Port City Helles Lager has been a draft-only offering in the past – part of the Alexandria, Virginia’s Lager Series.
Despite all you read about “hype” and “gimmicky” beers, well-made lagers are growing in demand amongst craft beer drinkers. Port City obviously knows this and has added their Helles Lager of their “Occasional” lineup, available on draft and in 12-ounce bottles for a brief amount of time.
Helles means “bright” in German.
Our Helles pours a brilliant blond color, showcasing a clean Pilsner and Munich malt sweetness and supported by a subtle Hersbrucker hop character. We are happy to raise a glass of our Helles, and Prost to the everyday drinking beer of Bavaria!
Port City Helles Lager is available in 12-ounce bottles and draft for a limited time starting Friday, June 21st.
Style: Helles Lager
Malts: Pilsner, Munich
Availability: 12oz Bottles, Draft. Limited Release.
On February 1, 2013, Port City Brewing (Alexandria, VA) crosses the two year mark. That calls for a beer. An imperial smoked porter dubbed “Two”. Look for it in the tap room, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia accounts in February.
….This Porter is a stronger, smoked version of Port City’s flagship Porter. It is dark brown, almost black in color, and has a smoky, roasted aroma and smooth, rich, complex smoke and chocolate flavors….
Port City’s brewers and the Tasting Room crew teamed up to mill in by hand 5,000 pounds of German beech wood smoked malt and 600 pounds of roasted malt.
A 2nd anniversary celebration takes place in the tasting room on Friday, February 1st, from 3 PM to 9 PM.
Alexandria, Virginia (January 15, 2013)–Bill Butcher, owner of Port City Brewing Company, located at 3950 Wheeler Avenue in Alexandria, VA, is pleased to announce that Friday, February 1, 2013 is the second anniversary of Port City Brewing Company. With it falling in the middle of winter, the darkest, coldest days in the Mid- Atlantic, he has brewed a strong, dark ale to warm beer lovers against the cold. The second anniversary ale is a very limited Smoked Imperial Porter, called TWO. This Porter is a stronger, smoked version of Port City’s flagship Porter. It is dark brown, almost black in color, and has a smoky, roasted aroma and smooth, rich, complex smoke and chocolate flavors.
Port City’s brewers and the Tasting Room crew teamed up to mill in by hand 5,000 pounds of German beech wood smoked malt and 600 pounds of roasted malt. This was all done bag-by-bag over the course of an afternoon, truly a labor of love! TWO will be available in Port City’s Tasting Room and with select accounts in DC, Maryland and Virginia during the month of February while supplies last.
Port City Brewing Company’s second anniversary celebration will take place in the Tasting Room on Friday, February 1st, from 3 PM to 9 PM. TWO will be tapped at 3:00 PM sharp. A draft 10-ounce pour will be featured for $5, and ½ gallon growler bottles will be priced at $19, with a refill for $14. The Borinquen Lunch Box Food Truck will be on hand starting at 5:00 PM for hungry patrons.
Port City Brewing Company wishes to thank all of its customers in Maryland, DC, Virginia and North Carolina for another incredible year of growth, and Butcher and his team will raise a glass of TWO to everyone to begin another year. The 11,000-square-foot craft brewery is dedicated to bringing great quality, innovative, handmade craft beers to the DC and Mid-Atlantic market. Port City produces world-class quality beer, brewing four year-round beers along with a rotating seasonal selection. Named by Washingtonian magazine as Washington, DC’s best brewery tour, Port City has also captured the following awards: Bronze Medal, Monumental IPA, 2012 Great American Beer Festival; Gold Medal, Monumental IPA, 2012 Virginia Craft Brewers Festival; Bronze Medal, Optimal Wit, 2012 Virginia Craft Brewers Festival; Bronze Medal, Porter, 2012 Virginia Craft Brewers Festival, and Wine Enthusiast Top 25 Beers of the Year, 2012: Optimal Wit, #14. Port City Brewing Company is located two miles from the King Street Metro at 3950 Wheeler Avenue Alexandria, VA 22304. For more information please call (703) 797-2739 or visitportcitybrewing.com
Thanks to a to severe storms a few weeks ago, power was lost at Port City Brewing. A power outage could spell beer loss if fermentation temperatures aren’t controlled. Six tanks full of beer were put into harm’s way due to the storms. While a generator helped keep 5 tanks safe, tank #6 fermented at higher temperatures than expected. Port City see lemonade when give this life lemon. A California common (steam beer) is brewed when a lager yeast is used and fermented at a higher temperature. That’s what is officially in Tank #6 – Derecho Common Beer. A letter from Alexandria, Virginia based Port City:
An Open Letter to the D.C. Beer Community:
Last Friday’s freak storm caught the entire D.C. area by surprise. The destruction that the unexpected derecho caused is astounding. As I write this, there are still people without electricity, and our thoughts are with them as the region continues to recover.
