Pete: Aslin has always been a favorite of mine. Ever since my first pilgrimage out to Herndon, it has had my support. I have gone there on my birthday, after a long week, or even just because a release looked good, and this trip coincided with my graduation from law school. It seemed like the perfect time to get out to the brewery to check out a can release.
I started to visit Aslin when they only offered crowler releases in very small batch numbers. Now they have a huge line for stacks and stacks of their cans. The place has become unrecognizable ever since the city informed the brewery that they could no longer serve on-site anymore. That was sad, but that space was always tough to be in because it really was so small.
As the brewery grew in popularity, the ability to sit and enjoy a beer at the bar waned so it was getting harder and harder to spend time there. For a while, the best way to enjoy the brewery was to get in and get out with crowlers to drink the beer elsewhere. Luckily they have decided to open a tap room in Herndon and keep their first location as a brewery only spot. That seems to be the best move for all parties (including the other businesses, which were likely unhappy with the amount of parking taken up by the brewery patrons during releases), so stay tuned for an eventual post on their new location.
Shane: Pete has obviously been high on Aslin for quite some time. He selected several Aslin beers in our 2016 Beer Draft. He has been visiting Aslin since they first burst onto the beer scene. He’s even included a handful of Aslin beers in our regular writeups. To say that Pete is an Aslin fan would probably be a gross understatement. So when he let us know that he would be including a slew of new Aslin beers among his next tasting selections, I was pretty excited. Especially when I learned that among them would be a few different fruit beers and a collaboration with fellow mid-Atlantic powerhouse RaR. The final beer in this batch is a brew from 3 Stars, which we visited earlier this year during our Washington, DC Beercation and were very impressed by. I’m pumped to have the opportunity to try another beer from them, and I can’t wait to crack into this excellent selection provided by Pete. Is it weird that six of the seven beers are from Aslin? Sure, maybe. Is Aslin so awesome that I don’t care? Yes, definitely.
York: I see you got some Aslin, eh, Pete? I have waited in a line for beer exactly twice in my life. Both were Pete’s fault. Both resulted in beer that made me stop complaining about lines. The most recent of those experiences was at Aslin (during our last beercation), and it yielded all-stars like Master of Karate and Stellar Parallax, so it’s safe to say an Aslin focus definitely sounds good to me. Even more so, I love the mix of styles here. IPAs and double IPAs in a huge range of ABVs and not one but two Wild IPAs--which has become a real favorite style of mine. RaR and 3 Stars are two of my top breweries in the DC area that I make sure to seek out any time I’m nearby, so getting a beer each from them makes this batch even more exciting. I don’t know that I’d have previously said that a batch from almost entirely one brewery was preferable, but this lineup looks about as good as any.
Pete: This beach trip was at the perfect time (between me finishing my internship and starting school), so I managed to do some traveling and acquire some beers from random places. Normally, I would not try to hold onto this many beers in growler/crowler form, but I figured the time from the fill to the beach was short enough that I could swing it. Nothing tasted off, so it was a good experiment to see how far you can push those “drink within 48 hours” restrictions breweries will note to you. I obviously would still suggest drinking any growler fresh, but, depending on the style, you can store some growlers for closer to 2-4 weeks if you really want to save some stuff. I also dove into my cellar to try some of my Dogfish 120 Minute IPA that has been aging. I will write about aging a little more in the future, but to be safe the 18-20% beers are probably some of the safest beers to try to age, because the alcohol content and body allows them to keep from being watery.
Shane: This was an interesting batch of beers for me. I’ve actually had two of them before (the Aslin Gose and the 120 Minute IPA), so I knew exactly how good they were. The aging of the 120 Minute added a whole new twist though, and, never having aged an IPA, I was curious to see what the flavor difference would be. I’ve had the chance to sample some beers from RaR before, and I’ve enjoyed them quite a bit. And Tired Hands...well, Tired Hands needs no introduction. They are world famous for a reason, and any day I get to sample something from them is a good day. I’m guessing it will be hard to top a double IPA from them.
York: I didn’t know much about any of these beers going in other than their reputation as power players in the region. The Tired Hands saison that Pete brought to our first Beercation was one of the highlights, so the fact that their DIPA is included in this has me pretty excited. Also looking forward to trying something different from Aslin, and having my first brew from RaR. Both are places that have really come to the main stage since I left the area, so they’re particularly fun in that respect. The progression of the DMV beer scene is so much fun to follow, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that they’re consistently putting out top notch brews!
Pete: I got really lucky getting all of these beers. The Savor beer is always hard to get even while attending the event, so being able to get enough to share is always special. Over the years, the beer has been a rollercoaster of odd to boring. One year it was a beer made with rose petals, one year it was an I-95 collaboration on an English Pale ale. I expect brewers to push for something new or over the top with this beer, because that’s what people expect when attending this event. Sparkling Pale ale with Saison yeast definitely is not boring. I also scored some Funky Buddha, which is always a treat. That was one of the first special breweries I got to visit, and it has stuck with me to this day because the beers are that good. This might not be one of their beers that everyone hears about (Maple Bacon Coffee Porter, No Crusts Peanut Butter Jelly Brown Ale), but it’s a solid beer that tastes as advertised. And obviously my bias for Aslin is well documented on this site. And our social media. And anyone else who will listen to me. So I am glad the guys will get a chance to try this stuff. Really excited to gauge the reaction.
