|Image via Hill Center DC website|
First, we sampled the Blanche de Bruxelles Belgian White - Brasserie Lefebvre SA, Belgium paired with Spicy Ethiopian Kettle Corn. This was my favorite pairing and really woke up my palate. Featuring coriander and orange peel to lend a slight spiced nose (4.5%), this soft and smooth beer is light and summery, while the popcorn had subtle heat from the spices.
Next, we tried the Lancaster Strawberry Wheat - Lancaster Brewing Company, Pennsylvania paired with Sea Salt Kettle Corn. The American wheat lager-style beer was refreshing and crisp (4.7%). Both the strawberry in the beer and the salt in the popcorn were super subtle.
My next favorite of the pairings featured the 21st Amendment Back in Black IPA - 21st Amendment Brewery, California paired with a sweet and patriotic All American Kettle Corn. Brewed like an American IPA but with the addition of rich dark malts, this beer was flavorful with a smooth, mellow finish (6.8%). The candied popcorn rounded out the dark IPA. While the beer had the dark color, it was not as malty as other porters or stouts.
|Day of the Dead Porter|
My least favorite of the dark beers was the Xingu Black Lager - Cervejaria Sul Brasileira, Brazil paired with Southern BBQ Kettle Corn. I suppose the smokiness of the popcorn was meant to accentuate the smokiness of the malty beer (4.7%), but it didn't work for me.
The sixth beer we tried was actually a cider, Original Sin Apple Cider - Original Sin Craft Ciders, New York expertly paired with Cinnamon Kettle Corn. I normally steer clear of ciders, as there is something that my body doesn't like and causes me to break out in hives, but this cider was fruity and effervescent. It is a dry traditional cider, fermented with two types of champagne yeast (6%) and is gluten-free. The cinnamon in the popcorn gave an overall 'apple pie' feeling to the pairing, and was very enjoyable.
Continuing on, we tried the Gaffel Kolsch - Privatbrauerei Gaffel Becker and Co., Germany paired with Old Bay Kettle Corn. Unfortunately, this was my least favorite pairing of them all. The beer was bitter (4.8%) and just fell flat for me. Plus, I am not the biggest fan of Old Bay (sorry, Maryland!).
The strongest beer we sampled was the Uinta Anniversary Barleywine - Uina Brewing Company, Utah George. This rich and complex malt barley wine exhibits hints of dried fruit and caramel with a ton of American hops (10.4%). It was paired with a classic George Washington Kettle Corn.
The last beer we sampled was the No Li Jet Star Imperial IPA - No Li Brewhouse, Washington State paired with Caramel Kettle Corn. The malt in the beer is intentionally subdued with a double-dosed hops to show off the Washington style (8.1%). I am not sure if I was buzzed by this point or what, but I also enjoyed this pairing this very much.
While it could have been organized a little better (i.e. put the beers in order from lightest to heaviest, and put the paired popcorn next to each beer instead of all the way across the room), we really enjoyed this Hops & Pops event. It was a great deal for the price ($15) and all of the beer we sampled could be special ordered by Schneider's of Capitol Hill. Check out the other foodie events offered at the Hill Center.