Smells Like Freedom
DC Brau Brewing Co.

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IPA - American
Ranked #288
Ranked #4,167
4.15 | pDev: 9.64%
DC Brau Brewing Co.
District of Columbia, United States
Notes: Collaboration with Oskar Blues Brewery

Smells Like Freedom was first brewed in collaboration with Oskar Blues in 2015 after DC’s Initiative 71 was passed. The legislation, which went into effect on July 1st, 2017 after Congress attempted to block the popular vote, allows DC residents to grow 6 cannabis plants at home, possess up to 2 oz. of cannabis and legally gift up to 2 oz. of cannabis between consenting adults and also permits adults to legally smoke cannabis in their home. We are re-brewing Smells Like Freedom in part to shine a spotlight on the larger issue of the District of Columbia’s lack of effective home rule. For more than 200 years, DC residents have paid taxes to the Federal government, but they and their “local” government officials have no final say in how those funds are granted. That responsibility is allocated to Congress. DC Brau believes the District should be recognized as a state with its own budgetary autonomy; thus, the “VOTES SHOULD COUNT” tagline that appears on the top of each label of Smells Like Freedom.
Reviews: 17 | Ratings: 103 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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woodychandler from Pennsylvania

4.89/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wotta day! I am gearing up for the opening of NBS 760 by delving into those brewery's CANs which were never (to date) included in NBS. If I am glossing over you, my apologies! There have been a number of memorable NBS horizontals & those which were not as memorable. Inna meantime …

From the CAN: "Votes Should Count".

I LOVE DC Brau not only 'cause they were one of the first, after Oskar Blues, to CANmit to CANning v. bottling, but also b/c my maternal aunt & uncle live dahn air. I have been visiting DC for as long as I CAN remember & it is always a wild time! I have started staying at hostels since their basement sets off my asthma, but if I had to, I CAN always crash at their place. I remember taking them to DC Brau shortly after it opened & they were a bit put off by the neighborhood. 8=) Ah, well.

I beCAN with a Crack! of the vent, followed by an absolutely slow, gentle C-Line Glug since a) I am feelin' today's imbibing & b) I CAN't feature cleaning up a mess. Man, did this one ever come off like a champ! I got two-plus fingers of dense, foamy, rocky, tawny head with excellent retention for my efforts. Color was a gorgeous Deep-Amber/Light-Copper to Copper (SRM = > 13, < 17) with NE-quality clarity, causing me to think of the lovely Linda Lou.

She was a short-statured well-built redhead who looked like she could have been my (non-existent) older sister. She had the most wiry copper-colored hair evar & I woulda married her except that she was gun-shy, especially since I was 5 years younger. Gad, I miss her even today!

Nose smelled like a Czech/BoHo Pils with a grassy, hay-like hoppiness & a biscuity maltiness. 8=O In an AIPA?!? This, I CANnot wait to taste! Mouthfeel was medium-to-full, not quite creamy, but on the approach. The taste was so great that I fell to my knees, beCAN a melded homage & wept unCANtrollably. My problem with EIPAs is that they are too sweet, despite being the origin of the style's inherent bitterness. CANversely, I have enCANtered some AIPAs that were so overly hopped that my nose hairs burnt out! This hit the sweet spot between the two styles, bringing a nutty, toasty maltiness to a citrusy, pine hop presence. 8=O

We have been doing random Qs at school with one of them being: "If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?" Most students (& adults) say "Pizza", but for me, it is salmon! I impressed my not-easily-impressed Couchsurfing hostess in mid-July with my CANstant eating of salmon. I even turned her onto CANdied salmon on a stick! And now, a PSA: "Ladies, looking for a heterosexual mate? Take him to supper & order salmon for two. If he digs in, you are home free! Think about it - pink, fleshy, fishy with a unique taste. If he will eat salmon, he is likely not to have any CANpunctions about eating at the 'Y'". Yer welcome.

Okay, how does that fit into this review? If I CAN only have one beer for the remainder of my life to acCANpony the salmon (& CANniligus), it would be this one!

I was really digging the way that it straddled the old skool Brit style & the now-outta CANtrol AmeriCAN style while remaining something that was sustainable. How many of my reviews have ended with "... one & done"? Not in this case! Finish was semi-dry to dry, but it would make an excellent acCANpaniment to almost any dish. YMMV.

Sep 15, 2019
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Lucular from Maryland

3.75/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

5 oz pour on tap. Nice citrusy and slightly vegetal aroma and flavor although unfortunately the 7% abv comes through more than expected in a slightly harsh mouthfeel.

