DC Brau (Washington D.C.): The Public, The Corruption, and On The Wings of Armageddon

I have known about DC Brau for quote a while now. I attended the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon for my work, and I think that may have been the first time I got to try some of their beer at various places around DC, and I was impressed. I also have quite a few Facebook friends in the area as I run a beer group that has a very heavy population from that area, and while I was visiting one of my friends, Matt, was nice enough to deliver me a fresh pack of ON THE WINGS OF ARMAGEDDON. Since then I’ve had a little DC Brau here and there, but living in Texas it is definitely not something I run into often. Fast forward a few years, and thanks again to that same beer group (We Enjoy Beer Quite a Lot), I was contacted by Jen Jaxon, a sales director at DC Brau, who was kind enough to ask me before posting a job listing in our group (we have a strict “no spam” rule and she wanted to verify that this would not be considered spam). I mentioned to her that I write beer reviews and less than a week later, I was at my doorstep signing for a box of DC Brau. Ain’t life grand?

DCB Logo
DC Brau: Washington, D.C.

About the Brewery (from dcbrau.com/pages.cfm?page=about%20us):

Brandon Skall and Jeff Hancock, two D.C. residents who, as music fans, avid bar goers, and enthusiastic men-about-town, are acutely aware of the empty tap handle or store shelf where a local beer ought to be found. These two men, sharing years of experience in both brewing and beverage distribution, are uniquely equipped to fill this void and thus have decided to combine their knowledge and passion to found the DC Brau Brewing Company. With extensive experience in restaurant management and the beverage industry, Brandon handles sales duties and the business of the brewery. Touting extensive experience in the commercial brewing industry, Jeff is our beloved Brewmaster. Since serving an apprenticeship at Franklin’s Restaurant and Brewery in Hyattsville, Maryland, Jeff has brewed at Grizzly Peak Brewing and Arbor Brewing companies, both in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and at Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick, Maryland. With their individual talents and a shared love for the city, Brandon and Jeff form a perfect team to bring a delicious, locally brewed beer to the consumers of DC.

 

The Public

About the Beer (from dcbrau.com):
The Public™ Pale Ale is brewed in the classic American Pale Ale style. Assertive bitterness backed by C-60 and Vienna malts which lend notes of rich, yet semi-dry caramel. Then followed up with a nice white grapefruit and citrus aroma that begs for a follow up sip. “The Public” is DC Brau’s most popular offering and continues to be a sought after staple by imbibers and ale hounds in the Nations Capitol.

Style: Pale Ale
ABV: 6%
IBU: Not Available

 

I decided to focus this review on the hoppier of the DC Brau selections, and started with their Pale Ale, THE PUBLIC. I had this back in DC at Fadó Irish Pub, and that was also when I fist saw DC Brau’s can glasses (which Jen was also nice enough to send me for the photos). So, slight side note, some of the people I was with that night (who had been drinking a lot more than I), decided that the “cool can glasses” from the bar needed to go home with them. Karma being what it is, the glass Jen sent me is much cooler than the ones they yoinked. So there.

dcb tp 1
The Public Pale Ale (with not as good of lighting as I’d like)

THE PUBLIC pours a crystal clear orange color that is very appealing to the eyes. This is topped with a fluffy, copious off-white head that hangs around for a while, and leaves a nice bit of graffiti on the glass when it goes. It really is nice to look at, and I really enjoy the orange hue to the beer, which is not super-common in this style. When I draw in the perfume from the glass, I get a good balance of malt and hops. It is surprising really how even the see-saw is on these, with a good bit of citrusy hop and an equal amount of sweet malt.

dcb tp 2
Angled, baby…

When I finally imbibe a bit of THE PUBLIC, my palate agrees with my nose. Up front I get nicely sweet malt that is not overpowering, and this is quickly overtaken by a very grapefruit bitterness. I am happy that this bitterness clears the palate quickly, leaving behind just a memento that it was there, just a little forget-me-not to remind you that there is some bitterness in this beer.

dcb tp 3
Trying this out digitally… my impressions of The Public

In my mouth, I get a sparkly zing from the bod of the beer. It’s fizzy, but in a good way. It goes down smooth, and it’s easily drinkable at 6%. It’s no session beer, but it’s not so overpowering on either the ABV or the flavor to keep me from drinking a few. The bitterness cuts off nicely so I don’t expect that if I could ever get my hands on a six pack that I would have a hard time drinking a few of them. Overall, this is really a very solid Pale Ale that is pretty to look at and even more fun to drink!

Overall 6.5 / 10

Beer page: http://dcbrau.com/our_brau.cfm?brau=1

 

The Corruption

About the Beer (from dcbrau.com):
The Corruption™ IPA is DC Brau’s take on a Pacific Northwest IPA. Brewed with Pale 2 row, C-10, Honey and Victory malts. Exclusively hopped with 40 lbs of Columbus hops per brew to ring in at 80 IBU. “The Corruption” comes in at 6.5% ABV. This beer straddle’s the line between IPA and Imperial IPA and has a supportive malty backbone with an assertive hop presence that smacks your mouth with a dank, resinous bitterness followed by pleasant aroma’s of pine sap and burnt spruce.

Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 6.5%
IBU: 80

 

After the Pale Ale, I decided to step it up to DC Brau’s IPA, THE CORRUPTION. To be fair, I did not drink these on the same day, because I did not want to ruin my palate, but for the sake of reviewing this seemed a logical order! I know I have had this before, probably on the aforementioned trip to DC, but I had not checked it in on Untappd so I can’t be sure when it was. I am a self-professed hophead, and IPAs are not my favorite style of beer, but they are my most prolifically quaffed, so I was excited to check this out again.

dcb tc 1
The Corruption India Pale Ale

TC looks a bit like it’s little brother THE PUBLIC, as it also pours a ruddy orange color, and it also relatively clear (but not quite as much as THE PUBLIC). The head on TC is a bit brighter than its predecessor, and it endures for quite a while before fizzling out to leave a skeleton on my glass. The bouquet TC is exuding makes me think earthy and spicy, with some pine notes and a hint of sweetness on the back end.

dcb tc 2
That purty orange I was talking about… in that purty glass that Karma (and Jen) provided me

Taking a tipple of TC to my tongue, I get hit first with a nice sweet hit in the front end, followed by a heavy bitterness. I was surprised to find that this bitterness actually becomes less pronounced the more I drink, which is the opposite effect of many IPAs, which have a tendency to build up and become strong as you go along. I enjoy the malty backbone, but I think it could be just a little bit sweeter to balance the 80 IBUs of bitterness that this beer is slapping me with; it actually feels like more than 80 if I had to guess. As I drink more this bitterness is less obvious, but if I put the glass down for a bit and come back to it, the astringency pops right back up.

dcb tc 3
My tasting notes for TC

The texture of TC is smooth without being overly heavy or thick, and it is rocking a slight creaminess on the end. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a stout or a nitro beer, but there is a bit of velvet going on in this glass. While the ABV is not apparent, I feel like the heavy bitterness would keep me from having too many of these in a row… unless I was drinking them back-to-back without a break! Overall, the caramel and piney earthiness of this beer is really enjoyable, in small doses. I just wish I could get those doses more often!

Overall 7 / 10

Beer page: http://dcbrau.com/our_brau.cfm?brau=2

 

On The Wings of Armageddon

About the Beer (from dcbrau.com):
According to Mayan and Hopi calendars the “transition from one world age to another” will happen on December 21, 2012. As an homage to the “transition” DC Brau has concocted an Imperial IPA named “On the Wings of Armageddon”. OTWOA is a single hop blend beer utilizing Falconers Flight™. Brewed with just enough Pale malt, Cara-60, CaraPils and Malted wheat to carry the intense hop character onto the pallet. At first glance, it has an orange hue in the glass with a viscous, rocky head that refuses to dissipate. Upon first sniff there are dominate aromas of citrus, white grapes and grapefruit with light bread and biscuit notes. After the first sip we taste a mellow bitterness that only grows as more is consumed. Moderately carbonated, deceptively smooth, refreshingly dry and extremely heady for a beer at 9.2% ABV. OTWOA exhibits all the necessary traits to be revered as a world class Imperial IPA.

Style: Imperial India Pale Ale
ABV: 9.2%
IBU: 115

 

ON THE WINGS OF ARMAGEDDON is the beer that really made me step up and take notice of DC Brau. Only sold from their brewery, my buddy Matt was nice enough to grab me some before we met in person in DC and OH MY GOD was I glad he did! This is the grand daddy of the DC Brau hoppy lineup, and please please please I need more of it in my life!

dcb otwoa 1
OTWOA Imperial India Pale Ale

OTWOA looks a bit like it’s predecessors, with that carrot-ish hue that the others carry, but it sets itself apart buy being much less crystalline and a bit more murky. The head on OTWOA dissipated more quickly than the beers that came before it, but left behind great lacing to remind me it was once there. Taking it to my nose, I get nothing but hops and honey. Up front it is so amazingly hoppy, with grapes and melon and tropical notes making me crazy. Right behind that I get a beautifully sweet bread and biscuit note, with a little pear/apple punch.

dcb otwoa 2
That badass, scary can design…

Overall, my mouth agrees with my nose when I take a sip, with the exception of the order of things. First up is a nice blast of sugar, like sweet bread and honey. This is followed by a pronounced hop wallop; it’s bitter, but not nearly as bitter as my nose made it out to be with all the hop aromas that were going on. Mixed in with those hops is a nice spice, which comes (like the citrus and grapes) from that wonderful invention that we like to call Falconer’s Flight. Man, I love me some FF.

dcb otwoa 3
OTWOAs tasting notes

OTWOA is thick and viscous for an IPA, which is a mouthfeel I enjoy in my IIPAs. It reminds me that this is not an average IPA, this is something bigger, something thicker, something more. OTWOA has a nice smooth, velvet quality, much like TC before it, but on a grander scale. For the strength of both it’s ABV and it’s flavors, OTWOA is incredibly drinkable. Dangerously drinkable. I put down half of the can just making a few tasting notes. It is a beer – if you enjoy hops – that would be easy to drink too many of in a short period. Please someone send me more so I can prove that last sentence to be true! I would easily place OTWOA in my top 10 IPA/DIPAs ever, and likely in my top 5. This is a great beer. ‘Nuff said.

Overall 8.5 / 10

Beer page: http://dcbrau.com/our_brau.cfm?brau=10

Brewery site: http://dcbrau.com

 

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