Seeking out 3 Stars Brewing Company – Julia Eats


Inside a large red brick warehouse at Washington DC’s northeast corridor, 3 STARS BREWING COMPANY began setting up shop at this former auto body shop, August 2012. Two miles south of Silver Springs’ popular Denizens Brewing, 3 Stars has crafted over 200 beers since inception, “pushing the envelope” stylistically while featuring four durable flagships conceived by entrepreneurial pals Mike Mc Garvey and Dave Coleman.

A bulb-lit 3 Stars insignia above the blackboard beer list captures patrons’ attention nearly as much as the onsite brews. Antique chandeliers and exposed pipes hang from the wood ceiling and a large red and white stars and stripes banner occupies a side wall. A kiosk-like country-styled Urban Farmhouse gets utilized mainly for private parties.

At the rustic cement-floored pub, a compact wood-topped serving station supplies twelve colorfully tap-handled draughts. The right side large-barreled brewroom nears a technicolor walled lantern display while barreled tables and plastic furnishings fill out the room. A community-tabled covered deck with barrel barriers offers outdoor picnic space.


I downed the four flagships before delving further into 3 Star’s likable lineup. Check the Beer Index for reviews on canned Low Hanging Fruit: Cherry & Lime, Birds Of A Feather Fruited Sour, Velvet Zombie Imperial Porter and Zombie Date Night (2022)

Piquantly soft-toned farmhouse offshoot, Peppercorn Saison, let mild currant-dried white and pink peppercorn rusticity influence its wispy limey sage herbage contrasted by delicate candi-sugared lemon meringue, orange marmalade and fried plantain sweetness.

Zesty grapefruit-peeled orange rind bittering (from Citra hops) and dry Amarillo-Simcoe hop pining stayed mild against the gentle pale malt-spiced peach, tangerine and mango tanginess of Ghost IPA (not to be confused with witbier-influenced Ghost White IPA).

Briskly clean double dry-hopped hazy pale ale, Diamonds Are Forever, brought lemony grapefruit-peeled orange juicing and limey guava, passionfruit and gooseberry souring (of a tropical NEIPA) to mild resinous floral herbage above thin saltine cracker base.

Toasted pecans subtly sway Southern Belle Imperial Brown Ale, leaving sweet chestnut and hazelnut snips to contrast the ashen walnut bittering atop its brown breaded molasses base.


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In a modern Industrial red brick building at DC’s Ivy City neighborhood, OTHER HALF BREWING opened September 2020, six years after its original Brooklyn, New York business commenced. A 22,000 square foot brewing facility and taproom (formerly a tomato can factory), Other Half’s multifaceted facility includes an outdoor deck, covered pavilion and roof deck.

Inside, the immaculate pub features an elongated tile-sided 12-plus draught bar servicing the cement floored benches and barrel top tables. A rooftop deck (with full bar) allows for more seating.

The first-floored overhead doors lead to the outside deck where my wife and I (with dog, Roscoe) down eight enjoyable tapped offerings (including three lagers, three Imperial IPA’s, an oated cream IPA and a barrel-aged stout) on a rainy Friday evening, May ’22.

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Easygoing helles lager, Box Car, plied mild herbal hop astringency to light lemon spicing over white-breaded pilsner malts.

Spritzy lemon musk and herbal hop astringency paced Ivy City Lager, a dry Eastern European-styled moderation with biscuity toasted grain bottom.

Musty perfumed ricing saddled Japanese-styled rice lager, Poetry Snaps, a pilsner-malted light body with herbal Saaz hops scouring floral spiced lemon licks.

Zesty floral-spiced grapefruit and pineapple brining led golden-hazed Imperial IPA, Blue Crab, picking up Chradonnay-buttered guava, mango and passionfruit snips.

Salty lemon-limed grapefruit bittering, mellow orange peel sweetness and mild pineapple-guava souring guided fellow Imperial IPA, Quonset Hut, to its pine lacquered grassy hop stead.

Meanwhile, New Zealand-styled double dry-hopped Imperial IPA, Riwaka + Motueka, brought limey yogurt-soured guava, gooseberry and pineapple fruiting to soft herbal pungency contrasting mild vanilla creaming of unassumingly 8% ABV medium body.

Lactose-aided Imperial Oat Cream India Pale Ale, Tremendous Cream (a ‘bigger’ 10% ABV version of Dollar And A Dream) tucked away its zestful lemon-limed grapefruit and orange tanginess plus tertiary pineapple, guava and mango onrush for mild grassy hop musk, light herbal snips and dank earthen grains.

