Thursday, March 4, 2010

Seasonal beers: Capitol City Fruitcake

The beauty of the craft brewing industry is breweries and brewpubs come in all shapes and sizes. Being a small brewer in not a bad thing, it can actually be a very good thing. It allows a brewer to be creative and brew beer styles that you just could not do, if you had to produced in a 100bbl or more run. Many brewpub and breweries offer seasonal or "one off" brews. Beers that might come around once a year, or brewed once every few years or so.

The Capitol City Brewing Company of Washington, DC is a very small, local brewpub chain with two locations in DC, and a third in Shirlington, VA. Established in 1992, they have been producing a number of beer styles, and their beers are quite popular in the DC Metro Area. I'm a big fan of this brewery, and have been drinking their beers since the late 1990's. I have visited all their locations, and even the one in Baltimore, MD that sadly closed a few years ago. You will always find some great beers at Cap City, and you will always find a good seasonal beer pouring at their locations. A good example of this, is a beer Cap City Shirlington will feature from time to time, and that is a beer they simply call Fruit Cake.

This beer is based on a Belgian strong ale that is brewed with 600 lbs of blackberries, red raspberries, and cherries. Cap City does not brew this beer very often, but when they do? You better get some, because it won't last. I have always enjoyed a well done fruit beer. Putting fruit in beer is something that has been done in brewing for centuries. The Belgians have perfected the art, and a well done fruit beer can be a truly amazing drinking experience. Cap City has a very unique and delicious one in Fruit Cake.

Fruit Cake pours to a brilliant, ruby red color, with a creamy, pink head, and a moderate amount of carbonation. The nose on this beer is fantastic, with lots of fresh and tart aromas of berries and cherry paired with peppery alcohol. The palate is slick and slightly oily, with really delicious sweet and sour flavors of berries, cherry, and pale malt sweetness. This beer finishes with more excellent sweet and sour berries/cherry flavor and ends with light peppery alcohol flavor that takes the cloying edge off of this beer.

Fruit Cake is a really well done fruit beer and an excellent example of why seasonal beers are so special. The fruit is the star here, but it has enough malt backbone to stand up to the fruity aromas and flavors to let you know you are drinking a good beer. Draught only, if you want this one , you will have to try it at the brewery, or purchase a 2 liter swing top growler to go. Cap City is a great, local brewpub chain that brews outstanding beers. You might not find Fruit Cake on your visit, but you will always find a great line up of regulars, and of course a great seasonal or two. For more information, visit Cap City's site at:

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