Just up the street from the Washington Nationals baseball stadium in the industrial Ivy City section, ATLAS BREW WORKS had the unfortunate problem of dealing with Covid lockdowns during its March 2020 opening. But entrepreneurial guiding light, Justin Cox, a Vanderbilt grad with a serious jones for brewing, navigated thru the restrictive guidelines and Atlas quickly became a local staple in the Capitol’s Navy Yard.
Glass-windowed overhead doors and an Anthem banner greet patrons to the first 100% solar powered craft brewery in District of Columbia. Set up like a sportsbar, its mid-sized U-shaped central bar sits between three ceiling-to-floor baseball card-laden columns and multiple TV’s are strewn across the bar, plastic-furnished and right side dining area. An open kitchen serves and the brew tanks are stage left.
We sat on the outdoor deck in the light rain sampling a few Atlas suds while the bustling street fair took place, May ’22.
One of two light-bodied year-round ‘core’ beers, brisk lemon fizzing picked up floral earthen grassiness atop delicate pilsner malt graining for light-bodied Bullpen Pilsner.
The other easygoing flagship, District Common Draught, placed sharply zestful lemon licks across Saaz hop herbage and vegetal corn astringency over salty pretzel-like doughing.
Sweet Vienna-malted toffee nuttiness secured French bread-crusted Opening Day Vienna Lager, placing herbal hops towards the back end with navel orange snips.
Kulmbacher-styled Czech dark ale, Tmave, plied peaty dark roast grain musk to cocoa-dried date, fig and fennel above mild pumpernickel breading.
Pink Himalayan salting sprinkled the tart blood orange adjunct and mildly acidic lemon limey trail of Blood Orange Gose, a white wheat-based moderation.
Dry white wine esters and mild lemon limed salinity provided light acidity for sour saison, Existential Dread, leaving hay-like barnyard leathering in its wake.
Muddily black malted dark ale, Silent Neighbor Stout, combined dark chocolate, black coffee, espresso, Blackstrap molasses and ashen walnut bittering with wood-seared hop charring.