Port City Trader Joe’s Belgian Style Pale Ale

Today’s beer is one specifically brewed for Trader Joe’s. Let’s see how it was.

ABV: 5.3%

Style: Belgian Pale Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “To continue our celebration of DC Beer week we will be tapping a firkin of our latest collaboration with Trader Joe’s. To celebrate Trader Joe’s fiftieth anniversary, we’ve brewed something special – a delicate, straw blonde Belgian Pale Ale. Notes of pear and black pepper serve as prelude to soft, biscuity malts and a refined, balancing hop presence. The tasting room exclusive firkin is dry hopped with Eureka hops – imparting aromas of tangerine, grapefruit rind and citrus. Borinquen Lunch box Food Truck will be serving authentic home-cooked Puerto Rican cuisine and Shane Gamble will be providing the tunes in the beer garden.”

Random: I love the food from Trader Joe’s, I just hate how crowded it is.

The beer poured with a large, three finger, cream-colored head. It took forever to dissipate and left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was slightly cloudy and a dusky orange. There was moderate carbonation visible as well. The nose was muted with some old grass along with coriander and wheat. The taste was very crisp. It started with some lemon and orange citrus and quickly went into the same coriander and wheat that was apparent in the nose. Some bubblegum and yeast came through next. The body was on the light side with a lot of carbonation. It had a lengthy finish with bubblegum. Val picked this one up for me during a Trader Joe’s trip, so I’m not sure how much it was, but there was nothing special about this beer. I wouldn’t rush to have it again.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Port City Tartan Ale

This is a beer that Val brought me back one of the times that she went to DC. I’ve had a few other beers from Port City and they’ve been decent. Let’s see what they can do with a Scottish Ale.


ABV: 5.5%

Style: Scottish Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Alexandria’s two Scottish founders, Captains Philip and John Alexander, inspired Port City’s Tartan Ale. Scottish beers in the 1800’s were taxed on their strength, with the strong and better quality beers costing more. Customers developed the habit of asking for them by the tax ratings, or shilling names. The 80-shilling style was one of the stronger types that could be purchased, containing 4.0-5.5% alcohol. The 80-shilling beers are traditionally malty, without much hop character, as hops did not grow in Scotland and were expensive to import. Tartan Ale has a deep, copper-color and is produced in the 80-shilling style. It offers a slightly fruity flavor that complements the luscious malty roast caramel flavor and faint hop aroma. The limited production Tartan Ale is our Spring Seasonal beer.”

Random: I love having a natural fireplace instead of a gas fireplace. It’s more messy, but I love the smell of it and hearing the sound of it.

This beer poured with less than a half a finger of white head that dissipated almost instantly. It left no lacing on the glass, but left a very small crown on top fo the body. The body itself was clear and deep mahogany in color. I couldn’t see any carbonation due to the color of the beer. The nose was very sweet and had a bit of malt and caramel. Toffee came through next with peat and smoke. The nose was fragrant and inviting. The taste had a certain grainy spiciness that was followed up with nutty malt and an almond extract taste. I wish it had a touch more sweetness to balance it out. The body was too thin with moderate carbonation. It was a quick finish with peat. A bottle of this was $2, which came to $.17 per ounce. This beer was disappointing. I wouldn’t have it again.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Port City Derecho

I really like when a beer has an interesting story like this. It could have been a complete and utter failure and they could have dumped the beer, but instead, they made a new style. I first read about this beer in 2013 on another beer review blog, where they reviewed it favorably.


ABV: 4.8%

Style: California Common/Steam Beer

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Mid-Summer, 2012, a violent derecho windstorm barreled through DC, leaving one million people without power. Our brewery was out of power for five days, which left us unable to control the fermentation temperature of a tank of lager. We were determined to save our beer, the tank fermented at a higher temperature than intended. As a result, the beer changed from a lager into a California Common beer. DERECHO COMMON is deep golden in color, and has toasty, biscuity malt flavors. It is medium bodied with an assertive hop profile. It is hopped with Centennial hops, which give it a spicy, citrusy hop kick on the finish. The storm’s gift was this DERECHO COMMON.”

Random: I was incredibly excited to see this in the mixed pack that Val brought me home from DC.

