A sudsy city: Guide to local breweries

Rachel Nania and Dana Gooley, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – It’s official. Washington is beer-loving town. Last year, D.C. residents consumed 28.3 gallons of the bubbly beverage, according to the Beer Institute.

And those looking to sample the suds of craft brewers do not have to travel far. The D.C. area has plenty of local breweries to choose from.

Next time you have a hankering for something hoppy, pull up a stool — or reach for one of these brands at your local store — instead.

Capitol City Brewing Company

Location: 4001 Campbell Ave., Arlington, Va.; 1100 New York Ave. NW, D.C.

What makes this place great: Capitol City is the first brew pub in D.C. since the prohibition, which is how the brewery’s Prohibition Porter received its name. The menu is filled with typical pub fare — options range from nachos to sandwiches, burgers and pizzas.

Signature beers: Capital Kolsch, Pale Rider Ale, Amber Waves Ale, Prohibition Porter and a few seasonal brews.

Chocolate City Beer

Location: 2801 8th St. NE, D.C.

What makes this place great: Don’t expect a big tasting room. But the 1,200- square-foot Northeast brewery has a growler sale every Saturday from 12:30-4 p.m., where customers can purchase glass jugs full of Chocolate City beer. You’ll also find Chocolate City’s beers on tap at several local bars and restaurants. Find them on the brewery’s map.

Signature beers: Big Chair IPA, Cerveza Nacional, Cornerstone Copper Ale, 1914 ESB.


Port City brews a beer with some history behind it. (Courtesy Port City )

Port City Brewing Company

Location: 3950 Wheeler Ave., Alexandria, Va.

What makes this place great: Port City brews a beer with some history behind it. The Tartan Ale, a spring seasonal, is a modern take on an old Scottish “80 Shilling” beer, according to the brewery’s blog. Beer-drinking Scots began to refer to their local drinks by the amount of tax placed on the brews — the higher the tax, the better the quality. The “80 Shilling” Tartan is modeled after one of the strongest.

Signature beers: American Pale Ale, Essential Pale Ale, Monumental IPA, Optimal Wit (Belgian ale), Porter, Downright and more seasonal brews.

Lost Rhino Brewing Company

Location: 21730 Red Rum Dr., Suite 142, Ashburn, Va.

What makes this place great: Lost Rhino serves a beer called My Imaginary Girlfriend, which is described as “brewed with all the HOPS and fermented in your mom’s basement.” Aside from the clever beer names, Lost Rhino also has an extensive menu for hungry patrons, and much of the menu is sourced from local vendors. Try the house-made bread and butter pickles or the local BLT. And make sure you get something to wash it all down.

Signature beers: Rhino Chasers Pilsner, New River Pale Ale, Faceplant IPA, Holy Brew Honey Blonde and Holy Brew Brown, plus plenty of seasonal and limited release features/collaborations.

Flying Dog Brewery

Location: 4607 Wedgewood Blvd. Frederick, Md.

What’s makes this place great: One of the area’s largest breweries, the Flying Dog experience is one that should not be missed. Flying Dog conducts tours for the public on Thursday and Friday afternoons and on Saturdays. Each tour is two hours long, but no need to pack water — beer samples are provided to keep you hydrated. And an interesting fact: The art on Flying Dog’s bottles is created by Ralph Steadman, who illustrated many of Hunter S. Thompson’s books, including “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.” The original Flying Dog brewing location was “just down the mountain” from Thompson’s Colorado home.

Signature beers: Raging Bitch IPA, Snake Dog India Pale Ale, UnderDog Atlantic Lager, Pearl Necklace Oyster Stout, Wildeman American Saison, Doggie Style Pale Ale, In Heat Wheat Hefeweizen, Old Scratch Amber Lager, Double Dog Double IPA, Gonzo Imperial Porter, and several seasonal and special beers.

DC Brau Brewing Company

Location: 3178-B Bladensburg Rd. NE, D.C.

What makes this place great: Founded by Brandon Skall and Jeff Hancock, DC Brau is the District’s first production brewery in almost 60 years. It offers free tours and tastings on most Saturdays, and also has Saturday growler hours. Fun fact: The distinctive silver can was designed in- house by the brewery’s creative team, and each can includes a bit of trivia about the District.

Signature beers: Public Ale, Corruption IPA, The Citizen, and Penn Quarter Porter, plus other seasonal varieties.

3 Stars Brewing Company

Location: 6400 Chillum Pl. NW, D.C.

What makes this place great: Tours, growler sales and tastings — 3 Stars reaches all of the typical brewery expectations. But they also go the extra mile to help the city after which it’s named. The brewery is looking to turn the grains it uses in its beer into bread for the less fortunate in the city. The program is called Spent Grains, and 3 Stars is currently looking for partners to help with the program. Those interested can email the brewery at info@3starsbrewing.com.

Signature beers: The Movement, Peppercorn Saison, Pandemic Porter, Southern Belle, Two To The Dome, and seasonal beers and those created through collaborations with other local breweries.

Mad Fox Brewing Company

Location: 444 West Broad St., Suite 1, Falls Church, Va.

What makes this place great: Mad Fox sends its spent grains to the local farms from which it purchases produce for the brew pub’s menu. Speaking of menu, Mad Fox is known for its restaurant. Sandwiches like bacon and jam, pizzas (think fig and blue cheese) and entrees (pork belly and eggs) grace the menu.

Signature beers: Molotov Hoptail, Leonidas, Dingo IPA, English Summer Ale, Kellerbier Kolsch and many more.

Franklin’s Brewery

Location: 5121 Baltimore Ave., Hyattsville, Md.

What makes this place great: This brew pub is located in Prince George’s County, not too far from College Park. The brewery used to be a general store, but in 2002 expanded to include the brewery. Customers can still find gifts and merchandise at Franklin’s. They can also find a full seasonal lunch and dinner menu, featuring local food items, and an expansive beer list.

Signature beers: Bombshell Blonde, Rubber Chicken Red, Sierra Madre, Twisted Turtle Pale Ale, Private I.P.A., Moo Cow, Mama Said Hop You Out and more.

Editor’s Note: This article was updated to include Franklin’s on July 5, 2013.

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