Biking Around Town Vol. 10 – To The New Columbia Distilling Company (Makers of Green Hat Gin)

Green Hat

The New Columbia Distilling Company (located at 1832 Fenwick St NE Washington, DC), are the producers of Green Hat Gin and they will happily let you visit the distillery when you come by between the hours of 9am and 5pm Monday through Friday. If you come by on Saturdays between 1pm and 4pm, they offer gin tasting to go with your tour. Unlike the last time I visited an alcoholic beverage producer, I managed to show up when they were actually open. I was able to sample the new spring gin – it’s excellent.

Getting to the distillery was a little bit harder for me because I’m not as familiar with the streets in Northeast DC. Additionally, there are parts of northeast where the grid isn’t quite so… grid-like. Anyhow, I found a route composed of relatively quite roads, that should get you there easily. I will mention that there are a good number of small hills along this ride, so give your brakes a quick test before you head out. (Note: you should always do this).

I started the ride at 14th and Harvard street (NW). Heading eastbound on Harvard, I continued along until I reached Michigan Ave, south of the hospital. I continued on Michigan, until I reached Franklin Avenue, where I made a right to pick up Franklin. Franklin is pretty easy to ride on, but there are some of those rolling hills that I mentioned earlier. You’ll continue on Franklin all the way until you reach 14th street NE, which will be a right turn.

Continues after the jump.

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As you cross Rhode Island Avenue, 14th street changes names to Montana Avenue. It’s fairly seamless, because you are simply continuing in what feels like a straight line. It was so easy, I did not notice the name change until I checked the map before writing this post. Montana Avenue hits a round-about which is pretty easy to navigate to West Virginia Avenue. The best way to be safe in a DC roundabout is to follow the lights (or traffic) and wait your turn. Once you are on West Virginia you should keep your eyes peeled for Fenwick Street – it will be a right turn. The distillery is up a little hill on your left hand side.

This ride is pretty short, starting where I did it took about 30 min or so, traveling just under four miles total. In my route planning, I realized that there is another intuitive approach, which I did not put on the map. If you wanted to, you could come up West Virginia avenue from the south, via K street. That seems like it would work well if you were starting in a different place than me. Any route to keep you off New York Avenue, because that would be a bad time.

I would recommend bringing a friend on this ride, the gin tours and tastings are really cool. When I was there, they let me taste some of the raw ingredients, which was definitely interesting. It’s also possible to be a part of the community bottling effort, which looks like it would be a lot of fun to try out. You can sign up on their website (, or in person. Have fun, and be safe – keep the rubber side down.

18 Comment

  • “If you pizza instead of french fry, you gonna have a bad time.”

    Thanks for the route. My friend won a tour and tasting at the distillery, so we will be there soon. Also coming from Petworth, this is route is quite handy.

  • mtpgal

    Has anyone tried their gin? I’ve heard one very good review and one very bad so I’m curious. I wanted to buy a bottle and support the home team, but at that price I don’t want a crap bottle on my hands.

    • it’s not good.

    • justinbc

      Good and bad are taste specific, but personally I like it. The normal gin is quite herbaceous, unlike any others I’ve had recently. The new Spring / Summer blend I actually like more, and it works really well in mixed drinks due to the blood orange pop that comes through.

    • My roommate drinks more gin than anyone I have ever met and he loves it.

    • msmaryedith

      Obviously it’s ultimately just a matter of what tastes good to you, but I have liked both the regular and spring/summer versions a lot.

      And I also have a friend who normally HATES gin (she thinks it tastes like pine needles), and she has bought several cases of it from them by now.

    • I can’t tell you what gin you’ll like, but The Green Hat is good for drier and more aromatic cocktails. It has slightly sour and bitter qualities that work well with with these sort of drinks. I wouldn’t match it with any sweeter components, but their website does have some recipes for drinks that do.

    • It’s delicious! I’ve used it numerous times to a make a basil French 75.

    • Green Hat seems to be a love it or hate it thing. I’m an avid gin drinker and friends have given me a bottle of both the standard and the spring seasonal (which I think is a cool idea). Neither really fits my concept of a gin, and I don’t think I’ll ever buy a bottle of either, but I do find the spring seasonal a lot more pleasant than the standard. That said, other people love both, so it’s clearly a matter of preference.

    • Not a fan, but I’ll give it another shot.
      I love Plymouth but hate Sapphire and Hendricks so there’s where I stand.

  • I’ve had it a few times, definitely not your conventional gin. Definitely does have a sour aftertaste to it.

    I’ll always pick Broker’s Gin over any other gin.

    • justinbc

      Broker’s is good for folks who want the traditional London dry style. I’m glad to see the renaissance that gin is having though, and personally I’m partial to the various Old Tom varieties (Ransom, Hayman’s, etc). Normally I don’t like much sweetness in my drinks, but I think it balances out gin nicely.

      • saf

        Yeah – my husband is a gin drinker, and he likes the heavily botanic gins and the older style gins a lot more than the traditional London gins.

        I blame a friend who gave him a taste of Citadel (I don’t think that’s spelled correctly) when it first came out.

  • Could someone compare this to Hendricks? From the descriptions above, I take that it’s very different? (I feel like Hendricks has a sweeter, rounder taste.)

  • Reminds me of the one genever gin I tried, very aromatic, intense and herbaceous. Personally it’s not my thing, but I’ve heard good things about the summer batch they just finished. So I may give that a try.

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