DC Beer Buzzards

After a morning of chores, what could be better than a dc metro excursion with craft beer destinations?

One of the benefits of living in a city with terrific public transportation is that you can get your beer on in a very safe way.  We set out at 1pm today taking the J2 into Silver Spring, with a short red line ride to NoMA Galludet.  The short ride became a longish one when the driver had to exit the train just past Ft. Totten to make a manual switch on the tracks – whatever that means.  18 minutes later, we were back in transit in search of Atlas Brew Works.  Exiting at NoMA, we headed a few blocks up Florida Avenue to Galludet University. 

Gallaudet is the world leader in liberal education and career development for deaf and hard of hearing students.  Founded in 1864 by an Act of Congress, its charter was signed by President Abraham Lincoln and serves about 2000 students today.  It is also well fortified by a 12 feet fence surrounding the campus on all sides with a single entrance on Florida Ave.  Florida Ave is not the worst stretch of road in DC, but it is not great either.  A student played frisbee golf inside the safety of the protected grounds as we kept our pace up outside the fortress gates.

The brisk walk from NoMa to Atlas is about a mile and a half – pass Galludet, take a left on West Virginia Ave, pass the nativity with twin baby Jesuses.  Yep, if you look closely you will see that Mary and Joseph have twins.  We were not overly familiar with that version of the Christmas story but it is well celebrated on West Virginia Ave in DC.

Along the way, signs pointed towards a flea market in our direction.  As we came up to a Catholic church converted into a charter school, we thought that perhaps the church was holding a sale.  The well advertised flea market was not at the former church but rather in an odd-shaped lot next to the church behind fences hidden with hanging tarps and blankets.

Plastic tubs of old clothes, stray computer cables, empty picture frames, unmatched shoes, and other valuable household items filled a fenced-in lot.  We were greeted at the gate by the proprietor who presumably lived in the dilapidated trailer at the far end of the property. Most of the items were wet from being out in the elements.  Even the best picker would have had difficulty finding a hidden treasure here.

Leaving the flea behind, we closed in on Atlas Brew Works – steps beyond the auto repair and speaker installation stores and across the street from a graveyard.  We were immediately disappointed that the food truck, DC Slices, was not parked out front as advertised on the Atlas website.  We had been thinking about a slice and a beer since leaving the metro a mile and a half earlier.

Like our friends at 3 Stars, Atlas is a warehouse setting with bearded men with hipster galpals imbibing on pilsners and saisons, surrounded by shiny vats and artsy merchandise for sale.  Unlike 3 Stars, there are no tables or stools, so it is standing around only. Maybe we were being picky since we were one of the few to have walked there, but a couple of picnic tables would have been nice.

We ordered a couple Holiday Saisons and quenched our thirst without DC Slices and without a place to rest our legs.  Shortening our visit,  we opted for the glass and coaster in the coat pocket and pedestrian google maps route to DC Brau 1.6 miles away.  We were not getting any more rested and another beer was not going to help. Off we went.

It’s quite a trek across the gritty NE side of DC to get from Atlas to DC Brau.  0.2 miles up West Virginia Ave to a right on New York Ave, past the people living in Coleman tents on the median strip and the rubble from a recently demolished building.

Here we picked up an electrical pole, partly for it’s re:fab potential and partly as protection as we crossed NY Ave at Bladensburg road and passed under the dark overpass for the final mile to Corruption (DC Brau’s darkest). It was here that we started feeling the effects of the 4 miles we’d already walked, the effects of the 8%ers we just consumed and the munchie cravings setting in.

Nestled in the back of strip mall in the 3000 block of Bladensburg Rd, we were trading places with a pack of bearded boys overheard giving instructing to an uber driver to take them to Atlas.  Down the drive and around the corner, we were thrilled to see DC Slices parked outside the entrance to DC Brau and ordered up a personal sausage pie and cheesy tots before entering the this crafty sanctuary.

We were greeted with 8 free tasting tickets, which equaled about a beer each – the perfect accompaniment to getting our junk food on.  The place was packed with the typical craft beer crowd, only this time, they came on bikes – the pedaling kind.

 The festive bunch came in elf socks, bathrobes, racing gear and sequined santa hats.  We managed to snag a table – not sure where that joyluck came from, but it gave us time to rest our legs.  The energy level in DC Brau was high with tours departing, hipsters tapping kegs, and a constant turnover of clientele.

We had seen the cans of DC Brau in many craft beer stores and they were clearly further along in the marketing and name recognition game than Atlas.

Relaxing at our table with DC’s Belgian Ale called Citizen, we figured out how to get from Bladensburg Rd to Chevy Chase.  The H6 stops right out front – a 15 minute ride past the Franciscan Monestary to the Brookland Arts Walk.

Take the red line metro to Silver Spring with a J2 blurry ride into CC to a 0.3 mile walk and we were home in 57 minutes.  Gotta love the DC Metro Trip Planner – safe passage for beer buzzards like us.