“It was a milestone day,” said DC Brau Brewing Co. CEO Brandon Skall about St. Patrick’s Day 2011. Why? Well, DC’s first production brewery since the 1950s received its Certificate of Occupany yesterday, signifying that it meets all the relevant buildings codes and paving the way for brewing to commence in the next day or two.
“It’s weird to say this, but I definitely think the luck of the Irish was involved,” said Skall. After being the first person in line at the DCRA this morning, there was a slight hiccup with their paperwork. After discovering they needed to have some parking spaces at the brewery inspected, a process that could take up to a week to get scheduled, an inspector came out and had it done within the hour. Lucky indeed. And now Skall and head brewer and president Jeff Hancock (who celebrated a birthday yesterday, another reason it was a special day for the duo) are all set to brew.
“The big thing that this means is that we can finally brew legally. We’ve got 600 pounds of hops tomorrow.” Depending on when those hops arrive, the first test batch of DC Brau’s The Public pale ale could be produced today. If not then, then tomorrow.
But how many test batches will it take to dial in the system? “We’re really, really, really hoping it’ll just be one,” says Skall. “We’ve done a lot of work looking at water and measuring how much evaporation there is. The system is ridiculously efficient. The first boil whenever it is, it’ll finally give us a point to jump off of. We do anticipate having to dump that first batch. Not because it won’t be good, but because we want the first batch of the Public to be exactly what it should be, we don’t want it to develop over the next 10 batches or so.”
So when can DC Brau’s accounts expect to get their first shipment of beer? Well, there are a couple more hurdles to clear first. The brewery still needs to get its business license before it can sell beer. But it can’t get a business license until they get a health inspection, and they haven’t been able to get a health inspection because they haven’t been able to brew. Now, with the Certificate of Occupany, DC Brau can “brew from now to kingdom come,” they just can’t sell their beer. But those dominos should start to fall quickly.
That sets the stage for what Skall hopes will be a launch in the second week of April, around Tax Day. Whenever the beer is ready, the brewery’s big launch event will be at Meridian Pint in Columbia Heights. Although there will be other, small launch events in various neighborhoods, the blowout main event will be at Meridian Pint.
Keep your fingers crossed that everything else goes smoothly, and soon enough you’ll have a tasty pint of The Public to enjoy, brewed right in your own backyard!