Peanut butter-candied chocolate caramel nougat creaminess deepened the bourbon vanilla sweetness of barrel-aged Deep Orbit Cygnus, a decadent Imperial Stout with mild espresso, cappuccino and caffe mocha illusions topping a honeyed Graham Cracker base.


Atlas Brew Works | Washington, DC | Beers | BeerAdvocate Atlas Brew Works Virtual Tasting - 5/14/2021 | Brewbound.com


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.

Atlas Brew Works | Venue, Washington | Get your price estimate

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.


Right Proper Shaw Brewpub & Kitchen - Event Venue Rental - Washington -  Tagvenue.com


At the trendy Shaw quadrant of Northwest DC, RIGHT PROPER BREWING COMPANY (with a second location, Brookland Production House & Tasting Room, in the nearby Northeast corridor), began as a small neighborhood brewpub during 2013. Known also as the Shaw Brewpub & Kitchen, Right Proper is situated right next to the historic Howard Theatre.

Colorful abstract chalked paintings cover the lacquered cement interior of this rustic wood and metal furnished art deco Industrial site. One abstract mural painting adorns the semi-private red brick right walled Duke Ellington Room.

Classic American pub fare leads the food menu and a gourmet cheese counter located ahead of the two separate 10-seat bars down the narrow hall serves the finest charcuterie delights. Complex, sometimes offbeat, brews, crowd the draught menu. During a rainy Saturday evening, May ’22, discovered six rangy elixirs with son, Christopher (who downed a previously tried Haxan Porter).


The three mainstays for Right Proper include a light lager, souped-up pale ale and kindly witbier.

Classic pre-prohibition styled light lager, Senate Beer, placed buttery corn flaked cereal graining across lemon-licked Fuggle hop earthiness updating an old Heurich Brewing recipe.

Spirited dry-hopped pale ale, Raised By Wolves, brought floral IPA-like grapefruit-peeled navel orange Citra hop effervescence to piney Simcoe hop astringency and mild grassiness above spicy pale malting.

Stylish coriander-spiced orange peel sweetness picked up slight juniper bite and Tettnang/Perle hop herbage over oats-dried torrified wheat for Lil Wit, a well-balanced moderation.

Mimosa-like orange champagne entry guided eccentric blonde ale, Magic Of Music, pushing cara cara orange tanginess thru lemony grapefruit, pineapple and gooseberry fruiting.

Sharp orange-peeled grapefruit bittering and sour white grape esters paced mixed cultured New England IPA, Fear No Art, utilizing leathery brettanomyces yeast to funk up the mildly acidic citric-dried finish.

Lovely Scottish wee heavy nightcap, Go On Wee Man!, coalesced bourbon vanilla spicing, toffee-candied chocolate sweetness, caramelized dried fruiting, milk-sugared coffee tones and cherry cordial snips atop maple molasses-sapped flaked oats.


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As the story goes, three pioneering Seattle natives headed east to the nation’s Capitol looking for a cool spot for their dream endeavor. By March ’19, the entrepreneurial trio of Bryan Van Den Oever, Simon Bee and Cameron Raspet found the culturally diverse nightlife of Washington D.C.’s newly renovated NoMa district the perfect spot for an “East Coast meets open casual West Coast style” brewery.

At this bustling industrial office hub (north of Massachusetts Avenue), RED BEAR BREWING CO. began operations. Inside a red brick neighborhood mall near Union Station and close to the elevated trains, Red Bear takes up a medium-sized corner spot down the street-level stairs.

Inside, the rustic cement-floored pub features 20-plus taps (proprietary beers plus seltzers and ciders) at the centrally located bar while the surrounding area offers wood and metal four-seaters and community tables plus board games for the kids. Kettled brew tanks are at the far right. The superb pub food menu and a host of upscale liquors back up the wholly reliable brew selections (of which, I will discover five well rounded and widely differentiated elixirs reviewed below).

At the partially covered outside patio, my wife and I (with dog Roscoe) consume five diverse homemade creations on a rainy Saturday in May ’22.

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Floral-daubed ginger cologne, mild carrot-pureed spicing and yellow grapefruit zesting coalesced for briskly clean cucumber-watered saison, 24 Karat, an effervescently offbeat springtime moderation.

Another Maytime endeavor, soft-toned pinkish amber Peak Bloom Cherry Wit, let subtle Pez-candied cherry tartness fade into soap-stoned guava and gooseberry brining over a delicate white wheat bed.

Sweet ‘n sour oated ‘cream pale ale,’ Floof, a glowing sunshine hued New England IPA knockoff, readied salty guava-passionfruit tartness for lemon meringue and peach cobbler confections above lactic acidulated malts.

