The Triangle - The Independent Student Newspaper at Drexel University

D.C. brewer makes pale ale with bitter, astringent finish

Washington, D.C., is a wonderful beer town. If you’ve ever visited a bar in the district, you’ve likely encountered a large, well-chosen draft beer list and plenty of people talking about craft beer. But despite a burgeoning beer scene, Washington had lacked its own production brewery for decades. Aptly aware of this void, D.C. natives Brandon Skall and Jeff Hancock used their years of experience in the beverage, food service and brewing industries to open DC Brau Brewing Co.

Located in the northeast corner of Washington, the brewery offers a handful of year-round brews along with a few seasonal and limited releases. They are small but growing, and judging by their website’s photos, the majority of their brewers are bearded, which is always a positive sign for a brewery. I haven’t yet seen their brews on tap in the Philadelphia area, but I suspect that will change quite soon.

While perusing the beer fridge at Rybrew, I opted to grab a can of DC Brau’s staple beer, The Public. This is their take on the classic American pale ale and is their most popular brew. Fittingly, the label is dominated by a large red silhouette of the Capitol building adorned with barley grains and hop flowers. On the opposite side of the can, there’s a factoid ostensibly endorsing the D.C. statehood movement. It seems clear that Skall and Hancock are in favor of statehood for Washington, and the brewery’s website even has a section devoted to the issue. Mixing beer and political commentary has never worked out well for me personally, but it seems somehow fitting for a craft brewery located in our nation’s capital.

I popped open the 12-ounce can of The Public and was immediately greeted with a powerful bouquet of fresh American hops. This beer smells fabulous. Five out of five stars. From the can into a pint glass, the beer pours a slightly hazy copper-amber with a frothy white foam stand. Part of the haze can be attributed to what I believe are lots of tiny hop particles swirling around in the beer, which is a pretty cool sight. Taking a sip, I was first surprised by the substantial malt presence, which nicely balances the aromatic hop flavors. Slightly astringent flavors creep in toward the end, and the beer finishes on a bitter note.

This beer’s bouquet of hops is splendid, and the upfront hop flavors are wonderful. I just wish it didn’t finish with such caustic flavors. It is, however, nice to taste a heavily hopped pale ale with such a strong malt presence. In any case, I’m excited to try more from this rapidly expanding brewery. Cheers!