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3 Stars Bless Your Heart Barrel-Aged Dark Lager

Where in Town: 3 Stars Brewery, 6400 Chillum Place NW

Price: $5/14 oz.

Rustic Retrofit

Since opening in 2012, 3 Stars Brewing Company has provided D.C. with a slew of suds (some in tallboy cans), a homebrew shop, and most recently, a new tasting room. Inside the production brewery, the rough-hewn ?urban farmhouse? now encases 3 Stars? pre-existing tasting area. Appointed with an underlit bourbon barrel-supported bar, barrel-stave chandeliers, and a large handcrafted wooden sign made from old-growth Ohio sassafras, the 1,100-square-foot space has plenty of sitting and standing room from which to sample 3 Stars? 10 taps. Retractable garage doors open to the rest of the brewery and additional picnic table seating. There are also new bathrooms and a somewhat out-of-place deer hunting video game, perhaps an attempt to add (virtually) to the country aesthetic.

Not Your Father?s Lager

On my last visit, another seemingly out-of-place thing was a beer called Bless Your Heart. I know co-founders Dave Coleman and Mike McGarvey are not keen on lagers, so I was surprised to see one on the menu. It seems lead brewer Nathan Rice is to thank for this Kentucky Common, a popular pre-Prohibition style indigenous to Louisville and brewed with corn and a dash of dark malt. Not content to leave it at that, 3 Stars aged some in Woodford Reserve bourbon barrels, and the final offering is a half-and-half blend with the original beer. The result is a tasty bourbon beer without the high alcohol content (4.5 percent). Its toast, sweet malt, and wood tannin aromas are followed by vanilla and brown sugar flavors and a lovely, dry finish. Highly drinkable, Bless Your Heart is a perfect between-seasons beer to help ease into spring.

Photo by Tammy Tuck

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