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D.C. is experiencing a renaissance of house-brewed elixirs.
Washington, D.C. might have been a little behind the craft beer and spirits trend, but the city has certainly made up for it lately. The past several years have seen a renaissance in this space, with the birth of several top-notch breweries and distilleries that are bringing local beer, vodka, gin and more to D.C. residents.
Here are three to check out:
DC Brau Brewing Company
D.C.’s first brewery in more than half a century, DC Brau, launched in 2011 and since then has been producing some of the city’s most popular beers.
“We had this second craft beer revolution in this country,” said Brandon Skall, the brewery’s co-founder and CEO. “People wanting to drink local beer in Washington, D.C. was a great catalyst for starting the business.”
Now producing nearly 10 times what they did the first year in production, DC Brau makes several year-round favorites, like The Public Pale Ale in its distinctive red can. Seasonal and limited releases are also popular: like the once-a-year imperial IPA, Solar Abyss. D.C. Brau beers are available in stores and restaurants throughout area, but free Saturday tours and regular growler hours make the brewery itself worth a visit.
One Eight Distilling
One of the newest players on the D.C. craft spirits scene is One Eight Distilling, which launched in January 2015 with a commitment to locally-grown ingredients and sustainable practices.
“We’re just a small shop that’s doing everything in-house and trying to do everything the right way,” said CEO and co-founder Sandy Wood.
Its rye-forward District Made Vodka, which uses organic rye and corn grown Maryland, has a spicy flavor that’s a bit unusual for vodka, as well as sweet notes of butterscotch and caramel.
“It has a little more character to it than your average vodka on the liquor store shelf,” Wood said.
Also available are the distillery’s Ivy City Gin, an American-style dry gin with notes spicebush along with the traditional juniper, as well as Rock Creek White Whiskey, and soon, several aged whiskeys. Visit on Saturdays for free tours and tastings, cocktails available for sale, and food trucks outside.
3 Stars Brewing Company
What started as a passion for home brewing has evolved into a creative, boundary-pushing business at 3 Stars Brewing Company, where inventiveness rules the day.
The brewery has released more than 40 artisanal beers since first hitting the market in 2012, ranging from brews like Madness Old Stock Ale, which has sweet notes of fruit and malt alongside the spice, to the crisp, dry, and slightly tart Cranberry Saison. Come on Saturdays for free tours or throughout the week for growler hours and to visit the brewery’s fully stocked home brew shop.