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Friday, May 15, 2009

A Beer a Day, locally: #4 (V-50)

I'm celebrating American Craft Beer Week with one beer —one local beer— each day during the week of 11 - 17 May. Local for me is the Washington, D.C./Maryland/Virginia area.

Local Beer 4: V-50 Red AleDay Four (14 May):

Cask ale is for me the quintessential example of local beer: beer so local, it's still fermenting.

So, on Thursday, with friends, I went to Vintage 50, a brewpub and restaurant in Leesburg, Virginia. (The restaurant also emphasizes wine, hence it's name.) Its brewer, Bill Madden, is a doyen of the Washington, D.C.-area brewing scene: active in the area since the mid-1990s. And he is a brewing partisan for cask-conditioned ales.

American cask ales are often highly dry-hopped —a process of adding hops after the kettle, after fermentation, to impart the fresh herbal grassiness of hops.

V-50 Red Ale may or may not have been dry-hopped, but the overall impression was one of fresh malt and bright flavors. It's a superb example of fresh beer that smiles, if you will, rather than shouts.

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