One of the greater things about watching football in America is that most matches, especially those of the EPL, are early in the morning American time, giving people an excuse to daydrink. This is part of our series discussing exactly what to drink when you’re at the pub, presented by our resident homebrewer, Keith
The Beer: Your Favorite Foreign Movie, DC Brau, Washington, DC
The Pub: Smith Commons, in Northeast DC
What You Need to Know: I’ve gone into the history of DC Brau before in this column- it was the first of a handful of new breweries in DC to publicly release beer brewed on its own premises. The story of YFFM is pretty unique, though. In establishing itself in the District, DC Brau took care to cultivate relationships with the major “beer geek” bars in DC. One such bar, Meridian Pint, in an effort to tie itself closer to DC’s beer culture, held (roughly) quarterly homebrew competitions, which would culminate in a Tournament of Champions where the winners would re-brew their winning beers and face off for a limited audience. The premise was simple: have about 20 brewers sign up, fill up the downstairs bar on a weeknight, and promote homebrewing in DC. DC Brau latched onto this competition, and decided to offer the ultimate prize: the ToC winner’s beer would be brewed at DC Brau, and released to the public. (Full disclosure: I entered the last of these before the ToC, but my vanilla coffee stout did not get the votes to carry on)
DC Homebrewers Club member (full disclosure: I am also a member) Brian Barrows won, with a Belgian Patersbier, though the votes were close enough that runner-up Mike Reinitz will also get to brew his robust porter with DC Brau’s equipment and expertise. During the brew session, DC Brau played some Steely Dan on the stereo, and so the name was taken from the closing line from the song “Peg.”
Patersbier is a close relative of the Belgian single; in the trappist brewing tradition, it’s usually only available to the monks, and so is of a lower strength than the rest of the production. It’s either made of second runnings from the grains used for a tripel, or is used as a starter to propagate the yeast necessary for a tripel.
So, About this Beer: Pours a cloudy mellow gold, with a thin white head that dissipates quickly. Sulfur and straw weigh heavily on the nose. Initial flavors of citrus and malt fade to a nice breadiness, with a very subtle hop finish. Slight mineral aftertaste. Mouthfeel is, for lack of a better word, round. It’s not thick but it’s not exactly light either.
The Verdict: We’ve been running the series long enough for you to know that I really enjoy session beers. There are fewer places for a brewer to hide in the low alcohol, low hop varieties, and so when a really good ale is present, it’s pretty sublime. This one is no exception. The style mixes the funk of stronger Belgians with the fruitiness of a good ordinary bitter, and the lightness of a good Eastern European lager. Really refreshing summer beer; if you’re in DC and you can find it, definitely order it.