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: 860
Photo of spoony
3.76/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

On tap into a shaker pint glass at Fire Works Pizza. Reviewed from notes dated October 16, 2016.

A-The beer arrives with one finger of off-white head. The foam is sticky and leaves nice, fine lacing on the glass as I sip. Head retention is good. A chill haze clouds the beer, which was probably served too cold. Color is light-amber caramel.

S-The aroma suggests an English IPA to me with substantial malt notes of caramel. It isn't terribly sweet, but it is malty. Hints of orange and mild pine aromas fill things out. The beer smells simple, but there is nothing off.

T-The taste tracks the smell closely. More caramel malts that I would expect for a beer labeled an APA...again, I'm thinking English IPA. Maybe the keg is old and the hops have faded? Anyway, bitterness is on the light end of the spectrum and the simple orange, grapefruit, pine flavors are pleasant enough when combined with the caramel malt.

M-The body is heavier than I would like for a pale. Carbonation is semi-crisp and moderately assertive.

O-This is a decent beer, but it is not what comes to my mind when I think of a pale ale. I also found it to be a bit on the heavy side. Criticism notwithstanding, I would like to try this again fresh.

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Photo of mothmanscott
3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours an almost clear amber producing 2+ fingers of frothyy, off-white, lasting head that recedes to a surface cap of clumpy foam leaving a wash of thick lacing behind. Aroma is malt forward caramel & a little something that is brown sugar like with citrus, pine, floral & a little fruitiness behind. Taste is again malt forward caramel with a toffee hint on top of earthy floral, citrus & tropical fruit hops, finishing with caramel, floral & pine hints transitions to a lingering burnt caramel, floral, pine & moderately bitter aftertaste. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation, a wet finish & light prickle, drying in the aftertaste. A very different "dark malty", pale ale.

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Photo of BeerSamurai34
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pretty nice solid IPA. The hops were pretty subtle, but the balance of the beer was pretty good. It was easy to drink, but probably not a fave of many hop heads.

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Photo of jmdrpi
3.99/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz can into pint glass

dark copper color, clear, thin off-white head. aroma is pine hop aroma, caramel malt. good balanced taste. medium bodied, easy drinking

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Photo of FBarber
3.7/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured copper colored with almost no head. What head it did have dissipated quickly.

Smell had notes of grapefruit, pine and grass. Subdued overall, but individual aromas were still there.

Taste had flavors of grapefruit and orange zest initially giving way to a strong malt backbone. Caramel and bread malts were noted followed by a piney grassy bitterness. Bit of sweetness noted throughout but gives way to a bitter finish.

Feel was nice and crisp, light and drinkable.

Overall an good APA. Nothing special or worth seeking out again though.

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Photo of cambabeer
4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Spending some time in DC this summer and trying to get around some of the local brews. I picked this up along with a six of "The Corruption," DC Brau's IPA. I don't ever really use my reviews to compare two beers, but this time it seemed really necessary. I feel that far too often, especially when trying out a new brewery, we (a lot of us anyway) skip right past their pale ale and reach for the IPA, figuring that it's a better flagship type representation of the brewery. This beer is right when that assumption could be wrong. When compared to their IPA, DC Brau is pulling off a lot more in my opinion with this beer. The Corruption is somewhat one dimensional, the malt doesn't seem to work with the hops as well (in that their overpowered), it's only .5% higher in ABV, yet the alcohol is perceived much more.

I actually think that this beer is underrated on here. This is one of the better, more complex pale ales I've had in a while. I'd drink this any day of the week. Both the malt and hops contribute to a bitter backbone that is balanced out by some floral almost honey caramel sweetness and a little grapefruit in the end.

I'll pick up more of this.

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Photo of NolaHopHead
4.04/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 oz can. Pours clean amber, finger off white head, good retention with a little lace. Combo of caramel malt and tropical fruit aroma. Taste starts off on the sweet malty side, but piney hops balance it fairly well. Very clean taste, dry finish. Medium slick mouthfeel. Very good pale ale, on the malty side but delish.

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Photo of DuaneL
4.02/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very much like Dale's Pale Ale! De lish!! -- Had on tap at Paleo in DC -- actually better on tap.

Yes in the bottle it is not as good, so I'll have to knock rating down -- has a harsh aftertaste. Head does stick around nicely.

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Photo of dar482
3.54/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

The beer comes in a comes in a medium to deep amber. Looks almost like amber ale than a pale.

The aroma hits of lots of biscuity malt, huge caramel sweetness, light grassy hops.

The flavor follows with caramel, rich sweet whole grain bready sweetness, a sweet roll, hints of floral, but as that sweetness subsides, medium minus bitterness comes through with a herbal, tea flavors and light earthy bitterness.

Despite being 2 months old, the beer is wholly bready in flavor, while drinking quite balanced as an American Pale Ale. The hop flavors and bitterness helps, but it is a fully malt forward pale ale.

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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 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 jmasher85
3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Still not sure how much I like this beer. There are plenty of reviews here that seem to go back and forth over whether this is too hoppy or not enough, and I'm in the former camp. When I think of a pale ale, I think of a mild and gentle hop presence, and this Public is bitter, thickly resinous, grapefruity, and pretty heavy on the hops.

