According to the Brewers Association, Washington DC has the lowest number of breweries. So far, the city has 13 breweries since 2011. Even so, their local breweries have made a mark for the locals and neighboring states.
Whether you’re a local in the nation’s capital or a visitor, you will find only the best breweries in Washington DC stand out. In this article, we list the breweries you could try out during your stay in DC or tick off your bucket list.
Residents from neighboring states, Maryland and Virginia, may also enjoy the craft beers from these breweries. Some do have locations or distribute beers in those states too.
Brandon Skall and Jeff Hancock founded DC Brau in 2011. They did start in 2009, having thought about wanting to start a local brewery. But it was in 2011 when they brewed and sold their beer in DC. Eventually, their award-winning beers have become available outside of DC, distributing in states like Maryland, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania.
According to DC Brau, they have been Washington DC’s first packaging brewery.
Attend a complimentary tour of the brewery on Saturdays. Just show a government-issued ID and come by between 1 PM to 4 PM.
One of DC Brau’s flagship beers, The Corruption, has a mix of sweet and fruity flavors. You could taste toffee and malt at first sip. Thanks to the hops, you can get a blend of pine and grapefruit. The ABV for The Corruption is 6.5%.
3 Stars Brewing
Even if they’re named 3 Stars Brewing, many would consider them as a 5-star brewery. They’ve been in business since 2012 and have had loyal customers come back to their brewery. Dave Coleman and Mike McGarvey are the founders of this brewery.
Their popular drink is the Peppercorn Saison. Enjoy a pint while you’re in 3 Stars Brewing for its sweet and fruity flavors. The ABV for this ale is 6.5%. If you want more of this drink, you can buy a 6-pack for $12.
For people to return to their brewery, they have a beer membership, wherein members get an exclusive taste of limited beers and other alcoholic beverages. That’s why, for some, it’s one of the best breweries in Washington DC.
Can’t get enough of their beers? You can find their beers in the following states:
- New York (New York City)
- Massachusetts (Boston)
You can also order their beers online through Toast Tab. Their beers are available in a can, bottle, and 32 oz growler.
Even if the brewery has been in operation since 2013, the location where Bluejacket stands may be 100 years old. It’s rich in history, and Bluejacket doesn’t go out of style at all.
Like 3 Star Brewing, Bluejacket also offers a membership club wherein subscribers get exclusive discounts and promos and attend events.
Mexican Radio is the fan-favorite and is the reason why people consider Bluejacket as one of the best breweries in Washington DC.
It mixes sweet flavors like chocolate and vanilla with spices, which are cinnamon and ancho chili pepper. Many are so impressed by this drink that they recommend drinking this stout on their visits to Bluejacket. Much like the others in this list, Mexican Radio has an ABV of 6.5%.
Unfortunately, to enjoy their beers, you need to go straight to their microbrewery and enjoy a pint there. You won’t get a chance to bring Bluejacket home in a growler, either. They do have a 750 ml bottle available to drink outside the brewery.
Red Bear Brewing Co
The NoMa-based brewery, Red Bear Brewing Co, has been a go-to for beer lovers since March 2019. It took a while for founders Simon Bee and Bryan van den Oever to settle in NoMa, but thanks to the community, they’ve been given a warm welcome, and in turn, they provide their drinks.
In Red Bear, you can play games while enjoying a pint of their ales and stouts. Here are some board games you can enjoy with friends or family:
The crowd favorite is the Mystic Storm IPA. It delivers a fruity taste thanks to the Citra, Cascade, and Amarillo hops. According to Red Bear, the Mystic Storm is a combination of east coast and west coast IPA. It has a 7.6% ABV.
Right Proper Brewing Company
Customers visiting the Right Proper Brewing Company would dart their eyes to the murals on the walls. It’s all thanks to the effort of local artists that make their brewery welcoming to beer lovers and art lovers alike, making it one of the best breweries in Washington DC.
Raised by Wolves is a fan-favorite. If you like fruity beers without too much bitterness, then this is the drink for you. Hops included in this beer are:
Luckily, it’s available all the time, so you can go for other beers to your liking or make this your go-to drink. The ABV for this fan-favorite is 5.0%.
