DC Brau is the newest brew to come to the DC area, and I am fairly certain you can’t get it anywhere else but the DC metro area. Therefore, if you don’t live here, that is too bad. DC Brau is the first beer to be brewed inside the district in the last 60 years. This new brew was masterminded by two men: Brandon Skall and Jeff Hancock. These two didn’t just wake up one day and decide they wanted to create their own beer. Jeff first had an apprenticeship at Franklin’s Restaurant and Brewery in Hyattsville, Maryland, Jeff then brewed at Grizzly Peak Brewing and Arbor Brewing companies, both in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and at Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick, Maryland. So, they clearly have a strong foundation on which to start brewing their own beer.
One of the very noticeable things about DC Brau is their decision to provide their brews in cans only. For years cans were the bane of beer lovers existence. Most of the beers that came in them tasted metallic and remarkably like pee. However, craft beer makers decided sometime in the past few years to reclaim this long hated packaging. Joining the ranks of 21st amendment and Oskar Blues (among others), DC Brau joins the hipster can revolution. On their website, they also explain the green aspects of the can. They site such things as the can being 100% recyclable, able to be donated for charity purposes, and the requirement for less energy to recycle. However, I would like to add one more detail to their mantra about the benefits of the can, it is extremely trendy right now.
I can’t speak for other areas of the country; however, DC is really high on the can right now. Travel to the newest hot spot in dc right now, The Atlas District, and you’ll see every hipster with a can of PBR in their hand. If you go to The Rock and Roll hotel you’ll even see them with PBR tall boys. The Pug has half of its menu in cans. Therefore, when I visited The Pug the other night to have my first taste of this new DC staple, it was no surprise to me that most of the patrons were sporting a can of Public Pale Ale. For me the funniest part of the whole thing was how the cans were being kept in a big white paint bucket behind the bar. As you can see, I even had my wife snap a little picture of me enjoying my first can for the purpose of putting it up here.
There was one very surprising thing I found about the taste of this Pale Ale; it’s really more of an IPA than a traditional American Pale Ale. There was actually such a bitter bite to it that the friend I was there with didn’t really want to finish his. He is not that big of an IPA fan. Of course given the atmosphere, it was kind of difficult to give this beer a full review. Perhaps I’ll be able to add more to the actual taste, color, and mouth feel later on. Ironically, DC Brau is working on releasing their actual IPA called Corruption Ale, as well as a beer called Citizen. Citizen will be a Belgian style IPA. Clearly these guys like their IPA’s. However, right now, just know that if you are looking for an IPA disguised as a Pale Ale. You’ve found it!
The great news is that these two brewers have opened the door for more brewers to move in to DC. Both 3 star brewing company and Chocolate City Brewing will be coming up in the next year. Also, DC has changed its laws so that DC brewers are allowed to do tastings in the city. This in part is thanks to the hard work of DC Brau to get the law changed.
As far as I know, you can’t find this beer anywhere in the country as of yet. But, it couldn’t hurt to go and check for yourself. If you happen to visit the city and want to check out this beer, check on their website for where you can find their beer. They have a tracker on their site that tells you everywhere their beer is carried. For me, I’ll be heading back to The Pug sometime soon for another can.