An early March winter storm of ice and snow in the Washington, D.C.-area provided a chilled backdrop for a bottle and pour of Enlightened Despot Ale, a 'Russian' Imperial Stout.
Brewed by Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery, a farm-brewery in Goochland, Virginia, the beer is named for
Empress Catherine the Great of Russia an Enligtened Despot, a form of absolute monarchy, inspired by the Enlightenment. The despots fostered the arts, sciences, education, and embraced the principals [sp] of individual freedom. Made with 10 different specialty grains, generously hopped, and aged in 15-year old Pappy Van Winkle bourbon barrels. 11.3% abv. 78 IBUs.
Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery, barely a year old, was instrumental in efforts toward a recent legal classification of farm-breweries in the Commonwealth.
Here's how the brewery describes itself on the beer's label:
a farm brewery producing hops, barley, and beer in the heart of Virginia. Lickinghole Creek is a water-conscious brewery. We brew with well water drawn from the deep. Our wastewater is purified on site, and returned clean to the Lickinghole Creek watershed. Our name pays homage to Little Lickinghole Creek, which runs through the farm's rolling hills. Since pre-Colonial times, the creek has been know as the Lickinghole, where wildlife stopped to drink from the nourishing waters.
I purchased the beer at the brewery itself, on a crisp, sunny, March afternoon. None too soon. The snow-storm hit the following day.
P.S. The beer was sippingly tasty: Roasted malt, dark fruit, espresso, 70% chocolate, vanilla-bourbon, and a touch of ash (in a good way).
- Photos from the brewery (and from the beer's release party, held at a local faux-Tudor mansion): here.
- Only one beer —Gentleman Farmer Estate Hop Ale— is currently brewed with hops grown on-site. With the legal acknowledgement of farm-breweries, and the growth of the brewery (which produced 2,000 barrels in its first year), Lickinghole's acreage devoted to hops and barley will increase, and thus the amount used in the brewery's beers.
- Pic(k) of the Week: one in a weekly series of personal photos, often posted on Saturdays, and often, but not always, with a good fermentable as a subject. Camera: Olympus Pen E-PL1.
- Commercial reproduction requires explicit permission, as per Creative Commons.