Thursday, April 19, 2012

D.C. Brau's The Public

D.C. Brau is the first production craft brewery to brew beer for sale in the District of Columbia since the Heurich Brewery closed its doors. However, D.C. Brau's decision to sell their beer in cans follows follows a path taken by many other brewers over the past several decades.  According to Oxford Companion of Beer, which was edited by Brooklyn Brewery's Garrett Oliver, beer was first canned shortly after the repeal of Prohibition.  In 1993, Gottfried Krueger Brewing Company sold the first beer in a can, Krueger's Finest Beer.  Two thousand cans left the brewery into the hands of thirsty customers ... in Richmond, Virginia.  Gottfried Krueger decided to test the cans in a "remote location" (apparently Richmond, Virginia is considered a remote location to a brewer in Newark, New Jersey) just in case it flopped.  The locals would be none the wiser.  

Of course, others followed Gottfried Krueger and they have names that are much more recognizable.  Pabst.  Schlitz.  Schaeffer.  Busch.  Busch Lite.  Shudder.  (That last one is not a beer, just a reaction from typing the previous six words.)  These beers were basically the beers that dominated the market for decades.  Fortunately, in recent years, the craft beer movement has made great strides in the canned beer market.  It began with Oskar Blues, followed by others like Ska Brewing, and, most recently, D.C. Brau.

The Public is brewed in the style of an American Pale Ale, which is a variation of the English Pale Ale.  I searched for the different types of malts, hops and yeast used to produce this beer.  According to the D.C. Brau website, the brewers use C-60 and Munich malts, but they do not identify the hops or the yeast.

The Beer Judge Certification Program ("BJCP") describes an American Pale Ale as having a pale golden to deep amber color, a moderate to strong hop aroma (with primarily citrusy elements, but some malty, toasty elements as well) and a moderate to high hop flavor.  These are rather wide ranges in descriptions, which bespeaks of the varieties of American Pale Ales that are out in the market. 

D.C. Brau's The Public fits neatly within the BJCP's Guidelines.  While the brewers describe the appearance of the beer as a "crimson copper," I think it is more of an amber, orangish copper color.  The beer is nicely carbonated, pouring with a good, thick foam of large bubbles that takes its time to recede.  This foam provides a hint as to how to enjoy the beer ...  slowly.  The aromatic elements of The Public are a nice mix of the malts and hops.  No one predominates over the other, rather they are in a nice equilibrium.  The brewer suggests hints of white citrus and grapefruit, and I can get a sense of some of those aromas in the beer.  As for the taste, there is the piney, citrusy flavors that one expects from an pale ale.  The beer follows in the style of an American Pale Ale by not overwhelming the drinker with those bitter flavors as some India Pale Ales have a tendency to do.  Instead, the hop flavors are well balanced with the malt flavors, just like the aroma of the beer. 

One final thought about food pairing.  American Pale Ales are fairly versatile beers, pairing well with an array of foods.  The pairings include all types of meat, especially beef, bison, lamb and chicken.  The beers also fare well with foods that have a little spice or smoke element to them.  For that reason, American Pale Ales go well with grilled burgers or steaks, as well as spiced rubbed chicken or pork.  

If you are lucky to live in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area, you could possibly find The Public at a local grocery store.  It sells for $10.99 for a six pack. 


For more about canning beers, checkout The Oxford Companion to Beer, edited by Garrett Oliver, at pages 214-215. 

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