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Wild Wolf Strawberry Schwarzcake

Where in Town: The Black Squirrel, 2427 18th St. NW

Price: $6.50/12 oz.

Tracing the Brew Ridge

A century-old school house set amid old tobacco barns on a large, hillside property in Nellysford, Va., is the home of Wild Wolf Brewing Company and its restaurant, which mother-and-son team Mary and Danny Wolf opened two years ago. The front-yard biergarten is an ideal setting for sampling beers on a warm evening. During a recent visit, the full moon peeked through giant Elm trees strung with lights, while frogs singing in a nearby pond periodically interrupted the sound of R&B favorites being performed in the pavilion out back. Along with nearby Devils Backbone and Blue Mountain breweries, Wild Wolf is situated on a stretch of what hop heads now call the “Brew Ridge Trail,” along Route 151 on the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a three-hour drive from D.C.

A Fruit Beer Like No Others

Wild Wolf beers, more widely available in northern Virginia, can be difficult to find in D.C. I was pleased to spot some at the Black Squirrel in Adams Morgan. Along with Wild Wolf’s Blonde Hunny, a Belgian-style wheat ale brewed with honey, and Alpha, an American pale ale, Black Squirrel recently had Strawberry Schwarzcake, an interesting take on the traditional German schwarzbier, or “black beer.” The 5 percent alcohol brew has a subtle but perceptible strawberry presence in addition to the expected roast and chocolate aromas and flavors. With a creamy mouthfeel, it’s like a liquid version of a vanilla pound cake topped with fresh strawberries, whipped cream, and a healthy dose of dark chocolate shavings. Although it has the look of a heavy stout, Strawberry Schwarzcake is light-bodied enough for warmer weather, perhaps best suited for an evening like the one I recently enjoyed at Wild Wolf.

Photo by Tammy Tuck