There is some nice malty presence here with a sweet, slightly rich caramel flavor, but I think that comparing this to their other IPAs, Corruption and Wings of Armageddon, this does not feature a low-enough hop bill to differentiate itself from most other American-style IPAs. Hopheads, enjoy, but those looking for a comfortable pale ale will find themselves with a comparative bitter-bomb.

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Photo of drtth
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours out into a Duvel glass a lightly hazed dark amber color with a 1/2" light tan head that recedes fairly soon to a ring, and island of foam and a thin layer over most all of the surface. Sipping creates scattered small patches of lacing.

The aroma is full of caramel malt, a touch of grapefruit and other citrus from the hops.

The flavors are much as expected from the nose with the caramel malt sweetness and fruit being balanced by some grapefruit rind and bitterness.

The mouthfeel is on the light side of medium bodied and smooth but with some light prickly feel from the persistent carbonation. The finish is medium in length begins as the caramel sweetness moves into the background to leave the bitterness to follow on behind and create a slightly dry ending to invite another sip.

Overall this is a well put together APA that I'd be happy to have again. However, that said I'll not be going out of my way to find more simply because there are more local APAs that are as good or better and easier to find fresh.

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Photo of avalon07
4.04/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

L: Poured from a can to pint glass. Had an amber color and a cloudy texture. There was an inch of foamy head that lasted a fair amount of time. Good lacing.

S: A nice aroma of hops, caramel, malt, and fruit.

T: Tasted of a bit of malt, light tropical fruit (mango), a good shot of caramel, hops, and a hint of pine. Not your typical APA flavor in some ways. Yes, it had a moderate to low hops presence, but the addition of caramel made it more like an amber / red ale than anything else. A surprisingly complex taste.

F: A good amount of carbonation with a dry finish. Light- to medium-bodied.

O: Definitely not your classic APA, but tweaked in a good way.

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Photo of stevoj
3.34/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Can picked up in DC. Pleasantly surprised, nice crisp, tart pale ale. Clear golden, white airy head, hoppy nose. Clean and dry, very drinkable. Excellent accompaniment to some food.

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Photo of thebeers
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Darker than many APAs, it has a clear amber color with a moderate white head that leaves behind solid lacing. Mango and pine hops stand out in the nose, carrying over to the taste. It's moderately bitter on the backend, and as the color suggests, has a fair amount of caramel malt sweetness coming through as well. Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Solid beer.

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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 Kubishark
3.33/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap. Has a nice amber/orange color. Smells rather hoppy. Tastes rather hoppy and a little bit like a pine tree. This went well with the burger I had, but I'm not sure I'd ever go out of my way to get it again.

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Photo of JLaw55
3/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Kind of mediocre at best. Dark amber in color with a sticky white quarter inch of lace that sticks with it to the end. Significant malt presence. Minimal hops, hint of an onion presence. A noticeable level of resinous pine flavor lingers on your tongue. Fleshed out with notes of citrus way down deep in the flavor profile. They are faint at best.

Would Drink Again: No
Would Purchase Again: No

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Photo of UPMD_Bill
3.69/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Drank from a can. Solid and well-made but unmemorable. Plenty of hops, with some bitter citrus. Just enough malt to balance the hops, and not too heavy - could be enjoyed year-round.

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Photo of Emersonio
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pour:12oz can in a nonic pint. Appearance: Dark amber with some haze present. Thick white head with lacing. Aroma: Malty sweet with subtle fruity notes. Taste: Malt forward with pine, fruit and hop notes. Aftertaste: Solid malt backbone. The hops an berry like notes linger but not for long. Overall: Another solid offering from the brewery. Very crushable. Good: 3 out of 5.

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Photo of illpass78
4.04/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Monster 20 oz. pour on draft at Nationals Park, watching Clayton Kershaw baffle the Nats.

Appearance: Pours a copper color with some white foam. Some lace on way down.

Aroma: A little floral hops, a little caramel, some grass.

Taste: Follows the nose. Deceptively boozy. Somewhat like a low-grade IPA since it has some hop bite. Mostly just a good classic APA.

Mouthfeel: Pretty medium. Has body but definitely good for a hot day, such as this one, where it's like infinity degrees with 1000 percent humidity at the crotch of the Potomac and the Anacostia.

Overall: Nice pale ale. Classic flavors and nice balance.

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Photo of KSOZE
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dark, dark pale ale. Kind of strange. Huge hop aroma - aroma is stronger than the taste. Flavor is there, but it's nice, light and crisp. Perfect option for summer, and in a can to boot.

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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 YeahRightt
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Look: pretty dark for a pale ale, nice appetizing deep amber color

Smell: Not much to the nose, but a nice refreshing burst of hops

Taste: Really nice refreshing summer beer, drinks like a session IPA and has the alcohol content congruent with the flavor.

Feel: Light, crisp, refreshing. Everything macro beers want to be

Overall: Really tasty summer beer, refreshing for the hotter days without being too heavy. Can drink a few and hold it together.

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The Public Ale from DC Brau Brewing Co.
3.89 out of 5 based on 860 ratings.
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