From Rob Fink. Follow him on Twitter @RobDFink or email him at rob[AT]borderstan.com.
For the longest time, Washington was a tremendous beer city without a production brewery. Restaurants with reputable beer programs, such as Brasserie Beck or Borderstan mainstay Churchkey, had firmly established the District as a city where you could get a great beer, but it wouldn’t have been brewed in the District.
2011 changed all of that. The first production brewery inside the District since 1956, DC Brau, became the city’s progenitor and vanguard of craft brewing.
It is significant to note that things such as “growler hours” and “tasting rooms,” so ubiquitous in other areas of the country where craft brewing has a deeper cultural hold, did not exist before DC Brau. Prior to opening their facility, DC Brau worked tirelessly with D.C. City Council to write legislation to allow an on-site tasting room in addition to allowing patrons to purchase beer for off-site consumption (“growlers”).
Although not in Borderstan proper, 3178-B Bladensburg Road NE is a comfy spot not far from New York Avenue, and home to DC Brau. After ascending a short staircase, you immediately enter the tasting room. Looking straight ahead, T-shirts, “onesies” and other merchandise emblazon the walls with a punk rock aesthetic while on the right, a small group of red tables makes things comfortable for patrons.
As a visitor this past Saturday during their growler hours (1 to 4 pm), I was fortunate enough to sample Ghouls Night Out, a Belgian-style Quadrupel and a liquid ode to the audio debauchery of the Misfits song carrying the same name. At 10.5% Alcohol by Volume (ABV), hoards of peppery phenols waft into the nostrils before the first sip of brandied plum and raisin overload the taste buds, culminating in a pleasingly dry finish. Upon arriving home, I cracked open my growler of Ghouls Night Out and threw on my favorite Misfits record, Walk Among Us, in order to complete the experience.
Thankfully, the beers of DC Brau have made it out to a plethora of accounts in the District and into Virginia as far as Charlottesville. With plans to more than double their capacity in 2013 (up to a possible 17,000 barrels per year), DC Brau will eventually extend into Maryland as far as Baltimore.
Noah Shannon, DC Brau’s Account Manager, explains that the expansion will generally provide “beer more consistently to the market” and allow them to continue to roll out “two limited release beers every month.”
For those of us in Borderstan, this means more inimitable DC Brau libations at venues such as Cafe Saint Ex and the Black Cat, as well as more beer-centric establishments such as Churchkey and The Big Hunt.
Be sure to check them out on any given Saturday between 1 and 4 p.m. DC Brau Brewing Company is at 3178-B Bladensburg Road NE (202-621-8890).