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Friday Question of the Day – What’s Your Favorite Local Brewery/Beer?

by Prince Of Petworth — October 4, 2012 at 10:22 pm 62 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user ekelly80

It’s awesome seeing the revival of the local DC beer scene. But for today’s question let’s also include one from Alexandria, VA, one from Baltimore, MD and one from Frederick, MD. So what’s your favorite local brewery? What’s your favorite beer from that brewery?

Did I leave anyone out?

3 Stars, Chocolate City, DC Brau, Flying Dog, Heavy Seas and Port City.

  • Stephanie

    Oh I want to dislike VA, but I love Port City. I’ve had an obsession with all of their beers since their inception.

  • I am going with DC Brau. The Corruption is a solid beer. Flying Dog has some decent entrants and I enjoy the Heavy Seas IPA. I am not hating on any of them, just think the corruption is better than any of the others for DC Brau.

    • Agreed, Corruption and their IPAs are amazing, Penn Quarter Porter has perfectly replaced Guiness for me. The Corruption has a very “grapefruit” taste and perfect alcohol volume. I can’t even drink Heineken any more which was my fav… So proud of DC right now.

  • Steve

    Not a huge fan of hops, so that cuts many of DC Brau’s selections out. I really like Chocolate City’s nacional; also really dig some of the odd selections coming out of 3 stars (lime basil saisson is delicious).

    • dcd

      I agree – I’m limited to the Citizen from DC Brau, which I like very much.

  • wp

    If we’re including Baltimore, my favorite right now is Resurrection Ale brewed by the good folks at Brewer’s Art and just recently released in DC. A tasty Belgian style ale in a can.

    • Anonymous


  • anon

    It’s Flying Dog and it’s not even close.

    • Yeah. Putting Flying Dog on the list is like putting a pro in with amateurs. Their new single hop line is tremendous. I am anxious to try 3 Stars. I’ve had most of the DC Brau stuff (unimpressive) and all of the Port City stuff (even more unimpressive), but I fully expect the local beer scene to continue to improve and pass Baltimore’s within a few years. I think Bluejacket will have a lot to do with that.

      • Anonymous

        i’d actually put flying dog on the bottom of this list. pro or am, whatever.

      • Anonymous

        I actually don’t like Flying Dog at all. Also at the bottom of the list for me.

  • I’d say that Baltimore’s beer scene is not really local – and also way ahead of ours. I like every brewer up there (you left out Brewer’s Art, Stillwater and Oliver’s). Here I’m enjoying DC Brau’s wide range these days.

    • Charm City

      Baltimore’s local beer scene is really getting good- if you haven’t been up north lately, check out Union Craft Brewing. They’re a very, very new brewery in North Baltimore, and their beers are really fantastic. They’re working on getting cans out at the moment, but the website has a list of bars that are carrying their brews, and their FB page has tasting info, sometimes they come down towards DC.


  • DF

    I have confidence Right Proper Brewing Company will blow these all out of the water.
    BTW, Heavy Seas is brewed by FD.
    If you want to go that far, Stillwater would be my choice followed by Brewers Art.

    • Beer

      Heavy Seas is not brewed by Flying Dog. Flying Dog doesn’t contract brew anymore, they don’t have the fermenter capacity to do so. Heavy Seas has its own full production brewery in Halethorpe, Maryland. Flying Dog is, of course, located in Frederick.

  • monkeyrotica

    No Williamsburg Alewerks? They make an excellent porter.

    • Anonymous

      Williamsburg isn’t even remotely close to DC.

  • burt

    i like them all.

  • Agree with the love for Stillwater on here. But of the ones listed, I think Port City is my favorite. Never had something from them I didnt like, and cant say the same for the others.

  • Anonymous

    If you’re venturing into Virginia, it’s worth mentioning Devil’s Backbone and Star Hill, both of which are located out near Charlottesville. Both have some really outstanding products.

    But Flying Dog is probably my favorite. They’ve REALLY stepped it up in the past few years, going from something of a novelty brewer, to being real innovators.

    • Devil’s Backbone makes some delicious stuff.

    • Agree on the Devil’s Backbone. Really good beer.

    • Starr Hill is clutch. Excellent stuff.

  • David

    Not fully operational yet, but don’t forget Bluejacket. They have been brewing with other craft brewers around the country until their brewery is operation next year.

    • Anonymous

      If we’re counting places that are not yet fully operational, there’s also Hellbenders.

  • Yeah, Stillwater should be on the list. My favorite by far!

  • Anonymous

    Lost Rhino!