Jun 10, 2019
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jmasher85 from Maryland

3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This was a delicious but disappointing failure of a beer. The idea here was that since hops and cannabis are cousins, the two breweries from "legalized" places would get together and make a dank-flavored IPA.
Well, they made a very tasty IPA, with a really lovely, fragrant mix of all the nice hop flavors you want in a good IPA - citrus, pine, a little sweet in front and a little bitter in back with a rich, chewy texture. Sadly, the cannabis flavor, which seems to have been the point of all this, was lost in the mix. Only while sucking the last few drips of beer from the can did I even detect a hint of dank. I was expecting this to taste like alcoholic, bubbly bong-water based on the hype, and was disappointed, not in this excellent beer, but in an underwhelming experiment.

Jul 03, 2015
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KYGunner from Kentucky

3.65/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This reminds of The Corruption as the hops are bitter and herbal with a resiny lupilin. I get some skunky cannabis, weed, floral notes and a light tea leaf malt. Quite vegatiative it goes on to deliver some garlic and chive.

Jun 05, 2015
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Huhzubendah from District of Columbia

4.24/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Orange body, moderate haze, small white head. Dank, fresh hop aroma. Nice. Tasty, hop forward beer. Resinous and delicious. Well done. Looking forward to having this again.

May 15, 2015
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Beerly-Departed from Florida

4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed this while visiting DC Brau from Florida. This is an incredibly well made IPA. It's big (7%), hoppy and piney brew. Big nose and flavor matches up. I hope this collab with OB is permanent.

Big new fan of DC Brau, Crab, Mike and crew

Apr 16, 2015
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hopsami from Maryland

4.96/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

At the risk of blasphemy..shades of Heady Topper.. great hops, citrus, piney. very nice, especially if you live in the DC area and can't find Heady Topper

Apr 06, 2015
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HattedClassic from Virginia

4.14/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a nice white and foamy head that dissipates quickly. The beer itself is a clear gold color. The beer looks pretty good.

The beer smell is fairly hoppy with a bit of sweetness to it. The aroma definitely has the weed smell to it as advertised and seems to be the one that stands out the most. The beer has other smells such as a sweet and sugary tangerine smell with some light grapefruit as well. Additionally, the smell has a slight dampness to it.

The taste is very similar to the smell with the same notes. The difference is that the weed taste isn't as strong. Rather, the pine notes are strongest and the sugary grapefruit and tangerine note are stronger.

The beer is medium bodied with biting carbonation. The beer is pretty smooth but a little sticky. Overall, pretty good.

A very good collaboration between two good breweries. It's definitely worth picking a six-pack of this while it lasts.

Apr 05, 2015
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BuccoFan from District of Columbia

4.21/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

DC Brau already has an IPA--The Corruption--and it's one of my favorites. Wasn't sure what could be too different with this collaboration with Oskar. Very impressed right off the bat with the combination of nice golden color and almost perfect lace. Good aroma and crisp, piney taste. This went down VERY quickly, and I enjoyed every bit. Might be rating this pretty high based on relatively medium expectations. But no doubt, I really liked it.

Mar 31, 2015
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Smakawhat from Maryland

4.04/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from the can into a fancy pants DC Brau glass. Canned March 23rd 2015.

Deep peach to tangerine orange, opaque but not hazy or cloudy. Minimal head creation but two fingers with a bone white and soapy appearance. Very little clumping or staying power but manages a good thin puck and solid collar.

Aroma is huge. Green. Large, but with hints of woody almost smoke, but classic dank aromas. Tolerable, all hops, with just a faint hint of sweet malt presence buried beneath. Chewy and leafy but also tolerable and a bit of spice coming off also. Weedy impressive, not overly onion or garlic either for my tastes.

Palate matches much of the nose but with a lighter body. Weedy but smokey and piney notes fill the mid palate. Borderline wet malt density and little coating. Aftertaste though brings hot peppery hops quality, almost white hot heat but with just enough neutral malt to cancel and balance it out.

At this stage it is a fun and playful beer. It's also a hop heads dream if that is the aroma they are in for. I slightly different angle on Deviant Dales but far less malt presence and body than the former.

Still a fun enjoyable brew.

Mar 28, 2015
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Big_V from Maryland

4.27/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Beautiful pour. Golden bronze one finger head. Can was 3/23/15, so only 4 days old. Smells of biscuits and pine. Some citrus notes. Nice dank piney mouthful with abundance of hops. A more flavorful Corruption. Nice

Mar 28, 2015
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Maxbier from Maryland

4.41/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft. Cloudy straw/orange with off-white head. Aroma is green grassy hoppy and herbal. Taste is Hop bitterness up front with hint of sweetness and booze. Green floral grassy hoppyness continues and slowly fades in the finish. Delicious bitter linger. This beer is really delicious, I imagine it would not age well at all, great fresh and on draft.

