Like the microwave, the pacemaker, and the Slinky, Port City’s Derecho Common is the fortunate, if accidental, byproduct of nature and some experimental science. At the June 29 annual Virginia beer release, this year held at Mason Social, Port City released its seasonal Derecho Common, a “California Style Common” that emerged out of the beer’s namesake storm in 2012. Tammy Portnoy, beer admiral of marketing,” said she was at Hoffman Theaters when the power went out and left more than a million people without power.
Beers are divided into two categories: ales, those brewed above 65 degrees, and lagers, brewed below 65 degrees. At the time of the power outage, Port City was in the middle of brewing a pilsner, a type of pale lager, but a power outage caused the Pilsner to begin fermenting above 65 degrees. Head Brewer Jonathan Reeves let the lager continue to ferment and “dry hopped” it, adding additional hops to the concoction to alter the aroma and taste. The Derecho Common then had an extremely limited release in August, but the demand was so high that the next year the company replicated the process.
For the 2015 release, Portnoy said the company used a different combination of hops for dry hopping. While none of the patrons complained, most of the Mason Social’s patrons admitted they couldn’t taste much of a difference between this year’s Derecho Common and the previous year’s.
“I guess it’s a little hoppier than last year, but it’s not ‘overly hoppy’,” said Mike Brown.
“It’s lighter than most ales,” said Chris Sims. “It’s smooth, not too heavy. It’s my first time trying it, but I’d definitely get it again.”
Derecho Common will be one of the beers featured in the company sponsored July 11 second annual Old Town Pub Crawl.