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The Public Ale | DC Brau Brewing Co.

very good
176 Reviews
For Trade:
The Public AleThe Public Ale

Brewed by:
DC Brau Brewing Co.
District of Columbia, United States | website

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
The Public Pale Ale is brewed in the classic American Pale Ale style. Assertive bitterness backed by C-60 and Vienna malts which lend notes of rich, yet semi-dry caramel. Then followed up with a nice white grapefruit and citrus aroma that begs for a follow up sip.

Added by drabmuh on 04-15-2011

User Reviews
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Reviews: 176 | Ratings: 831
Photo of jodybrutal
3.32/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Found a can of this in a mystery 12 pack I picked up at Victor's Liquors in Lawnside, NJ. No date on the can. Poured into pint glass.

a - Pours a dark, cloudy orange, big white fluffy head, sporadic lacing.

s - Aroma is straight forward hops, very piney, but dank and malty. Sweet candy scents as well.

t - Bitter right away, but malty even more so than the smell. Definitely a little more malty that I would prefer for an APA, but the Hops definitely shine through and balance this beer quite well.

m - Medium carbonation. Medium body. Goes down smooth, but leaves an almost sour kind of taste lingering on the tongue, which I'm actually starting to get tired of as I've finished 3/4 of this beer.

o - I poured about 3/4 into the glass, and had the rest straight from the can. The finish was actually much crisper and enjoyable from the can than out of the glass. Overall, I enjoyed this beer but would not seek it out.

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Photo of Roser
3.39/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A- cloudy, amber, copper hue. Bone white head/foam, disappears pretty quick, but leaves a nice lace.

S- caramel, sugar, malt. The nose suggests a heavier taste is to follow, but that is not the case.

T- bitter right out of the gate, moved to some sour notes in the middle, then finished with more of the bitterness on the back end. Had trouble defining the favors that stood out, other than an overwhelming malt backbone with some citrus lurking.

M- medium, unassuming.

O- good/very good. I'm a big fan of this beer. Might come as a little bit of a surprise, given the less than stellar review. It's the kind of beer I could easily see someone else snubbing completely, but that's the beauty of adhering to the bottom line: it's a good beer if it tastes good to you. Drink it if you can, as it's a local offering here in the DC/VA/MD metro area.

Cheers all!

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Photo of tbeckett
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pint at The Trestle in Philly. From notes.

A - Goldenish pour with mild carbonation. Half finger of white head on top left spotty lace and a film of retention.

S - Citrus, hops, pineapple. Straightforward, but enjoyable.

T - Very nice combo of citrus and pine and a little caramel for balance. A good hop profile and flavour.

M - Medium body, medium carbonation, good gripping bitterness.

O/D - A really good pale ale. Balanced, yet aggressive. Really drinkable for me. I liked this one alot.

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Photo of PicoPapa
3.81/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz can. Pours a dark brown with orange hues. Over an inch of head. Good amount of lacing. The aroma is piney hops with some light sweet citrus. Lightly buttered bread and some floral hop notes. The taste is pine with some wheat bread. Floral hop bitterness towards the end with some more malts. Flowery and piney at the finish. Medium bodied with a lot of carbonation. Overall, a decent Pale Ale that works perfectly in a can. I'd buy this again.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.52/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Pin's.

Hazy coppery pour, with a fuzzy white head that held at a thin layer, leaving streaks of lacing on the glass. In the nose, pithy citrus, toasted grains, lightly sweet caramel malts. In the taste, citrus pith and piney bitterness, dominating over dry crackery malts, husky grains, with a slight mineral element persisting throughout. Body was on the lighter side of medium, with a crisp, dry mouthfeel. Went down easily enough, but there was nothing that screamed at me to get another pour. An average but solid APA overall.

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Photo of micromaniac129
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A reddish copper color with a moderate sized beige head. The head lingers on for a good while leaving a patchwork of lacing.

The aroma is quite hoppy but it's a must dank aroma. Malts have a biscuit aroma and balance the hops well.

The taste to me has a nice hop kick. The hops have a flavor like earthy and floral with a spicy peppery undertone.
Malts hold up well and have a bread and biscuit taste.

No problem on the palate, finishes quite bitter.

This was a pleasant surprise for me. It pretty good.

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Photo of justintcoons
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz can poured into a shaker pint.

Golden amber with a short off-white head that dissipates quickly. Good clarity with low carbonation.

