Newer up and coming breweries around DC/MD/VA general area

Wondering if you guys have encountered any besides the obvious. We all know about Aslin, Other Half, Ocelot etc. But any newer favourites, or under the radar breweries you guys have been liking around the loose DC area? I loved Front Royale brewery in Shenandoah area. Precarious Beer in Williamsburg was pretty solid. I’m less familiar with what’s going on in Maryland but King’s Craft is the MD suburbs of DC answer to Dominion Wine and Beer for sure. I know Silver Branch Beer was pretty good. Astro Lab guys were kind of snobby but beer was decent.

Not sure if they count as newer, but for both Elder Pines and True Respite I have had good things / heard good things from my friends in the area about stuff they are putting out lately.

I have recently been to Settle Down Easy, and it was OK. I think I was also at Audacious a year ago and found it good but hardly stunning. Generally my wife only allows me to go to breweries she knows are going to be good (i.e., Aslin and OH) and gets annoyed by ticking at second rate places.

1 Like

For me it’s both a good thing and a bad thing that my wife doesn’t really like beer. So she could care less if I’m ticking the dredges or at some top notch place. Unless they have the Miami Weiss type fruit bombs, which she likes. Audacious was definitely pretty average despite hte name. Settle Down Easy was much better. I remember telling @radagast83 when we did those two that I would have thought it would be the opposite based on names.

I liked True Respite, haven’t been to Elder yet.

Definitely recommend checking out Elder Pines if in the area, all my friends in the area seem to think they are one of if not the best in the MoCo. The half dozen or so I have had from them have been good as well.

1 Like

The couple cans I’ve found from them around have definitely been pretty good. I used to work around there back before covid but my office went remote.

I’m a huge fan of what I’ve had from Elder Pines. Fun place, at least during my last visit in August 2019.

There’s a ton of places I need to check out.

Smaller/“newer” places that are putting out solid stuff:
-Dynasty Brewing (and Mieza Blendery)
-Eavesdrop Brewing

Further away is Precarious. Great stuff.

Aslin is freaking all over the place these days. I really really loved them early on, but their QC is abysmal and their cult following might have been earned from their early successes, but it is frustrating these days.

Ocelot and Commonwealth are putting out solid stuff and don’t have the kind of “bro” pretension that oozes from Aslin.

1 Like

The most recent visit to Aslin was quite good. A visit during the Baby Shark world series was hop burn and onions. Quality control and consistency are definitely an issue.

1 Like

Yes for sure. I used to put Aslin above the peers. In the beginning they made solid hazies, and their imp stouts stuck to the well made 9-11% type range. Now their hazies are all over the place and they rarely do a stout under 14%. Just sweet boozy chocolate bombs, sometimes with bourbon. The stouts remind me of the Bruery stuff, which I’m not a fan of. I used to like Aslin better than Veil because Veil is always super pretentious, but with opening of new Aslin location, they fully caught up. At least Veil maintains quality though. But ya, Commonwealth is good on QC and not pretentious, so they are my favourite these days in Va. Ocelot too, always dependable and above average. Ocelot’s best beers don’t happen as often as the other three, but they definitely happen. And they don’t have super low points or quality issues either.

Dynasty is kind of hit or miss. The Mieza blending stuff is by far the most interesting stuff they do there, though I understand it’s from a different guy from the regular Dynasty brewers. I found TCOB (The craft of brewing) next to the older Dynasty location to be far better than Dynasty. A crazy amount of beer on tap, plus you can do these credit card pours which means you can get deez tickz for like fiddy cents. You can easily knock through like 20 beers. Plus they have loads of styles, and seem to do everything reasonably well if not above average. Dynasty I found kind of hovers around average. Not sure how they already managed to open another location. But then again, there’s Adventure brewing… so who knows. Success = marketing plan > quality

I like The Veil, but a lot of their beers are same-same, the variations in hop varieties, especially when it’s a mix of 2 or 3 different hop varieties) are sometimes stark, but recently they taste very similar. I think I’d be a lot happier with them if their beers weren’t so expensive.

I love Ocelot, but I’ve had the same criticism with them, same-same beers.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Veil and Ocelot (and many other breweries across the country) are brewing the same base beer and then simply branding slight hop varieties as different beers. Technically they are, but I remember the mid 00s, when I was first getting into craft beer and a lot of breweries would brew beers with different hop varieties (generally with the same aroma and flavor profiles, like say a different CTZ if they couldn’t get one over the other) but wouldn’t brand them differently.

Maybe I’ve just lucked out with Dynasty. I really liked the offerings they had on tap. Nothing mind-blowing, but competent average/above-average, nothing with obvious defects that made me question the brewing staff or QC team. Dynasty lucked out in that they swooped in and bought up Bike TrAle Brewing’s location when they closed, that probably helped quite a bit.

TCOB is like throwing darts on the dart board. I appreciate the huge number of beers, at reasonable prices, even if they aren’t all hits.

I need more bang for my buck these days.

1 Like

If that’s what bothers you about Veil and Ocelot, just wait till you start rolling over to Other Half… 1056 listed beers on RB, 1040 of them IPAs. Or something like that.

They basically only do IPAs and stouts. And one lager for the DBs that roll in. That being said, they are at least very consistent with quality in a way Veil and Aslin haven’t managed. If you want a great hazy IPA in DC area, OH is definitely your best bet these days.

I hear you on bang for buck though. Buying single cans for three bucks or less is not so common anymore. All these hazy producers have driven up prices hugely. They increased the norm to tall cans, but in the process they also amped the cost a lot, where it’s usually $5-6 per can. I find myself paying those prices only for the guys I really trust these days, which leaves out someone like Equilibrium or Hoof hearted more often than not. Too expensive for what I typically get from them, especially when Commonwealth or OH is same price.

I haven’t been to their DC location, but I’ve had some and I definitely would level the same criticism towards OF. Almost always good beers, but (often) with only subtle variations between hazy beers, even if they’re tossing in different adjuncts.

I didn’t mind it when breweries would put out casks (and have them differentiated) but some of this is insane - I would wager that the average consumer of these beers would not be able to spot the difference, except maybe if they had them side-by-side in a flight. Hell, half the time I can only spot the most subtle of differences unless I’m literally holding the two beers in my hands and doing a comparison.

Maybe I just finally hit a breaking point - I got a bunch of beer from a (good) brewery at premium prices and they all basically drank (about) the same. They were good, but they probably wouldn’t sell as well if they were just putting out the same 3-4 Hazy IPAs a year instead of that many every other week.

1 Like