If you want more of their brews, you can take a can or a bottle home for you to indulge in if you’re missing it. Or you might even want to take home some merch like shirts, sweaters, hats, or branded glasses.
For those in Maryland, New York, North VA, and Montgomery County MD, you can try the popular Raised by Wolves or their other signature drinks without making the drive to DC.
Hellbender Brewing Company
The Hellbender Brewing Company is a committed sustainable brewery in the nation’s capital. Founder Ben Evans named the brewery as such because he had an interest in amphibians, a name without sounding local, and that it was an awesome name.
Just like the Right Proper Brewing Company, you can also have fun in the taproom by playing board games. If you want to try out new food, come to their brewery every Thursday (evenings) and weekends (afternoons) to check out the food truck they have in store for their customers.
The all-year-round available Ignite IPA is the preference of many that drop by Hellbender. They use five different hops for this signature IPA:
Having these hops in the beer helps in creating a clean and dry finish. Ignite has an ABV of 6.5%.
The Public Option
The brewpub, The Public Option, is the local bar in Langdon, DC. It’s a cozy brewpub for those in the area or those who want to try something new.
The Cream Ale is an all-around hit from their customers. It’s become the favorite because of its corn adjunct, Carapils malt, and Northern brewer hops combination. Thus, it gives the ale its smooth finish. The Cream Ale has a 5.6% ABV.
You can also try their Breakfast Porter, another favorite by the regulars. It takes inspiration from English porters and includes British malts that have hints of chocolates and hops.
Bardo Brewpub has an unconventional set-up for their brewery. Unlike every other brewery in this list, Bardo Brewpub draws a crowd because their brewery is a beer garden. It’s located next to the Nats stadium so you can grab a drink before or after a game or an event.
Their Dremo is their best-selling beer. They combine hops and malts to balance out the flavor of their beer. It has a sweet and malty taste to it too that many enjoy drinking this ale. This strong American ale has an ABV of 6.5%.
Atlas Brew Works
Justin Cox founded Atlas Brew Works, and he’s also the CEO of the brewery. Since 2013, he and his buddy Daniel (head brewer) made their brewery the talk of the town and put them on the map as one of the best breweries in Washington DC.
You can choose between two breweries for Atlas Brew Works: Ivy City and Half Street.
Even if it’s a seasonal drink, don’t miss out on the Rowdy rye that many enjoy during their stay in their breweries. Atlas Brew Works mixes peppery, bitter, and flowery all in their Rowdy rye. Its moniker is fitting because, as the brewers put it, it’s “aggressive and fun.” The ABV for this seasonal drink is at 6.2%.
As for the all-year-rounder, you can try their District Common. They mix malt and Czech Saaz hops into this lager giving it a fruity kick. According to the brewers, pair the drink with roast pork or oysters, and you’re in for a treat! The ABV for the lager is 5.1%.
The team at Denizens Brewing collaborates with the community, such as the University of Maryland and farmers, to make it a local craft beer that everyone will enjoy.
DC residents can visit two of their branches in Silver Spring and Riverdale Park. Plus, Maryland residents don’t have to travel to DC just to visit the brewery. A Denizen beermobile is available in Montgomery County and Prince George’s County. That, alone, makes them one of the best breweries in Washington DC for going the extra mile for their customers.
The Southside Rye IPA is a mainstay in Denizens Brewing. It’s been in their brewery since 2014, and many customers just can’t get enough of it. The biscuit, caramel, and spicy rye malt complement the fruity flavored hops of this rye, making it hop-forward. The Southside Rye has an ABV of 7.2%.
Port City Brewing
The founders of Port City Brewing drove them to open the brewery because they believe DC needed more local craft beers. Since 2011, they’ve been serving beers to locals and visitors.
Port City Brewing unveiled their secret weapon to make their beers one of the finest in DC. They use a “Hopzooka.” This doesn’t expose the hops to oxygen to give their beers its fresh and full flavor without compromising quality.
The 100% homegrown Virginia wheat favorite, Optimal® Wit, has different flavors that complement one another. The mix of the hops, spices, and the Virginia wheat, they concocted a citrus-flavored drink that is crisp.
The ABV for the witbier is 4.9%, the lowest of the favorites in this bunch.