Given the political tumult that has defined 2017, the residents of Washington, DC—a largely liberal set that’s perpetually associated with the city’s swampy politics—have found themselves in a permanent state of “I could really use a drink.”
And San Diego’s Bruery, one of the country’s best craft brewers, has heeded that call.
This fall marks the opening of the first brick-and-mortar expansion for the Bruery. The new tasting room will occupy part of the second floor of the Union Market, a collection of retailers and food outlets that sits two miles from Capitol Hill and a world away from the political machinations of the city itself. The eight beers on tap will come from the Bruery as well as sister brewers Bruery Terreux and Offshoot Beer, Co., open to growler/crowler beers, serving year-round selections, limited releases, and archival selections, but no on-site consumption. The outpost will also sell march and bottle and can sales. Better still, selected bottle releases available for purchase online can be retrieved from this DC outpost, as well as the pickups earmarked for the Bruery’s Society beer clubs. In fact, the region’s large number of members in their tiered societies (the Hoarders, Reserve, and Preservation) helped influence why the Bruery came to the nation’s capital.
The renovated 5,000-square-foot space will be shared with a to-be-announced retailer partner, occupying a 1931 structure that was once Kramer & Sons, a small indie butcher shop. Hopefully it’ll be a righteous food purveyor, serving up vittles to compliment the Bruery’s famed barrel-aged sours, stouts, and other experimental ales. Final details and a concrete date for the grand opening should be announced this week, and will include giveaways for the first folks to queue up on opening day.
Three Beers to Try
The specific beers on tap and for sale in bottles and cans at Union Market will likely vary based on release dates, availability, and—let’s be honest—popularity. With that in mind, here are a few to try and find…
Sour in the Rye
Now part of the Bruery Terreux—a brand launched in April 2015 for their sour and wild brews—Sour in the Rye is (as its name implies) a heavily rye-based sour ale, barrel-aged and buoyed by spice and tropical notes, a perfect illustration of their souring program. And it’s proven so popular that they also offer two other versions, one made with peaches and the other with kumquats.
This hoppy Belgian-style golden ale lives in the Bruery’s small arsenal of year-round brews, so it should be easy to track down. American hops are added dry, playing nicely with its fruity, dry Flemish character. The brew pulled a gold medal in 2016’s Great American Beer Festival.
This annual release, which drops on the final Tuesday of October each year, qualifies as one the Bruery’s most coveted bottles. Their take on a bourbon barrel-aged stout boasts an ABV that hovers around a burly 19%, with rich notes of caramel, toasted malt, vanilla, burnt wood, and anise. It’s only available online, and (yes) can be picked up at the new DC location. So, start planning for next fall now.