DC Brau is getting set for a major expansion this month. The three-year-old brewery will install equipment that will increase brewing capacity at its Northeast D.C. facility by 50 percent, but also cancel its popular Saturday tours and Growler Hours for several weeks.
Co-founder and CEO Brandon Skall said that after the weekly open house on May 17, the facility will close to the public to allow for the installation of six new tanks that each hold 60 barrels of beer, or almost 1,550 gallons, as well as a larger line for the brewery's glycol cooling system. "We brewed over 10,000 barrels [of beer] in 2013," Skall said. "This year, we're looking to brew 15 or 16,000. That's the goal. Right now, we have 720 barrels of fermentation space at any given time, and this will add 360 barrels more."
The downside is the public closure of the brewery, which Skall said is both a practical matter and a safety issue. "There will be contractors' tools everywhere . . . and just working straight through seven days a week gets the project done faster."
A press release from the brewery suggested that the tasting room will be closed for six weeks, but Skall is hopeful work will take far less time. "The contractor told me that [construction] will only take two weeks, but at this point, I've learned to triple anything a contractor says," Skall explained. "Who knows, it could only be two or three [weeks of closure]. I just don't want to over-promise and under-deliver, and have people mad at me if we say we'll only be closed for three weeks and the work takes longer."
While the tasting room is closed, DC Brau will carry on brewing as usual, and customers who prefer growlers to cans will still be able to buy beer at Glen's Garden Market, Whole Foods and "anywhere people usually get them," Skall said. Whenever work is finished, there are plans for a grand reopening party, possibly with live music.
If you absolutely need to get your growler fix while DC Brau is closed, 3 Stars, Atlas Brew Works, Chocolate City Brewing Company, Port City and Lost Rhino all offer tours and growler fills at their breweries on Saturdays.