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Coming Soon to DC Micro (Nano) Brewery – Chocolate City Beer

Chocolate City Beer Headquarters in Brookland

There’s been a bit of chatter about a new DC Microbrewery. Many have heard of DC Brau but there is a second slightly smaller Brewery that is also poised to hit DC. They are called Chocolate City Beer. I sat down for a chat with two of the three partners at Looking Glass Lounge last week.

Ben Matz (left) Jay Irizarry (right) third partner not pictured is Brian Flanagan

Ed. Note: Sorry for the cell phone pic. Many may recognize Jay Irizarry as a Manager and Bartender from Wonderland and Looking Glass Lounge. Matz and Irizarry have been friends for years and have had a passion for brewing beers for just as long. What started as just a backyard experiment has turned into a legitimate brewery after lots of planning and a bit of luck. Both couldn’t understand why DC didn’t have a micro brewery (DC last had an active brewery in approx. 1958). Not only was DC missing an active brewery but they also noted nearby Philadelphia had around 20 successful ones. So why not DC?

While it is a passion for both, Matz, 28 has professional experience and has been a brewer for Gordon Biersch and Wild Goose Brewery up in Baltimore. Matz has perfected a few recipes while experimenting at Jay’s Capitol Hill home. To start, Chocolate City Beer will be offering two varieties to about 15 different bars/restaurants around town. They will be offering an IPA and are deciding between Dussledorf Altbier or ESB for their second variety. In the beginning they will only be offering these two types in kegs but expect to expand gradually over time.

They have recently secured a HQ in Brookland (see photo above). Their HQ is about 1300 square feet and will produce around 150 kegs a month in the beginning. They hope to start distributing their kegs around late Dec. pending permit approvals. For those who share a passion for brewing and want to start their own microbrewery, in addition to expertise, start up costs can easily run up to $200,000. But they welcome the competition, believing DC will see 4 or 5 more microbreweries pop up in the coming months.

Now for the name – Chocolate City Beer. It is an homage to the District of Columbia based on DC’s nickname from back in the day. Furthermore, their first IPA is going to be called Big Chair IPA in tribute to the Big Chair in Anacostia. They almost had the HQ in Anacostia but the spaces were too large. The recipe for Big Chair IPA was developed over a two and a half year period.

I’ll be sure to update when distribution gets started for one of DC’s first new microbrews. I know I’m looking forward to tasting a Big Chair IPA.

Lots more photos of Chocolate City Beer HQ after the jump. You can see a few touch ups are needed…

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