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.)