Young and Hungry

A D.C. Brewery Is Born

It's official. DC Brau is the first production brewery to operate inside the District of Columbia in more than 50 years. On Thursday, founders Jeff Hancock and Brandon Skall received their Certificate of Occupancy (on St. Patrick's Day and Hancock's birthday, no less). Today, the brewing begins.

Public Ale, the small craft brewery's pale ale, will be the first brew out of the tanks. This morning, Skall and Hancock started a dial-in batch to see how the pilot recipe works on the brewery's large-scale equipment. "We're keeping our fingers crossed that it will come out right," Skall said.

According to Skall, Public Ale cans and kegs should be available throughout the Metro area by the second or third week of April. DC Brau will be distributed by Hop & Wine Beverage, a local company that carries over a hundred brands of European imports and American craft beer. "We are comfortable with them and really respect what they do in the market. They are craft beer specialists. They get everything about craft beer," Skall explained.

Now that DC Brau has a green light for production, Hancock and Skall are putting their collective nose to the grindstone. "We are going to brew and brew," Skall told me. "It's really exciting to have beer in the tanks after all these months of planning and building."

In the meantime, Skall and Hancock are leading an effort to get local law changed so breweries can have on-site tasting rooms and serve their beer to the public. Last month the duo helped introduce The Brewery Manufacturer’s Tasting Permit Amendment Act of 2011. The latest news is that Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham has called a hearing for sometime in April before the council will bring the bill to vote. The hearing will allow a chance for District residents to speak out in favor or against the change. Where do you stand?

Photo courtesy of DC Brau

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  • Dan

    I think passage of that Act will be a huge boon to all the incoming breweries in the District. It will allow them to market directly to the customers and they will be able to become destinations for both District residents and tourists from around the world. Tasting rooms and brewery tours don't attract the drunks and rable-rousers that a regular bar might so I can see no reason why this Act shouldn't pass a quickly as possible. Looking forward to trying all this new District brew!

  • EP Sato

    YES! I love it. A DC brewery that is legitimately DC?

    Count me in. I don't even like Pale Ales but I'll drink one brewed right here.

  • Josh

    The brewery tasting room bill is a no-brainer. Must support. It's the best way to get fresh beer. Pure local.

  • Ashley Joyner

    A tasting room is for tasting, not guzzling and it makes perfect sense. Quite a few local jobs are riding on the success of this company and in addition it brings PRIDE in a locally developed product. Here's hoping that DC Brau will be an instant hit.

  • Mike

    Go DC Brau!

    The tasting room, as everyone has already said, is a no-brainer. The likelihood of it producing a steady stream of idiot drunks is far lower than any of the countless bars that populate DuPont, Adams Morgan, U Street, or countless other neighborhoods. So long as there is a bar catering to college kids in this town there is no reason to not have tasting rooms.

    And craft breweries are popular tourist attractions... Ask any of the breweries operating outside of the city. Tasting rooms go a long way to generating brewery tours and interest in a local product and business.

    Dogfish Head has parlayed a small brewery with a tasting room into an ever-growing business with multiple restaurants, a distillery, and a TV show on the Discovery Channel. DC should bend over backwards to support a native craft brewery like DC Brau.

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