Heurich House

That random castle in Dupont Circle

August 16, 2012

How many times have you passed this building, wondered what it was and done nothing about it?

Brewery owner Christian Heurich liked his beer warm and his buildings fireproof. He was a pragmatic businessman who kept his company afloat through Prohibition by making and selling ice. And he lived in this fine example of Victorian excess, also known as the “Brewmaster’s Castle.” Tour it to learn about turn-of-the-20th-century decor, Heurich’s beer and the quirky, folksy man himself.

Heurich’s first brewery was heavily damaged by a fire in 1892. He made sure his next brewery was fireproof, and did the same with this home, completed in 1894. The concrete-and-reinforced-steel Victorian had electricity and central heating well before they were commonplace; none of the home’s 15 fireplaces were ever used. In the basement is Heurich’s rec room/man cave/breakfast nook, where he played skat (German bridge). “He who has never been drunk is not a good man,” reads one of the German mottoes on the walls.

Did You Know?

The Christian Heurich Brewing Co.’s Senate, Maerzen and other beers were popular nationwide up until the 1950s, when larger breweries proved to be insurmountable foes.

Heurich billed its beer as a healthy beverage. One 1897 ad read, “Nursing mothers should drink Heurich’s ‘Maerzen,’ as it will insure pure and heavy milk for the babies.”

The company sold Champeer, a “champagnelike” sparkling malt liquor, in the late 1940s — until being sued by a New Jersey brewery making the similar Champale.

Christian Heurich lived to age 102. He ascribed his longevity to moderation in all things and to drinking Heurich beer.

Heurich House, 1307 New Hampshire Ave. NW; $5; 202-429-1894. (Dupont Circle)

Learn More! Explore D.C., a free iPhone app from The Washington Post, is a guide to the city’s attractions, big and small. Download it today from the App Store.

Comments
Show Comments
Most Read
Next Story
Change is the only constant for Brooklyn band Dirty Projectors
Rudi Greenberg · August 16, 2012