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Port City Debuts Baltic Porter, Welcomes Back Tidings, Picks Up Swedish Hardware

Alexandria's Port City Brewing Company has a bunch of items of note this week. No surprises here: they all revolve around beer. You'll have to keep waiting on that petting zoo announcement. 

This Friday, October 12, Port City will debut the newest beer in its limited release, draft-only Lager Series, a Baltic Porter. A press release explains that the style was "born at the turn of the 19th century when exported British porter was incorporated into the Baltic states’ lager tradition" and describes the beer as "a strong, dark beer with a clean lager character and loads of malt flavor reminiscent of toffee, toast, chocolate, and Port wine. The perfect choice when the weather begins to cool, Baltic Porter pairs beautifully with  stew, smoked meats, and rich aged cheeses."

“The Lager Series gives our brewers the opportunity to get creative and brew some lesser-known styles,” says founder Bill Butcher. “Sometimes people think lager is just one thing, so we’re excited to dissuade people of that notion with a diverse array of delicious lagers.”

The Tasting Room Release Party on Friday will feature live music and Rocklands BBQ. Other release parties include Thursday, October 18 (5-8pm) at Meridian Pint and Wednesday, October 24, (4-6pm) in Glen Allen at the Whole Foods (11173 W Broad St).

It's not all just lagers at PCBC. They'll follow up the Baltic Porter launch with the return of Tidings, a strong, spicy Belgian-style blonde ale brewed with local honey and Virginia-grown wheat, on November 2. A press release notes that "These local ingredients store away the essence of summer to warm you during the cold winter months" and describes the beer as "gently spiced with coriander, cardamom, fresh ginger, and grains of paradise." On a personal note, it's my favorite holiday beer, for what that's worth.

“Tidings Ale is always a huge hit,” says founder Bill Butcher. “It’s perfect for people who love the flavors in our best-selling Optimal Wit but want something a bit bigger and bolder when the temperature drops. And Tidings is a wonderful accompaniment for classic holiday meals.”
 
In anticipation of the 2018 Tidings release, Port City will tap a special keg of 2017 Tidings aged in white wine barrels on Friday, October 26 before launching this year's edition on November 2. Other release parties include November 8 at Barrel and Bushel in McLean (which is apparently a place in Virginia, who knew) and November 28 at Dacha in Washington, DC's Shaw neighborhood. Maryland will also get some Tidings but not until November 29 at Brass Tap in Annapolis. 
 
New beers are fun and everything, but do they mean anything if you're not bringing home awards to hang in your tap room? The answer is yes, they do. Beer is its own reward, and you don't need external validation to make it meaningful. But external validation doesn't hurt, either, especially when it comes from the Swedes. Port City recently won two medals at the 2018 Stockholm Beer and Whiskey Festival, one of Europe’s largest trade/consumer shows. Optimal Wit earned gold in the Wheat Beer category and while Porter earned silver in the Porter and Stout category.

The win for Optimal comes on the heels of a silver at this year's Great American Beer Festival. 

“We’re delighted to take home two medals from Stockholm,” says founder Bill Butcher.  “There’s a lot of great beer at the festival, so being recognized for our quality is a great honor.” If you're wondering if anyone else from Port City ever gets quoted except for Bill Butcher, the answer is no. #Butcher2020

How does a brewery from Alexandria, Virginia wind up submitting beer to a Swedish beer festival? Port City is a member of the Brewers Association’s Export Development Program, which coordinated the shipment and registration of American beers for the festival.  “We appreciate the work the Brewers Association does to promote high-quality American craft beer overseas,” says Butcher.  “Having the opportunity to share our beers with an international audience and compete with the world’s best helps us to continue improving.”  Port City currently exports to four international markets: Ontario, Canada; France; Singapore; and the United Kingdom. You don't have to go to any of these places though because you probably live around here. Pretty fortunate IMHO.

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