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DuClaw Colossus 2014
Where in Town: Whole Foods Market, 2700 Wilson Blvd., Arlington
Price: $8.99/12 oz.
DuClaw Brewing Company, founded in 1996, operates a large production facility and four brewpubs across greater Baltimore, including one inside Baltimore-Washington International Airport. Colossus, one of its more interesting projects, is a rare treat. It’s only brewed once every four years, and with good reason: The concoction requires brewers to painstakingly feed 3,200 pounds of pure white sugar to two yeast strains in 64 separate sessions over an eight-week period. This colossal undertaking is meant to achieve the highest alcohol content possible. The previous two versions contained more than 21 percent alcohol by volume. This year’s goal was 22.
The yeast in Colossus 2014 didn’t quite make it that far. The beer rings in at just 17.3 percent alcohol, which makes for a more palatable drink than it otherwise would have been. Deep copper amber in color and topped with a foamy, off-white head, Colossus doesn’t look like anything out of the ordinary. But sniff it too deeply, and it’ll sting your sinuses. The recipe uses honey, coriander, orange peel, and Chinook and Nugget hops, but the beer’s firepower is its primary characteristic. Super sweet, it tastes like a boozy, spiced butterscotch pudding. This quadrennial oddity is worth trying, but with an alcohol content closer to a robust Zinfandel than a beer, it’s hard to drink more than a few ounces. I suggest sharing a bottle with friends, if you find some who are up for it.
Photo by Tammy Tuck