From Rob Fink. Follow him on Twitter @RobDFink or email him at rob[AT]borderstan.com.
Nestled in the upper reaches of the district at 6400 Chillum Place NW, 3 Stars Brewing has become an integral component of the ever-growing DC beer scene. After formally opening earlier this year, the brewery has rolled out a series of highly expressive and intensely flavored American-style beers. I had the opportunity to visit the brewery this past weekend during its Saturday growler hours (1-4 pm, but they’re closed this Saturday due to a brewer’s wedding!) and now find myself hard-pressed to imagine having a more pleasurable experience.
As an avid homebrewer, it was gratifying to see such a small brewery also have an operating homebrew store, and it truly solidifies the link which craft beer shares with the homebrewing community, at-large. After all, company founders Dave Coleman and Mike McGarvey started out as homebrewers.
Being handed something that reeked of chocolate jostled the homebrewing stupor right out of me. It turned out to be their endlessly chewy Pandemic Porter. Weighing in at a hefty 9.6 percent, this monstrous dark ale is strongly reminiscent of coffee and heaping piles of deep chocolate, which translates roughly to “delicious.” Since desserts practically leap out of the glass, Pandemic will find natural affinities in a dense dark chocolate mousse or even the simplicity of an old-fashioned chocolate chip cookie. Thankfully for those of you in Borderstan, it’s on tap right now at Pizzeria Paradiso on P Street NW, just west of Dupont Circle. Here’s a tip: pair it with the tiramisu.
Next up was a beer called “Southern Belle,” an Imperial Brown Ale hovering at 8.7 percent. A huge malty underpinning gives rise to aromas of warm biscuits, roasted nuts and deep caramel. This beer is actually finished with pecans in the kettle, which only intensifies the already prominent nut flavors and aromas. Given the intensity of the flavor profile, this beer would be great with something like venison and a collection of hearty vegetables – culinary experiment for this winter? Check.
For those of you closer to 14th Street, you can find Southern Belle right now at Stoney’s Bar and Grill on the 1400 block of P Street NW. If you stop in, the aptly named Southern Belle would do wonders with a cheddar burger topped with bacon.
I ended up snagging one of the last growlers of their deliciously heady Harvest Ale (which I wrote about here) not either aforementioned beer, mostly because I’m an unapologetic hophead. Fortunately, the final remnants of this delectable hoppy gem can be found at The Big Hunt just south of Dupont Circle on Connecticut Ave NW.
If you have a hankering for a local, eminently artisanal beer experience, do yourself a favor and free up a Saturday afternoon in the near future and head to 3 Stars Brewing.