Hopheads, rejoice! The DC metropolitian area is about to get three very hoppy beers in bars and on shelves, one after another. The next month or so will see the release of, in chronological order, Stone's Enjoy By IPA (the 2/15/13 version, the first in the Enjoy By series released to our market), Bell's Hopslam, and Troeg's Nugget Nectar.
Stone's Enjoy By should be on shelves as soon as tomorrow (Thursday, January 17th), and definitely in many places in the Disctrict,
Maryland, and Virginia by next Tuesday or so. It's a double IPA that was bottled on January 11th, and Stone would like you to drink it as soon as possible, taking into account open container laws. More information here. [UPDATE: Churchkey is tapping a keg of this tonight!]
The week after Stone has destroyed your tastebuds, Bell's wildly hyped double IPA Hopslam will arrive in DC and Virigina (sorry, Maryland). The first run was bottled on January 2nd, but they may be bottling more as you read this. Around this time last year several stores were selling 6-packs of this delicious exilir for upwards of $30 (please rage against the machine in the comments, if you'd like), but savvy shoppers can find it for about $20. In past years Churchkey, Pizzeria Paradiso, and RFD's have received casks of Hopslam, and we hope that will be the case again in 2013. As for a stealth place to buy a pint and avoid long lines, try the Red Room, attached to The Black Cat. It's a nice, low-key way to enjoy a really good beer, away from the teeming hoards of beer geeks (guilty as charged) that follow Hopslam around the country as if it were Krusty's Ribwich ("think smaller, with more legs").
If anything remains of your palate after that, Troeg's hoppy imperial amber, Nugget Nectar, will arrive in Virgina the first week of February, and in Maryland during the second week. Troeg's did not give a DC release date, but expect it to arrive in the District one of those two weeks. If you can't wait that long, the first batch of Nugget Nectar is available at Troeg's right now. We'll understand if you want to read the rest of this post in the car (but only at red lights!). Last year Troeg's moved from Harrisburg to Hershey, and Nugget Nectar casks were a casualty of this transition. This year we hope to see casks in the area, as was the case in 2011.
If you have a favorite, let us know in the comments. Or if you want to rant about the ubiquity of IPAs, or hoppy beers overall, feel free to do that, too. Heck, if you want to play too cool for school and tell us about all the Orval you're drinking, we'll listen to that, also. Cheers.
(Hops on vine image via david.nikonvscannon)