Tangerine, grapefruit, honeydew and candy sugar.

Grapefruit juice and honeydew melon along with notes of lemon pith and orange zest. Biscuity malts with touches of candy sugar. Finishes with pine needles and grapefruit zest.

Medium bodied, smooth, semi-dry and refreshing.

Spot on for a classic American Pale Ale!

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.74/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Bright orange pour from the can produces a spongy textured surface head that was slight in size and small on the hold. There is a good deal of softly floating particulate matter suspended within, while the carbonation appears to be soft and sporadic at best. Minimal lace details the glass.

S: Soft herbal notes overlay some pine and semi-dry lemon. There is a hint of semi-dry orange with a soft dried toasted peel and grain scent. Lightly dry citric zest appears late. Good aromatic strength.

T: Citric lemon and orange delivered with a high rational dose of bitterness. Dry grassy-lemon hops blend with pine, toasted bread crust with a lingering dry finish. Dry herbal, parsely, grassy notes with brief interluding moments of troasted grain sweetness.

M: lively, snap worthy pop of carbonation, that is crisp on the tongue with a light to medium body weight.

O: Overall a pale with more then its fair share of hops and bitterness. The hops over-ride the malt sweetness but only slightly, still maintaining a good sense of balance between the two. The abv% at 6.0 feels about right making for good drinkability. The ibus are strong, and this is worthy of multiples.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.93/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Glad I finally got hold of some single cans from DC Brau so I can try their standard lineup.

Clear amber on the pour with a creme head. Flavor has a nice bitterness that seems to lean into amber territory just a bit. At least that's my opinion. Pine and leafy tones are mostly there. Kind of a sipper really.

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Photo of 1sophrosyne1
3.91/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Tasted at the brewery on tap and from a growler a couple of hours later in a pilsner glass.

Pours an orange-tinged amber with nice read-through clarity. A lightly puffy white head leaves good patches of lacing, but falls fast.

Scents of citrus (largely grapefruit with a touch of lime) , nicely malty with a whiff of grass, and clean pine.

The flavor is grassy and funky with bitterness that comes up in the middle, dripping in orange, grapefruit and apricot. Those fruits fold into cracker-chewy sweetness. It tastes of brewed black tea sucked off a metal spoon on the back half with nice length. Just a touch too angular.

It's both astringent and almost meaty with a moderate amount of carbonation slicing through a medium body. Just enough oil makes for the lingering finish--could be smoother overall.

Overall, this brew is quite good, with a balance of easy drinkability and length and complexity that make it worth attention.

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Photo of cjgiant
4.07/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I had this on tap months ago and recalled liking it, so grabbed one recently, without checking any previous ratings (turned out I hadn't rated it).

In this taste (from a can), my initial thought was American IPA hop-bomb, which impressed me more in the past. I've become more "refined" (sarcasm intended) and thought for a second maybe I just love the mouthpeel-ing nature of it (IMO DC Brau tends to be more dry-hop bitter in nature).

But I had to judge on the "new me", and decided after a few sips that it was a good beer. The hoppiness is definitely there (grassy, pine-woodsy) and present from the first drop that hits you. But what I noticed in a strange way, is that the bitterness just sat. It didn't grow or wane; in a reverse of normal beers, it almost seemed the malts balanced the hops, instead of the reverse.

Insofar as what I experienced, a bitter-earthy nose and a grapefruit style bitterness. Dry mouthfeel that I expected to draw deeper than it did, the end seemed to mellow versus grab, surprisingly. This will definitely stay in the rotation.

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Photo of Shumania
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

can poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint

A: deep orange amber color, with a good 1 finger head and lots of lacing

S: slight tropical notes, pine, and sweet caramel

T: bitter pine, some citrus, balanced with lots of malt, then finishes with a strong bitter ending.

M: This is a harsh bitterness, but it works so well for the beer. medium body

I love this beer. Great bitterness for a pale ale, good balance with the sweet malt, and goes well with anything. This beer won't do you wrong. One of the better pale ales out there.

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Photo of stephenjmoore
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Medium amber body with a hint of haze to it. Some light shines through to show carbonation bubbles rising from the bottom of the glass. Huge, frothy cream-colored head that hangs around for the duration of the beer.

S- Piney hops, hints of orange and citrus, toasted malt aroma.

T- More malt comes through than the nose would indicate with lots of biscuity malt flavors. Some pine from beginning to end, with a blast of herbal hop flavors at the end.

