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Port City Brewing to Release Derecho Common in August

Making lemons into limited-edition lemonade
Port City Brewing to Release Derecho Common in August

The storm that ushered in July was truly a devastating event, for area homes and businesses alike. Some are still without power. You may have heard about Port City Brewing Co.’s efforts to save 13,000 gallons of beer from spoiling — there was even a tasting party to help drink some of it and raise funds.

Thanks to help from the general D.C. beer community, the beer has been rescued — mostly. Five of the six holding tanks were kept at temperatures within normal range, and the brews will turn out as planned. The last tank, which held a 60-barrle batch of lager beer, fermented at a higher temperature than intended.

However, instead of tossing the liquid, the Alexandria brewery is turning the result into a limited-edition release, appropriately dubbed Derecho Common. Turns out there is a style of beer developed in San Francisco that takes lager and ferments it at higher temps, just like an ale.

The draft-only, 120-keg batch will be released in early August to D.C. metro bars and restaurants only. We’re truly looking forward to this one — it’ll feel good to both body and soul. Check out Port City founder Bill Butcher’s touching thank you and announcement letter, below.

An Open Letter to the D.C. Beer Community:

Last Friday’s freak storm caught the entire D.C. area by surprise. The destruction that the unexpected derecho caused is astounding. As I write this, there are still people without electricity, and our thoughts are with them as the region continues to recover.

Our power was out for five days at the brewery, and our production has been completely shut down during this time. We have been unable to brew, package, or ship any beer to market. We were fortunate to find a generator to supply enough power to run our critical systems to try to keep our 13,000 gallons of beer from spoiling.

All of us at Port City Brewing Company were absolutely amazed by the community’s response to our plight. The support from the D.C. Beer community has been unbelievable. We received messages of support and offers of help from all over. Our fellow brewers, our restaurant and retail customers, and many beer drinkers contacted us to ask how they could help us to save the beer.

The willingness to step up and help a neighbor is what defines a community. We found in a very real way that D.C. Beer community is strong and supportive of each other, and we will always be grateful for this. We are truly honored and humbled by the response, and we’ll always remember the support that everyone has shown us.

We have a long way to go to get our brewery back to normal operations. It will take weeks to get caught up with production, and unfortunately, there will be ongoing out of stocks in the market as we try to recover. We appreciate your patience as we work to catch up.

Many have asked us if we were able to “save the beer.” We continue to monitor the beer very closely, and we test and taste it daily. Five of our six tanks appear to be just fine. The 6th tank is a 60-barrel batch of lager beer that fermented at a higher temperature than we intended.

There is a beer style that developed in San Francisco called steam beer, or California Common beer. It is a beer made with lager yeast and fermented at higher temperatures like an ale. This is exactly what happened to this 60-barrel tank of our beer.

As a result, this storm has given us Derecho Common beer.

We will release the limited Derecho Common beer in early August. It will be draft only, and will be limited to about 120 kegs, which will be sold only to bars and restaurants in the D.C. Metro area.

Thank you for your continued support.


Bill Butcher
Port City Brewing Company


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