The Public Ale | DC Brau Brewing Co.

very good
183 Reviews
The Public AleThe Public Ale

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

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

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Reviews: 183 | Ratings: 855
Photo of DavidS333
4.83/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

I had been wanting to try DC Brau beers for a while. I wasn't sure what kind of beer it was per se, just that it was a single DC Brau, was happy to discover that it was a pale ale, per se. Being a huge fan of pale ales of various varieties, found this to be a satisfying and semi Double/Imperial reminiscent pale ale. The alcohol content isn't really too heavy, nor is the hoppiness, but the hoppiness is quite nice.

One can really get the caramel flavor from it, especially by tasting the head per se, upon first pouring it. The hop shell taste is quite good, and lingers with the sort of hints of caramel cirtusyness after one has a drink of the beer.

The beer/ale overall isn't too heavy or syrupy per se, it has a nice sort of rich root-beer-ish color that is quite appealing, and overall I'd say that this is a great beer/ale.

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Photo of smanders
4.75/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Had this from the can and in a growler. Poured into both a tulip and an imperial pint. Makes no difference; this beer rocks!

Appearance: a little haze in the caramel-colored fluid. Serious lacing from the creamy head.

Smell: tons of citrus - mostly grapefruit and lemon. Malty notes linger with herb(y) scents.

Taste: sweet citrus with bread/yeast following up. A hint of pine, but thankfully not overwhelming bitterness.

Mouthfeel: medium with average carbonation. I did have one can in my case that was completely flat; the can was even dented and obviously filled with a lot of air...weird.

Overall: If a friend has never had an APA, I would give them a Public Ale as THE perfect example. This beer does not try to pummel you over the head with hops/bitterness. Instead, it's a perfectly balanced beer that you can enjoy on a regular basis. It's also fun to hear folks butcher the's DC Broy, not Brow!!!

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Photo of ordybill
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a can into a pint glass.
Aroma- Nice blend of citrus and malt
Appearance- A murky copper colored beer with a thick white head
Taste- Malt, bread and citrus. Has a slight bitter taste. Real good.
Palate- A medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation.
Overall- An excellent American Pale Ale, highly recommended

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Photo of DapperGrowler
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - cloudy and slightly orange in color. there was not much in the way of a head but there was some nice lacing along the sides of the glass

S- A very robust hop aroma. There is also a slight fruit/citrus smell to the beer

T- There are some biting hops at the front of the beer followed by a nice malt taste and a bitter end.

M - Medium bodied, good mouth feel.

This is a great beer. it is now one of my favorites as it stands out above the pack for its distinct flavor profile.

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Photo of cleve00
4.47/5  rDev +14.9%
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 C20Percent
4.45/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a copper gold with a 1/3 fingers worth of eggshell white head into a pint glass. So much complexity in the color of the body. First, so much bubble action going on. And, little pieces of sediment are present, which I know isn't good for everyone, but I prefer an unfiltered brew. The colors are playing tricks in the brew. Good head retention so far. Great.

S: Outside of FFF DC Brau just might be making the best Pale Ale that I've had. This is super comparable to an Alpha King. The smell is a sweet malt and citrus aroma that is pretty addicting. It's like tangerines or fresh grapefruits or passion fruits or pineapple. The smell is somewhere between subtle and in-your-face, but it's just right for a Pale Ale.

T: A crisp and refreshing caramel and toffee malt which is followed by a slightly bitter taste, but only a flash of it. There is also a nice balance of a citrus and piney hop taste. But, the thing that really perseveres here is the refreshing taste. This is a summer beer. I find no faults with this.

M: A light-medium bodied brew with medium carbonation, but the best thing about it is the smooth buttery feel it has. A really smooth physical taste. I'm getting a little abrasiveness in my mouth, but that might just be me.

O: For a Pale Ale -- this is almost perfect. Yes, I'd prefer a really good IPA. But, on a hot summer day or after I'm come inside from doing some lawn work this is the beer I won't. Super refreshing. Really great taste. Looks beautiful. DC Brau is really growing on me, and I get the feeling this offering is probably improved on from there earlier PA.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
4.45/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Single can from Liquor Outlet

Bright hazy orange body, topped by three fingers of bone china white micro bubbles.

