Brewery Name: DC Brau Brewing Company
Type of Brewery: Retail Brewery
Location: 3178 Bladensburg Rd NE B, Washington, DC 20018. The brewery is located on the DC/Maryland border, just north of Fort Lincoln Park. Unfortunately, it isn’t super Metro accessible (but since the Metro is a perpetual disaster, you’re probably better off taking a quick Uber ride from Brookland anyway).
Facebook: DC Brau
Background: I have a confession to make: I used to hate IPAs. Back when I was in college, you couldn’t pay me to drink one. They were too bitter, too harsh, too overwhelming. Give me a good brown ale or lager any day. It wasn’t until years later that my tastes began to change and I started to realize that the pale ale was a style that it was possible to do an awful lot of things with. One of the beers most responsible for that realization was DC Brau’s The Public pale ale. It’s a rich and malty pale ale that serves as the perfect introductory beer for those trying to get into the style. I haven’t had much DC Brau since moving away from the city, but The Public will always hold a special place in my heart.
Growlers: Yep. DC Brau makes tasters, pints, cans, and growlers available at the brewery, so you can get a beer in pretty much any form you desire.
The Beers: There were seven beers on tap during our visit. Naturally, we had to try all of them.
Vibe: DC Brau is one of the most visible breweries in the city, so, if I’m being honest, I was expecting something a little more...corporate? But wow was I wrong. DC Brau perfectly captures the dive bar feel that they’re going for. Wooden high tops and barstools populate the small, intimate space, and the walls are covered in stickers, posters, banners, and all kinds of Washington, DC memorabilia.
The space is small and cozy--it almost feels more like a soccer bar than a brewery. There are a few TVs scattered around on the walls, and staff are always bustling in and out of the backroom, restocking beer fridges and helping out customers. When I say DC Brau upended my expectations, I mean that in the most positive way. The fact that one of the District’s most successful and high profile breweries has been able to maintain a small and grounded footprint within the city itself is very cool.
Honestly, I even love the fact that they serve their flights in scribbled on cardboard boxed. It’s that sort of casual, unassuming attitude that really draws me to the place. Not to mention the fact that the beer is pretty damn good.
Dogs: Not sure, but I would guess yes. We didn’t see any during our trip to the brewery, but since they don’t offer food and the setup is pretty low-key, it seems fair to assume that your furry friend won’t be turned away.
Price ($ to $$$$$): $$. Nothing too pricy here. Flights are pretty cheap, and the beer itself is affordably priced. You can find beers like The Public in just about any beer store in DC, but, for some of the more limited offerings, you might be better off heading straight to the brewery itself.
Food: No food here (unless you count bags of chips), which is probably for the best. DC Brau isn’t a huge space, and definitely feels designed to supply tasters and flights to as many people as possible while facilitating a pretty quick turnover. There just isn’t enough space to have people linger.
Final Thoughts: DC Brau is one of the most successful breweries in the city, and it has definitely earned that reputation. Sometimes I feel like DC Brau suffers from the Sam Adams Effect, which is to say that, for some reason, a certain subset of people seem to resent them for their success. I’ve never understood it, and I don’t think I ever will after spending some time in their actual brewery. DC Brau is run and staffed by cool people, remains dedicated to turning out high quality (and creative!) beer, and maintaining the same low-key attitude that they’ve always had. I would happily pay another visit to DC Brau, and I’ll happily order The Public anytime I see it in a bar. Cheers!
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