FINDING HOPPINESS: DC’S BEST BREWERIES

There is never a bad time of the year for beer sipping. That’s what I love most about beer –– it’s versatile. Looking to warm up after a chilly day running around the streets of DC? Duck into a local joint and get yourself a porter, sure to warm you from the inside out. Sweating bullets after showing out-of-town guests around town in the heat of the summer? Slide into one of the area’s beer slingin’ bars and get a refreshing IPA. But while I love beer year-round, I must admit, we’re coming up on prime beer drinking season: Spring. When the weather finally gives way, lets us all out of homes, and hovers nicely around 75 degrees if only for a moment so we can sip a brewski on a patio or in the middle of a beer garden. It’s a magical time for those who can appreciate a great pour. Luckily for the beer affectionados that call the District home, there are plenty of local brews to be had in these parts. Some breweries worth stopping into include:

 

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Right Proper Brewing Company

Right Proper Brewing is not for the faint of heart, or those tentative to try craft brews. These guys focus on tart, funky beers at their two separate locations in the city: one at Shaw Brewpub & Kitchen, which turns out their fun craft beers alongside tasty, southern inspired nibbles and one at The Brookland Production House & Tasting Room, which is where the majority of their beer is made. Brookland offers a tasting room for flights, half-pours, full-pours, or to-go growlers. A taste test of some of their beers might include:

White Bicycles – Rustic Witbier (5.4% ABC)

Herbal, Funk, Candied Lime – “a delightfully refreshing take on a traditional wheat beer”

HAXAN – Robust Porter (7.0% ANV)

“Enjoy notes of coffee and chocolate frosting in a full-bodied porter”

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Hellbender Brewery

Hellbender is named after an endangered salamander species, and is unique in that they use a rare mash filter brewing process in order to manage their impact on the environment (and of course, the Hellbender Salamander). Here, you can peep around corners on tours on Sunday, or just drop into their tap room for one of their classic offerings while playing friends in the available board games. Oh yeah, and on Saturdays, Timber Pizza stops by to cater to your munchies, with Tamales Pachuca answering the call Wednesday through Friday and Sundays. A few samples of what you might find on tap here include:

Skip to the End – IPA (7.2% ABV)

“A crisp, bold IPA with citrus on the nose and pine on the back of the tongue.”

Bare Bones Kolsch – Ale (4.7% ABV)

“Traditional German-style ale light and crisp with a spicy finish from American-grown noble hops.”

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3 Stars Brewing

3 Stars is a staple on the DC beer scene ­­–– meaning that the tasting room is often packed. But according to many of their reviewers and faithful fans, “the beer is worth it.” Also known for great friendly service, the brewery was started by a couple of longtime friends who had a then long-shot vision of making the District a world-class craft beer destination. Their Urban Farmhouse Tasting Room often feature the best food trucks available, and on Saturdays, they offer behind-the-scenes tours almost all day. As an extra tip of the hat to their commitment to community, 3 Stars also runs a Home-brew Shop, where aspiring brewers of all levels can come to get the goods they need to make more beer (hey, it’s all for a good cause!). A few samples of what you might find on tap include:

Ghost – White IPA (5.9%)

“Bright, light, citrusy and crisp with a lingering hop bitterness.”

Citrus & Lemon Peel Saison – Saison (5.2%)

“Bright and refreshing with subtle citrus notes and a touch of tartness from the lemon peel and hops.”

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Bluejacket

Compared to some of its scrappier competition, Bluejacket seems to be the champagne of the DC beer scene. As far as breweries go, it’s a little more upscale and certainly a bigger operation than most, carrying more than 20 beers on tap at their tasting room on a regular basis. Unlike some of the other breweries on this list, their tours are a little more in-depth (and as such not free). They offer a more general tasting tour or a Beers & Bites tour which includes nibbles their accompanying kitchen, which serves up breakfast, lunch, and dinner to hungry beer drinkers daily. A few samples of what you might find on tap include:

Lazy Jane – Double IPA (8.0%)

“Massively aromatic, with vibrant notes of orange, lemon, grapefruit, and tangerine.”

Naked Eye – Sweet Stout with Ginger & Vanilla (7.5%)

“Inviting, warming, delicious, brewed with oats and lactose”

If you can’t tell from this collection of beers on tap or snippets of breweries buzzing in the area, I’ll sum it up with this swift sentence: DC has a bangin’ beer scene – and it’s only getting better. Other honorable mentions for sipping tasty, hoppy, concoctions include Atlas Brew Works, DC Brau, Port City Brewing Co, Aslin Beer Co, and Capitol City Brewing…and that’s not even an all-inclusive list. Bottoms up!

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