I’m getting ready to head off to the tweetup. Having lunch at American Craft first. Majorly excited, and slightly nervous. I love having Silvio review for me on Saturday because it gives me a day where I don’t have to think about reviewing. At the tweetup I’ll be “off duty”. No reviewing. Just drinking good beer. Silvio has a couple of pilsners lined up for this week.
It’s hot in D.C. I mean, heat index over 100-type hot. There’s honestly nothing to do except make a run to the beer store, hide inside in the air conditioning, watch a movie, and drink a few beers…which is quite alright by me! I decided to stick with summer brews for this week’s review, and picked two pilsners, Dominion’s Beach House Golden Pilsner, and Redhook’s Rope Swing Summer Pilsner. Dominion is a local Virginia-based brewery, while Redhook is a Seattle-based brew.
First up, Dominion’s Beach House. The pour was very clear with a deep golden color, and it had tons of carbonation which turned into a thick foam head and left behind lots of lacing. The smell was what you’d expect from a pilsner, bitter and pretty pungent. Unfortunately, bitterness is also the main flavor, to the overall detriment of the beer. I tasted some minor citrus notes, but couldn’t distinguish the exact fruit. The website claims three different kinds of hops, but I couldn’t make them out. There’s no real aftertaste, and I’d have to call this a truly average beer – like a bitter Miller Lite. The ABV is decent, at 5.2%, so at least there’s that.
Second, Redhook’s Rope Swing. The clear golden color and heavy carbonation were very similar to the Dominion, but the comparisons end there. I didn’t really pick up a distinct smell, just more of a faint aroma lager. However, the taste really stood out to me. It’s got some bitter notes to start but the middle of the brew was quite nuanced with hints of smokiness. I also tasted malts and hops, which really balanced out the initial bitterness. This is a really good beer, and I could definitely put away a few of them, especially when it’s hot outside. I had to look up the ABV, but it’s pretty good at 5.3%.
I’d typically recommend a bottle of Dominion to anyone considering trying out a Virginia craft beer, especially their IPAs, but their summer seasonal just doesn’t stack up. However, the Redhook is really tasty and unique, and really lives up to the high standard I’ve come to expect from the brewery.