Bluejacket brewery gears up for October debut

\"We are pushing the envelope ... and trying to do something new. I think that\'s kind of what we did when [Neighborhood Restaurant Group] did Birch & Barley and Churchkey. We didn\'t just want to do a beer bar or a restaurant that happened to have beer, we wanted to create a beer and food experience and really showcase beer as it should be and as the brewers intended,\" Engert says.

\"This is the next level for us.\"

(WTOP/Alicia Lozano)

WASHINGTON – A sleek 7,000-square-foot industrial building one block from Nationals Park will soon be home to D.C.’s latest brewery.

Courtesy of Neighborhood Restaurant Group, which owns 13 bars and restaurants throughout the area, Bluejacket is preparing for an October opening. With the capacity to produce up to 5,000 barrels per year — the equivalent of 10,000 kegs — Bluejacket will offer 20 of it own beers.

“We’ve taken really great pains to be able to do, really, anything we can think of in this space,” NRG’s beer director Greg Engert says.

The brewery also will feature a full restaurant reminiscent of Churchkey, whose executive and pastry chefs will be heading the new menu.

Engert says this concept is not only ambitious, but also a natural extension of what NRG has been doing throughout D.C. and Virginia.

“Now we can actually create the beers that we’re serving,” he says. “The sky is the limit with creativity.”

Bluejacket has been in the works since 2006 when Engert first joined NRG. At the time, the business group only had five or six concepts, and Engert was looking to expand into the production market.

Because of real estate constraints, NRG originally thought its only option was outside of D.C. where there is more industrial space. But the area around the Washington Navy Yard started to develop to include more restaurants, paving the way for something like Bluejacket to emerge.

“When we came into this space, we thought it was a beautiful opportunity to contribute a contemporary production, a contemporary industry — craft brewing — to the area,” Engert says.

With just a few months left before its grand opening, Engert gave WTOP a sneak peek of the new Bluejacket brewery. Watch the video below and check out the gallery for a virtual tour.

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