Photos by James Saulsky
Five years ago, DC Brau became the first production brewery in over a half-century to make beer within D.C. proper. On a beautiful and sunny Saturday, the company marked the occasion in grand fashion, with what amounted to a full-scale, bacchanalian music festival.
Held in the parking lot behind the Bladensburg Road brewery, the festival brought together five different bands from around the country (and, in one instance, across the pond): Austin headliner the Sword, Norway freaks Kvelertak, Miami’s growling Torche, Philadelphia’s melodic Serpent Throne, and hometown favorites and general showstoppers Loud Boyz.
As far as brewery gatherings go, this was an endeavor not likely to be matched in ambition and scope for quite some time.
As would be expected, DC Brau favorites were flowing from the taps, including its sought-after double IPA On the Wings of Armageddon and the recently re-released spring seasonal El Hefe Speaks.
More notably – by a long shot – was the debut of five collaboration beers brewed especially for the occasion: Pink Pallet Jack (a pink saison steeped on hibiscus and rose hips; brewed with Perennial Artisan Ales), Celestial Garden (an India Pale Lager boasting three fruit purees; brewed with Austin Beerworks); Ripa the Dipa (a double IPA made with both malted and flaked rye; brewed with Sun King Brewery); Zehn von Zehn (a traditional dunkel; brewed with Port City Brewing); and The Wise and the Lovely (a massive milk chocolate imperial stout; brewed with Cigar City).
Read our special DC Brau Tap Takeover for the story of each beer and the relationships behind all of them, and look for limited-edition six-packs (containing one of each beer) in the bottle shops and markets in the coming days.
The exceedingly well-organized event drew a diverse crowd, from black-clad metalheads to craft beer aficionados. (On the latter front, one gentleman proved that when it came down to whether to wear Pliny the Younger and Pliny the Elder gear, one need not have to choose just one.)
The most enduring image, however, was the sight of all of the brewer’s shirts from other D.C.-area breweries that could be spotted throughout the festival and its VIP area. From Atlas Brew Works to 3 Stars to Port City, all of these operations were in attendance to celebrate DC Brau and, more broadly, the growing success of the region’s brewing industry as a whole.
Cheers to both.
To learn more about the history, beers, and ethos of DC Brau, revisit our original Tap Takeover profile.