One of the newest (soon-to-be) neighbors on the Mid-Atlantic brew block is the duo, Jeff Hancock and Brandon Skall, co-owners of DC Brau Brewing. The District's first 21st Century production brewery will crank out kegs - the first to do so since the last keg came off Christian Heurich Brewing Company's line back in 1956. These young men with big plans are turning an old factory into a new production brewery in order to make beer for the fine people of Washington AND the District...and of course the Virginians and Marylanders who work daily in the district...and yes (sadly) even the kickballers and interns are welcomed to belly up to the bar for some DC Brau.
So while Washington and the District may remain two separate cities well into 2011, at least they'll have a beer (or three) to unite and bring them together. DC Brau will offer its three flagship craft beers in cans: the Public Ale (Pale/Amber hybrid), the Citizen (same recipe as the Public but fermented with a Belgian yeast strain) and Corruption Ale (an IPA).
Its usually difficult for a lowly homebrewer to give advice to the big bad head brewer for his forthcoming brewery. If not for lack of input, typically for lack of access to the "big guy." Sure you might see the head brewer at some major beer festivals of national scope, but your time is limited and rushed, never with enough moments to discuss fermentation temperature or how a recipe could be improved. So although my best advice would be to tell head brewer Jeff Hancock not to limit his creativity, I know he has no plans to (along with kegs and cans are plans for one-off bombers - a single batch series). Not only does DC Brau have a great head on its shoulders, access is never a problem. Last week during DC Beer Week, Jeff and Brandon were regulars around town for all of the events. And while it was DC Beer Week, Jeff and Brandon are active members of the DC Beer community so there's a really good chance if you're out and about at some of DCs beer bars you will run into the dynamic duo and maybe even their better-halves!
The debate rages on about whether or not Washington, DC is a beer town. In my mind, DC is a world-class beer town. Despite where you stand even the skeptics must admit that the "brewmunity" based in Washington, DC is an amazing human network that far transcends promotional events, tweetups and tastings. I have a strong feeling that their beer will hold up to the "other" beers on the "craft beer scene." With Jeff paying dues at Franklin's, Flying Dog, Grizzly Peak and Arbor Brewing Companies there is little doubt in any one's mind that DC Brau will take the craft beer market by storm. Interestingly enough, DC Brau's entrance into the local community signifies the entrance of the first player in a potential tidal-wave of craft beers. The Nation's Capitol, DC, is often referred to as the "Wild Wild West" amongst beer insiders and distributors alike, in that there has not been full testing and vetting of alcohol laws the way there has been in other cities. There have been those good enough to sell made-in-DC beer through brewpubs: Capital City, District Chophouse and Gordon Biersch. But I have always found it troubling that you cannot take a growler home from those pubs within city limits.
DC Brau will be welcomed into the Washington, DC beer community simply because it's owners are already members of it. Of course they will have outstanding products and some delicious one-off specials but more importantly they will have the respect of the DC Beer Community and perhaps more importantly, the respect of those living in Washington AND those living in the District.
Michael Stein is a writer who lives in Northern Virginia. He is a proud member of the DC Beer Community and is an outspoken advocate for good beer. He writes for DC Beer and has also contributed to First Person Plural, a blog hosted by The Writers Center. Originally from New York City, Michael was bitten by the writing bug quite early on. He is currently pursuing his MFA in Creative Writing at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA.
After being in semi-seclusion for four years in rural Pennsylvania as he reached toward a degree in Psychology he would probably never use, Jonathan discovered a love of words, and began to use more of them on a daily basis - both on paper and by use of his vocal chords. You can find some of his writing on Popmatters.com, Glide Magazine’s HiddenTrack blog and Relix.com, but most of it can be found on the floor of his home or stashed away in files on his computer. He has recently fled the comforts of home in New York City for the vast open spaces of Colorado, where he breathes fresh air and is reaching towards a higher degree in Creative Writing. Aside from his work on BeerMadeClear, Jonathan is also the co-founder of the music-related website NoiseReport.net.
I hated beer the first time I drank some, but don't hold it against me, I was about 8 at the time. Then in 8th grade my older sister took me to a pool party at her friend's house and I tasted my first Pete's Wicked Strawberry Blonde. These days I tend to stay away from the fruitier flavored beers, but I owe my beer adventuring to that wonderful brew.
Since the time of my beer virginity I have gone through many phases of being a booze hound, including the high school drink whatever you can get your hands on phase, the college drink the cheapest beer you can find phase, the post college drink as many different kinds of beer as you can phase and am currently in the drink whatever I feel like phase.
Along with drinking beer, I also love to travel and find new beers, brew my own beer, drink wine, whiskey and tequila, and go to beer related events such as festivals and pub crawls. These passions have led to many trips to Europe, across North America and even a short stint in Brazil.
I think like everyone, I didn't enjoy the taste of my first beer. Thankfully that has since changed and I enjoy beers from all over the world.
I am an amateur homebrewer, but learn more and more with each batch. I enjoy trying new beers wherever I visit and almost always take too long with beer decisions, although that's not something I'm looking to change.
Besides beer, I find great enjoyment in traveling, music, the outdoors, cooking, new business ideas, and the power of advertising.
Looking back, the day that I became a true beer enthusiast was during my sophomore year in college when I tried a bottle of Troegs HopBack. Before that, I drank natty light or whatever was available at college parties, and whatever I could steal from my neighbors' garages in high school. One sip of that sweet brew forever changed my perception of what beer could be. Having the Selinsgrove brew pub around only fueled my passion for great beers (their IPA is still the best in my mind)
After graduation, I was lost for a year, working a job that I hated- selling insurance and financial products. The only things that kept me sane were playing music, brewing beer, and visiting the flying saucer in Raleigh NC. It is there that I was truly turned on to the world of Belgian brews. Trying such masterpieces as St. Bernadus ABT 12, Tripel Karmeliet, Delerium Tremens, Duvel, and Maredsous, I was once again amazed at the flavor spectrums that were made available in a beverage.
A year later, I moved back to PA, got a job selling beer and haven't looked back since. Prost!
Many of the beers I stole from my parents in high school made my mouth begin to water profusely after a few sips. Now, 10 years later, this phenomenon happens in reverse - I salavate at the sound of carbonation escaping from a bottle. Maybe I'm too dumb for my brain to appropriately catch on to Pavlov's theory of "Classical Conditioning" or maybe my taste buds just said screw it this guy's in for the long haul. I'm not sure. Either way, I've come to appreciate the many styles and flavors of beer that are around.
Who ever thought the "we'll talk in 10 years" conversation with your parents would sound like this: "Christopher, if you only put as much effort into doing something constructive as you do with your beer drinking you could get a lot done." I don't know what that really says, but as a former band member of the "Booze Brothers" according to my Dad, I would say that I thoroughly enjoy drinking beer.