M- Medium bodied, medium carbonation, smooth.

O- A solid pale ale with an interesting malt flavor. Full flavored, especially for the abv.

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Photo of MDDMD
3.83/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A-amber color with hint of orange, nice white head and decent lacing

S-malt, citrus, grassy, light pine

T-cracker malt, orange, grapefruit, grassy, mild to moderate bitter finish

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, crisp and dry

O-decent pale ale, easy drinking

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Photo of cleve00
4.47/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Being that this is a local brew to me, I am proud to say "The Public" is a buddy of mine.
When I am looking to crack a cold one just because the day was a bitch, this is the beer that I want to wash away the bullshit of DC.

Most times I am drinking from a cold can, and IMHO, I love cans.

First thing that hits me is the smell. Strong citrus and hoppy.

Taste is the same with a perfect balance, refreshing grapefruit, hint of pine, bitter just so, the strong aroma is also still working while drinking.

When I drink this beer I know its there, and it is satisfying like "steak and potatoes".

The only way I could love this more is if they made "tall boy sixers" but its just a dream at this point.
Dying to get to the brewery.

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Photo of corby112
3.67/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Canned on 9/10.

Pours a slightly hazy, dark copper color with burnt orange edges and a two finger frothy white head that slowly settles into a thick, lasting ring. Not very " pale" but the head on this beer has great retention with streaks of soapy lacing left behind.

Resinous, earthy aroma with subtle spice and grassy, earthy hop character countered by sweet malt notes. Malt sweetness is strong than expected in the nose with lots of caramel, toffee, biscuit and hazelnut. This takes away from the hops a bit but there's still a somewhat dank and oily hop presence.

Fuller bodied than expected with a crisp, dry and bitter hop presence up front that lingers over a sweet malt backbone into a sticky dry finish. Slightly floral but more dank and resinous with spicy grass, earthy pine needle and spruce tip flavor. This is countered by a sweet malt backbone with lots of caramel, toffee, dark fruit, bread and biscuit. Usually I don't prefer this much of a malt presence in a pale ale/hoppy beer, but it works here creating nice balance. Overall, not a great beer but flavorful, well balanced and very easy to drink.

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Photo of delta490
4.14/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A-deep caramel with a pillowy white head that leaves big lacing on the glass.

S-citrusy and resinous. Strong but not overwhelming

T- a nice balance of malt and hops, although there could be a bit more of a hops hit to bring it all together

M- smooth and nice

O- a solid pale ale

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Photo of blackie
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

consumed a number of times in an number of formats, this time via can

a: reuben’s snifter from a can, pours to produce a slightly off-white head with good coverage, receding to a layer and ring, the beer itself a medium orange-amber in color

s: acidic notes of passionfruit and citrus with pine sap on a moderate body of caramel malt, slightly sweet but not sugary, interaction between malt and hop gives a candied fruit impression, well into the “hoppy” side of the style, nice start

m: carbonation moderate with a medium body, satisfying and refreshing at once

t: firm caramel malt backing, toasty with some malty complexity but a balanced sweetness, supports hop flavors of acidic tropicals with a building grapefruit rind bitterness, tasty

o: aromatic and flavorful, hop-balanced for the modern palate, a nice little pale that exceeds expectations for the style

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.28/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Searching for new ways to reinvent "Pale", I like DC Brau's take- not to temper the hop character to bring it within balance for the malt; But to bulk up the malt component to balance out the hops.

Its maltier underpinnings are even evident to the eye- medium bronze with dark gold threads running through. Its significant haze shows that the flavors haven't been stripped out via filtration. This also facilitates its head character that is firmly withstanding even as the head reduces to an ivory-stained sheet to skirt the glass. Decorative lacing trails on the glass with each sip taken.

Malty and spicy to the nose- its true balance results from light toast, light caramel, grain and nuts. Citrus, pine stems and a whack of rust-like mineral properties gives offers the counterpart to malts and keeps the aromas in check throughout.

Its flavors fare similarly as a heartier-than-usual- toasty, grainy sweetness offers a glimpse of caramel and pecan but without the caramel sweetness that normally accompanies those tastes. Its dry malt taste is exacerbated by acute bitterness from citrus piths, sawn pine, and minerally crispness.