Inviting citrus aroma, heavy on oranges.

Big sweet thick foundation coats the tongue. Juicy fruits gushes throughout the mouth. Big, big bitter bite at the swallow that lingers on and on, entwined with the fruit in an aftertaste that's like the end of "A Day in the Life".

Sturdy medium mouthfeel.

This is their pale? What 's the IPA like? Find out tomorrow. A heck of a first impression. Highly recommended.

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Photo of Daniellobo
4.45/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A rather nice and rich take on a US Pale Ale bordering on IPA territory.

Presentation: 12 oz. can. Silver can background with a design highlighting the branding of the brewery, red silhouette of the US capitol in red with brewing vegetation surrounding it and a white checkered layer underneath. Back offers a small section with "DC Statehood Facts", serving suggestions, recycling recommendations, and an iconic map with the location of the brewery. Notes 6% Alc. by Vol. Served on a tulip glass.

A - Hazy deep gold to pale amber pour, rich and towering frothy head with good retention, creamy surface memory, and nice lacing.

S - Nose is very fragrant, long hoppiness, citric, resinous with a floral note… Some of the C hops have to be there… Centennial, Chinook?

T - Nice forward hoppy profile, bordering on an IPA as the brewer suggests, nice edge with its citrus and hint of resin over a nice caramel malt touch. Floral hoppy notes coat the soft malty finish.

M - Medium to medium/light body with sizable carbonation picking it up. Good crisp finish as it folds.

O - Very drinkable, closer to a hoppier profile than to the an entry point PA.

Notes: Updating the review of these cans… I did do the first entry of the canned version, and after all these months I needed to do an update. Maybe my palate has changed, maybe they have… Actually these are now freshly canned Pale Ales I have been picking from the brewery, so that may be the difference. In any case, this has a marked quality fresh hop profile that I did not remember, and it is consistent in all cans coming from the brewery so far. Before it was a good PA and a rather welcome addition to the local landscape, now I feel this is a quality hoppy PA that can stand on its own and I´m happy to cycle to the brewery and back to pick up a few six-packs of these (not to mention filling a couple of growlers). District pride? Sure… But also a pretty good darned brew.

Previous score: 04-28-2011
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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Photo of elNopalero
4.43/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From a can.

This pours a caramel toast color with a hop aroma containing some straw, pine, and pine sap. There's a bit more malt than my California palate is used to with a pleasant hoppiness.

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Photo of mi6234
4.41/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Finally a brewery in this town.

Appearance is dark for a pale, burnt orange, almost copper.

Smell is extremely hoppy. Citrus all the way with little malt coming through.

Tastes like an IPA if you ask me, a really awesome one. Strong citrus hop flavor and serious bitterness. Well balanced, at least for someone who likes hop/bitter bombs. Malt matched appearance with some mild crystal sweetness in the middle. Hops rule the beginning and though the end.

Carbonation is moderate to high with medium body. Pretty much to style though maybe a little chewy.

This beer is awesome and since it's brewed like 5 miles from my house it will always be fresh. I love that I can get it in a can to. It will be great for music festivals. I plan on drinking a number of these in the hot summer sun.

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Photo of Edmond-Bird
4.38/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz can into pint glass. Beautiful dark orange color with visible bubbly carbonation. Moderately sized head. Smells of tropical fruit (pineapple, orange), pine, and hemp. Has the smell of an IPA. Bitter hoppiness up front followed by some subtle fruitiness. Finishes with just the right amount of malt to balance out the bitter. Mouthfeel balances upfront dryness with a dank, full ending. This is a fantastic beer.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.35/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz can poured into a Sierra Nevada imperial pint.
6% ABV, "Serve in a tulip, goblet or enjoy from the can", no date.

Thopre429 deserves a big thank you for sending two cans of this my homeboy and I!

A - Lightly hazy golden caramel cube in color, The Public is topped by a loose cream head with tons of staying power. Not much lace is left on the glass though.

S - Tons of dry hopping with Cascade in thus hop-forward pale. Strong citrus; lemon, grapefruit, and light grassy notes flourish in front of a caramelly pale malt backbone. Hop-forward but well-balanced so far.

