Hops Grill and Brewery – Alexandria, VA

I’m fortunate enough to have friends in D.C., so I always look forward to the trip and stay a few extra days to savor the city. The person I stay with knows how much I love beer, so he tries to take me to a mix of places. The winner this trip was Nando’s Peri-Peri. They had two lagers from Portugal – Sagres and Superbock. The Sagres is more popular because it’s light but don’t miss the Superbock. Light in color but a more complex flavor profile. I also had a Geary Summer Ale (Portland, Maine) that I enjoyed at the Native American museum – this is a great cafeteria next to Air and Space Museum that showcases Native American dishes from different regions in the US. The Summer Ale had a hoppy character that pairs well with spicy food.

On the way to Regan airport, my host took me by Hops Grill and Brewery. This is another chain of brewpubs that define their success based on getting as close to macro beer as possible but they had two brews that would please any craft beer lover. I love that they have a female Brewmaster, Kristi Griner.

Here’s my review of their sampler.

Clearwater Light – effervescent. Low carb and calorie. Like carbonated water to an upset stomach, the bubbles distract you from the lack of taste or character. I will never understand low-calorie beers. This one uses Czech saaz hops which basically makes it Bud Light without the rice.

Lightning Bold Gold – I couldn’t tell the difference between this and the Clearwater other than Clearwater had more personality with the bubbles. In fact, there is little difference in the ingredients. It looks like they just used a different malt.

Hang 10 Summer Wheat – It looks hazy and unfiltered but it doesn’t taste like a wheat. It’s not even close to a wheat, but the taste held up against any lager. This was the seasonal. My suggestion is to skip this one too.

Thoroughbred Red – a red is a red is a red. This was a welcome change after tasting three similar beers. Roasted flavor. Lots of caramel. Nice offering using Cascade, Perle and Willamette hops (from the info on their sampler menu).

Alligator Ale – Porter – this is quite good. This is very similar in ingredients to the Thoroughbred. They took out the Perle hops and the chocolate is more prevalent in this brew. Carbonation is light and mouth feel is silky.

I acknowledge that chains have to be consistent and like most chains, if you aim for the red and higher on the color wheel, you come out on top. As for food, the spinach artichoke dip is amazing and they’re famous for their honey butter croissants. The butter was a bit too sweet for me but the croissants are great. Megan the manager gave me Kristi’s card and info on all the beers. Bianca was our server and she was very helpful too.

I’ll be back for the Red and the Porter next time I’m in town.


Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: