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The Beer Circle » Atlas Brew Works, Bluejacket, Breweries, Chocolate City, DC Brau Brewing Co., Right Proper Brewing Co. » DC Breweries Tour Recap

DC Breweries Tour Recap

DC Brau's The Public

DC Brau’s The Public

This past Saturday, despite a continuous deluge of wintry mix in the Washington area, a car full of good friends drove across our nation’s capital to see five different breweries: DC Brau, Atlas Brew Works, Chocolate City, Right Proper, and Bluejacket. A testament to the success of craft beer right now, the longest drive between breweries was 15 minutes. The fun breweries paired with almost everyone being a bit sleepy and hungover made for a very enjoyable day with more than a few great quotes.  Growlers in tow, we started off at DC Brau Brewing Company.

DC Brau is a bit hidden– we kind of thought we were lost.  With only a sign on the shopping plaza marquee to alert you to its location, you have to wander behind the UPS store to be greeted by beer goodness. The giveaway should be whichever food truck has set up shop outside the entrance, which on that day was DC Slices (which has a bacon and pepperoni pizza, to the great happiness of brew tour participants). DC Brau gives you four tasters and the option for a tour. In addition to its lineup of year round selections, it had some specialties on tap, including The Exaltation, a holiday ale weighing in at 13.5% ABV; Pauncy Stout, an English-style oatmeal stout; and Model Citizen, a cream ale collaboration with Ska Brewing. DC Brau had a really fun atmosphere, and we’re excited for whatever it is that they’re barrel aging in the back of the brewery.  We were most impressed with the can-like glasses, which we stocked up on. They did have their garage door open, so if it’s chilly out you want to make sure to bring something warm.

“I feel like I’m pregnant…drinking for two,” -Justin Casavant, after finishing the designated driver’s, Russ, sample of The Exaltation.

Up next, we hopped over to Atlas Brew Works, a much newer and smaller venue. Not much more than a warehouse, Atlas offers corn hole to pass the time. As a group of seasoned tailgaters, we put on a show, where Jon and Paige handily defeated Russ and Justin. The three beers on tap, District Common, Rowdy Rye, and Saison des Fetes, lived up to the hype of DC’s second newest brewery. The standout was La Saison Des Fetes, a winter seasonal with which Russ filled Atlas’ iconic growler. From signs around the brewery it looked like we just missed a black IPA, which is unfortunate. We’re excited for the new beer coming out of Atlas. And have you seen their growlers? They’re awesome!

Atlas Brew Works w/ DC Brau Can Glass

Atlas Brew Works w/ DC Brau Can Glass.

The rain started to really come down as we drove over to Chocolate City Beer Company. Probably the most interesting looking building that we drank in on the tour, Chocolate City had three beers on tap. Unfortunately the best beer they had, Big Chair IPA, kicked before our entire group got a cup. Luckily, Paige split her four ounces with any who wanted a sip.  Chocolate City takes open concept to a new level, as there were  few birds flying around.  If it’s cold out, you definitely need a coat for this brewery.  They did have some tables and chairs outside that look like it would be fun to lounge at when warmer, but we were more concerned with standing under the heating duct.

“Oh yes, very soon. They are building it now,” -Garrett quoting Eurotrip explaining why he can’t take the metro from Reston to DC.

The proximity of the breweries caught up to us as we sat in the car for 45 minutes waiting for Right Proper Brewing Company, in Shaw, to open. After listening to Penn State lose a close-fought basketball game and playing road trip games designed to entertain toddlers, we braved the rain to find ourselves in a brewery that serves food. Nathan Zeender, Right Proper’s head brewer, gave our group a look at the inside of the brewery and tipped us off to a few beers on the docket. Expect to see some very interesting barrel aged offerings, as well as some funky saisons that breweries in this region are far from mastering. Complete with a very beer knowledgable serving staff, Right Proper is doing all of the right things for its first week being open. They had seven beers on tap, ranging from a 2.9% Wee Mild, Laird Fauntleroy, to the very tasty Bete Noir, an 8% Baltic Porter brewed in collaboration with DC Brau.  Russ really enjoyed his Raised by Wolves, a 5% aromatic pale ale, and Paige really enjoyed Ornette, the 3.7% grisette (which is a style akin to a table saison).  We will be sure to check back in for a more robust review in the future, but definitely recommend that you check it out!

Are they fighting...or loving? You decide.

Are they fighting…or loving? You decide.

Right Proper also has an interesting mural gracing the wall in the center of the dining area. This calk board masterpiece, created by Patrick Owen of chalkartdc.com, catches your attention first with a fox turning its laser beam eyes against anti-aircraft raccoons and rats, continues on with some Pandas in a compromising situation cracking the Washington Monument, and ends with the White House returning to its War of 1812 days. Maybe the British would have had more luck if they had armed animals on their sides.

Finally, we found ourselves in the Navy Yard at Bluejacket. Some of us were no stranger to the three story brewing and its twenty hand crafted offerings, and those who were new saw what the hype is all about. A standout of the evening was Lost Weekend, the blond, citra IPA that was the best hoppy beer of the day.

“I just want to put on my pajamas and watch Eurotrip,” -Paige after walking in the rain to Bluejacket (and threatening to make one of the men carry her back to the car afterwards– the perils of a post foot surgery beer tour).

One of the standout facts of this tour is that only Right Proper and Bluejacket require you to pay money to try the beer. Typically DC is a place that charges for anything and everything, but this tour could be done for less than your average brunch. We will be sure to get to Three Stars Brewing Company before too long to round out the set. Thanks to those who met us along the way, and to the new friends that we made. We will definitely be doing this again.

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Written by Russ Beck, Paige Deckert and Garrett Miller

Russ can trace his beginnings in craft beer to sitting in Zeno’s Pub in State College drinking various craft beer options from across Pennsylvania. Since then, he has never faltered in finding new brews, whether they’re rare, delicious, or hopefully both. Russ will be writing on a large variety of subjects, including but not limited to: reviews, homebrewing, and how to take labels off of beer bottles. He’ll drink just about anything, but prefers a nice Stout, IPA, or Weizenbock. Find Russ Beck on Google Plus

Filed under: Atlas Brew Works, Bluejacket, Breweries, Chocolate City, DC Brau Brewing Co., Right Proper Brewing Co. · Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,