  • Caroline

    DC BRAU for sure!!!!!!!!! Home town guys, home town brew, made within our city limits….it gets no better!! I hope they do the Redskins colors on their cans again this year!

  • Flying Dog makes some great beers, but I can’t stand most of their labels. Yeah, I’m superficial like that.

    • To clarify: I don’t like the labels ascetically speaking, not metaphorically.

  • new

    Heavy Sea’s Loose Cannon has been one of my favorite beers from the first time I tried it. The also offer one of the most informative brewery tours I have been on.

    I have been very impressed with what 3 Stars has done in a short time period. I like DC Brau’s limited releases much better than their flagships.

    • anotheranon

      Yes yes yes! Right up there with Ranger (New Belgium Brewing) and Commodore Perry (Great Lakes Brewing). The uber-hoppiness of those beers is SO GOOD.

  • JDS

    DC Brau if we’re talking DC and suburbs, with Port City in second. DC Brau is by far the most innovative of the local breweries. If we’re extending it out to Baltimore, Brewer’s Art and Stillwater definitely deserve consideration, but I think I’d still have to go with DC Brau simply because of their great collaborations and one-off brews.

    Chocolate City and 3 Stars have put out some really mediocre brews and just aren’t there yet.

    • I think that 3 Stars will get there. Choc City, maybe not so much.

  • I like Beer

    Natty Boh! (or it would be if it was still brewed in Baltimore 🙂

  • Anon

    Franklin’s (in Hyattsville)

  • Pedro

    Geographically Charlottesville is nowhere near local, yes you can also read a map and pickup other beers from Virginia but that isn’t the point. Mad Fox Brewing in Falls Church is fantastic and will only get better in the next few years, that missed the list somehow.

  • jyw

    Very close to or in DC and Missing in Action from the list:
    Mad Fox – the Dingo IPA is amazing
    Lost Rhino – Awesome Pilsners
    Baying Hound
    District Chophouse
    Capitol City
    BlueJacket (only collaboration beers so far)

    and many more – http://www.yoursforgoodfermentables.com/2009/05/dc-twitter-conurbation.html

    • bajin

      Awesome Pilsners. Oxymoron if ever I heard one 😉

  • anon

    dc brau is the worst beer i have ever tasted…public and the citizen and i couldnt finish either. though i do support them and i hope they make a beer i enjoy.

  • anonymous

    Flying Dog was originally born in Denver, CO before they carpetbagged and moved to Frederick. Do they really count as “locals?” Hate their beer.

    • Anonymous

      carpetbagged? xenophobia is lame.

  • Phil

    I love that the DC beer scene has recently grown, but I truly dislike DC Brau’s beer. I have tried so hard, and so many times, to like it. Flying Dog for the win in this poll.

    • Anonymous

      their special release are pretty fantastic. no to those too?

    • Totally agree. I’ve tried DC Brau’s standards several times, and every time the beers have been average at best. I really want to like them (who doesn’t want to have more local good beer choices), but the quality just isn’t there yet. Everyone keeps talking about their collaborations, which are sometimes good, but it doesn’t speak highly of a brewery if their flagships are bland and they have to collaborate to make decent beer. That tells me that the other brewery is the one I should try, not DC Brau. From the comments here, it appears that DC Brau gets such strong support because it’s brewed here (which is fine) but it doesn’t speak to the quality of the beer. Another poster even attacked Flying Dog for being started in Denver and acted like that is a bad thing. Having roots in Denver is probably the reason that Flying Dog’s beers are so far ahead of their DC-based competitors.

      • FWIW, beer nerds outside of DC differ with your opinion. Only mentioning because of the claim that DC Brau is only popular for being local and trailblazing. Not exactly Russian River scores, but solidly good to very good, of course it’s fine if their beer is not to everyone’s taste. To each their own…

        The Corruption – DC Brau Brewing Co.
        BA SCORE – 86 good – 55 Reviews
        THE BROS – 93 exceptional

        The Public Ale – DC Brau Brewing Co.
        BA SCORE – 87 good – 78 Reviews

        The Citizen – DC Brau Brewing Co.
        BA SCORE – 81 good – 33 Reviews

        On The Wings Of Armageddon – DC Brau Brewing Co.
        BA SCORE – 94 exceptional – 34 Reviews

        • I think they do largely agree with my assessment. The reviews generally say that the beers aren’t bad, but nothing great, either. That’s how I would describe most of DC Brau’s beers – mediocre but not awful, certainly. You’re right though – to each his own.

          • The most respected beer reviewers in the county call their signature, in house IPA “exceptional”. Just go ahead and fully back-track from your initial comments about having to collaborate to make decent beer and only local support.

