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Secrets of the City: D.C.

Revealing all the untold stories of our Nation’s Capital. From all the best local spots to where we got our beloved Cherry Blossoms, check out the stories that make the District unique!

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The Best Beer in D.C. 

In the early days, Washington, D.C. was a town of beer brewing. Our very first brewery opened in 1796 with a very creative name: The Washington Brewery. Beer was so popular in D.C. that years later, Heurich Brewing became the biggest employer in town (if you don’t count the Federal Government). Unfortunately, neither historic brewery is around anymore, but that hasn’t stopped D.C. from having some of the best beer in the USA brewed right here in town!

In no particular order, here are this local’s five favorite breweries to grab a cold one:

a can of soda on a table

Instagram: @citystatebrewing

City State Brewery

Head up to Northeast D.C. for some high-quality beer, pinball, and skeeball. Right across the street from the Rhode Island Ave. stop on the red line is City State Brewery’s warehouse-style taproom, complete with outdoor seating, picnic tables, and stand-up comedy on Wednesdays. You can find their pilsner on tap in most bars across the city, but if you visit the source, your options are never ending with the local favorite: 8 Wards IPA. Named for the 8 Wards of DC, this West coast-style IPA has great notes of citrus without compromising on the hops!

Other Half

While you’re shopping, dining, or stopping at a distillery over in Ivy City, you can’t miss grabbing a cold one at Other Half Brewery. Their open-air taproom, patio, rooftop, and old-school railcar make it the perfect place to enjoy a warm spring day in D.C. with friends. Of course, the beer is the best part. With equal parts creativity and quality, there’s something for everyone at Other Half. For the beer aficionado who’s always looking for something different, check out their fruited sour Mixed Berry Crunchee, an “Imperial Berry Granola Berliner Weisse.” There is really nothing like it!

Red Bear Brewing Co. 

If you find yourself parched in NOMA, Red Bear is an obvious stop. The vibes at Red Bear are unparalleled: a casual atmosphere with high-quality beer. With plenty of bicycle parking in the front, a steampunk-style bar, and a collection of board games, it’s easy to spend all night trying every brew they have on tap. While you’re there, make sure to try every Washingtonian’s favorite Red Bear brew, 51st State, New England-style IPA that can’t be beaten. If you like it as much as we do, you can always take a 4-pack or a growler to go.

Capitol City

a close up of food on a table

Instagram: @otherhalfdc

After a long day of walking the Monuments on the National Mall or hitting up a Smithsonian museum, you can grab a local brew right downtown at Capitol City Brewing Company. In Penn Quarter, you’re just a few blocks away from the National Mall, the arena, and some of the best restaurants in D.C. But we can’t choose between our favorite brews at Capitol City, so you’ll have to stay for two: Amber Waves, an American-style red lager that always delivers on flavor and the Capitol Kolsch, D.C.’s take on the classic German-style ale that is refreshing on even the hottest D.C. afternoon!

Written by Jessica, our local expert guide. Jessica is a Historian, Archivist, and Tour Guide living and working in the District who loves sharing the secrets of the city with tourists and locals alike. Want to learn more? Join us on an Insider’s Pub Crawl

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