District Chophouse & Brewery

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(202) 347-3434

First Visited

March 11, 2017

District Chophouse and Brewery is the oldest continuously operating brewpub in Washington, DC proper. This high-end brewpub opened its doors in 1996, in what was formerly the First Bank of DC. And you can definitely bank on good food and beer at District Chophouse and Brewery.

Bourbon stout: two words that make the District ChopHouse & Brewery a delicious destination. Barrett Lauer, who has been the brewer since 2004, ages the stout in bourbon barrels. He lives in Baltimore and commutes to Washington.

Lauer got his start as a brewer at the Wharf Rat in Baltimore’s Fells Point, where he met his wife and learned English-style brewing, followed by a stint at Baltimore Brewing, where he learned German-style brewing.

Lauer normally brews on Tuesdays and Thursdays, when he does double brews. Having five fermenters at the ChopHouse gives him flexibility in responding to changing demand. The brewpub even has a grain silo atop the building, which is unusual given that it’s located on busy Seventh Street in the Penn Quarter entertainment district. Museums and theaters are nearby, and Clara Barton’s Missing Soldiers Office, which opened in 2013, is just a half block away.

The District ChopHouse has the capacity to brew eight hundred barrels per year, all of it sold on tap. Lauer always offers amber ale, bourbon stout, nut brown ale, IPA, light lager, oatmeal stout and what he calls a “marker” (the brewer’s choice, such as a Velvet beer that uses nitrogen rather than carbon dioxide). “March is our busiest month,” he notes. With spring, people end winter hibernation and seek out bars to watch the March Madness basketball games. One thing you won’t find is cloudy beer. “I like filtered beer,” Lauer said. “I like the flavor better.”

The ChopHouse is owned by CraftWorks Restaurants and Breweries, a national business that also owns Gordon Biersch and Rock Bottom (there are ChopHouses in Boulder and Denver, Colorado). Just a few blocks away is Gordon Biersch (900 F Street NW), located in the historic Riggs Bank Building, a granite building built for the ages. It’s really quite stunning, and the effort to convert a former bank into a brewpub while keeping the building’s historic character is nothing short of amazing. CraftWorks operates another Gordon Biersch at the Navy Yard, as well as a Rock Bottom in Ballston.

The Chophouse has a sister establishment in Denver CO., the Denver ChopHouse & Brewery.

As a popular gathering place, our pride is in serving American steakhouse classics, paired with the city’s finest handcrafted beers brewed on-site. But we are much more than a steakhouse, offering a great experience at an affordable price, with hand-cut chops, fresh seafood and an extensive wine list, all in a unique turn of the century bank transformed into one of Washington’s hot spots.

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