All words: Courtney Pitman
All photos: Jeff Myers
Atlas Brew Works—the latest craft brewery to call D.C. home—has been a project years in the making for founders and friends Justin Cox and Will Durgin. The pair has been working for two years to launch the brewery, and this past Friday the District powers that be gave them the green light to bring their craft to fruition: brewing beer in D.C.
After months of preparation, their brewing headquarters at 2052 West Virginia Ave NE will be making beer by the end of the week and is set to launch their operation officially at the beginning of September. Which is to say, you’ll be able to enjoy their three draft offerings within the District’s limits in several weeks’ time.
Atlas head brewer Will Durgin moved to D.C. in late 2012 after successful stints at Telegraph Brewing Company in Santa Barbara, CA, and Pyramid Breweries in Portland. While Atlas has kept busy building out their space and equipment, Will has been sidelined from brewing for nine months, making this week all the more exciting.
“I’ve been working full-time on this since October and we never expected it to take so long,” he said. “But the fulfillment is exciting and scary. This is sort of fulfilling my five years of work in craft brews.”
Meanwhile, CEO Justin Cox has been living and homebrewing in D.C. for the past 10 years, where he recognized the opportunity to expand his hobby. “DC beer is coming up and it’s exciting to be a part of that, it’s a burgeoning scene.”
In more local love, the Atlas folks also have a collection of wine barrels from Boxwood Winery in Virginia, which they’ll use for a special series of aged beers with flavors imparted from the oak and red wine. Additionally, Atlas Brews will be distributed by Premium Distribution, one of the largest distributors in the District, meaning they’ve already got a foot in the door. It also means that there are a slew of things to get pumped for:
• Three brews from Atlas Brew Works: Rowdy, an American rye ale; District Common, a California common style; and the secretive but wonderfully named NSFW
• Coasters with puns
• Launch events around the city the week of Labor Day, September 2. Schedule TBD but expect to see Atlas Brews at the usual DC beer joints (ahem, Meridian Pint), as well as at Adams Morgan Day and a Saturday launch party at Smith Commons
• Tastings hosted at the brewery beginning in the coming months, along with your friendly NE neighborhood growler service