DC Brau's Penn Quarter Porter
There is something to be said, when the evenings are dark, the ground is frozen, and all is unstable in the world, for the sweet, simple dependability of a humble porter.
And has DC Brau got the goods for cold, uncertain times such as these. Founded in 2009 as the first brewery in the District since the closure of the famed Heurich Brewery (fun fact: it was replaced by the Kennedy Center) over 50 years earlier, DC Brau is the matriarch of the DC brewery scene to which everyone in the industry pays their respects. While they are best known for their flagship Public pale ale and their super hyped Wings of Armageddon, a double IPA with a loyal and heated fan base, I can't say I've found a better local roasty, toasty, darker-than-mosty beer than DC Brau's Penn Quarter Porter.
Nutty, smooth, with the trademark tang of partial aging, DC Brau defines the Penn Quarter Porter as a bridge between porter and a stout, although such a distinction is rather muddy already. Whatever it is, it manages to have depth and complexity while being suspiciously light. This is a porter that can start your evening AND tuck you in at night.
The can is graced with Abraham Lincoln's top hat because Penn Quarter is the location of Ford's Theater, where Lincoln met his fateful end. This hat on the can is probably obvious to you, but took me about a year to figure out. (Then again, my history with picking up on clear visual cues is not stellar).
I've been enjoying the Penn Quarter Porter so much, it was my drink of choice over the holidays, thoughtfully documented by my father when I was on paella duty. As we face the anxiety and bitterness of the months to come, I can't think of a better beer to keep us grounded, warm, closer to each other, and closer to the storied history of what we drink.