Wednesday evening was overcast and cool. It was perfectly comfortable to be outside with a light jacket but it was certainly cooler than DC would expect for the first week of June.
What a great opportunity, then, to drink an appropriately medium-bodied beer with a light touch like the Hellbender Brewing Co.’s new Ella Kölsch Pale Ale. Ella is definitely more pale than kölsch, with a dense but pleasing color and a bite of refreshing bitterness upfront but with that clean kölsch finish.
Hellbender debuted the beer during happy hour Wednesday at Dascha Beer Garden (1600 7th St. NW, DC), timed in conjunction with Savor Week — the days leading up to the Savor American Craft Beer and Food Experience at the American Building Museum (401 F St. NW, DC) on June 5-6.
Hellbender Brewing Co. (5788 2nd St. NE, DC) quite likes the kölsch pale ale, or KPA, style, and it has been experimenting with it a bit this year, previously releasing an Equinox KPA. According to Hellbender, “This new hybrid German/American style combines the traditional American pale ale recipe with German Kölsch yeast. The end result is a dry, refreshing pale ale with big hop flavor and aroma!”
The Hellbender KPA series will consist of beers built around various hops, subject to seasons and availability, the brewery said. The Ella hops is from Australia, and it imparts the beer with spices and flowers along with an aroma of tropical fruit. The Ella KPA weighs in at 5.7% ABV, 37 IBU, 6 SRM.
Ella wasn’t the only new beer to debut from a local brewer this week.
3 Stars Brewing Co. (6400 Chillum Pl. NW, DC) extended its collaboration series with Pizzeria Paradiso (3282 M St. NW, DC) to introduce Monday a new entry in its nine-part Paradiso series. The debut occurred at the Pizzeria Paradiso Monday Night Beer Club, which offers beer specials usually along a theme on the first Monday of every month.
The new beer, Paradiso: Sun, is a rustic farmhouse ale brewed with cedar tips. At 5.1% ABV, Paradiso: Sun was quite drinkable, and its woody flavor paired quite well with pizza! (Imagine that.) As always at Monday Night Beer Club, the knowledgeable Rob Fink, Paradiso assistant bar manager (and District Chophouse assistant brewer!), was manning the bar to pour the special and provides insights into their origins.
The entire collaboration series draws inspiration from Dante’s Paradiso. The first beer in the series was Paradiso: The Moon, a pale wheat saison brewed with sour oranges. The second was Paradiso: Mercury, a red wheat rye saison brewed with blood oranges. And the third was Paradiso: Venus, a blend of the first two beers aged in Sangiovese barrels.
All in all, Hellbender, 3 Stars and Paradiso brought fine new beers to a great week of events!