Stars and Bars: DC Embraces Hellbender Brewing Co.

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Glen’s Garden Market (2001 S St NW, DC) today began offering Red Line Ale from the Hellbender Brewing Co. (5788 2nd St NE, DC).

Named after the popular transit line of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, the Red Line Ale has been quickly popping up around town in places that I’ve visited like Pizzeria Paradiso and Maddy’s Bar and Grille, generally distinguishing itself as a very quaffable and visible offering from the newest DC brewery. (You can visit the brewery’s website for a full list of where Hellbender beers are currently on tap.)

I paid a visit recently to Hellbender Brewing, which barely sits within the District line in a quiet office park not too far from the Fort Totten Metro Station. The brewery is clean, new and pleasant, and its tasting room is large although it feels a bit like a campground cafeteria or a snack bar on a suburban college campus somewhere.

When I was there last week, Hellbender was offering three of its beers — Red Line Ale, EFT IPA and Grampus Smoked Nut Brown. All three of them were pretty darn good, and this is coming from a fellow who doesn’t enjoy too many brown ales.

The Red Line is clearly emerging as the Hellbender flagship beer, and for good reason. It’s easy to drink, it tastes good and it packs just the right amount of punch at 6% ABV. The amber ale remains light and refreshing as you drink it.

The EFT IPA is a very pleasant hoppy beer weighing in at 6.8% ABV. It also has a good flavor and goes down quite smoothly.

The Grampus Smoked Nut Brown smoked beer is made with Applewood/Cherrywood smoked malt from the Copper Fox Distillery. At 6.2% ABV, it is also a satisfying beer, and more importantly it avoids tasting too smoky.

Hellbender also offers a Bare Bones Kolsh at 5% ABV and seasonal hefeweizen, saison and pumpkin ales.

Co-founders Ben Evans and Patrick Mullane are off to a strong start with their young brewery. Visit them sometime on Thursday and Friday from 5-8pm or Saturday 1-6pm.

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