Bluejacket The Wake

Where in Town: Bluejacket, 300 Tingey St. SE

Price: $8/12 oz.

Worth the Buzz

I am not a coffee drinker. Caffeine makes me feel like an untied balloon that flies wildly around the room and eventually falls lifeless to the floor. But on cold autumn days, I satisfy my coffee craving with the next best thing: the roast flavors of dark beer. I was naturally thrilled when Bluejacket, the new Navy Yard brewery by the team behind ChurchKey, included not one, but four, dark and roasty brews in its impressive opening-night lineup of 25 drafts and casks. The most coffee-like of them is aptly named “The Wake,” but not because it will keep your eyes open.

To Die For

The Wake—think funeral, not morning elixir—is named such because the 9.1-percent-alcohol Imperial stout is meant to “end” a drinking session. Brewed with a whopping 1,200 pounds of grain per 15-barrel batch, The Wake combines flaked oats, roasted barley, and chocolate and black malts to create a rich, creamy beer with burnt caramel and sharp espresso flavors. A cask version, conditioned with seven ounces of oak chips soaked for two days in Maker’s Mark bourbon, has added notes of vanilla, spice, and nuts. Bluejacket plans to age some in Catoctin Creek rye barrels used to mature maple syrup by Langdon Wood. Sound like something worth hoarding? The brewery isn’t bottling yet, but local beer shops have 22 ounce bombers of Suede, an Imperial Porter brewed in collaboration with California’s Stone (who bottled it) and Oregon’s 10 Barrel breweries. Too intense? Try The Panther, a flavorful, 5-percent-alcohol hoppy black lager. With beers like these, who needs coffee?

Photo by Tammy Tuck