          • Slow down, champ. Who’s backtracking? I read the reviews you posted (I have to wonder if you have) and most of them were less than glowing. If some reviewers like the beer, that’s great, but hardly a consensus. So don’t mischaracterize your own linked info. and my posts. If you love DC Brau, that’s awesome. My experience is that they compare unfavorably with many of their competitors, both local and national. But after all, with DC Brau it’s all about the trendiness of the brand. Not the first Tim & not the last (Natty Boh & PBR, I’m looking at you). I hope DC Nrau improves I’d like to like their beers. But they’re not there yet . As other commenters have pointed out, things have improved in DC exponentially in terms of beer during the last 10 years. It’s a good problem to have when debates like this can occur.

          • Pete

            Um, 28th best Double IPA in the country (per B.A.) is better than “mediocre.” It is actually “exceptional.”

          • “But after all, with DC Brau it’s all about the trendiness of the brand.”

            This is where you’re objectively wrong.

            Just like “it doesn’t speak highly of a brewery if their flagships are bland and they have to collaborate to make decent beer.” was objectively wrong. Plenty of people respect the beer they make for recipe, execution and flavor. You have every right to speak for yourself in those areas and I respect that opinion. But you’re trying to classify other beer reviewers as having the same feelings as you, some do and many don’t.

        • +99

        • RateBeer (who I trust more than BA), also rates DC Brau pretty high: http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/dc-brau-the-corruption/142610/

          It’s not my preferred type of IPA (not danky enough, surprisingly given that it uses Columbus hops), but it seems that people outside of the District enjoy it enough.

          But at the end of the day, drink what makes you happy, whether it be High Life or DC Brau.

  • Tie for Flying Dog and DC Brau.

    Flying Dog makes a lot of good beers and several EXCELLENT beers:

    Gonzo Imperial Porter
    Raging Bitch Belgian Style IPA
    Pearl Necklace Oyster Stout
    Double Dog Double Pale Ale

    DC Brau has solid year round offerings, but their colabs are really hit or miss for me. When they are on they are friggin’ awesome. My favorites:

    Penn Quarter Porter (oaked bombers FTW)
    On The Wings of Armageddon
    Middle Name Danger (colab w/ Stillwater)
    Thyme After Thyme (some interesting casks of it were around town)

    Port City also makes excellent beers. Not a fan of Chocolate City, and the jusry is still out on 3 Stars for me. If they can get more consistent they’ll be in the conversation. The Southern Belle is damn good.

    The fact that this is even a topic of discussion pleases me to no end. DC’s beer scene has grown by leaps and bounds in my 6 years here, it is unreal.

    Cheers everyone! TGIF.

    • Flying Dog Old Bay Gose is a fabulous example of local flavor in an excellent summer beer.

      • Agree 110%!

        I cannot tell you how excited I was to see it (the first time was at Churchkey). Gose is a style that I wish I could try more of. 2 Amy’s actually used to sell a VERY good one from some Italian craft brewery. Paired perfectly with the pizza.

        It’s not for everyone, however. I know a few MD beer drinkers who are grossed out just by the idea of Old Bay in beer, and they generally enjoy quality stuff.

  • Traveler

    DC Brau has excellent limited release beers. I don’t really care for the Public and Citizen, but the Corruption is great. Their Brainless Corruption is amazing. DC Brau gets extra points for being cool… they have done an excellent job of marketing themselves and their products. I am a huge supporter.

    I think Port City has a nice range of beers and I really like them. Quality.

    I have only tried one Chocolate City beer (copper Ale) and i enjoyed it.

    Flying Dog… overall, great quality. I didn’t really like the last beer I had (a specialty one at the brew pub).

  • TakomaNick

    The Heavy Seas Loose Cannon IPA is pretty awesome. It tastes good and at 7.25% you will feel it. I actually first had it at a bar in RI and didn’t even know it was somewhat local.

  • Beer Drinker X

    Starr Hill is great, local and sessionable. Should be on the list.

    Chocolate City has some really nice nuanced specialty beer.

    Haven’t had Three Stars.

    DC Brau overhops.

    Heavy Seas makes flavored water.

    I’ve only had one Port City, and it was decent. Need more to judge.

    Flying Dog Oyster Stout is really nice. The rest are overhopped.

  • CoHi

    Where’s Franklin’s on this list?

  • dchomebrewer

    I’m a big fan of 3 Stars – they’re doing some crazy weird stuff. Port City porter is also outrageously good.

    There are some breweries in the area that are better than others, but I can honestly say that there are no bad breweries here.


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