Special Report

Take a Tour of Washington D.C.’s Emerging Craft Beer Scene

The Capital City might be best known for its monuments, but it also has a burgeoning brewery culture

Bluejacket Brewery is one of the newest additions to DC's local beer scene. (Eric Laignel)

Chocolate City Beer

(Chocolate City Beer)

In 2011, Jay Irizarry—along with a few friends—started Chocolate City Beer (for years D.C. was called Chocolate City by black Americans because of the city's majority African-American population), the second of D.C.'s local production breweries. "At the time, there were no production breweries in D.C. There was a vacuum to be filled, we aimed to take advantage of the opportunity. Little did we know, others, like DC Brau, were thinking the same thing, simultaneously we were all busy with business plans, securing capital and sourcing equipment," he says. "D.C.'s beer scene's time had come, I suppose."

What started as a backyard hobby—Irizarry's time spent working in the service industry had piqued his interest in wine and craft beer—has become a fully operation brewery, with three beers in production and another (an IPA) in the pipeline. Chocolate City's beer often mirrors local events: for the 2014 Cherry Blossom Festival, the brewery released a special Belgian blonde ale brewed with cherries. Open each Saturday for growler sales, Chocolate City Beer sees no reason to slow down their operation any time soon.

"I believe the DMV has a robust and secure beer industry," Irizarry explains in reference to the District/Maryland/Virginia region. "The country is finally getting back to pre-Prohibition levels regard individual breweries. It's an ancient craft, mankind cannot do with out beer. So if we do our job and continue to bring quality craft beer, brewed with passion, we'll all be here for a while."

Growlers for sale every Saturday from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
2801 8th St NE, Washington, DC 20017; (202) 351-6197

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