Local beermaker brews derecho-inspired beverage

Michelle Basch, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – If you’ve been affected by the derecho and heat wave, we have a beer for you.

A local brewery that lost power in the storm but saved its beer is now brewing a special limited-edition batch.

Port City Brewing Company in Alexandria lost electricity when some wires came down.

“We had 13,000 gallons of beer in our tanks and those were at various degrees of done-ness,” brewery founder Bill Butcher says. “Some were actively fermenting, some had finished fermenting out, but it all needed to be kept cold at very exact temperatures.”

The brewery’s power was out for five days and was restored by Dominion Virginia Power Thursday morning.

Luckily, Butcher says they located a generator early on to power their critical systems, so no beer had to be thrown out.

He says one batch of lager beer – roughly 120 kegs worth – fermented differently than the brewers originally intended.

“It turns out that there’s actually a style of beer called ‘California common beer’ or ‘steam beer’ that is intentionally fermented this way, and so our lager beer will end up being a California common beer,” Butcher says. “We’re going to call it ‘Derecho Common.'”

The beer will be available on draft only in the brewery’s tasting room and in restaurants and bars around the D.C. area that were affected by the storm.

“From what we can tell, the beer is developing nicely, the flavors are going to be great, and we’ll get it out in early August,” Butcher says.

Because of the outage, the company is behind on production and it may take a few weeks to catch up.

Overall, the news for the brewery is very good.

Last year, its first year of business, it produced 3,000 barrels or about 40,000 cases.

This year, Butcher says they’re on track to just about double that.

“We pride ourselves on brewing beers that are very easy to drink, they’re well balanced, they have layers of flavor and complex flavors. Craft beer drinkers always comment how smooth our beers are and how well-balanced they are as well,” says Butcher.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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