(Lil' overdue, but better late than never, right?)
The Wife and I, passports in tow, drove out to Purcellville, VA to visit the Catoctin Creek Distillery a few weeks ago. We'd heard it was Kosher-certified; that, alone, was enough to warrant a detour on our trip out to Harper's Ferry (where, btw, one should NOT camp in the RiverRiders campsite...unless you like the experience of camping while an earthquake-inducing train choochoos by 13-15 times in a 24-hour period). When we arrived, we were a little wary by it's rather nondescript storefront in an industrial park...however, our skepticism was soon put at ease when the co-owner, Scott, invited us in and gave us a great tour of his very charming lil' distillery.
Founded in 2009, this young distillery regularly cranks out three different spirits (Roundstone Rye, Watershed Gin, and Mosby's Spirit) along with the occasional brandy and liqueur. After our tour (which, alone, was worth the drive, folks...Scott is very knowledgeable about the distillation process, keeps your interest, and is an all-around nice guy), we drove 5 minutes down the road to Magnolia's At The Mill for a tasting. We started with Mosby's Spirit, a "white whiskey" (i.e. legal moonshine). Great fruity nose with a nice bready balance on the tongue and a surprisingly smooth finish as to what we anticipated. Next in line was the Watershed Gin which, imbibed neat, had a bit more bite than we expected but would undoubtedly make for a great Tonic Engine, as I like to call it (thanks, Billy Joel), with it's well-balanced Juniper notes and other organic botanicals. The Roundstone Rye was our third and final dram and went down nice and smooth, with the biggest rye taste of any whiskey I've ever had--in a good way. Would REALLY like to try it in a Manhattan, which the folks at Magnolia's highly recommend. But, since it was 1130am and we had a bit of a drive ahead, I decided to keep it "to the sips," as it were.
All in all, a great experience with the Catoctin Creek Distilling Company...and, btw, they have their own APP...how sweet is that?
Now, skipping forward a week, we heard about a new craft brewery in DC called DC Brau...naturally, we had to visit. This proved to be quite a difficult endeavor, as this north-east DC brewery is harder to find than a pro-choice Republican in Mississippi. There are no signs as you approach its location 'round back of a big post office building. But, we managed to navigate our way to the entrance and were pleasantly surprised when we entered the building to find a legit brewery, replete with DC Brau signage, paraphernalia, and best of all, FREE TASTES! Offered for sampling were two of their big brews, The Corruption (American IPA) and The Public Ale (American Pale Ale).
If you are a serious hophead, The Corruption is right up your alley, with a big citrusy, piney hop factor and the expected, lingering, bitter finish. The Public was a bit more relaxed, retaining a very present hop character but smoothed over with caramel notes and an overall medium body. Definitely two big contenders in the local craft brew scene.
We took a quick tour of the site, led by bearded DC Brau co-owner, Brandon, and were surprised when we saw two Catoctin Creek Distillery barrels sitting against a wall. Brandon informed us--if memory serves--that they were being prepped for later reintroduction to one of their brews. Excitedly, I blurted out, "Catoctin Creek?? We were just there!!"...at which point the rest of the tour-goers turned to look at the moron in their midst. Unnecessary exclamations aside, the DC Brau tour/tasting was worth the drive and we're excited to watch their popularity grow throughout the Greater Metro DC area and beyond.
If you need any guinea pigs for future brew-tasting, DC Brau-folk, please don't hesitate to reach out. Same goes to you Catoctin Creekers. FROBlog loves you both :D