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Where in Town: DC Brau, 3178-B Bladensburg Rd. NE

Price: $17.99/six-pack

Doomsday Malt

It was nearly pitch black. The sound of Satanic chanting followed a line of robed skeletons carrying candles. One by one, the dark figures added their flames to a makeshift altar, signaling it was finally time, um, to tap the beer. This was how On the Wings of Armageddon, DC Brau’s 9.2 percent-alcohol Imperial India pale ale, was first presented to its minions at a ChurchKey release party last year. Brewed in homage to the end of the world supposedly predicted by Mayan and Hopi calendars, OTWOA (as the beer is referred to) has hardly been a harbinger of doom.

(The Best) Brew In Town

Hometown pride for new D.C. breweries occasionally fuels buzz for beers that, frankly, aren’t that awesome. This is not true with On the Wings of Armageddon, but don’t just take my word for it. Consistently high scores on beer rating sites have made the demon-clad, silver and black cans a hotly traded commodity on the beer geek black market. Some, only sold at the brewery, have popped up halfway around the world and been swapped for prized brews like The Alchemist’s Heady Topper and Three Floyd’s Dark Lord Imperial Stout. The elixir is brewed with 100 pounds per 30-barrel batch of Falconer’s Flight, a hop blend that gives the beer the best of what the Pacific Northwest offers. Its aroma shifts from tropical fruit to unripe grapefruit and pine. The taste is balanced, a mix of biscuity malt and juicy citrus flavors followed by an intensely bitter, resin-like finish that summons the next sip. But don’t drink too quickly—at almost $20 a six-pack, the apocalypse-themed beer mostly just threatens your wallet.

Photo by Tammy Tuck