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PoP Preview – DC Brau Brewery

Whenever I have complications running the site I think back to days like this visit and remember how lucky I really am. Last Thursday I was able to check out the soon to be in production DC Brau Brewery on Bladensburg Rd in NE. Some may recall that previously I also was able to visit the Chocolate City Beer nanobrewery in Brookland/Edgewood. Considering the craft beer bar scene has recently taken off in DC it is no wonder that, after an absence of 50 years, the return of DC’s local breweries isn’t far behind.

I hitched a ride with the crew from Meridian Pint and a bartender from Red Derby over to DC Brau’s warehouse. We were given a tour by CEO Brandon Skall and President/Head Brewer Jeff Hancock. Ed. Note: I find the first the question I ask people I meet is “what neighborhood do you live in?” – Skall lives in Bloomingdale and Hancock lives in Columbia Heights. After taking a tour we learned that DC Brau will initially be producing 3 beers starting with the Public Ale.

According to their Web site:

The Public™ is a delicious easy drinking pale ale made from a simple recipe of quality grain and top notch American hops. Tawny hues of caramel and amber are a trademark of the Public ale as well as a delicious spruce crispness resulting from a beautiful abundance of hops! This beer will be produced throughout the year and serves as the foundation of our product line.

Coming soon:
The Citizen™ (a Belgian-style pale ale) and the The Corruption™ (our IPA)

DC Brau already has 38 written letters of intent from bars to serve their beer and over 100 verbal requests from bars in DC and northern Virginia. While hesitant to give an exact date, Skall and Hancock, expect that Public Ale will be available in both stores and bars around the end of April.

A bit more background is also provided on their Web site:

Enter Brandon Skall and Jeff Hancock, two D.C. residents who, as music fans, avid bar goers, and enthusiastic men-about-town, are acutely aware of the empty tap handle or store shelf where a local beer ought to be found. These two men, sharing years of experience in both brewing and beverage distribution, are uniquely equipped to fill this void and thus have decided to combine their knowledge and passion to found the DC Brau Brewing Company. With extensive experience in restaurant management and the beverage industry, Brandon will handle sales duties and the business of the brewery. With extensive experience in the commercial brewing industry, Jeff will be the Brewmaster. Since serving an apprenticeship at Franklin’s Restaurant and Brewery in Hyattsville, Maryland, Jeff has brewed at Grizzly Peak Brewing and Arbor Brewing companies, both in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and at Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick, Maryland. With their individual talents and a shared love for the city, Brandon and Jeff form a perfect team to bring a delicious, locally brewed beer to the consumers of D.C.

I gotta say I don’t know a whole lot about the science behind brewing beer but to the layperson, the warehouse looks awesome (lots more photos after the jump.) It is around 7,000 square feet and at first will soon be producing 400 kegs a month (not to mention the cans). And while I don’t know a lot about the beer production process (besides consuming it) the folks from Meridian Pint and Red Derby who do know a lot were equally excited and enthusiastic. After talking to Skall and Hancock, it is clear that DC Brau is much more than just a business idea – it is their passion. And if there’s anything I’ve learned after observing and talking with some of DC’s entrepreneurs – it is that the truly passionate ones are almost always the successful ones.

Keep your eyes peeled for DC Brau in your neighborhood grocery/corner stores as well as bars around the end of April.

Full Disclosure: Meridian Pint is a PoP advertiser and the folks from DC Brau gave me a t-shirt.

Lots more photos after the jump.

DC Brau CEO, Brandon Skall left, President and Head Brewer Jeff Hancock middle, with Meridian Pint Manager Drew

DC Brau CEO, Brandon Skall, simulates how the caning machine works.

Control panel

Best part of control panel

Awesome mural obscured a bit by a more awesome sight – hundreds of DC Brau cans

Meridian Pint Brewmaster, Sam, takes a peek

Future tasting room

Not affiliated with DC Brau but from the same parking lot, and well, I just wanted to share this sweet city sign.

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