The Best Breweries In Washington DC

Photo of Jonathan Stern
20 April 2018

The beer scene in Washington DC is booming, as evidenced by the number of high quality breweries that have popped up around town in just the past few years alone. Here, we take a look at DC’s top breweries, each with their own unique story and styles.

Bluejacket Brewery | © Bluejacket Brewery

Bluejacket Brewery

Bluejacket Brewery is not afraid to be innovative; the brewery’s creations come in all sorts of styles and flavors. The selection at Bluejacket’s home restaurant and bar, The Arsenal, is constantly rotating and always features twenty beers and five cask ales. Here you can find a beer for every palate – from a strawberry-rhubarb-infused wheat ale aptly named ‘The Jam’, to the ‘Roughneck’, a brash American hoppy stout. The brewery’s name is a nod to the space that it occupies, which was once a part of the Navy Yards ship and munitions manufacturing complex back in the day.

DC Brau | © Daniel Lobo/Flickr

DC Brau

DC Brau is proud to have been DC’s first packaging brewery since 1956. ‘The Public’ is the brewery’s most popular beer, an American ale that carries an assertive bitter taste followed up by grapefruit and citrus aromas. Other staples include ‘The Corruption’ India Pale Ale and ‘The Citizen’, a Belgian style ale. Free tours of the brewery are available on Saturdays.

Right Proper Brewing Company

The historic Shaw neighborhood is where you’ll find Right Proper Brewing Company, a brew pub established as a local gathering place. The brewery is located on the spot where the legendary musician Duke Ellington learned to play jazz. A ‘yeast-forward’ brewery, Right Proper sources a variety of yeasts and cultivates its own strains to craft its beers. ‘A Joyful Noise’ is a wheat beer that is perfect for the summer, with its banana, cloves and citrus notes.

Atlas Brew Works

Atlas Brew Works produces hand-crafted beer in twenty barrel batches at their facility in north-east DC. The brewery’s two flagship beers are the ’District Common’, a pale brew that combines a crisp character with fruity notes, and ‘Rowdy’, a flavorful copper-colored rye ale. As Atlas continues to grow, its beer portfolio has expanded to include seasonal brews as well. The tasting room is open in the afternoon Friday through Sunday, while free brewery tours are offered at weekends.

3 Stars Brewing Company

Founded by longtime friends Dave Coleman and Mike McGarvey, 3 Stars Brewing Company has released more than 40 different beers. By placing an emphasis on crafting complex and unique beers, 3 Stars has gained a reputation as one of DC’s more creative breweries. ‘Nectar of the Bogs’ is a crisp saison brewed with fresh cranberries that give it an earthy tartness, while ‘Madness’ is a bold old stock ale that has a strong fruit flavor and packs quite the punch at 12.4% ABV.

Hellbender Brewing Company

Hellbender Brewing Company was established by close friends Ben Evans and Patrick Mullane. The long-time DC residents named their brewery after the endangered Eastern Hellbender, the largest salamander in North America. The company is committed to environmentally safe brewing practices and dedicated to raising awareness about the Eastern Hellbender. You can find their ‘Bäre Bönes Kölsch’, ‘Red Line Ale’ and ’Southern Torrent Saison’ at the brewery, or in certain DC bars and restaurants.

Bardo Brewpub | ©Bardo Brewpub

Bardo Brewpub

Looking for a place to drink great beer outdoors in DC? Look no further than Bardo Brewpub, a beer garden located on a grassy lot a few blocks north of the vibrant H Street Corridor. A unique brew pub with a cult following, Bardo is the reincarnation of Bardo Rodeo – an Arlington brewery that helped launch craft beer in the DC area in the 1990s. Bardo serves rare brews like its ‘White Lightnin’, a sweet and heavy beer with an extraordinary alcohol content, or the ‘Bacon Porter!’, which truly needs no description.

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