Our power was out for five days at the brewery, and our production has been completely shut down during this time. We have been unable to brew, package, or ship any beer to market. We were fortunate to find a generator to supply enough power to run our critical systems to try to keep our 13,000 gallons of beer from spoiling.
All of us at Port City Brewing Company were absolutely amazed by the community’s response to our plight. The support from the D.C. Beer community has been unbelievable. We received messages of support and offers of help from all over. Our fellow brewers, our restaurant and retail customers, and many beer drinkers contacted us to ask how they could help us to save the beer.
The willingness to step up and help a neighbor is what defines a community. We found in a very real way that D.C. Beer community is strong and supportive of each other, and we will always be grateful for this. We are truly honored and humbled by the response, and we’ll always remember the support that everyone has shown us.
We have a long way to go to get our brewery back to normal operations. It will take weeks to get caught up with production, and unfortunately, there will be ongoing out of stocks in the market as we try to recover. We appreciate your patience as we work to catch up.
Many have asked us if we were able to “save the beer.” We continue to monitor the beer very closely, and we test and taste it daily. Five of our six tanks appear to be just fine. The 6th tank is a 60-barrel batch of lager beer that fermented at a higher temperature than we intended.
There is a beer style that developed in San Francisco called steam beer, or California Common beer. It is a beer made with lager yeast and fermented at higher temperatures like an ale. This is exactly what happened to this 60-barrel tank of our beer.
As a result, this storm has given us Derecho Common beer.
We will release the limited Derecho Common beer in early August. It will be draft only, and will be limited to about 120 kegs, which will be sold only to bars and restaurants in the D.C. Metro area.
Thank you for your continued support.
Port City Brewing Company
13,000 gallons of beer. Or 104,000 pints. Or 138,666 bottles. That’s what was at stake when the power went out over the weekend at Port City Brewing Company. Massive storms ripped through the Virginia/D.C. area this week knocking out power all around the region. 13,000 gallons of beer were in the fermentation tanks, and without temperature control, could have been a huge loss to the brewery.
A generator was brought in to keep the chillers going. One fermentation take of the seasonal pilsner could result in a loss of $20,000 in revenue to the brewery. Without power, the brewery has fallen behind with bottling too. The tasting room is closed, which as resulted in close to $15,000 dollars in lost revenue to the start up business.
Beer is a lot temperature control too. Yeasts need to be refrigerated, hops are fresher when they are kept cold. A prolonged power outage could kill a brewery very quickly. The brewery reopens today post-storm. It’s a dual celebration: Saving the beer, and celebrating the new law allowing 16oz pints to be served in the tasting room. Those attending – be prepared to sweat. The AC isn’t working yet.
We will open from 3-9 pm, serve pints, flights and sell beer for the July 4th holiday. Justin Trawick will play from 3:30-5:30.
Alexandria, Virginia (May 14, 2012) — Bill Butcher, founder of Port City Brewing Company located at 3950 Wheeler Avenue in Alexandria, VA, is pleased to announce the release of their summer seasonal beer, Downright Pilsner, available this June. Crafted by Head Brewer Jonathan Reeves, this hand-crafted lager will be produced in the traditional Pilsner style, using authentic Pilsner malt and noble Saaz hops. The limited production Downright Pilsner is the fourth seasonal beer produced by Port City Brewing Company. Downright Pilsner will be sold at select retail, restaurants and bars in Washington, DC, Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina starting June 10, 2012. This beer will be in limited supply as Port City Brewing Company is only producing two 90-barrel batches with a suggested retail price for a six-pack of $11.99.
