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Where in Town: Scion, 2100 P St. NW

Price: $10/13 oz.

Nomad With a Plan

Brian Strumke launched Stillwater Artisanal Ales three years ago as a “gypsy brewer,” borrowing production space throughout Europe and the United States instead of building his own facility. Unfettered by particular local or regional traditions, Stillwater’s philosophy is what Strumke calls “Old World psychedelic,” blending elements of classic and modern styles from both continents. The idea is to make a product for every occasion—“something fancy in a nice bottle or something you can shotgun in a can,” as he puts it. Stillwater’s latest release strives for the latter category.

A Brew for the Masses

Classique is a cerebral nod to American industrial beers like Natty Boh, whose landmark tower looms over Strumke’s Baltimore gastropub Of Love and Regret. A spinoff of his Premium ale, the refreshing 4.5 percent alcohol brew has Pilsner malt, corn, rice, and historically accurate hops, but none of the original beer’s sourness that comes with Brettanomyces yeast. As a result, Classique more closely resembles the frothy yellow beverage most people think of as “beer.” But Belgian farmhouse ale yeast and Cascade hops add complexity and fruitiness. Classique is earthy with aromas and flavors of grass, bread, and grapefruit. Future runs will be less cloudy after Strumke moves production to Two Roads Brewing Co. in Stratford, Conn., which has a centrifuge. The larger digs also mean lower prices, he says. Canned six-packs, out next month, should be $10 to $12. Something else to look forward to: Classique Noir, a version with dark roasted malts coming this fall.

Photo by Tammy Tuck