T - Toasted wheat bread and caramel notes with pils sweetness lay the foundation for this well-balanced pale ale. Hops plop on top with a coaxing mild bitterness like that of grapefruit, a bit of lemon grass zest pulls out, and a faint piny finish closes 'er.

M - Medium-bodied and smooth, The Public has a well-carbonated, fantastically balanced bitter finish that asserts itself slowly and carefully. As I've reiterated quite a few times, it's very well-balanced.

O - A fantastic American Pale Ale, The Public keeps it real with nice hop additions but never goes over-the-top with them. The level of balance DC Brau has achieved with this beer is exceptional. Despite the bigger hops, the malt is still enjoyable and allowed to stand on it's own in the background. Very nicely done.

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Photo of IrishHockey
4.35/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Crabbicus (awesome trader BTW) for this little doozie!
Poured from a can into my Founders snifter

The pour on this brew is magic. It's color is a burnt orange with 2 fingers of slightly off white head. The beer maintained the head for a while.

Smell was awesome. Slight citrus, malt, maybe some burnt toffee in there. Smells fantastic!

The taste was incredible! Latly on pale ales it seems the trend is going towards grapefruit. This had some citrus notes, but not front and center. I do love lots of grapefruit forward pale ales, but this one is refreshing. Balanced, and yet subtle in the taste. Nothing screamed that it was the star. Bravo DC Brau! This is a winner! When I think of how a beer should be, this is it. Not overly hopped, not to bitter, not to dry. A perfect drinking beer.

The mouthfeel on this is great. Very creamy (saying this makes me chuckle). It's light, but not watery. This is f'ing fantastic!

Overall: I'm a fan. What more can I say? This is superb. I can't recommend this beer enough! Go get some or trade for it. I think you'll enjoy it!


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Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.31/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

From a can to a pint glass, this is an insanely drinkable beer. Picked up two six packs at the brewery this weekend, might go back for more this weekend.

The beer pours a great deep orange almost bordering on amber in color. A nice ring of head stays throughout the whole drink of the beer and leaves great webs of lacing on the glass that are beautiful. A really nice start, comes out really frothy from the can!

The beer has a nice hop nose with some bready pale malts to back it up, seems almost like a beer judging template for pale, but doesnt have too much that stands out aroma wise, just mostly ok overall.

The taste is great, it is certainly not lacking in the hop department, and the hops give a nice spicy bite that blends really well with the pale and bready malts, they strike a great balance, maybe a balance that favors hopheads like me. Also has some tinges of fruitiness within the hop bite as well, maybe a little citrus and grass in the hops too. Very nice flavor, very drinkable yet still interesting for beer nerds I'd say.

Mouthfeel is great. It is so frothy in the feel over the palate, not spikey with carbonation like a lot of pales are. This beer just has a pub feel from the can, it really rolls right over the palate. Great.

This beer is an amazing one to have in the fridge to just grab to have a couple or three easy beers, but easy beers that are super taste and feel great to drink. This company continues to impress me, and I will be a patron of theres for a long time I'm thinking.

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Photo of BMFR1811
4.3/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Purchased a 6 pack from whole foods in the Georgetown area of d.c. Poured into pint glass

Appearance- great amber, slightly hazy, good lingering lacing on sides and a finger width head

Smell-American citrus hops stand out, what I come to expect from an apa

Taste- pine, citrus fruit, has that great dank hop taste with a bite that persists through the finish

Mouthfeel- great carb, adds body

Overall- I would drink this again, it's everything I expect from a modern apa, hops, hops and hops, with the malt bill to back it up. Easy to drink and very well put together.

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Photo of MCain04
4.28/5  rDev +10%
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 DoubleJ
4.28/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Single 12 ounce can brought to Orange County. The side of the can has a "Did You Know?" regarding the D.C., encouraging me to think beyond the beer .But because this is a beer website, on to the beer:

This reddish amber beer could be mistaken as an amber ale. Fair head retention on top, several streaks of lacing clinging to the glass. The aroma is a smorgasbord of fruit! Fruit punch, orange, mango, pineapple, and just for laughs, toasted sugar. It smells like the Arrogant Bastard's bastard cousin. The Public Ale doesn't stop there though; a delicious ale that is also easy to drink and featuring specifics like toasted malt and sugar, pine, pineapple, and passionfruit. This is not your run of the mill Cascade pale ale. The beer has a full body, somewhat creamy, and gently carbonated.

