Wednesday, February 8, 2012

D.C. Brau's The Citizen

For years, the craft beer scene in Washington, D.C. was limited.  Sure, there were a handful of craft brewers, but they were rather large chains, like Rock Bottom and Gordon Biersch.  Recently, however, there has been a boom in craft brewers.  First, there was Port City Brewing, which produces a very good Porter. And, then there is D.C. Brau.

D.C. Brau was started by Brandon Skall and Jeff Hancock, two residents of the District.  Brandon handles the sales and Jeff handles the brewing.  Jeff's experience includes an apprenticeship with Franklin's Restaurant and Brewery and work at Flying Dog Brewing Company.  Since they started D.C. Brau, they have produced  a solid set of annual offerings, including the Public, a Pale Ale.  I first tried the Public at Meridian Pint in D.C. and was impressed by the beer.  D.C. Brau also has two other annual offerings: Corruption, an India Pale Ale and The Citizen, a Belgian Pale Ale.

A visit to D.C. Brau had been on my to-do list for a long time.  Recently, when Clare and I had some free time, we decided to visit the brewery, sample the beers and, as I planned, to buy a growler of my favorite.  When we got to D.C. Brau's brewery, we immediately confronted a line of people who had the same idea that we did.  Still, the line moved fast, with everyone going to the taps and walking away with their hands full of two to three samples of the beer. 

As I previously mentioned, D.C. Brau's The Citizen is brewed in the style of a Belgian Pale Ale Style.  According to the Beer Judge Certification Program, a Belgian Pale Ale should be amber to copper in color, fruity to moderately spicy with a soft smooth malt flavor and relatively light hop flavor.  D.C. Brau used American and British hops in this beer, although the brewery does not identify the particular varieties.  The brewers also used a Belgian yeast strain, which brewers often do in an effort to add flavors reminiscent of Belgian specialty beers.

According to D.C. Brau, The Citizen is inspired by Belgian Tripel beers. The beer pours a light copper color, with a thin layer of foam that recedes to the edges of the glass.  While the foam recedes, the aromas of the beer greet the nose with hints of the hops used to make the beer, as well as some floral notes, and scents of dough and honey.  The taste of The Citizen falls squarely in line with a Belgian Pale Ale, with a moderate fruity flavor with subtle hop notes.  This beer is a striking contrast to some other Belgian Pale Ales or Belgian IPAs, which have much stronger hop flavors.  The Citizen is also noteworthy for the sweetness in the taste, which is, as the brewers intended, a nod to the Belgian Tripel style.

This beer is availale at the brewery, where you can also sample D.C. Brau's other offerings.  You can check the Brau Finder on D.C. Brau's website to see where else the beer is available.


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