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This week marked the arrival of Athens, Ga. brewery Terrapin to the D.C. area, with launch nights at Galaxy Hut on Tuesday and Rustico on Wednesday. I missed out on Galaxy Hut, but at a packed Rustico I sipped guzzled flagship and rare brews alike, all in free swag glassware.

Terrapin is only coming as far north as NoVa, and while I lament not being able to walk around the corner for a six-pack, it also raises the exciting possibility of making a car trip to the Arlington for a case of rye beer and a drive-worthy bowl of pho. In any case, here’s last night’s drool list:

  • Maggie’s Farmhouse Ale – This saison is part of the brewery’s side project series, which has yielded tasty experiments like their smoked rye lager. This one fell flat, however, with artificial lemon and spice that tasted like a boozier Blue Moon. No matter; chugged it and on to the next one.
  • Rye Pale Ale – This beer is much hoppier out of a fresh keg, with quenching floral hops starting each sip before fading to the rye’s dryness. Cases of drinking have conditioned me to the uber-arid bottle version, which is delicious even at room temperature, but it’s always nice to find a beer with two personalities, as it were.
  • India Style Brown Ale – My favorite find of the night, a surprisingly hoppy 6% beer with deep dark malts and a roasted coffee flavor. As with the Rye Pale Ale, the dry finish keeps you coming to the well. Brown ales are usually outside my strike zone, but this hoppy take could convince drinkers with less of a sweet tooth.
  • 2008 Big Hoppy Monster – This is a wonderful beer fresh, an “imperial red ale” in true American style, balanced but big on hops, malt, and abv. The year-old vintage turned a 180 and became a malty monster, with a spectrum of caramel and raisin, scotch and butterscotch.
  • Golden Ale and SunRay Wheat were also being poured, but by then my beleaguered palette had to break from tasting new beers. My party and I also enjoyed Stoudt’s Pils, Stone Cali-Belgique IPA, Duck Rabbit Schwarzbier, Avery IPA, Bells Two-Hearted Ale, Victory Donnybrook Stout, Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse, Gouden Carolus Classic, and Ondineke Oilsjtersen Tripel. Um, there were a lot of us.

Photo by cristinabe via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution License