July 30, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

At Atlas Brew Works, the Taps Are Flowing

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
Dan Bedford, a brewer for Atlas Brew Works, pours a sample of District Common beer while filling kegs at the brewery. Atlas plans to be open for tastings most Saturdays.

“There isn’t much zoning in D.C.” for operations such as a brewery, Durgin said, “so our options were limited.” Still, Cox said the response has been positive. “The neighborhood’s been pretty receptive,” he said.

Tapping In

Atlas beers are showing up in a growing number of local establishments, 33 and counting, according to its website. That includes beer-loving places such as Boundary Road, The Argonaut, Meridian Pint, Smoke and Barrel and Pizzeria Paradiso. The T-shirts, artwork and branding, developed by local firm Bates Creative, has an industrial, steampunk vibe. The NSFW, a mind-blowingly bitter but fun brew, (a perfect 100 IBU score for you hop-heads and a 9.2 percent alcohol by volume for those in a hurry on the road to intoxication) is signified by a scorpion in a cog wheel, for instance. The edgy design fits in well with the surrounding neighborhood and many of the establishments that serve Atlas beers.

The District Common, which slotted into Nationals Park right at the end of the Washington Nationals’ last homestand, is likely to be the biggest crowd pleaser. Like other beers made in the California Common style, it’s kind of a combo beer, using lager yeasts that are fermented at ale temperatures. At 5.1 percent alcohol by volume, it’s pretty close to a session beer, and its mellow but lively taste is a pleasure to drink.

Atlas is also partnering with Rocklands Farm in Poolseville, Md., to send its spent grain to feed Rocklands’ hogs.

With such attention to IBU, ABV, fermentation temperatures and even what happens to the waste, the question sometimes comes up: Is beer the next wine? Wine can be so complicated that it turns people off. Could that happen to beer, the official beverage of kicking back?

Durgin has an interesting perspective on that.

“I wouldn’t want to get that far,” he said, adding, “Beer could take itself more seriously and wine could kick back and have a little more fun. Both could learn from each other and meet in the middle.”

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