Inside a large gray brick warehouse at the northernmost Lamond Riggs section of Washington DC, HELLBENDER BREWING COMPANY began operations way back in 2014. Founded by home brewing aficionados Patrick Mullane (a congerssional aide) and Ben Evan (a microbiological neuroscientist), Hellbender’s ‘born of love, perfected by science’ slogan gets reinforced by the sustainable mash press filter brewing system which reduces water, grain, and energy use.
Surviving bankruptcy reorganization in 2016, the cafe-styled gray-walled office suite features a green-walled monster salamander mascot, wooden community benches, tile floor, twelve draught serving station and two TV’s.
On my one-hour stopover during March ’23, I consumed nearly all draughts available.
Hellbender’s premier beer, Bare Bones Kolsch, retained spritzy lemon perfuming, dry champagne sparkle, grassy hop astringency and mild mineral graining.
In its cucumber pureed variant, Kuhl As A Cucumber Kolsch, the lemon zesting receives earthen vegetal fungi above its tidy pilsner malt base.
Dry-hopped Special Lager Friend brought tropical guava-pureed passionfruit souring and tangy pineapple lemonade zesting to cologne-perfumed spicing.
Year round India Pale Ale, Ignite, a dark amber moderation with Citra-Centennial-Nugget hop conflux possessed laid-back grapefruit, orange and pineapple bittering as well as ancillary tangerine, clementine and peach tanginess seeping into its dank pine resin above sugared pale malts.
Hazy IPA, Panda Strike Force, let dank wood tones saturate its yellow grapefruit and orange rind bittering and gingery lemongrass herbage over lightly creamed oated wheat.
Perky New England IPA, Unidentified Hazy Object, stayed dry as spritzy grapefruit, orange and pineapple zesting settled alongside Savignon Blanc-derived green grape, guava nd passionfruit sourness.
Ambitious golden ale variant, Love You Honey Bunny Imperial Honey Ale, let oak-toasted vanilla tannins trickle into wildflower honeyed sweetness, lemony gin snips and smooth vodka licks.
Another year-rounder, Southern Torrent Saison, stayed effervescent as floral lemony orange tanginess reached grassy-hopped astringency and wispy peppered herbage.
Breakfast pastry-like fruited sour, Blueberry Flapjacks, a pinkish magenta-hued elixir, knocked off a cinnamon-dusted blueberry pancake embellished by lemon-juiced orange peel zesting above floury vanilla-sugared batter.