The 11,000 square-foot craft brewery is dedicated to bringing great quality, innovative, handmade craft beers to the DC and Mid Atlantic market. Port City produces world-class quality beer, brewing four year-round beers along with a rotating seasonal selection. The Downright Pilsner is a crisp, refreshing, and modern version of a traditional Pilsner, which will delight all summer long. This beer has 4.8% alcohol by volume and boasts a deep golden color and is medium bodied with a soft round malt profile and crisp, spicy, hop character on the finish. Downright Pilsner gets its carbonation completely naturally as its kept in the formation tanks for up to six weeks. A unique twist on this beer is the dry hop addition of Saaz hops during fermentation. This extra infusion of hops gives the beer a refreshing bite on the finish.
Named by Washingtonian magazine as Washington, DC’s best brewery tour, Port City Brewing Company is located two miles from the King Street Metro at 3950 Wheeler Avenue Alexandria, VA 22304. For more information please call (703) 797-2739 or visit www.portcitybrewing.com.
Tidings is our first bottled seasonal so this is pretty exciting for me. From this point on we will bottle four seasonals a year.I wanted to make sure this was a good batch for sure but I wanted it to be different. I was very interested in using local ingredients in this beer and I was able to locate both local honey from Maryland and locally grown wheat from Virginia. I’ve been talking about making beer with Terroir for a while on the interwebs and figured I better start.
Lets start with the honey. Whats particularly interesting from a flavor standpoint is that honey has within it all those floral flavors and aromas of summer . Its like a distillation of summer.Kind of like the evergreen; it reminds us that the warm long days will return. We are using wildflower honey from Germantown, Maryland, thanks to my sister’s connections My sister Catharine is an amateur beekeeper, she tends a couple of hives in her backyard in Bethesda.
The grain wasn’t as easy to locate as the honey. As far as I can tell hardly anyone grows small grains for human consumption in the east anymore. I started calling around and eventually I contacted Rick Wasmund of Copperfox Distilling in Sperryville, Va . Wasmund is not only malting his own barley for his whiskey(around 50,000 lbs of malt a year) but he is also having it grown locally here in Va. He connected me with Billy Lawson of Northern Neck, VA who is growing Copperfox’s barley as well as wheat. He also grows the corn to make the tortilla chips for Abuelita Mexican Foods in Manassas, VA. I was able to buy a ton of his soft red winter wheat, which ended up being a third of the grain bill. The clove, cinnamon and nutmeg flavors in the beer come from this wheat as none of these spices have been added. I plan to try this grain in the Optimal soon and, if it works out, we will always have local grain in that beer.
The other starches and sugars used where Pilsner malt, oat malt and candy sugar.
Originally this beer was intended to be a Grand Cru of the Wit and the grain bill is very similar, though bigger. I also used the same turbid mash procedure in the brewhouse as with the wit The yeast strain is the same as well, essentially a clone of the West Malle yeast. It produces a well attenuated beer with moderate esters ie flavors of like plums, bananas and bubble gum.
The spices are quite different from the Optimal and my desire was to go in a somewhat Indian direction. I am very fond of Indian Cuisine and for many years I have tinkered with a variation of Garam Masala in my Christmas Ales. Garam Masala is a spice blend that usually includes at least cloves, black pepper, mace, nutmeg, coriander, cardamom and cumin. It seemed that I was always buying my spices from a Bazaar that was having a Diwali sale as this is the Hindu festival that occurs this time of year. Over time I’ve steamlined the ingredients and this year I’m using cardamom, coriander, raw ginger and grains of paradise. I was trying to give the ale a flavor similar to Gulab Jamun, which is a confection much like a benya served in a warm spiced syrup.
The hops I used were magnum in the boil and three flavor additions of Hersbrucker for an bitterness of 25 ibus. The hop flavor is moderate adding some citusy flowery notes but, really it was intended to blend in with the rest and be in the background.
This beer is our biggest so far with a starting gravity of 17.9p and an apparent extract of 2.8p with an abv of 7.8%. We’ve packaged it unfiltered so there should be some yeast in the bottom of the bottle.
Our next seasonal will be early next year, an anniversary beer, and it will be draught only. The style will be another mashup: a Belgian Imperial Stout. Once we get it fermenting, I’ll post some info here. The next bottled seasonal will be in the spring and this will be a Scottish 80 shilling.