Skall, DC Brau’s CEO and co-founder, says he started drinking hard seltzer last year as a lower-calorie alternative to beer and quickly realized there was an opening in the D.C. market. “I drink pretty diversely,” Skall says. “I don’t want to pigeonhole myself to just drinking beer.”
A Falls Church native, Skall, 39, went to American University, spent a decade in Bloomingdale and now lives in Woodridge, not far from his brewery. On his Instagram page, Skall describes himself in plain terms: “Father, brewery founder, tattoo collector, runner.” You can define his perfect day in Washington in almost the same way.
First I’ll get the kids ready for school. Eben, 7, usually makes waffles for him and his sister, Wayrn, 4. The best part of the day is waking up and seeing them. They get ready, we get in the car and I drive them to Mundo Verde Bilingual Public Charter School. I’m so impressed with the amount of Spanish my kids have been able to learn there. I thought that would be a really amazing gift to impart onto a child to be bilingual.
I’ve got a running club I meet up with early in the morning once a week. We call ourselves the Croissant Club. We usually go for a run around the city and we finish south of Dupont Circle at a bakery called Un je ne sais Quoi. It’s an amazing little French bakery that’s owned by a French couple. They are just the nicest, sweetest people, and they make all their croissants fresh every single day. It’s a great way to start my day.
I’d make a quick jaunt to DC Brau. Make sure everything’s okay. Probably won’t spend too much time, just make sure there’s no fires to put out. I try to say hello to everybody every day. I think that’s important.
I’ll stop in at All-Purpose Pizzeria in Shaw. A couple years ago I had what I called the summer of pizza where I was just going to have pizza as much as I wanted to, and it just never ended. I’d get the Buona, which is their pepperoni pizza with this little honey glaze on it. I like to add a little bit of their Italian sausage. Man, it’s so good. In addition to always having great beer, they’ve got a really good wine list. I might have a nebbiolo.
If I could grab my kids out of school for a bit, I would take them to the National Air and Space Museum. That’s one of our favorite places to go. Both my kids are really fascinated by space. They’re really into superhero movies, and when we go there we get to see real superheroes and people who have done some pretty amazing things as well as some pretty cool hardware — all those planes — and the Imax movie is always fun.
From there, I’d run down to Vida Fitness on U Street. It’s my gym, and I love it there. My girlfriend, Christine Kontra, is a personal trainer there, and I really love getting in a workout with a friend or someone you care about. She specializes in weight training and yoga, so either one of those would be would be great.
From there, we’d go to a beer event at Roofers Union. One of my favorite things to do every year at Roofers Union is their ugly sweater toy drive holiday party. It’s cool because all the rest of the breweries are there. Everybody brings a special beer to put on, so I’d have one of ours. I also love their wings. They have this sweet barbecue glaze sauce.
After Roofers Union events, I have this ritual of going downstairs to Tattoo Paradise. The whole staff is awesome and very talented. It’s just a fun way to accentuate the night. I’ve got this one little space left on the heel of my foot that’s not tattooed. I would say that I am probably in the 80 to 85 percent coverage range. My buddy Gordie Jones there has these cool stylized skulls that he does. Maybe throw one of those on there because nothing says “holiday party” like skulls.
I love to head over to the Hamilton. They do such a great job of curating the musical acts. There’s a lot of Grateful Dead-centric acts there, and I’m a massive Deadhead. I would love to see Holly Bowling [who does solo piano covers of Dead songs] play. I would have a Full Transparency seltzer because they stock that.
The rigatoni at Red Hen is my favorite around. I used to go there and order a double portion of rigatoni for my dinner. But those days are long behind me. Now, I will usually force everybody that we’re with to share a rigatoni at the beginning of the meal.
I would totally be out of my mind if I didn’t stop for a nightcap at Boundary Stone, which is dear to me for many reasons. When those brothers [Matt and Gareth Croke] were building that place out, I was there while it was being built, and when we were building out the brewery, they were with us at the brewery. We became fast friends. They have a famous Irish coffee that is quite something to make, so whenever you order it you might get an eye roll. But man, it comes out so good, and the reason it’s so hard to make is because they whip the cream by hand until it’s perfect and so that goes on top of the Irish coffee and it sort of drips down into the glass. It’s just a real pleasure to drink — especially when it’s a little chilly outside.