Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Brookland, The District's Craft Beer HQ?

  There is no hotter trend in the country right now than the home and craft brewing movement.  A month doesn't go by where the Mid-Atlantic Brewing News doesn't run an article on a group of old friends whose love of suds has turned into a budding business.  Often these small batch, craft or artisan (a word we think is thrown around way too much these days) brewers are responsible for creating some of the most uniquely inspiring beers available.  It seemed that this country wide trend, however, was skipping over DC. 
  The Nation's Capitol has no shortage of brew pubs and beer spots (i.e. Cap City, District Chop House etc...), but a true brewery has been absent from the landscape...until recently.  The much publicized start up, DC Brau, has pumped life into a DC Beer scene that has laid dormant since the Heurich's ceased production in the late 50's.  As the buzz around DC Brau gradually turns into a dull roar (and deservedly so...the promise is all too exciting), it seems that the emerging beer culture sprouting in Brookland is going unnoticed. 
Mount St. Sepulchre
  Known more for it's plethora of Roman Catholic institutions, hence the "Little Rome" moniker, Brookland is not the first name that comes to mind when you think of brewing.  This may be changing!  The active home brewing movement seems to be growing each year, with more and more residents deciding to take the plunge into back yard fermentation chemistry.  This however, is not what qualifies Brookland to be the new home of brewing in the District.  This distinction is being formed by two fledgling brewing operations, one by a Brookland resident, that could move the quite neighborhood into the brewing spotlight.
  Brookland resident Nathan Zeender has turned his passion for beer into more than just a simple home brew operation.  DesJardin Brewing is a small batch brewing operation taking place in NE, that attempts to bring traditional monastic brewing to life in DC.  What makes Nathan's endavour more unique is that he is utilizing ingridents he cultivates himself on the grounds of Mount St. Sepulchre Franciscan Monastery (if you have never visited the monastery it is a must for any DC'ite)  He has planted and maintained a decent sized crop of hops as well as several bee hives to use in his creations.  While this fermentation endeavor has gotten some press, there is yet another newly announced operation that could bring even more attention to Brookland.
Enter Chocolate City Beer.  The name itself causes people to do a double take and look a little harder.  The brew operation named after the 80's era moniker for the District has just laid down roots in Brookland (ok technically Edgewood but who's really keeping track) in the last two weeks.  The brewery was the brain child of friends Ben Matz, Jay Irizarry and Brian Flanagan and was originally slated to be located in Anacostia.  The brew team however, has just signed a lease and began renovating a property at the head of the Metropolitan Branch Trail. The former Stone Cutting facility (then briefly occupied by a machinist), appears to ooze cool.   The planned micro, err...nano, brewery will look to distribute it's products regionally and hopefully have a nice tap room for tasting.
Chocolate City's Location in Brookland
  One thing is for sure, between DC Brau and what is taking place in Brookland, the brewing scene is alive and well in the District.  Only time will tell, however, whether the "Little Rome" moniker will be replaced with "Little Milwaukee!"


Anonymous said...

Brookland is the best place for this - there must be dozens of brewing pits in the basements of its residents.

Anonymous said...

Is that a thinly veiled slight on the neighborhood or an actual assessment of the home brew movement taking place in the area?

IMGoph said...

who's really keeping track? this guy, among others.

Totten Life said...

Good to know...had no idea there was an Edgewood Blog, that's awesome!