This beer poured with a thick, two finger, slightly off white head. It left a lot of lacing on the glass and was slow to dissipate. The body was a clear, straw yellow with high carbonation. The nose had some grassy and earthy hops (which was surprising to me, because it was a very strong scent) with cracker and bread notes. The taste first presented with a lemon note and then quickly went into a bready note. Toffee made an appearance as well. The body was on the light side with high carbonation. It had a lemony and bready finish. This single was $.199 down in DC (which broke down to $.17 per ounce). This was a nice beer that was a pleasant change from all of the IPAs I’ve been having. This would make for a great barbecue beer and I can see why it is their summer seasonal.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Port City Monumental IPA

This is the third beer I’ve had from Port City. They don’t get distributed to New Jersey (yet), so I’ve only had them while I was in Virginia or brought a bottle back. Val brought this one home, so let’s see how it was.


ABV: 6.3%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Monumental IPA is a rich, clear copper in color. Our flagship India Pale Ale exhibits floral aromas and flavors of citrus with piney-resin all in combination with malty, toasty caramel background notes. Our unique twist with this IPA is that it demonstrates the delicious, yet elusive perfect balance between a hoppy bitterness and malt flavors. We believe that Monumental IPA is a great example of a complex and perfectly balanced East Coast style of IPA.”

Random: This bottle managed to get stuck to the shelf in my beer fridge. It took a lot of force to get up and I was afraid the bottle would break.

This beer poured with a two finger, white head that dissipated slowly and left lots of lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, warm orange with moderate carbonation. There was also a lot of visible detritus. The nose had some pine that quickly transitioned into sweet, caramel malt with honey. The taste was much more sweet than I expected. It had a lot of honey and caramel malt up front. It transitioned into slight bitterness with grass and grapefruit. This beer was much more towards the malt side than bitterness. It had a medium body with light carbonation. The finish was quick with a lot of sweetness. I was not a big fan of this beer, even though it was only $2 for the single bottle ($.17 per ounce). With so many IPAs out there, I won’t be revisiting this one.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Port City Porter

I picked this one up while in Virginia too. Port City seems to be a relatively popular brewery down there and I wish I had enough time to visit them while I was down there. I will definitely have to visit them on another trip down there. I’ve also noticed that I’ve been having a lot of porters, despite the insane heat. They’ve been hitting the spot, so I can’t really complain.

ABV: 7.5%

Style: American Porter

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “One of our earliest noted brews, our robust Porter remains a flagship brew for Port City. This beer shows bittersweet flavors of coffee and dark chocolate, with a very complex malt character enhanced by yeast fruitiness. It pours ink black with a rich brown lace in the head.”

Random: My cat ate the chicken nuggets that we left on the table last night while my sister and I were at work.

This beer poured with a thick, two finger light brown head that dissipated slowly and left generous lacing on my pint glass. The body was a dark cocoa color with no visible carbonation due to the color. But, there was a lot of visible sediment throughout the body. The nose had notes of dark chocolate, molasses, burnt malts and a touch of smoke. I really liked the nose. The taste started with some cocoa powder and roasted barley. It then went into some smoke and coffee notes. The end of the sip had some booze warming and a touch of hops to it. The body was on the thicker side of porter with higher than average carbonation. The finish was long with smoke and hops. This was a really interesting porter with an exceptional flavor profile. I would definitely have this one again. If you’re in the Virginia area, it is worth seeking out.

Untappd Rating: 4.5/5.0

Port City Maniacal Double IPA

World of Beer. Apparently it’s some sort of wonderful beer chain that we don’t have anywhere near New Jersey. I saw one while I was down in Tampa, but I wasn’t able to stop there. I stopped at one down in Virginia and it was packed. I grabbed a seat at the bar and took a look at the extensive tap list and decided on grabbing a local brew to the area.

ABV: 8.5%

Style: American Double/Imperial IPA

Trivia: This beer was just released in April of 2013 from the brewery which is based in Alexandria, Virginia.

Random: There is really nothing on television on Sunday mornings. I’m watching my latest disc from Netflix about Catherine the Great.

This brew poured with half a finger of pure white head. It dissipated slowly and left some lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, dark orange color with almost no carbonation visible at all. The nose was incredibly fragrant. I got notes of grapefruit and pineapple, which gave it a definite tropical feel. The taste was pretty good. It was very fruity with some mango, pineapple and grapefruit. The booze didn’t make an appearance, which wasn’t surprising given the fact that it was relatively low ABV for the style. The body was medium thickness and had moderate carbonation, which was a good surprise. The finish was long and fruity. For a local double IPA, this had a lot of character. It was flavorful and pretty easy drinking. I would definitely have this one again. Grab one next time you’re in Virginia!

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0