ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Recently, two friends and I — The Ombudsman and someone that I will call “the English Teacher” toured Port City Brewing Company on Wheeler Ave. It was something I had wanted to do since before it even opened. Port City is one of several Washington D.C. area breweries that have opened in the last few years.
My two friends and I met up for the 2 p.m. tour. The reception area has two bars and one was open for the tour with over a dozen people already there. After we indicated to the bartenders we were there for the tour, we were served their flagship Optimal Wit. After The Ombudsman treated us to the tour, we picked up our tickets and followed the tour into the main area. One of the bartenders described the history of the brewery and the process by which the beer was brewed. Barley malt was passed around for sampling. Hops were also passed along, though actually eating any was discouraged, one woman did. We also got to taste some Essential Pale Ale right out of the kettle. Since it was prior to the dry hopping (adding additional hops after fermentation), it was nothing special as one would expect. We also got to see the Hop Cannon which is used to inject hops into the kettles with minimal or no oxygen.
Other parts of the brewery and the process, like bottling (sadly not in process at the time), were described before adjourning back to the reception area and bar. Each ticket was exchanged for a sample of Port City beers — Optimal Wit, Essential IPA, Monumental IPA, Tartan Scottish Ale and their Porter. I liked the porter the best. We enjoyed them there before heading out. The English Teacher picked up a Monumental IPA six pack for the rest of our afternoon on my patio.
Some suggestions to enjoy your visit — have a good meal beforehand and look into getting a ride or a taxi to and from the brewery.