For amateur brewers Joshua Hubner and Mike Stein of the DC Homebrewers club, it was their first taste of brewing on a professional level. And the public will get its first taste of their beer, the Wandering Belgian, on Wednesday at 5 p.m. at Smoke and Barrel in Adams Morgan.
For a while, the two have helped out on a volunteer basis at Lost Rhino Brewing Co. in Ashburn, “doing everything from milling grain to mashing in to checking temperatures to hop additions. . . the whole nine yards,” says Hubner. When they presented Lost Rhino’s co-owner and head brewer Favio Garcia with a homebrew recipe they’d perfected in their apartments, he helped them ramp it up to a 15-barrel batch.
The Wandering Belgian is a Belgo-American IPA, which combines the malt bill, candy sugar and yeast typical of a Belgian-style strong ale with an aggressive American-style hopping.
“When I think of IPA, I like a bitter, bitter beer,” says Hubner, who’s given his beer plenty of hop bitterness to accompany the aromatics from a dry-hopping with Cascades. Alcohol is about 6 percent by volume.
Hubner hopes that if the beer goes over well, a second batch — perhaps even a bottled version — might be in the offing.