kickoff at Policy

No Crabs

Crabs and craft beer is a brilliant idea and a great way to start SAVOR week. Unfortunately Policy did not quite deliver on this promise.

I planned on getting to Policy around 2:30 with a few friends, but my plans changed when I saw a tweet just before 2 saying that there were no more crabs available. With this information now in my head I decided to grab a light bite on the way and head over a bit later alone.

Once I arrived a few minutes after 4 I had mixed feelings. Even though the food and beer reps were gone, I was happy with the beer options. On tap I saw Port City’s Optimal Wit and Dogfish Head’s 90 Minute IPA as well as beers from DC Brau and Heavy Seas. I opted for Flying Dog’s Cask of Single Hop Simcoe, which I ended up getting the last half glass of.

This was certainly not as amazing or thought out as I had hoped the opening event for this crazy week would be. I believe the majority of upcoming events will run much smoother than this did.


SAVOR Beer Week Event Preview: 3 Stars Launches the Syndicate

One of the most fun things about going out is feeling like a regular at a bar. Most people have a spot where they feel welcome right as they walk in and the first time I had that feeling in DC was at the Big Hunt thanks to Dave Coleman.

On my second or third visit Dave made me feel like I belonged in his own unique way. Subtle and quiet are not words I would use to describe him, but that’s what makes him such a great bartender. The man is blunt, hilarious, and he certainly knows his beer.

So why am I talking about Dave? Because at 6 P.M. he and Mike McGarvey, his partner at 3 Stars Brewery, will be debuting their first beer at Churchkey. The Syndicate is a collaboration with Evolution and is a saison spiced with black and red peppercorns.

I hope you’ll be at Churchkey with me to welcome another local brewery into the fray Monday evening.


SAVOR Beer Week Event Preview: Kickoff at Policy

I know everyone has been waiting for this moment just as much as I have. At noon SAVOR beer week kicks off at Policy with crabs.

The beer selection will be great with local pints all being only $5. DC Brau, Port City, Flying Dog, Heavy Seas and Dogfish Head will all be available and several cask offerings will be offered for the same low price.

If the sublime beer selection is not enough to entice you, the food specials should rope you in immediately. For only $18 you get three whole crabs along with your choice of three soft shell crabs or two crab cakes. Oh and did I mention you also get unlimited sides?

I’ll be at this event for many reasons. This will be the beginning of an amazing week with quality food and of course tasty beer. Once I heard that there might be barrel aged Gonzo from Flying Dog I knew this would be the perfect way to celebrate Memorial Day.


Brew Review: New Belgium Lips Of Faith le Fleur Misseur

Lips Of Faith le Fleur Misseur

New Belgium is one of those breweries that feels more like a myth than reality to me. The tales that surround it made me excited to try Fat Tire when I was in San Francisco last fall yet I left unimpressed after a few pints. I knew the Black Squirrel had gotten in a lot of their brews recently and when my friend said we should try out Lips Of Faith le Fleur Misseur I consented after a bit of hesitation.

I’d comment on how it looked when poured but the amazing smell of funk that arrived as it came out made me barely notice. With the aroma making me drool I quickly took a sip and was not disappointed. Brett completely dominates the taste about as much as any beer I’ve ever had, in a delightful way. For the amount of wild flavor it has, the beer was still smooth with minimal harshness in the mouthfeel department.

For anyone who loves the flavor of Brett this beer is a must try. Some people might say that it’s  a one-note beer with minimal balance, but if that one note is absolutely awesome, what’s the problem?!
3-Drink It

Brew Review: Hair of the Dog Ruth


Ah, hair of the dog. If there is anything I believe in this is it. If there is a better way to alleviate the pain of a hangover than to fight back with more booze I certainly haven’t found it. Part of me has always dreamed of doing the ritual with a beer from the brewery of the same name but I had never seen any of their stuff until a recent trip to NY for my brother’s birthday where I spotted a few singles at Whole Foods and eagerly purchased them.

The bottle says “Ruth is light and refreshing” and that is an excellent way to sum up this beer. It pours a beautiful hazy yellow and smells greatly of citrus. The flavor is incredibly crisp and clean with a good amount of citrus coming through. This goes down incredibly quickly. Ruth is certainly on the light end of the spectrum for a pale ale and the 4.5 ABV makes it a good warm weather beer. Having had so much DC Brau Public lately I forgot that pale ales don’t have to be super hoppy to be delicious.

If you’re looking for a beer that is subtle but still tasty then look no further than Ruth. For anyone just getting a taste for craft beer I would suggest this in a heartbeat. The biggest setback is availability and price, as I paid 2.50 for a single.

Bar Review – The Argonaut (Guest Post)

This week many of us at J Street Beer were on hiatus in Italy (I wasn’t… I’m bitter).  Anyway, since we’re too busy to write, we’re lucky enough to have friends who do have some time.  In this guest post, we bring in JBass (@JBassDC)to give a little insight to an H Street NE point of interest.  Here’s his take on The Argonaut! -Tonzi

On June 20th, 2010, a fire burned down the kitchen and half of the bar downstairs at The Argonaut on H Street in Northeast DC, causing the restaurant to close.

But we all know that good beer can put out any fire.