…continued from last week
The Office Bar: Our tour of 9:30 Club’s bars and beers continued with the Office Bar. Located on stage left (from the band’s perspective), this bar is directly across from the merch stand and shares a wall with the club’s office.
- Old Rasputin (Fort Bragg, CA)
- Hook & Ladder Backdraft Brown (Silver Spring, MD)
- Dogfish Head Raison D’Etre (Rehoboth, DE)
- Starr Hill Northern Lights (Charlottesville, VA)
- Flying Dog Brewery Snake Dog IPA (Frederick, MD)
- Port City Essential Pale Ale (Alexandria, VA)
After crossing the floor to the long bar located at stage left, we were treated to the fourth stout of the day: Old Rasputin, an Imperial Stout from California’s North Coast Brewery. It is the color and consistency of motor oil. This is not an accessible beer, but stout-lovers will be delighted to find it on tap. It’s also 9% alcohol. (The more observant and sober patrons of the 9:30 Club will notice that certain beers are priced similarly but come in smaller servings due to their high alcohol content.)
Another extremely local beer was available, Backdraft Brown Ale from Hook and Ladder Brewery in Silver Spring. It was downright pruney, with more fruit to it than one might expect from a brown ale.
We also tried the raisiny Raison d’Etre, another Dogfish Head selection. Fans of Dogfish Head are aware of their penchant for brewing unusual beers, often from secret recipes, the Raison d’Etre being an excellent example.
There was another beer from Starr Hill called Northern Lights IPA. Deadheads will be pleased to learn that both this beer and the Dark Starr Stout sell extremely well when jam bands are in the house.
The other IPA on draft was the Snake Dog from Frederick, MD’s Flying Dog Brewery. Dalton is a pretty big fan of Flying Dog’s beers, and this incredibly hoppy brew is a great example of the IPA style. One reason this style is known for being so hoppy was ostensibly to preserve the beer during the long sea voyage from Britain to India.
Port City Brewery in Alexandria is a new local brewery. They opened last February, and their Essential Pale Ale is complex but approachable. It’s not overwhelmingly hoppy; it goes down easy with noticeable grapefruit and other citrus flavors.
The VIP Bar: Finally we headed upstairs to the bar facing the stage and adjacent to the VIP section. Despite being extremely full by this point, we courageously tried some pita pizza and were pleasantly surprised.
- Stateside Saison (Baltimore, MD)
- Duchesse de Bourgogne (Vichte, Belgium)
- Starr Hill Jomo Lager (Charlottesville, VA)
- Foggy Ridge Cider (Roanoke, VA)
- Heavy Seas Gold Ale (Halethorpe, MD)
- Victory Prima Pils (Downington, PA)
- Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale (Rehoboth, DE)
One of the local brewers was a cat named Brian Strumke, who describes himself as a “gypsy brewer.” He travels from town to town, meeting people, getting in adventures, and working with different breweries. Sounds like a sweet deal. Brian explained: Saison beers originated in France and Belgium as local “farmhouse beers,” designed to be consumed as refreshment at harvest time with a generally low alcohol content. They are also drier and have less residual sugar. This lessens the chance of infection in the beer, as they were stored for long periods of time. Brian’s Stateside Saison was dry and funky, with a sharp taste.
Two of the more expensive quaffs available to concertgoers can be found at the VIP Bar. One is a less approachable beer called the Duchesse de Bourgogne, a highly fruity, sour beer with candy apple flavors. Dalton first tried it at a beer festival in Portland, Oregon a few years back and loved it. The only other spot in D.C. we’ve seen it at is Marvin.
Perhaps the most interesting of the local selections was Foggy Ridge Cider, an artisan cider from southwest Virginia made entirely with apples grown in the Old Dominion. At $16 for a half-liter bottle, it’s pricey, but it’s a crisp, cool, tasty libation.
Our favorites from the second half of the tour:
- Mitch: Foggy Ridge Cider
- Dalton: Duchesse de Bourgogne
Drinking a continuous supply of 2-ounce servings of beer reminded us somewhat of a power hour, the main difference of course being that we were drinking really good beer and being offered hearty bites of “food food” all along the way. Needless to say, 9:30 Club’s impressive beer selection and focus on local suppliers of food and drink made an excellent impression on us and we didn’t even see any music.
Dalton & Mitch
Special thanks to photographer Joy Asico for letting us use her photos and thanks to everyone at 9:30 Club for a very enjoyable afternoon!
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