Today is your first chance to sip suds from the D.C. area's latest craft beer dispensary, Denizens Brewing Co. The soon-to-open downtown Silver Spring brewery's Southside Rye IPA will be on draft at Republic in Takoma Park starting at 4 p.m. and on special for $5 per pint until 7 p.m.
Southside (named such because Denizens is located on the south side of Silver Spring) is brewed with a small portion of rye malt and five American hops—Nugget, Cascade, Chinook, Azacca, and Amarillo. Bar manager Brett Robison describes the 7.2 percent alcohol beer as a well-balanced West coast-style IPA with a noticeable but not overwhelming rye character.
Denizens founders Emily Bruno, Julie Verratti, and Jeff Ramirez will be on hand for the release event. They have not announced an official grand opening date for their 7,500 square feet brewery and tasting room, but they're aiming for mid-July in time for thirsty patrons to enjoy their 150-seat outdoor beer garden. Later in August, a restaurant run by BBQ Bus food truck owners Che and Tadd Ruddell-Tabisola will also open on-site.
The debut at Republic will be the first opportunity for both parties to take advantage of a new law in Maryland, going into effect today, that permits small craft breweries to self-distribute directly to restaurants and shops. This change allows breweries like Denizens (but not larger producers like Flying Dog or Heavy Seas) to sell and deliver kegs, especially of specialty beers, more quickly and reliably to retailers by bypassing distributors, and in Montgomery County's case, the government-run alcohol control board.
The Denizens' founders actually played a key role in getting the law written by presenting research-based requests to various government agencies and working with legislators. (A full dissertation on the topic can be found at DCBeer.com.)
"We can more easily source our beer and give people options that weren't available to them in Montgomery County before," Robison explains.
The change is so significant that Republic is throwing a July 4 festival that "commemorates the disengagement of a government entity in beer and celebrates the unification of our local brewing community."
Republic's Freedom Fest on Friday will feature a variety of beers and a cider (full list below). Tickets include unlimited house barbecue, farm-fresh produce, and pours of beer for four hours (11 a.m. to 3 p.m. or 3 to 7 p.m.) for $35, or and all-day pass for $50. There will also be live music from jazz group Yamomanem and cover band Human Country Jukebox.
- Flying Dog Easy IPA, Barrel Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter, and Dead Rise Old Bay Summer Ale
- Port City Optimal Wit, Monumental IPA and Revival Oyster Stout
- The Brewer’s Art Birdhouse Pale Ale, Choptanked Summer Saison, and Coupe de Boule Golden Grand Cru
- Starr Hill Starr Pils
- Devils Backbone Vienna Lager
- DC Brau Corruption IPA and Woodford Reserve Barrel-Aged Penn Quarter Porter
- Millstone Farmgate Unfiltered Oak-Fermented Cider
- Denizens Southside Rye IPA
- Full Tilt Baltimore Pale Ale
Photo by Tammy Tuck