Dulles Airport Take-Off Tasting Tour: Sterling, Ashburn and more: Craft of Brewing (TCOB) Hyp-O-Crat,
Date: April 15, 2019
The Story— We discovered TCOB (The Craft of Brewing) almost by accident as we sought out the relatively new Dynasty Brewing Company, whose brewer had crafted a plethora of superb beers at several breweries — including and exceptional Mother Tupper’s Imperial Rye Pale Ale. And Dynasty is wonderful and we’ll end this series with a very hard-to-brew triumph of theirs. B
But there — in the same strip mall– was a brewery that hadn’t shown up on our brewery maps (yet), but seemed to actually brew. We went back the next day to find a Brew on Premise that did its own Brewing on Premise to present a fine selection of beers from a very small brew kit. The house brewed beers are served from pour-your-own taps at one end of the facility and the other holds the rows of tiny brewing vessels for the POB operations.
Other than the fact that the glassware was really basic, we were impressed with the place. We had a hard time deciding which one of their beers we would feature in this lower Loudoun tour. We settled on a beer than may not show how they avoid errors, which they do, but how the interpret styles, which they do well.
The definitive Irish Dry Stout is, of course, Guinness, which we can sample even more directly than ever from the St. James Gate Brewery at their American Guinness, Halethorpe, Baltimore, Brewery. But the Guinness that we know and love is probably a gentler beer than the original “stout”. “Stout” was once a term for a “stout porter” – a dark beer of above average strength an intensity.
Most, though not all, American brewers produce a “robust porter” when they want to evoke the earlier strength of the beer, but some continue to call these 6% to 7% dark beers dry stouts. Sometimes it’s best to just ignore the labels and taste the beer for what it is. So here, from an unlikely brewer brewing an unlikely interpreation of a style, is our first beer of the lower Loudoun area, a very nice big easy-drinking dark –maybe Irish-ish- stout.
The Beer— Creamy and roasty. Very dark malts and a gentle blanket of of the notrogen. Some almost acrid black bitter late actually helps. Ellie noted that even though it doesn’t have oats it tastes like it does. A great example of how you don’t have to have $5 million bucks to open a brewery that can produce good beer.
Value — Very good — made all the better by the fact that you can pour exactly as much as you want and go back if need be.
About these posts: We taste and evaluate over a thousand beers every year. The beers posted here rank in the top quarter of those tastings. Values: “fair” is a good beer at an above market price, “good” is worth the money, “very good” is a bargain, and “excellent” is a steal.
For the next several weeks we’ll feature fun places to explore beer — and much more–a different destination each week. Our beers of the day will feature beers from this wonderfully wet destinations. This week we’re featuring beers in the Dulles-Sterling are of Northern Virginia. A caveat as always: the vast majorities of craft breweries may have a few beers that are usually available, but their most interesting beers are usual season or one-off brews that we may rave about, but you can’t find. Our specific beer descriptions can tell you what sorts of beers the brewery does well; if you don’t find the exact beer on tap, you’ll probably find something similar.