York: Pumped to get some Aslin in this batch. Pete has given Aslin his rare full endorsement which has only ever delivered huge wins like Trillium and the Alchemist. He’s also got a knack for getting involved with neat events and cool venues for beer and the inclusion of a few Savor-specific brews in this batch are a lot to look forward too. I’ve become a huge fan of Deschutes and always enjoy a good collaboration story, so that one is particularly interesting to me. The reputation of Funky Buddha precedes itself, and is a brewery I haven’t had the opportunity to try yet. Blood orange always seems to be a fun component that I’ve liked a lot in some Flying Dog and Anderson Valley beers before. Really diverse lineup here, great to hit so many ends of the spectrum!
Shane: Whatever else may be here, this is the Aslin batch. Much as I did with Bissell Brothers and Tree House, Pete has hyped Aslin up to epic proportions. While the mid-Atlantic has a lot of quality beer, there aren’t many breweries that have hit that “must-have” craft brew sweet spot the way breweries in New England and California have. Aslin is clearly making a play to be the DMV equivalent of Russian River or Tree House, and I for one can’t wait to see how they fare. Pete has been singing Aslin’s praises for so long that I feel like I’ve been worked into a jealous frenzy just waiting to get my hands on it. Throw in a couple of Savor beers and this group features some serious quality.
York: We all like beer. We all drink quite a bit of it, and, above all else, we all have a tendency to try as many different types as our palates and bodies will allow. When we planned out our first Beercation in the New England area and started listing all the breweries and beers to pack into the trip, we agreed that it was ambitious to start. Then, naturally, we all decided that we wanted to add some extra regional beers to the event, since we were meeting up (and why not?). Thus, we wound up with three especially unique beers from California, two more from the DMV, and a sixth from middle America that came to us through a friend who has been keeping up with our escapades. I've already had the Swirly from King Harbor and tried the Cellarmaker Mt. Nelson on tap, but I'm really excited to see what the others think of those. Beyond that, I've been waiting patiently to try some Tired Hands, so I'm pumped that one is in our arsenal too!
Pete: I was really nervous about this round, because the last time I went to New England I carried way too many beers around with me. This wasn’t a bad thing…once I got where I needed to go. But it really made it hard to get around, so I wanted to get stuff that I knew was going to be good. Otherwise, why bring it? Our friend Dan Alt supplied us with the Brew Kettle White Rajah, which recently got some positive press as a good west coast style IPA. Then I was able to snag a really limited edition batch of Hardywood beer. And, luckily, I got to visit Tired Hands a couple days before the trip and picked up one of their strange but awesome beers. Really happy with what I brought, because I expect it all to be good beers.
Shane: I'm excited to try these beers. We went into this Beercation prepared to try an awful lot of amazing beers, but the beers we brought with us might just be the best of the bunch. I'm thrilled to have the chance to sample some Tired Hands, and the White Rajah is a beer that I never thought any of us would be able to get our hands on. The Hammerland DIPA and Mt. Nelson beers are also exciting, since they represent some small-batch west coast beers that I might never have heard of without York, let alone been able to drink. I'm hugely pumped to be able to try every beer on this list.
Pete: Last time, I chose beers from Hardywood and nowhere else. This time, I wanted to give a more diverse look at the area and include some Maryland beer. I also felt the need to counter some of the robust hoppy offerings provided by Shane and Brian. Heavy Seas has been one of me and Shane's favorite breweries, so I wanted to include something from from them. I was also able to get a few DuClaw beers, which was awesome because they are really crazy with the flavors they mess around with. They have created everything from chocolate peanut butter porters to a Colossus beer at 17.3% that drinks wayyyyyy too easily for that gravity. It was also a random time that a few mango IPAs were being put out by Maryland staple Frederick and DogFish Head. Interested to see how those go over because they are new takes on IPA from both breweries. I am curious when breweries bow to the market trends because I want to know if they put it together because they wanted to or because it sells. I also threw a few darker high gravity beers in because we have not gotten to try many dark beers and that season is quickly drawing to a close. I also had to throw in some 3 Star to fly the DC flag. Hope these go over well, cheers!
York: Sooooo many flavors here! Peanut butter, habanero, coffee, mango, peach, caramel, coconut, bourbon, apricots, more and more. That’s not even including the tastes pushed from the hops & malt! This huge-spectrum style selection is exactly what I tried to go for in my first batch. Everything from a bright White IPA to a Barrel Aged Imperial Stout with a whole mess of beers in between. I’ve got a soft spot for 3 Stars since they’re in DC proper so I’m hoping the Ghost White IPA provides a good drink. I’ve had a bunch of beers from DuClaw and think they are one of the better brewers of wacky flavors and intense dark beer flavors. I also miss the wide distribution of Flying Dog and Dogfish Head from my days on the east coast so I’m glad to have a rep from each of them. I’ll put it out there ahead of time - I’m yet to enjoy a spicy beer. I’m a bit nervous that my distaste for peppers in beer may overtake my appreciation for the Fever Dream, but will do my best to separate the two.
Shane: York said it best: this is a truly impressive array of flavor blends. I’m even more excited for this group of beers than I was for the last DMV offerings, because it hits a little closer to home. DuClaw, Flying Dog, Heavy Seas, Union Craft, 3 Star Brewing...so many breweries from right in the heart of the DMV. I have many fond memories of attending Heavy Seas events with Pete during my time in DC, and since Heavy Seas beer is almost impossible to find in New England, I’m pumped for the opportunity to sample them again. But the beer I’m looking forward to the most is probably the Ghost White IPA. I specifically asked Pete if he could get ahold of that beer because I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. 3 Star Brewing has gained a lot of traction since I left DC, and I’m ready for a taste.
Drink With Us
Three friends. Three corners of the country. One passion for beer.
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