DC Brau and Willett produce a local beer by way of Bourbon Country

September 17, 2013
DC Brau
DC Brau brewer Jeff Hancock (left) and CEO Brandon Skall release a new bourbon barrel-aged IPA this week. (Photo by Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)

I will admit to being very, very excited about the debut of a new barrel-aged DC Brau Wednesday night at Pizzeria Paradiso in Dupont Circle. A special batch of the brewery's Corruption IPA was aged for five months in a wooden barrel that formerly held four-year-old Willett rye.

I'm a big fan of Willett, from their high-test 21-year-old bourbons down to the more mellow ryes. The four-year straight rye – produced in Indiana, not Kentucky – is a terrific sipper, with lots of toffee, a bit of cinnamon and maple, and some lingering mint in the finish. The idea of some of those flavors being picked up by a piney, hoppy IPA sounds really intriguing.

Brewer Jeff Hancock and CEO Brandon Skall sent me these tasting notes: "Notes of lychee, wood, barrel char, with whiskey sweetness and a mellow hop character."

The beer will be tapped at 5 p.m., and sell for half-price from 5 to 7 p.m. Beer director Greg Jasgur created a special pizza for the occasion, which includes roast pork, arugula and a relish of white grapes, green onions and capers. "I got a lot of lychee and white pepper flavors from the beer," he says.

To get the most of the night, look into the $20 combo deal: A 12-ounce pour of the beer, a personal eight-inch pizza and "a couple of ounces" of the Willett Pot Still bourbon, which is aged for 8 to 10 years.

This is not a beer to sleep on. Due to the size of the whiskey barrel, only six sixtel kegs – each around five gallons – were produced. If you can't make it to Paradiso, Meridian Pint will be tapping its sixtel on Thursday at 3 p.m. Friday. (Update: Meridian Pint emailed me Thursday afternoon to say they've decided to postpone the tapping until Friday.)

Fritz Hahn has covered bars, drinks and nightlife for the Washington Post Weekend Section since 2003, but he also writes about everything from Civil War battlefields to sailing classes.
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Alex Baldinger · September 17, 2013