Not too long ago, our nation’s capital was a world-class beer town without a brewery to call its own. Since Christian Heurich had closed the doors to his brewery in the 1950s, Washington DC had no brewery whose products were available in local stores and on tap outside its site of production. There were brewpubs, yes, but no breweries. Enter Brandon Skall, Jeff Hancock and Mari Rodela.
Starting in 2009, the crew went about filling the glaring void in the local beer market. Two years later, on Tax Day 2011, DC Brau Brewing Company officially tapped its first keg of beer entirely brewed, packaged and sold within the District of Columbia. Since then, the brewery has crafted award-winning beer — utilizing a delicious and uniquely American blend of North American and European techniques and ingredients — with distribution throughout the greater National Capital Region, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and beyond.
DC Brau produces ales and lagers of many styles. Its flagship beers include Public Pale Ale (the majority of what the brewery produces), Citizen Belgian Pale Ale, Corruption IPA and Penn Quarter Porter. It also makes a number of seasonal beers.
Alongside its growler-filling station, DC Brau sells plenty of merchandise. One of the T-shirts reads, “Fermentation without Representation,”a riff on the city’s unofficial motto, “Taxation without Representation” (the city has no voting member in Congress).
In 2013, DC Brau teamed up with the DC Homebrewers and the Heurich House Museum to recreate Heurich’s Lager. Mike Stein, a home brewer and blogger at DC Beer, combed through Christian Heurich’s ingredient recipes archived in the National Museum of American History while trying to reassemble Heurich’s recipe. Stein created a beer using more modern ingredients that he felt represented Heurich’s pre-Prohibition lager. Jeff Hancock then oversaw its production at DC Brau. The beer was released during DC Beer Week at the Heurich House Museum. It was rich and higher in alcohol than most lagers today; as the beer warmed, the Saaz hops emerged, giving it a lovely citrus flavor (one participant commented that it was like sipping a zestier Kölsch). Jan Evans, Heurich’s granddaughter, attended the event and noted that her grand-father often preferred his beer a little warmer—he would put his lager on the radiator to warm it.
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