SourPuss Success at Shirlington

Try saying that three times fast.

After my radio interview at WETA this morning, I walked about 20 steps directly across the street to Capitol City Brewing in Shirlington for lunch. As luck would have it, all three of the brewers were standing next to the bar where I sat down. This is the kind of serendipitous encounter that happens in brewpubs. An occurence almost unique in the age of foreign factory-produced goods – meeting the person who makes what you consume.

So Ryan Curley, Mike McCarthy, and Mike Morris (left to right in photo) treated me to a tasting of their newest offerings.


SourPuss, which just came out yeterday, is a sour red Flemish-style Belgian ale, making it the first “wild fermented” beer produced at Capitol City Brewing. It wasn’t really “wild” fermented, but they did use the hallmark lambic yeasts: Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus, and Pediococcus. With 380 lbs. of tart cherries, this clear red ale was astonishingly clean, light, dry and refreshing. I hope this beer will be making regular appearances at Cap City.

Their new IPA is notable both because they don’t normally make an IPA and because this one includes an addition of Cascade hop oil (another first for them) during the whirlpool at the end of the brew. At approximately 40-50 IBUs, this isn’t one of those mouth-numbing Double IPAs everyone is making these days. Mike Morris says they wanted to emphasize a floral hop bouquet rather than hop bitterness.

But rest assured, there is no shortage of big beers at Cap City. Fuel is a Russian Imperial Stout with 10 lbs. of ground coffee brewed in the serving vessel a day before the beer is pumped in. Wow, one whiff had me running for the bathroom. Don’t worry, it’s not a reflection on the beer, which was yummy, that always happens when I smell coffee. A Pavlovian response I guess.

Head over to Shirlington before the SourPuss is gone. It’s a real treat.

Oh yeah, and check out the radio show I appeared on today to talk about why it’s important to support locally-owned breweries.


2 Responses to SourPuss Success at Shirlington

  1. Dave Bonta says:

    That russian imperial stout sounds like a great breakfast beer!

  2. […] Mike McCarthy from the Shirlington location of Capitol City Brewing (whose beers I blogged about here); Bill Madden of the brand new Vintage 50 Restaurant and Brew Lounge in Leesburg, VA; I think the […]

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