Tasting Notes: DC Brau

DC has its downsides. It’s not a state.

Henry Phillips

DC has its downsides. It’s not a state. Traffic is depression inducing. The city is built on a swamp and has the clime to match. The poor folks who reside there have to deal with the assholes who run our country.

But add to the list of good things (it really is a long list, despite our recent pessimism) DC Brau, the home-town brewery for our nation’s capitol, which besides this one, has surprisingly little beer to offer. Brau, founded in 2009 by two semi-hipster looking brewers with solid brewing resumes, offers a portfolio of three beers: The Public, an American pale ale, The Citizen, a Belgian pale ale, and The Corruption, a Pacific-Northwest Style IPA. After our own Henry Phillips grabbed a mixed six pack on his way home from Kevin Durant’s Nike shoe release this month, we got a chance to try all three.

The most popular of those three flagships is The Public, which has a hazy orange color with a frothy tan head. Its nose is full of toasted malt, citrus, and a not-insignificant amount of hops. The taste confirms these suspicions with immediate but not overpowering flavors of piney hops, grapefruit tartness and caramel. This all finishes with a pleasantly dry sensation in the back of the mouth, assuring the drinker that 6% ABV printed on the can isn’t a lie. The Public reminded us a bit of the Victory Prima Pils with its hoppiness and dry finish; this is quite a compliment, considering that the Prima Pils recently won our Malted Madness tournament.

The Belgian Pale Ale “Citizen” is a style near and dear to our hearts. It had a lot of the qualities we’ve come to expect when cracking a BPA: a thick, white head, a white wine tartness on the nose and palate, a bit of an alcohol burn on the back end. It also stood apart from the crowd through a big banana flavor and a certain lack of the yeasty “funkiness” that some beer drinkers look forward to. Overall though, the Citizen is an extremely drinkable BPA, impressive since it comes in at 7% ABV.

The Corruption IPA has a gorgeous dark brown, almost cinnamon, color, and an offwhite head. Pungent hops and caramel on the nose transitioned to the tongue, opening with toasted bread and even slight fruitiness before descending into pervasive piney hops once again. This is a big beer packed with flavor, and could certainly induce a nap on a hot day. This is not necessarily a bad thing.

Which is all to say that these are some very good brews; this has clearly been recognized, as the brand is now being distributed in parts of Virginia and Maryland. So the next time we wade through traffic to visit DC, we’ll filibuster our friends’ bar-hopping plans till we find it on tap. Then we’ll drink it heavily, and avoid discussion of politics like the plague. Good beer is a much better topic.

Henry Phillips contributed to this post.

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