Where in Town: Dacha Beer Garden, 1600 7th St. NW
Sorry Not Sorry The time has come for me to stop apologizing for loving (and writing about) sour beers. Sure, the uninitiated drinker is likely to react with furrowed brow to a tart Lambic or wood-aged Brett, but wild beer—“wild” referring to the natural yeasts and bacteria that impart funky, acidic, or vinegary flavors—has undeniably taken off. Take Denizen Brewing Company’s Make it Funky event earlier this month, which featured over 50 wild and sour beers from 21 breweries. Despite the downpours accompanying Hurricane Joaquin, the sold-out event was mobbed with the 250 people who snagged tickets. Could sour beer, formerly a cult favorite carrying the in-the-know prestige of, say, My Bloody Valentine, be morphing into something more like Taylor Swift?
What You Want Easy favorites are dark, dissonant brews like Rodenbach’s classic Flanders red ale, which the nearly 200-year-old Belgian brewery creates by blending fresh batches of beer with older ones aged in large oak casks called foeders. This year’s vintage release, drawn from a selected foeder of the best two-year-matured beer, hit American draft lines last week as part of brewmaster Rudi Ghequire’s East Coast tour. His Vintage 2013 is an impressive balance of sweet, sour, and savory flavors. Rich dark cherry, caramel, and oak notes appear alongside acidic green apple and balsamic vinegar. Yet the complex, seven-percent-alcohol brew remains smooth and refreshing. Want to give it a try? I enjoyed mine on a beautiful night in Dacha’s beer garden. Look for it there or at Brasserie Beck, RFD, and St. Arnold’s Mussel Bar.
Photo by Tammy Tuck