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All We Can Eat
Posted at 07:00 AM ET, 07/09/2012

Is it too soon to pop a cold Derecho Common?

Last week ended on a happy note for two local breweries.
On Friday, 3 Stars Brewing passed its health inspection, reports co-founder Dave Coleman — the final hurdle to becoming Washington’s newest microbrewery. He and partner Mike McGarvey were planning to fire up their 10-barrel brew house today or Tuesday.

Their initial brew will be Urban Farmhouse Saison, a Belgian-style rustic ale that Coleman describes as “nice and dry, with citrus and pepper notes,” measuring 6.5 percent alcohol by volume. Look for the first kegs to hit the market late this month or in early August. 
“We’re all brewing a saison for DC Beer Week ,” Coleman says of his fellow Washington beermakers. The plan is to blend all their beers together into a composite dubbed DC Unification Brew, which will be released during the Aug. 12-18 celebration of local brewing.
Coleman plans to have three or four beers on the market at that point, although the exact lineup has yet to be determined. Amateur beer brewers should take note that 3 Stars’ homebrew supplies shop is already open: Thursdays, 4-8 p.m.; Fridays, 3-8 p.m.; and Saturdays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. 

Bill Butcher of Port City Brewing with his son, Key, 8, during the power outage at the brewery last week. (Matt McClain for The Washington Post)
Meanwhile, Port City Brewing in Alexandria saw its electricity fully restored last Thursday, nearly a week after the June 29 storm knocked it off the power grid . Owner Bill Butcher and his crew had been relying on a generator to preserve 13,000 gallons of fermenting beer. 
Butcher said he was able salvage all the beer, but a batch of his Downright Pilsner underwent a temperature spike and will likely emerge as a different style: a California common. This designation is used for a hybrid that’s fermented with a lager yeast but at warmer, ale-like temperatures that lend the beer a mildly fruity character. (Anchor Steam from Anchor Brewing is the best-known example of this type of beer.)
Port City will release the beer in early August under the name Derecho Common, a reference to the freakish weather phenomenon that roiled the area. The impromptu beer will be draft-only (since there’s no time to get labels and packages printed up), and will be available only in the immediate Washington vicinity.

And yes, Butcher says, weekend tours have resumed at their normal hours, with beer now available for onsite consumption ($4 per pint, $7 per sampler flight), in addition to six-packs, growlers and kegs to go.

WATCH: Port City Brewing’s race to save the beer

(Video: Alexandra Garcia/The Washington Post)

By  |  07:00 AM ET, 07/09/2012

Categories:  Beer, All We Can Eat

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