Where Spotted: American Ice Co., 917 V St. NW
Home Field Advantage: Despite my editorial silence, I was giddy as a schoolgirl when Alexandria’s brand-new Port City Brewing sent its maiden kegs to D.C. I ordered what I could find—which at first was just their pale ale and Belgian white—and downed them excitedly, happy to support the new brewery even if the flavors didn’t make a strong first impression. An easy-drinking local pale ale is nice, but in their porter, Port City has a well-developed beer that can contend on the national level.
Dark Chocolate City: Not to focus on the impairment aspect, but Port City Porter rings in at 7.5 percent alcohol by volume, which is high for the style. What’s remarkable is how well it masks the wallop. Where other strong beers might have rough, boozy notes, this porter delivers a thick, bittersweet baking chocolate flavor and lots of roast, disappearing into a dry finish that begs another sip. A complete package, it only gets better with some smoky ghost notes from an accompanying barbecue brisket sandwich.