Alexandria brewery re-creates derecho beer each year

(WJLA) - It was June 29, 2012 when thunderstorms packing 60 to 80-mile-per-hour winds took D.C. by storm – and introduced the area to the word, “derecho.”

More than one million homes and businesses plummeted into darkness for days – including Alexandria’s popular watering hole and brewery Port City, which had no power and was drowning in its own brew.

Ninety barrels of Pilsner were warming up to about 65-degrees Fahrenheit, explained owner Bill Butcher. Forty degrees is ideal, and those 25 degrees is apparently the difference between making a profit and crying into your beer.

So Butcher took to Twitter, creating the hashtag: “#savethebeer.”

Then, Port City figured out that high-heat Pilsner ferments into a brew called California Common, and a new legend was suddenly born: Derecho Common, a fruity beer with citrus notes.

"I'm not a beer drinker, [but] it really is a crisp, refreshing beer," says fan Bill Rogalski of Alexandria.

Now that beer has the green notes flowing in. Derecho Common sold so well that Port City profits have grown by 50-percent each year. So the recipe for the mistaken brew remained, and is now re-brewed on June 29 of each year – filling glasses, growlers, and this small business’ coffers.