The Washington Post

Alexandria brewery to finally give locals a taste

A few miles away, in Alexandria, we have a self-styled “urban farmhouse brewery” that employs barrel-aging and wild fermentations for its funky, uncategorical beers.

But we can’t buy them here in the metro area. Terry Hawbaker, brewer at the Cabinet Artisanal Brewery, sends his entire output up north to a pair of restaurants in Philadelphia: The Farmers’ Cabinet and the Boilermaker.

Well, almost his entire output. He shipped a pallet of beer to Denmark for the Copenhagen Beer Celebration held May 11-12.

So the Danes, almost 4,000 miles away, got to try some locally made beers that we locals can’t get.

That will change in July or August, says Hawbaker, as a result of a deal signed with Brooklyn-based importer 12 Percent Imports, which will dispatch his beers to 35 states and Europe in 750-mililiter bottles and a very limited number of kegs.

His flagship beers, Hawbaker reports, will likely be Marry Me in Goslar, a German-style gose (a sour ale spiced with coriander and salt), and Layover in Berlin, a Berliner weisse that he describes as “very sharp and sour” and which clocks in at a mere 3/3.5 percent alcohol by volume.

Also be on the lookout for some collaborations, Hawbaker adds. They include A Bitter Amendment, brewed in conjunction with Denmark’s Fano Bryghus. Hawbaker describes this hybrid as an English-style bitter fermented with a farmhouse yeast and hopped in the mash tun, kettle and fermenter with English and American varieties. This week, Hawbaker is teaming up with Thomas Schon of Denmark’s Mikkeller Brewery to brew a single, a double and a triple, each fermented with a different strain of Brettanomyces yeast.

Be patient, Washington; the beers on their way.

How progressive: As Savor week approaches, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. has scheduled a “progressive” beer dinner, set for June 6 in Adams Morgan. According to Brad Phillips, Sierra Nevada’s area manager, there will be four courses (each consisting of “three small bites”), spread out over three restaurants within walking distance of one another (”a straight shot down 18th Street”). Participating venues are Smoke and Barrel, Bourbon and Jack Rose Dining Saloon.

The beer line-up will include the 2012 Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Harvest Ale and two from their Ovila series, including the newest release, Ovila Belgian Golden Ale.

According to Phillips, this walk, talk and drink concept is a first for Washington. “It’s an idea I’ve been kicking around for a year.”

Tickets cost $65 and are available from the restaurants. Sierra Nevada founder Ken Grossman, his brother Steve and Ken’s son Brian will talk about the beers and sign posters.


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