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As of today, Port City Brewing Company, the first production brewery to operate in Alexandria, Virginia, since Prohibition, is officially open for business. Founder Bill Butcher and head brewer Jonathan Reeves started brewing in the 21,000-square-foot space on January 15. Today the first batch of Port City beer left the warehouse in kegs and bottles for bars and shops in Northern Virginia and D.C.
The Twitterverse has since been lighting up with spots to find Port City’s first release, Optimal Wit, a 5 percent alcohol by volume unfiltered Belgian-style wheat beer brewed with orange peel and coriander. ChurchKey in D.C. and Food Matters in Alexandria both have the new beer on draft starting tonight. (Bonus: Just in time for your Superbowl party, you can take away a growler of Optimal Wit from Food Matters. No beer to-go at ChurchKey or anywhere else in D.C. yet.)
Interested in learning more about Port City? The brewery is having open house hours this weekend on Friday from 4 to 8PM, Saturday from 12 to 5PM and Sunday from 12 to 4PM. Visitors can preview the tasting room and sample Optimal Wit. Port City Brewing Company is located at 3950 Wheeler Avenue, which is off Duke Street in the Seminary Hill area of Alexandria.
Visitors this weekend can also get at least a gander at Port City’s other offerings, which are currently in the brewery’s 60- and 90-barrel fermenters. In addition to Optimal Wit, Port City’s flagship beers include Monumental IPA, a 6.3 percent a.b.v. American-hopped India Pale Ale, Essential Pale Ale, a 5.5 percent a.b.v. smooth, dry-hopped pale ale made with English and German malts, and their Porter, a robust 7.5 percent a.b.v. brew with coffee and dark chocolate flavors.
Port City Brewing Company is one of several startup breweries in the D.C. area. Opening soon in the District are DC Brau Brewing Company on Bladensburg Road, Northeast, Chocolate City Beer and Black Squirrel Brewing Company in Brookland, and 3 Stars Brewing Company in Takoma Park. Breweries already operating outside of D.C. include Washingtonian’s Brewing Company, a one-man outfit in Fort Washington, and Baying Hound Aleworks, a nanobrewery in Rockville. Lost Rhino Brewing Company (formerly called 28 North Custom Beer Works) in Ashburn, Virgina, and Logan Shaw Brewing Company in Brentwood, Maryland, are set to start producing beer soon as well.