Learn how to homebrew

For those of you who are married, or are in the process, you know that there are a lot of decisions to be made.  Despite the fact that many of these decisions end up having little consequence on the outcome of the day – each and every one carries your mark, and they often have a deep meaning to you or your spouse.  Among the decisions I needed to make for my wedding last spring was what to serve at the reception. Many caterers had a limited set of offerings in packages that ranged from expensive and boring to outrageously expensive and still boring. Fortunately, our caterer allowed me to select and purchase whatever I desired.

Port City Brewing Optimal Wit

I decided to embrace my new home and provide a selection of local craft beers to our guests. With three carefully selected choices, one each from D.C., Maryland and Virginia I had to find something that would offer great flavor, pair well with the warm spring weather, and please a diverse group of people.

Optimal Wit – a Belgian style white ale brewed by Port City Brewing Company was the hands down winner to represent Virginia and is still a household favorite when the spring and summer months roll around.  Take a deep breath before your first taste and you’ll find that notes of coriander and ginger dominate. In your mouth those spices hit first, followed closely by a mellow sweetness, orange zest and grains of paradise all juxtaposed against a backdrop of a mildly spicy Belgian yeast and raw wheat. When the temperatures get warm “spiced” beers can start to turn my stomach, but Optimal Wit exhibits a balance, both in the use of spices and in the degree of carbonation that keeps things crisp, flavorful and refreshing.  

I can’t help but notice the similarities to the popular Sam Adams Summer Ale, and if you are a fan of that beer you’ll find that there is a little bit more body and depth of flavor to Optimal Wit and, of course, the Belgian yeast adds a fun element as well. Most importantly, you can bring this to the picnic table at a crab feast and not be heckled for bringing a Massachusetts beer to a Mid-Atlantic tradition.  Over the course of a hot summer afternoon cool beers and conversation flows as crabs are picked for their sweet meat. The coriander, ginger and grains of paradise in particular compliment, not overshadow, the delicate sweetness of crab, while the beer cuts through the Old Bay seasoning and cleanses your palette for the next bite.