This is part of a Beerventure Series from Steph’s March 2014 trip to Washington, DC. See the rest of the series here.
Altas Brew Works joined the DC beer scene this past September and has caught the attention of local craft beer lovers. Atlas is located in the Ivy City neighborhood of Northeast DC, about a mile from Union Market and conveniently only 1.7 miles from DC Brau.
Atlas was founded by homebrewer Justin Cox and award winning brewer Will Durgin. Justin won the DC State Fair homebrew competition back in 2010 with his black lager.
Will’s professional brewing experience includes Telegraph Brewing Company in Santa Barbara, CA and Pyramid Breweries in Portland, OR. He is a graduate of the Master Brewers Program and the Professional Brewers Certificate Program at the University of California, Davis.
Justin and Will became friends while studying engineering at Vanderbilt University. This is also where they fell in love with craft beer and dreamt of one day opening their own brewery.
Atlas offers three complex, yet drinkable beers on tap at the brewery. The first beer, District Common, is a California Common brewed with Czech Saaz hops. The 5.1% ABV pale brew was inspired by the beers that accompanied America’s expansion into the West. District Common is fermented with a lager yeast at ale fermentation temperatures. The well-balanced beer is crisp like a lager should be with the fruity notes of an ale. Atlas recommends pairing the brew with oysters, roast pork, or grilled duck.
The second beer, Rowdy, is a 6.2% ABV copper-hued rye beer. This was my favorite of the three samples, and it was the most requested beer at the bar. It’s made with three varieties of hops and generous amounts of specialty malts. Atlas describes the complex flavor and aroma as both fun and aggressive. The use of rye gives a distinct peppery character that complements the bitterness and floral notes of the hops. Atlas recommends pairing Rowdy with quail legs.
The last beer was the current seasonal, Home Rule, a “style-defying India Pale Lager.” This unique brew is made with a pilsner malt base and their house lager yeast. Balanced bitterness and citrusy aromas come from the late and dry hop additions of New Zealand Waimea hops. Clean and crisp, the 5.8% ABV beer is extremely drinkable and perfect for an afternoon ballgame.
On April 4, 2014, Atlas Brew Works debuted The 1500 South Cap Lager exclusively for the Washington Nationals baseball club. The 4.8% ABV Helles lager was named after the address of Nationals Park. It’s a spin on a traditional German style pale lager featuring light malt notes and earthy American hops.
The brewery is open on Saturdays from 1 to 4 PM for tastings, tours, and growler fills. After showing proper ID, you are handed 3 tickets redeemable for 3 free tasting samples at the bar. While the brewery is located in an industrial warehouse, the bar area is very welcoming. District Common and Rowdy are available in bottles to go, or all 3 beers can be purchased in growlers.
Atlas Brew Works was recently named one of the 21 Awesome Northeast Breweries You Should Know About.