The local craft beer scene is bubbling up, so don’t miss out on Washington, DC’s best breweries and brewpubs.
When you’re looking for a cold one, look beyond the big beer producers and taste something distinctly DC. Frosty, frothy, heady, hoppy, sour – whatever your preference, you can find it at any of these local breweries. Read on to explore the best breweries in and around DC, discover brewery tours and much more.
DC Brau Brewing Company
Founders Jeff Hancock and Brandon Skall took the DC craft beer game to the top shelf by opening DC’s first packaging brewery since 1956. Brewing and canning in Northeast since 2011 with brews such as The Public (American Pale Ale), The Corruption (a take on Pacific Northwest IPAs) and The Citizen (Belgian Ale), DC Brau is one of the fastest-growing breweries in the U.S. The brewery is open Thursday through Sunday and offers pints and growlers for sale.
Right Proper Brewing Company – Shaw Brewpub & Brookland Production House
Located a stone’s throw from the Howard Theatre in the historic Shaw neighborhood, Right Proper's Shaw Brewpub is all about creating a cozy brewpub for locals. Three friends conjured up the brewery/restaurant and they claim to be a brewery first, but you’d be fooled by its food menu, flush with coveted (and affordable) eats. That’s right, the brewery wanted to make sure dining out and drinking in wouldn’t break the bank, and they’ve succeeded. You can wash down a Southern-style fried chicken sandwich on brioche with suds from any of the eight rotating in-house taps. And don’t miss out on the group’s Brookland Production House & Tasting Room, which is open Wednesday through Sunday and allows you to bring in your own food.
District ChopHouse & Brewery
A favorite pre-game and post-game spot for Washington Capitals and Wizards games, District ChopHouse is more steakhouse than brewery. Order up its signature stack of huge onion rings, and keep a heady brew at hand, from the crisp light lager to the dry-hopped IPA or the caramel-y nut brown ale.
Red Bear Brewing Co.
The District’s only 100 percent gay-owned brewery is one of the newest addition to the city’s local craft beer scene. Red Bear’s three founders all met in Seattle before moving to DC, and the Pacific Northwest vibes are on full display from the homebrewed suds to the massive 7,000 square-foot space in NoMa. The industrial chic spot adorned with Edison bulbs and reclaimed wood pours hoppy West Coast IPAs, creative ales and a number of other brews catering to all preferences on a menu with plenty of personality and jokes. The family-friendly brewery (yes, kids are allowed) also features board games and a stage for live music.
As the brewing brainchild of Neighborhood Restaurant Group, famed beer director Greg Engert conceptualized Bluejacket to provide beer lovers with an expansive range of lagers and ales. Bluejacket’s impressive list of 20-plus beers and five cask brews (think: sours, saisons, blondes and more) are on full display in the 5,600 square-foot building that once operated as a boilermaker. The offerings there buck the macrobrew trend and are innovative, full-flavored and sometimes the result of collaboration with brewers from around the country.
Like the name suggests, Lost Generation pays homage to the hub of artists from the 20s and 30s and invites the modern-day community to come together over a cold one. Owners Jared Pulliam and Anne Choe, husband and wife duo, have created a space, and beer, with love and intention for anyone and everyone. Set in a 120-year old factory near Ivy City, the brewery offers a variety of lagers and IPAs, features food trucks (outside food is also permitted) and partners with local charities and artists.
Beyond being a craft brewery, taproom, arts venue and event space, City-State honors DC through its brews. Enjoy the 8 Wards IPA, Lost Laws pilsner, Featherduster hazy IPA, Kingman extra stout and Equal Marriage blonde and dark wheats to get a taste of the District's history and culture on tap.
Hellbender Brewing Company
The story of Hellbender is a story about two home brewers who could. Co-founder Patrick Mullane, a former Hill politico, and head brewer Ben Evans, a neuroscience geek, teamed up to take their side alley brewing project mainstream. Hellbender focuses on environmentally friendly pours. Its flagship beers include the German-style Bare Bones Kolsch, the citrus-y Ignite IPA and the floral Red Line Ale. Follow Hellbender's Twitter and Instagram for the local food truck line-up (outside food is also permitted).
Atlas Brew Works
Justin Cox and Will Durgin met at Vanderbilt University as two thirsty engineering scholars with a discerning taste for beer. Years later, the duo formed Atlas Brew Works to bring beer back to the neighborhood. They’ve succeeded with their popular growlers to-go set-up and an ever-changing stable of boutique brews you’ll find nowhere else.
Port City Brewing Company
Operating just outside of DC, Port City Brewery is the first production brewery to open in Alexandria, Va. since Prohibition. The brewery tapped its first keg in 2011 and has been busy reviving the DC area’s craft brew scene and peppering its trophy case with top medals (including the Great American Beer Festival's 2015 Small Brewing Company of the Year). Growlers are at the ready – buy one there or bring your own to fill up with your favorite Port City brew.
Take a DC Brew Tour
We’ve given you the lay of the land, but one of the best ways to get around to many of the breweries in one day is if you book a City Brew Tour. Taste as many as 16 beers at four breweries in five hours, all while being shuttled around the city. The experience comes complete with a food pairing and easy pick-up and drop-off. The DC Original Brew Tour is currently offered Friday through Sunday. Note: wear closed-toe shoes, not sandals.
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