Dulles Airport Take-Off Tasting Tour: Sterling, Ashburn and more: Dynasty Fest Helles, Ashburn Virginia
Date: April 21, 2019
The Story— We were excited to learn that one of our most respected brewers in the area had found a home and was brewing again. We recruited Favio Garcia to be an early guest at the Brickskeller tasting series when he was brewing really good beer at the Richbrau brewpub in Richmond. He eventually landed at Old Dominion and brewed the last batch of Tuppers’ Hop Pocket Ale from that brewhouse, then went on to Lost Rhino, where we collaborated on Mother Tupper’s Back of the Cupboard Imperial Rye Pale Ale. He’s now an integral part of the Dynasty Brewing Company in Ashburn, a short hop from his Old Dominion and Lost Rhino roots.
Now the brewer at Dynasty Brewing, Favio is again turning out exceptionally good beers. OK, we can’t get excited about his milkshake beer or peanut stout, but the established styles are in his wheelhouse and he doesn’t miss. If you review the last several beers of the day, they’re all big beers in flavor and usually alcohol. Few breweries could stake their reputation on easy drinking lagers. Favio can.
A “Fest Helles” is less of a misnomer than it appears. Americans are used to the Marzen Amber fest beers of the nineteen sixties it’s a different world in Germany now. Fest biers are still Maerzens they take months to age, and are wonderfully smooth and complex despite their sweetness. But they are as gold as a pilsner.
Favio has produced a helles fest that wouldn’t be allowed in a tent where beers are required by law to be above average in strength, but he’s brewed a big helles that could be a center attraction in a small town fest in Bavaria. In truth, it’s easier to have a few liters of this than the eventually cloyingly sweet German fest biers.
The Beer— Very clean. Clean pale malt but with a full body. Tangy crisp finish with noblish floral hops. Moreish- with more hops than a Munich beer would have.
Value — Good to very good.
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.