Dry opaque salmon-tinted fruited gose, The Floor Is Guava, regaled lively guava brining and tart coriander-seeded raspberry sedation as well as white peach, cranberry and crabapple snips over feathery sourdough wheated pilsner malting.

Black malted dark chocolate and mild espresso tones reached the soily earthen bottom of DC Dirt Porter, leaving chalky dried fruiting on the tail end.

Lactose peanut buttered dark chocolate roast deepened by coffee-stained hop char of rich milk stout, Tall Dark & Nutty, picking up latent bourbon vanilla spicing to contrast oily dark-roast mocha nuttiness.


District ChopHouse


Right along the historical downtown Washington DC area next to the Verizon Center in Penn Quarters, DISTRICT CHOPHOUSE opened May ’95 and grew to have affiliate brewpub-restaurants in Denver, Boulder and Cleveland. Though my wife and I only stopped in for a few mid-afternoon beers on our March ’12 Maryland-Virginia three-day journey, this upscale chain takes great pride in its seafood, steaks and sandwiches.

Since Bruce Springsteen’s in town tonight, parking’s at a minimum. But we find a free spot along the National Gallery of Art. Within minutes we’re at District Chophouse, a capacious 7th Street beer hall sporting a maroon awning, historic marble columns, exquisite mahogany interior, and basement banquet room. A right side dining area (with moonlit chandeliers), lofty mezzanine area and open kitchen (with hearth) complete the score.

We sit at a table next to the left side bar watching the Penguins and Flyers fight throughout a late-season hockey game while consuming some of the finest mid-Atlantic suds I’d come across. Brewer Barrett Lauer’s wide-ranging ales, crafted at the mezzanine brew kettles and listed on two blackboards, are all on the mark and usually one step beyond stylistic design.

Though the astringent Light Lager’s strictly for amateurs, its corn-oiled popcorn pungency and dried citrus snip bettered Bud-Coors-Miller ‘lite’ beer. And even if Amber Ale suited lighter thirsts, its bolder stylistic approach allowed styptic wood-toned Cascade-hopped spicing to deepen caramelized apple, lemony peach and marmalade undertones.

As smooth as its name, Velvet, defined as a ‘slow pour nut brown,’ pleated wispy charred nuttiness with dainty dark chocolate. Better was the similarly styled Nut Brown, a mildly creamed medium body receiving a sweet toffee, caramel, and chocolate boost above peanut-shelled hazelnut vestiges.

Moderate juniper hop bittering saddled lacquer-fruited IPA, leaving tangy pineapple, mango, peach, pear and apple notions all over its dried fig backend.

Breaking stylistic confines, Oatmeal Stout grazed its expectant milky dark chocolate repertoire with abrupt wood-burnt molasses flickers.

Saving the most exceptional fare for a mesmerized closing trifecta, I drifted off into three ‘big beers.’ Cherry Blossom Fest, an adventurous wheat ale boasting dark sweet cherries tucked candied stone fruits, tart cranberry and leafy dry hops inside whiskey-soaked malts.

Reaching complete euphoria, I sipped remarkable Belgian-styled pale ale hybrid, Brewers Marker, where aromatic French-roast coffee grounds seep into mild wood-singed dried fruits and contrast candied yeast spicing.

Best bet: Bourbon Stout aged in Woodford Reserve Barrels. This resolute oatmeal stout gained luscious bourbon tonicity above dark chocolate frothing, oaken vanilla mellowness and roasted caramel creaminess, finishing with a soothingly warm feel.



Best Washington DC Brewpub | Capitol City Brewing Company | Capitol City  Brews


In town for surprise birthday party to celebrate my Uncle Ed’s 60th birthday May ‘02, found godsend Total Wine & More in Springfield. The store’s wide selection forced me to fill up trunk with much-needed Weeping Radish, Blue Ridge, and De Groen’s brews (all brewed in Maryland), Dominion Octoberfest and Octoberfest Special (Virginia) along with North Carolina middleweights from Rock Creek and Wild Goose.

The only D.C. bottled beer I scored was Olde Heurich Maerzen, though JOHN HARVARD’S BREWHOUSE on Pennsylvania Avenue (closed since ’07) and CAPITOL CITY BREWPUB on Massachusetts Avenue were worth the trip for pints of stout and draft samplers. In July ’07, had Fortunato family reunion at Uncle Ed’s new Fredericksburg estate, buying Williamsburg Washington’s Porter, Legend King James Ale, Speakeasy Old Godfather Barleywine, and five Blue & Gray beers at local Total Wines.