Beer Buy: Dominion Beers

March 4th, 2012

dominion-baltic-porter (via Dominion's Facebook Page)

One of the reasons Philly is always mentioned among the nation’s (world’s?) best beer cities is the plethora of great craft brewers in the area. Interestingly, though there are a few excellent brewers in town, the greater Delaware Valley is home to even more (and arguably better) than inside city limits. From Victory in Downingtown to Weyerbacher in Easton down to Dogfish Head in Delaware, we can compete with any area for quality.

One brewer that doesn’t often make that list, however, is Old Dominion Brewing Company (maker of Dominion beers), located in Dover, DE. Surely, however, if we include Troegs (Harrisburg), Lancaster, and Dogfish Head (Milton, DE) among the cadre of local brewers, we should also include Old Dominion. Or should we?

The brewery was founded in Virginia (hence the name), and made a name for themselves in the DC area. In 2007, they were sold to Annapolis-based Fordham Brewing Company (in a deal that was partially financed by Anheuser-Busch, who attained distribution rights but no say in the actual brewing process), creating Coastal Brewing Company, which relocated to Dover. Despite the move up north, promotional focus remains on the MD-DC-VA area, with taps at the Verizon Center and Nationals Park, as well as in the Great American Restaurant mini-chain. A quick look at the events list posted on their website shows that all non-Dover based events are in either MD, DC, or VA.

All that said, Dominion does make excellent beers. I’m currently loving their Baltic Porter, a winter seasonal with loads of classic porter flavor. Though this is a relatively big beer (6.8% ABV), the rich chocolate flavor removes any heat from the booze. There’s also hints of raisin (creating a tootsie roll kind of thing, but in a good way) and anise, with minimal hop bitterness. Pair it with some Italian sausage to bring out the licorice notes in both.

Others to look out for are the Oak Barrel Stout (year-round), Big Thaw Bock (Spring), and Dominion Octoberfest (one of the better American marzens).

(image from Old Dominion’s Facebook page)

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