Its dry textures are a strong asset while the carbonation keeps things creamy and rounded early on. But as the bubbles dissipate, it leaves an extended void in the center that's arid and a little thin. Its clean and dry finish exposes some grain-derived astringency that bites at the throat lightly. It also allows for a slight metallic taste to stem from its minerally nature.

I really like the use of Vienna malt to give the ale a bit of heft to balance the American hops. But its grainy and stemmy taste limits its success to a large degree.

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Photo of MCain04
4.28/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Generous extra, thanks Dave_treat, poured from the can into a 12 oz spiegelau

Looks the part with an amber-orange opaque body, cream-colored head with great retention and decent lacing.

Smells of tropical fruits, orange peel, pineapple, mango, grapefruit.

Taste is hoppy with a flavor profile closely following that of the taste, a crisp bitter bite that is refreshing but not overwhelming, malty enough to balance without being sweet.

Crisp and well carbonated, light-medium bodied, somewhat dry finish

Overall, a winner IMO, a solid APA that is drinkable in quantity and balanced but still quite flavorful. I'd buy a lot of it if it came to the area.

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Photo of Flounder57
3.96/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz can was poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: This beer poured a one finger head that reduced to a puffy layer. It is a hazy pale orange color with some clarity and bubbles coming up through the glass. Nice lacing on the glass as the beer was drank.

Smell: Caramel and bready malts, and citrus.

Taste: Grapefruit and tangerine are more noticeable, chewy and sweet caramel malts too.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, chewy, medium bodied, and medium carbonation.

Overall: Pretty solid APA that I scored on my travels to VA a few months ago. I wish I had more.

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Photo of bcheng
4.26/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Golden pale, perfect color matching the taste.
S: Piney, but a bit muted for the temperature I like it at, so I can't really judge the smell.
T: Good mix of hops, orange peel, grapefruit, overall a good balance without being bitter.
M: Crisp without excessive carbonation
O: An amazing world class APA from DC.

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Photo of vandemonian
3.78/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

DC Brau "The Public Ale" is pleasant but not particularly interesting beer. Don't expect it to be hoppy either. Is this the DC Brau session beer?

Orange colour and a big head that lasts very well. 4.5

S: Fragrant citrus hops. 4

T: A woody malt base balanced by some earthy hopiness. The finish is dry and pretty bitter. Not a particularly hoppy APA by any means. 3.5

M: Nice amount of carbonation. 4

O: 3.75

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Photo of hagbergl
4.19/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz. can into my Dogfish Head signature snifter.

Appearance (4.25/5): Burnt Orange, cloudy, semi-opaque, thick three-finger head. Some soapy white lacing lines the side of the glass. Looks beautiful.

Smell (4/5): A malt forward nose; bread, caramel; orange, pink grapefruit, some spicy hop scent worked in there.

Taste (4.25/5): very good balance of bread malt to piney and citrusy hops. Front of the tongue, malty; middle of the tongue, the hops come through with a significant piney prickliness and spiciness; and at the back I get a lot of light bread and caramel flavor, reminiscent of Victory Headwaters Pale Ale. I would say there's definitely more bitterness in the taste than was evident in the nose. Excellent, solid flavor profile. Like the Brothers say in their review of the beer, the brewers set this beer up to be a battlefield between malt and hops. And work it does.

Mouthfeel (4.25/5): Smooth, medium carbonation. This is a very easy drinker. The hop bitterness doesn’t linger too long or coat the palate in the way that an IPA often does. The hops prickle the tongue and help to cut the sweetness of the malt.

Overall (4.25/5): This is easily going to become a regular in my fridge. It has a wonderful blend of citric and piney hops and sweet malt; pretty much ideal for an American Pale Ale. And it drinks like a dream. The boldness of flavor is certainly impressive for a beer less than 7% ABV (it's a 6 percenter). DC Brau has really dialed the balance in nicely. This little brewery's onto something serious.

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Photo of KYGunner
3.86/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge billowing ,consolidated and creamy head stacked itself above a darkened coppery hue.

Loads of piney hops are at the forefront of the scent with a nicely balanced malt and grain backbone. The end is presented by slight citrus and biscuity malt.

Nice sweet barley malt flavor ends in a piney, floral hop. Some bread, tea leaves and a little toasted biscuit round out a piney bitterness. Very easy to drink with no harshness.

Overall, this is a good well rounded Pale Ale, and as it is served in a can makes a fabulous choice for activities on the go.

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The Public Ale from DC Brau Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 176 ratings.