Mar 27, 2015
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

one of the better things oskar blues has done in awhile, cool collaboration, and an ipa i would pretty much have as my fallback beer in my fridge if it were more available (its brewery only for now here i think). i just cant think of a fresher, juicier, more flavorful and well built ipa on the market right now, its that good. deep brassy color with a sparkling luster and plenty of frothy white head on it. looks great in the glass. the nose and taste of this beer for me are wonderful, bursting with fresh pineapple and tangerine, as fruity as hops can be, southern hemisphere stuff i have to imagine, but done in a unique way in that its not real oily in the west coast tradition, and it certainly isnt the least bit sweet along with its fruitiness. i cant get over how true the pineapple seems to be in this, and the citrus. refreshing and tropical, it takes me somewhere i really want to be. well enough carbonated, and presented sort of as a working mans beer, i actually enjoyed it with a couple of pizzas, but it is of the quality of the finest, most regal and decorated ipa. truly fantastic stuff, hopefully a sign of things to come from these guys

Mar 26, 2015
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richj1970 from Alabama

4.02/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 32 oz crowler into snifter.

A: Pours a slightly hazy light golden brown with generous 3 finger dense white head that lasts forever and leaves some nice chunky lacing.

S: Piney and earthy hops with a hint of citrus, biscuit malts.

T: Biscuit and bready malts with some nice earthy and herbal hop notes. Just a faint hint of citrus.

M: Medium body and well carbonated. I was worried how the crowler would hold up after over a week, but I got a nice gush when I popped the top. Finish is fairly dry and a little bitter.

O: A very nicely executed basic IPA, and something I would get again given the chance.

Mar 24, 2015
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BikeChef from District of Columbia

3.77/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Was expecting something much danker. I would say Corruption and Deviant Dale's are both actually danker than this collaboration. That said, this is a fine IPA.

Mar 23, 2015
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scottDC from District of Columbia

4.01/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Not quite as dank-smelling as the name would imply, but the mix of NJ007, 05256, and Equinox give it a unique, fruity nose.

Has the sort of malty backbone you'd expect from a DC Brau/Osker Blues collab--probably a touch more crystal malt than i'd prefer, but the residual sweetness works well with the hop profile. Lots of citrus and tropical fruits, maybe some melon and mild pine. Definitely more fruity than herbaceous.

Drinks like a combo of Dales & OTWOA or ADM II--medium bodied, with a creaminess that takes the edge off of hops' bitterness. One of DC Brau's better beers, for sure. ~7% is my sweet spot for IPAs, and it would be nice to see more of this from them.

Mar 17, 2015
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cjgiant from District of Columbia

4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On tap at brewery (revisit of canned batch from 2019)
Beer pours a dirty tan-almost like a weak iced tea. The beer can be seen through at the edges but is otherwise quite hazy. Head seems nice, but they filled up my plastic cup to the top, so size is unknown, and I'm not seeing much lacing.
Revisit: much the same look - a deep amber. The head can be better discerned, though, and it is a couple-plus spongy off-white hat to the beer. The lacing is heavy early.

There's enough other things to smell at the brewery that the nose was hard to discern. Seems citrus-piney, and I think it might be a nice smelling beer, as I can get some typical IPA notes even in this location.
Revisit: a toasty malt profile that dominates when cold. A classic NW IPA hop scent comes out eventually - citrus-piney as orginally perceived.

Taste starts off fairly clean, biscuit to toasted grain combined with herbal, dank, earthy bitterness. Next I get pine and citrus pith, as the well carbonated beginning fades to the dryer end. Near the end the hops remind me a bit of an unsweetened tea, but I may be stuck on the visual queue there. The beer is medium towards fuller in body.
Revisit: the malt and hops play together up front - toasty and pine that is cut by some citrus. Little more resin and pine, with some pith and grass thrown in the back. Medium body with a nice carbonation and a medium dry finish.

A solid straight up IPA. Seems like a west-coast leaning IPA, but with some malt body to balance it. If you like DC Brau or Oskar Blues beer, I think you would enjoy this, it seems to me to be fairly representative of their styles.
Revisit: I was thinking exactly what I said above as I sipped this before looking up my review - this beer fits in with the type of IPAs these brewers "grew up" making.

Mar 14, 2015
Smells Like Freedom from DC Brau Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 103 ratings