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The Public Ale - DC Brau Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
The Public AleThe Public Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

167 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 167
Hads: 795
Avg: 3.9
pDev: 22.82%
Wants: 39
Gots: 126 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
DC Brau Brewing Co. visit their website
District of Columbia, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: drabmuh on 04-15-2011

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.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of The Public Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 167 | Hads: 795
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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Photo of oberon
4.06/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This the first beer from the District of Columbia I have had...I think.Poured into a standard pint glass a deep copper color with a half finger white head atop that never really settled completely,a nice rich color.Wow a blast of citric and resiny hops really hit ya,it seems more like an IPA,there is some caramel sweetness in there as well.Caramel biscuit malts on the palate up front with a wave of citric hops taking over and making this beer hop tilted.A very good hopped up APA,it just seems like a standard canned 6% APA, but it's damn good.

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Photo of MacQ32
3.91/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours a color amber with s monstrous light tan colored head. Fantastic retention and very good lacing

S - Some lighter fruit notes (apples and pears) and a nice dry bitter piney hop aroma. A nice sweet caramel maltyness rounds out my quaffs.

T - nice tolerable dry bitterness up front followed by sweet apples pears and sweet caramel. Very common flavor profile but well above average. I think I was off on the pineyness.

M - lighter bodied, very drinkable. Still somewhat sticky on my palate.

O - very well done although traditional. Dry light crisp bitter hops, non citric fruits and a nice sweet malt presence. I dig it for sure.. good gateway brew

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Photo of GJ40
4.25/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Sampled from a can purchased at Chevy Chase Beer & Wine.

Golden with good clarity and a thick off-white white head. There's a suspension of very fine particles but no ill effects. Aroma is citrusy hops with a hint of pine. Flavors follow closely with a nice citrusy bitterness and flavor. The bitterness lingers forever. A moderate level of toasted malt supports it well with a hint of sweetness throughout. Good depth. There's a moderate carbonation of very fine bubbles that give it an airy, creamy feel.

A solid west coast pale ale. I'll be back for more!

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Photo of Vonerichs
4.18/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Deep copper color and clear. Frothy white head with loads of lacing and excellent retention.

Grapefruit and pine aromas. There's a healthy dose of caramel and bread.

It's a balanced APA, a tug of war between grapefruit and pine vs the sweet caramel. It's bitter but checked by the sweet. Finishes with some herbal flavors.

Full bodied and moderately dry. Ample carbonation.

It's a fantastic APA. Well balanced and pronounced flavors.

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Photo of yamar68
4.04/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Thanks to cw577enfield for this one!

Absolutely gorgeous stuff. Murky but glowing honey golden body with a dense creamy bone white head that leaves perfect lace, retaining from start to finish.

Sweet, mild citric hops meld with cereal malts and some floral qualities. Nice.

Surprisingly abrasive on the palate. The relatively intense hop bitterness dries out flavors of marmalade, oats, pine and citrus.

A tasty option if you're thirsty for a pale.

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Photo of garuda
3.61/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Hazed copper body, white head has good retention and lace.

Hop forward, with mostly grapefruit flesh and pine. Caramel, bready malt sweetness, but stays bitter through the finish. Sturdy medium body and medium carbonation. Smooth consistency, a little prickly across the palate.

O - Almost IPA-like. A little out of balance to the bitter side which keeps it from being an easy drinker. Not bad though, I'd get it again when I'm in the DC area.

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

A-Pours a copper color with some haze.

S-Pretty straightforward. Piney hops and a bunch of biscuit and caramel. Moderate intensity. Its nice but very status quo.

T-Balancing act between biscuits and caramel with pine and flowery hops.

M-A bit creamy with a decently bitter finish.

O/D-A solid APA. Balanced and drinkable but gets lost in the crowd to some extent.

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Photo of harrymel
2.93/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Canned earlier

Pours a hazed red copper ale with an etched surface of lighter cream foam. Smells of english tea, some caramel malts, some resiny hops and a hint of grapefruit. Flavor is malts, some pekoe, some wood and fruity english yeast. Medium bodied with a low on moderate carb and a wet finish. Quaffable, but not special for me.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.44/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12 oz can into a pint glass.

A: Pours a hazy copper color. There's a nice three finger pale yellow head here, however it doesn't retain itself that well. Lacing, on the other hand, is good.

S: Pretty typical of the style: grapefruit, pine resin, and floral notes come from the hops, while there are touches of biscuity malt. Key word being 'touches' - this isn't over-malted, thankfully.

T: This one is pretty floral in terms of hoppiness. Only a touch of citrusy character comes through near the back end, along side a minor surge of caramel maltiness. I'd reckon the general bitterness is moderate; there's just enough malt here to balance out any annoying harshness without coming off excessively sugary.

M: The feel has a decent crispness to it, but is perhaps a touch too astringent finishing. Still, I can't complain about its drinkability or carbonation levels.

O: A well made, easy drinking pale, just one that isn't particularly remarkable or exciting. To be fair, though, floral, piny pale ales don't really excite me in the first place. Worth a try.

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The Public Ale from DC Brau Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 167 ratings.