Local brewers are not immune to the cherry madness. Even after the blossoms fade, it will be easy to find cherry beers on tap.
Capitol City Brewing Company traditionally makes a beer for the festival, but this year’s 100th anniversary recipe is a little different: It’s a medium-bodied ale that tastes of sour cherries — a bit simiar to a Belgian kriek. It’s crisp and easy to drink, but I’m not sure I’d want to drink more than two in a row — it’s a little more cherry flavor than I need. It’s on tap at both Capitol City Brewing Company bars (downtown and Shirlington) and 901 restaurant for the duration of the festival, April 27. I paid $3.85 for a pint, including tax, at Cap City downtown yesterday.
Oliver Ales may be located in Baltimore, but it makes a cherry beer for D.C. in the spring. The Cherry Blossom Ale is an English-style wheat ale with hundreds of pounds of cherries in each batch. Brewer Steve Jones tweeted that it was on at the Elephant and Castle on Pennsylvania Avenue NW, so I stopped by last night for a taste. (The bartender said they had a different Oliver ale on draft, but after one sip, I knew it was the Cherry Blossom. They just forgot to change the tap handle.) The Cherry Blossom Ale is nice for sipping on the Elephant and Castle’s large patio on a warm afternoon — it tastes exactly the way you’d think a wheat beer with sour cherries in it would — but it’s not something I’d go across town for, especially because the pub is charging $8 per pint.