My friends and I had plans to visit Maryland. My other half, a craft beer connoisseur, suggested we make a pit stop at DC Brau Brewing Company, Washington, D.C.’s first production brewery in almost 60 years.
With experience in both brewing and beverage distribution, D.C. locals, Brandon Skall and Jeff Hancock, opened DC Brau Brewing Company with the desire to be D.C.’s brewery that sells in local stores as well as on tap outside of the area. Located in the northeastern part of D.C., the brewery offers beer enthusiasts and visitors with tours, tastings, and take-aways.
Before beginning the tour (tours are only on Saturday’s at 2:00pm, 3:00pm, and 4:00pm) we thought it best to replenish ourselves and try the beer that we’d be learning more about later. Flights and pints are available for purchase and are consumable only on the premises. 6’ers and 32 and 64 ounce growlers are available for filling and purchase as well, but cannot be consumed at the brewery. In case you get hungry, snacks are provided from a food truck parked right outside. The food trucks vary by day. Food truck information can be found on DC Brau’s Facebook and Twitter. We were able to grab our beers and drink them amongst the brewing equipment while seated at a few tables and chairs. The walls of the vicinity were adorned with modern street-like art along with several of the brewery’s awards won both nationally and internationally.
I sampled The Citizen, a Belgium pale ale that’s an original DC Brau brew. This brew has a sweet, bread-like taste. The sweet apricot compliments the bread-like malt and spiced yeast for the overall flavor. The brewery notes that The Citizen is given the pale ale name for its coloring and not the bitterness found in most American pale ales.
My “craft beer connoisseur” got a flight of three brews; On the Wings of Armageddon, The Corruption (On Nitro), and Alpha Domina Mellis. My connoisseur’s favorite was On the Wings of Armageddon. The creative name was DC Brau’s way of commemorating the Mayan and Hopi calendars “transition from one world age to another” that was predicted to happen on December 21, 2012. This Imperial IPA has an intense hop flavor and smooth bitterness. This refreshingly dry and really heady beer (cans) are only available at the brewery. The Corruption (On Nitro) is the midway point between an IPA and Imperial IPA. During our visit, The Corruption was available “on nitro.” This means the beer was introduced to nitrogen gas during the carbonation process creating much smaller bubbles allowing for a creamier beer (unlike CO2), deeming this brew “On Nitro.” A “nitro” tap with a restrictor plate is placed on the tap to force the beer through small holes before pouring into the glass. The smooth Nitrogen feel compliments the bitter pine and earthy flavors. Alpha Domina Mellis is DC Brau’s Double IPA jam-packed with lots of hops. This DIPA is crisp, bitter and fruity.
We originally had planned to join in on the 2:00pm tour, but got too “involved” in tasting the beers. We then followed the 3:00pm tour that met in the front taproom. While standing amongst the fermenters, the tour began with the history of the brewery. We were then led past the brewing schedules and into a back room where we were educated on the brewing process. We were able to taste the malted grain and smell the Amarillo hops used in some of DC Brau’s products.
In the tasting room, you’ll see tall stacks of DC Brau cans waiting to be filled. After doing some post-visitation research, I learned about the rather historic design on their cans. For instance, the brewery’s name pays homage to the traditional German art of brewing. “Brau” is derived from the phrase “to brew” in German. More honor to heritage is found in the diamond pattern in the background of the cans. These diamonds represent the diamond shape of the District of Columbia, as well as the diamond flag of Bavaria, Germany. Bavaria is the place of origin for the Reinheitsgebot, or “beer purity law,” that limits the ingredients in beer in Germany. The most interesting part of the packaging are the “factoids” about D.C. voting rights, scandals, history, and more. These designs are exhibits of the brewery’s adoration for beer history as well as their devotion to the D.C. area.
The DC Brau Brewing Company has a variety of different and innovatively crafted beers as well as a fun and relaxing atmosphere filled with blissful and beer-savvy employees. With free tours, an array of tastings, many events (including beer and yoga), and most importantly, a predominant D.C. admiration, DC Brau is definitely the brewery to be at in the area! Visit www.dcbrau.com to see so much more!