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Beer Fun at ChurchKey

A couple months ago, I stopped by ChurchKey probably for the fourth time on my way to meet a friend for dinner in the Logan Circle area in Washington, DC. The beer menu at ChurchKey is intense, and that is what Churchkey prides itself on. The bartenders are also incredibly knowledgeable about their beers. I think beer gurus would be apt. Food was creative but mediocre in taste at best. Yes, the beer selection is great, but that is about all this place has going for it. It is incredibly difficult to enjoy your beer when you are crammed into a narrow room with a ridiculous number of people (the vast majority of which are rude and pushy). Moreover, most of the people didn’t even seem like they were that into beer. They just seemed to be trend followers who were told Churchkey is the new cool place to be seen. I’m sure there are a fair number of beer aficionados who go to this place, but I bet you won’t find them there on a Friday or Saturday night, when the place is overrun with hipsters and trust fund interns. Anyway, back to my point, I found a stool at the far end at the bar and ordered six 4oz samplers which is roughly equivalent to two bottles of beers:

Dark Horse Reserve Special Black Bier Ale – 7.5% ABV. Dark Horse Brewing in Marshall, Michigan. This beer like all the beers I had were served in near room temperature which is the norm at ChurchKey. Pours an opaque black with a 2 finger brown head that fizzled pretty quickly. Nose is powdered cocoa, roasted malts, smoked barley and a touch of coffee. Taste is charred dark chocolate, roasted coffee beans and chalky cocoa with some bittering hops in the finish. I understand this was the very first brew by Dark Horse so I was glad to have tried this one out! B+

Dark Horse Boffo Brown Ale – 6.5% ABV. Pours a soft brown color with a small off white head that quickly fizzles. Aroma is sweet and malty, bready with plenty of chocolate malt and a nice toasted grain note. Flavor is sweeter with an even bigger chocolate character, a bit of a burnt roasted note, but mostly sweet with caramel and toffee and a subtle but present earthy hop balance in the finish. B

Monk’s Blood – 8.3% ABV. 21st Amendment in San Francisco, California. Pours a cloudy, muddy dark red brown color. Malty aroma, sweet dark malts, some dried fruits. The flavor starts off quite sweet and malty. Not sugary as such, but a bit sweet. Moderately balanced by a roasted maltiness and some warming alcohol. Dried fruits picking up in the flavor as well, along with a bit of Belgian yeast in the finish. There is also a tart fruit note in the finish, almost like a good kriek, albeit much more subtle. B+

25 to One – 8.4% ABV. Stillwater Artisanal Ales in Baltimore, MD. Pours a deep dark/murky brown/black color that resembles a Belgian strong dark ale. Nose picks up aroma of coca, dried fruit, light smokiness and spices. Tastes smooth, dark fruity esters, roast, coffee, and Belgian yeast. Interesting beer to commemorate Stillwater’s anniversary. B

Big Worst – 12% ABV. Mikkeller in Kobenhavn, Denmark. Pours an opaque caramel brown with a surprisingly big beige head that recedes slowly. Taste is hefty with more alcohol burn even more so than the aroma suggests. The citrus hops are there but give way to the massive sugary sweetness of the malt backbone. The finish has a serious alcohol burn and a scathing bitterness, both of which limit the drinkability. This is a massively sweet and boozy barleywine that is definitely not the most drinkable I’ve had in the style. C

It’s Alive – 8% ABV. Also from Mikkeller. Pours pale coppery amber. Picking up some funky aroma, bread, grapes, oak, and floral notes. Light vinous. High, prickly carbonation, fine dry and mild creamy mouthfeel. Flavor is quite mild, some sugary grape-like sweetness, and esters. Vinous and warming. B


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This entry was posted on April 29, 2011 by in Beer.

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