Alexandria's Port City Brewing Company is turning six, which means that it is the terror of some poor teacher's first grade class. They don't want your Capri Sun, they want some damn chocolate milk, and they want it right now.
Anyway, it's hard to believe that Port City Brewing Company, the first of the DC metro area's production breweries to open up in the 21st century, is already six. As they do each year for this occasion, Port City will release a new beer in its COLOSSAL series. COLOSSAL SIX, this year's addition, is a Russian Imperial Stout that fans can have for the first time at a two-day release party at the brewery this weekend, followed by market release parties in Northern Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC. COLOSSAL SIX will be available in bottles and on draft.
The two-day release party at the brewery (3950 Wheeler Avenue, Alexandria) will take place on February 3 (2-10PM) and February 4 (12-10PM). Guests will be able to enjoy COLOSSAL SIX on draft for the first time and purchase bottles of the beer to go while listening to live music. No tickets are required, and beer and food will be available for purchase. Local market releases will also take place at Tapp’d Bethesda (February 3), Meridian Pint (February 9), and The Liberty Tavern (February 11).
COLOSSAL SIX, true to name and style, is 10.2% ABV. The brewery describes it as "inky black with a tan cap, the beer bursts with notes of cocoa powder, freshly roasted coffee, and leather." Although the beer will be "delicious from the day it's packaged," the brewery notes that it's also designed to age well.
“We’re excited to share our take on a Russian Imperial Stout,” says head brewer Jonathan Reeves in a press release. “It’s a style that we’ve thought about doing for a while and we’re really happy with the way that the beer turned out.”
The annual COLOSSAL series focuses on "classic styles that tend to be strong, intensely flavored, and well-suited to aging." COLOSSAL ONE (Belgian Imperial Stout), COLOSSAL TWO (Smoked Porter), and COLOSSAL V (English-style old ale) have won medals at the Great American Beer Festival®. Since three out of five COLOSSAL releases have won a medal, odds are good that this one will, too, although Russian Imperial Stout is a notably competitive category.
The sixth anniversary comes on the heels of another good year for the 2015 GABF Small Brewing Company of the Year. “We’ve made some big steps and are in a great position to keep moving forward next year," founder Bill Butcher said in a press release. In 2016, the brewery's annual output increased by 30 percent over 2015, with a similar growth rate forecast for 2017.
All of that new beer demands expansion, and, thanks in part to a grant from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and the City of Alexandria, the company is opening a new warehouse down the street from its current location, freeing up space in the production facility for additional fermentation capacity. The new fermentation vessels, which have been delivered and will be operational by the time of their anniversary party, will enable Port City to brew more of its award-winning beers. In its first five years, Port City has brought home nine Great American Beer Festival medals.
“I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish this year,” says Butcher. “In this fast-moving industry, it’s difficult to find the time to reflect on progress made. The COLOSSAL series gives us the opportunity to appreciate how far we’ve come.”