This weekend my friend Alli organized for a group of us to get together for a beer tour at D.C.’s first brewery, D.C. Brau (Founded in 2009). It was one of those cold Saturday afternoons, and luckily the brewery was inside and warm. A contrast to another D.C. brewery that I frequent called Chocolate City. Chocolate City host beer tastings somewhat outdoors, but usually provide a food truck for customers to indulge along with the beer tasting (a fair trade off for standing in a garage, in the cold).
D.C Brau and Chocolate City Brewery both have positive, but similarly negative attributes. D.C. Brau is perfect for a cold winter day. Chocolate City is better on a nice fall or spring afternoon. With both you can walk inside, get four free tastings, take a tour of the very small brew facility (only D.C. Brau) and go home.
This last part was something my friends did not like. They wanted to drink more at the brewery. But D.C. law restricts the purchase of alcohol to drink on the premise of a brewery. So, really when you’re done tasting, and done touring, there’s nothing left to do.
In our case, it was fine because we had a plan to purchase growlers and enjoy them with some delicious Kenny’s take-out. But the criticism about D.C. law and the subsequent conversation about “silly” laws got me thinking.
I don’t think it’s silly that you can’t purchase beer to drink at a brewery. I understand that you might want more to drink, but as a functioning brew facility it makes complete sense that they cannot take liability for people who drink too much. There are of course other factors, but this law is one that I can get behind.
Another part of the brewery experience was the crowd. D.C. Brau was quite crowded on Saturday and I can’t image what the atmosphere would have been like had people been able to purchase beer as if at a bar. I do not know if we would have been allowed in for over capacity reasons.
Overall, if you’re going to venture to a D.C. brewery be prepared. These are small facilities that service mainly the D.C. metro area. The people are fun, the beer owners and brewers get really into it, and they love talking to the patrons. So indulge them, strike up a conversation and try to just enjoy the fact that they are sharing their craft. You can get drunk from the growlers you’ll ultimately end up purchasing, but please wait until you get home.
For more on the history of D.C. brewers, check out this blog by the City Paper.