My first two editions of WDDN were both cocktails. As it happens, this is a change a pace for me as I typically prefer to drink craft beer. I am always on the lookout for something new and exciting, and try as many different brews as I can get my hands on. Luckily for me, I was able to get a job doing a variety of things for 3 Stars Brewing. So, it should come as no surprise that I’ve been drinking a lot 3 Stars beer!
3 STARS BREWING
Since 2012, 3 Stars has been making super-drinkable and excitingly unique beers in the northern part of DC. Unfortunately, the brewery is still relatively small and distribution limited, with only DC, Virginia and Maryland receiving regular shipments. Boston and Delaware also receive monthly shipments, while New York City has seen a few offerings as well.
What should you be looking to try? Honestly, I like all the beers we make. I’m not just saying that, either. Before I started working for 3 Stars, I thought the few beers I had tried from them were solid. Nothing special, but still well-made. Now that I’ve had the chance to try them at their freshest as well as had a wider variety of the lineup, I’ve really started to dig them.
We’re not talking about over-the-top IPA’s like Trillium or Treehouse. This isn’t that kind of brewery. They can definitely make high quality juice bombs that seem to be all the rage these days, but those beers are relatively boring to make. Come up with a decent malt bill, then add as many hops as you possibly can. From there, just change the hops. This provides the illusion of innovation when really you’re only changing one ingredient. At 3 Stars, the brewers like to experiment with more than that.
As for the beers, here are the ones you can find in Mass:
- Peppercorn Saison:
This easy-drinking Belgian style ale is brewed with 3 different types of peppercorns for a light spice on the finish. It doesn’t have the bubblegum yeasty thing that some Belgian styles can have, so for me it’s a porch pounder despite being 6.5%. PS is the beer that first put 3 Stars on the map, as it was originally a home-brew recipe before the owners were pushed to bottle it and sell it by their friends.
- Diamonds are Forever:
Although the 16oz option is only available at Nationals Park, you can find the 12oz beers more readily. For the NEIPA fans, this is the beer for you. A sessionable IPA with a ton of juicy citrus flavors and a touch of bitter resin, this is as good if not better than any session IPA I had while running a beer department up north. This is the newest addition to the core lineup, and in my opinion the biggest crowd-pleaser.
- Southern Belle:
This is another one of the beers they made when first launching almost 7 years ago. Southern Belle is an imperial brown ale brewed with roasted pecans. Soft, smooth and nutty, this is my preferred beer pairing for a burger. I have noticed a slight variation of flavor from batch to batch, but this is a killer beer for cooler temperatures and fans of darker styles.
- Ghost IPA:
This is my least favorite of the core lineup, but that’s not to say I don’t like it. Like almost all of our beers, this one is brewed with a large percentage of white wheat malt, which is why it was originally labeled as a White IPA. However, the only citrus you pick up is a modest dose that comes from hops, unlike what you’d expect out of a traditional white ale. The bitter/resiny quality is a little much for me, but I’ve found most people around the brewery will go to Ghost for their “on-the-clock” beer.
I really love how 3 Stars likes to push the envelope and come up with as many new and strange styles as they can think of. We recently bought out a huge space connected to our current brewery, so when all of the renovations are said and done we’ll have two to three times as much space. This includes a new 470-person event space, an enlarged Funkerdome for sours, triple the size for cold storage, and room for more brewing tanks. Unfortunately, I will be gone by the time it’s all done, but I’m excited to see where the company goes!