If this beer were the public ale, that would be one hell of a baseline to start at. Impressive!

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.28/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: two finger head with excellent retention and lacing on a murky amber brown body with slight crimson hue.

S: mid range degree of floral and citrus hop aroma. Lighter on the breads and malts.

T: Very well balanced pale ale. Caramel malts form a nice body with well represented earthy, metallic and citrus hops with slight grassy bittering in the finish.

M: medium body and moderate to high carbonation.

Overall: my first from this brewery. I am impressed with this one. I m usually either disappointed in pale ales out there because the lack flavor or are hopped more like an IPA. This represents the genre very well.

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Photo of bcheng
4.26/5  rDev +9.5%
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 GJ40
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
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 timmy2b
4.24/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz cans. Had several of these cans in order to decide on my rating. Pours with a wonderful hoppy citrus scent. This is a little more on the hoppy side compared to most pale ales, but is light on the palate and easy to drink. Citrus is up front, mixes well with the light amount of caramel malt and does not linger with any undesirable flavors. Very drinkable and tasty.

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Photo of Olive
4.23/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's nice to have a solid local brewery in the DC Metro area. This is one of the first beers I've seen from DC Brau on-tap in Northern Virginia and I was very happy with it.

Had it on-tap from Colombia Firehouse in Alexandria, VA. Very amber in color and had a nice head. Had a very aromatic, hoppy smell to it just as you'd expect from a good APA. Excellent taste, not too bitter, not too weak but just right. It did however, leave a small after taste. Overall, I'm very happy with DC Brau's first offering and I hope to sample more.

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Photo of WMEugene
4.23/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass straight from the can.

A - Pours a copper color, a little bit of haze in the color. Fairly good head retention and noticeable lacing.

S - Strong hops profile. I also smell caramel and malt with a trace of citrus in the background.

T - Noticeable hops and bitterness. Pretty aggressive for a pale ale. Some malt flavors are present as well. Has very much an IPA character to it.

M - Medium bodied with a nice hoppy aftertaste. Carbonation levels are appropriate.

O - A very good and hoppy Pale Ale. It's more aggressive than your standard Pale Ale (it can be mistaken for an IPA), but it is definitely a quality brew. It's sort of DC Brau's standard and as such, it is a great flagship beer. If you like hoppy beers (and I do), this could be the Pale Ale for you. Definitely would have again.

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Photo of mikereaser
4.22/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a cloudy rusty orange with a nice foamy cap that left some decent lacing
S - wonderful grapefruit aroma with just a hint of the maltiness behind it
T - You're hit with a big grapefruit rind bitterness upfront that slowly fades along with a wonderful juicy flavor, the bitterness hits you again in the finish
M - medium bodied with good carbonation
D - very easy to drink and really nice flavor. i'm looking for more already.

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Photo of Chaney
4.22/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A special thanks to Huzuhbendah who handed me a can of this out of the blue. Thanks Matt!

DC's first brewery since prohibition. Gotta love it!

A: First of all, foam filled up the glass rather quickly when I went to pour. After it down down, the brew sitting idle below it was somewhat cloud, golden, and the head itself was both web-like and plentiful.

S: A huge hop citrus bomb was born as soon as the can popped. The aroma of orange and grapefruit hit the airwaves instantly and didn't let up. Powerful stuff!

T: Wonderful balance between fruit and hop bitterness, with a slight yeast strain in there just for safe measure.

M: A bit thin and flat actually. Despite the massive head, the low prickle factor was a distraction from the overall experience. The sweet elements were kept in check by the bitterness, which linger for a bit afterwards.

O: This was one of the best smelling Pale Ales in recent memory, however, the other senses could use some tweaking.

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The Public Ale from DC Brau Brewing Co.
3.89 out of 5 based on 855 ratings.
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