When I dropped by Port City this past Friday, I knew I couldn’t a) hang out for 3+ hours and not drink beer, b) hang out for 3+ hours drinking the COLOSSAL beers (all near 9%, uf!), or c) go with my usual Port City beers (Optimal Wit and Essential Pale Ale) due to having sixtels at home. That plus an earlier Friday Night Flight at Port City left me combing the menu for things that were either new, unusual, or simply worth getting. Turns out that wasn’t a problem.
Friday Night Flight: Port City Brewing Company (Alexandria, VA) @PortCityBrew
Total Beers: 6 (3 featured)
Featured Style: IPAs
Flight: Monumental IPA, Maniacal Double IPA, Long Black Veil Black IPA (far right)
While I’m not including it here, I also took in the Porter so I could compare it to its anniversary version (COLOSSAL TWO). For here, I’m going to focus on the others since they’re all quite different takes on IPAs.
Monumental – As with their Essential Pale Ale, this is an execution beer at heart. There aren’t any overpowering flavors or experimentation at work, which for a flagship means it’s a good introduction to Port City’s technique. You get all the IPA elements – floral notes throughout, piney aromas in the nose, and some crispness with a hint of bitterness in the finish. No one part really stands out, so while it’s a decent enough IPA, I simply like something more from them to counter the IBUs. 6.5 out of 10.
Maniacal – How the heck do you tell this and the Monumental apart? On the surface, they look almost exactly the same but the Maniacal has just a touch more vibrancy under bright lights (those same features make it cloudy in darker environs). There’s no comparing the flavor, however. Whereas the Monumental is at its heart more “Quintessential,” the Maniacal starts to introduce a much more robust fruit pressence (which perhaps gets to the color variation). What this means is despite a truly maniacal 85 IBU, this comes out smoother than its brethren. 7.2 out of 10.
Long Black Veil – As with the Maniacal, Ways and Means, and Oyster Revival Stout, Port City labels this one of their “occasionals.” Personally I think they have a fetish for having their terms end in “-al” somehow. This is certainly a unique beer, and one that I’m torn on…probably because you have no clue what to really expect. It look like a Porter or Stout, has the carbonation of a Lager, and the nose of a Saison or Session. What the deuce? Starting on the nose, there are some very bright citrus elements which flirt with Belgian flavors. If you let any one sip linger, you’ll catch orange as a predominant flavor. I’ll foot stomp on “linger” as the carbonation diffuses most of the elements if you treat this beer as the Lager which that attribute suggests. I’m not terribly enamored given it seems to want to rape your senses but if you have a dominance fetish (or for anything else ending in “-al”) you could be on their same wavelength with this one. 6.4 out of 10.
Get out and try: Maniacal Double IPA…and the COLOSSAL limited runs, while you can!