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: 857
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 JKuras
4.18/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark orange and _very_ ‘dirty’ from the unfiltered yeast residue. The yeast particles just float around and don’t seem to be in any hurry to settle at the bottom. Nice half inch of foamy head and some lacing present on the way down. I might have scored higher but that was a lot of residue and it kind of turned me off.

Smell: This might be the best smelling beer I’ve had all year. Wonderfully strong floral, fresh and fruity hops. Big clean scents of sweet apple pear, and pine. Fruity is the word that most comes to mind.

Taste: A very drinkable pale ale, not overly complex, starting off with a honey sweetness and following through with a well balanced dose of bitter, mild hops.

Mouthfeel: Moderate mouthfeel, good carbonation, goes down very smooth. This was a session beer for me.

Overall: I had a couple sixers of this throughout the year -- they were great for tailgating and beach trips. It kind of became my go-to pale ale. I thought they tasted just as good straight from the can, but I did my review proper from a beer glass.

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Photo of brentk56
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a cloudy copper color capped by a couple of inches; very nice retention and impressive lacing action

Smell: Biscuit and caramel, with pithy hop aromatics

Taste: Opens biscuity, with caramel building underneath; by mid-palate, the hops add bitter and floral balance, with an additional bit of pithy citrus in the finish; the caramel tones linger in the aftertaste along with a touch of tobacco

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: A very nice APA, with requisite balance and good hop flavor

Thanks, Dave_Treat, for the chance to re-visit

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

The beer pours a nice and lasting head that stays after a while. The beer itself is a light amber orange that is clear.

A resinous and grapefruit smell from the hops. A hint of malt sweetness but ultimately overwhelmed.

The taste is extremely hoppy and bitter. The hops are a citrus and grapefruit taste. The beer has a slightly sweet malt backbone to that adds a nice compliment to all of the hops. The malts come out more in the aftertaste.

Biting carbonation. Smooth and medium bodied but feels much lighter. Finishes a little dry.

A very good APA and worth buying over and over again. Although, the hop content might be a little, I think it's pretty good.

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Photo of WillCarrera
4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber, no bottled-on date, poured into a nonic pint glass.

A- Pours a murky orange color, topped with a finger of creamy off-white head, leaves very nice lacing.

S- Very hoppy, notes of citrus, grapefruit and floral notes. There's also a nice amount of bready, slightly sweet malt.

T- Grassy, floral hops, the citrus is still there but is toned down a bit, there's also a bit of black pepperiness and herbal character. The malt is light and bready, some caramel.

M- Medium-bodied, smooth and creamy.

O-A really nice pale ale, it's really tasty and drinkable, I pounded a bomber of it pretty easily and quickly, this is not only a beer that actually belongs in a bomber but is also awesome for 6-packs, I'm definitely a fan.

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Photo of stakem
4.02/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cheers and thanks go to Kegatron for continuing to spoil me with seemingly 1 of every DC brau offering he can get his hands on and for being 90% responsible for every canned offering I have tried/reviewed. 12oz can into a standard pint. The brew appears a hazed color of copper with a finger of yellowish stained cap. As the cap fades, it leaves a thin film across the top and produces some webby pattern of lacing on the glass. A light swirl revives about a finger of yellowish stained froth and some chucks of yeast hang in suspension.

The aroma is pretty nice with a balance of caramel malt sweetness contrasted by a fruity to floral quality of hops. A mild tingle of estery alcohol is present along with a citrus to zesty pulp hop character that is mildly herbal and flirts into pine-like territory. As the brew warms up, this really draws focus towards floral with a bit of sweetness that gets progressively more candy-like instead of malty. Interesting and enjoyable.

The taste is no surprise when considering the aroma. Caramel malt is present with a bit of residual sweetness blending into almost a candy appeal. Hops provide seemingly more flavor than bitterness. Flavors of citrus and zest like grapefruit initially blend into a bit of mango and hints of tropical quality. The tropical aspect gets really exaggerated by the residual candy sweetness and really plays a part inside the mouth tasting like ripe tropical fruit before the onset of rindy and herbal bitterness come into focus. Once the bitterness latches hold of your tongue, flavors of herbs, pine and a bit of catty quality emerge.

This is a medium bodied brew with a moderate amount of carbonation. It is light in body with a moderate amount of carbonation that is perfect for the style. I think the contrasting sweetness was a bit much at times but it really made the brew effortlessly drinkable. I would have preferred the flavor of the residual sugar to be more malt based in character instead of candy-like with a sugary aspect. Regardless this was solid and I finished my glass at an alarming rate. I would drink this again.

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Photo of flexabull
3.62/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Can courtesy of joshdykema, thanks again!

Pours a hazy gold color with a pretty nice white head.

Aromas are hand candies, grains, light grapefruit, and pine. Smells pretty good.

Taste has some caramel notes up front. Slightly creamy and sweet. Finish is crisp, grainy, with some mild pine and grapefruit hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel is a bit too thin for my liking, carbonation is decent though.

Overall, a simple but drinkable pale ale. Another pretty solid offering from DC Brau.

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Photo of Kegatron
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz can into a pint glass.

Pours a clear copper, with 2 fingers of thick slightly off looking white head. This retains with a ½ finger of creamy froth, leaving back sudsy lacing that sticks to the sides of the glass. The aroma smells floral and piney in the nose, with an underlying mix of zesty grapefruit and more herbal feeling tones. A soft sweet graininess sits along the back. This has a nice fresh power to it in the nostrils.

The taste has a bright zesty citric bitterness to it, which is just cut short by a lightly toasted grainy sweetness from the malts. This does have a strong resinous presence to it though that lingers fairly aggressively in a dry and pithy feeling finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and crisp feeling on the tongue with more of a firm bubbly creaminess to the carbonation as it spreads out into the rest of the mouth. There is a LOT of slick oiliness here from those hops that really keep this smooth in the mouth.

This is a very solid take on an American APA with a good bit of aggressive hop character. Almost too much in spots (especially the pine) but I think that the overall balance and ease of the body are able to dial this back just enough and keep this solidly drinkable. I see many more cans of this in my future.

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Photo of Durge
3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another new brew for me to try at The Carpool bar in Herndon, VA. This one shows hazy amber colors with a decent sized frothy off-white cover and complete lacing! The aroma offers a simple pleasant citrus hop and biscuit tea, somewhat herbal. Subtle, nothing to wow you but fairly decent. The flavor brings a bright grapefruit biscuit with slight herbal tea caramel ideas. This is on the light side in body with an effective, tingly carbonation. It eases in a bready caramel flavor that blends naturally with the citrus bite. A very drinkable brew with good hop character. Light but legitimate for sure. Drink many.

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Photo of FosterJM
3.55/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1476th Review on BA
Can to Goblet

No canning date

Thanks to my brother in law for this one.

App- Copper, bronze, gold and yellow all mixed and inter twined. A small 1/4" off white head that left a couple dors and a small ring of bubbles.

Smell- Its a very large caramel malt aroma with slight slight citrus and tinge of hops. Imagine a Devil Dancer just reduced in a pale ale form. One sided lacks depth.

Taste- Its a okay pale ale. Lots of caramel malts and thats about it. Maybe a trace of hops with a thick zest flavor. Like the nose a bit one sided. Not a pale profile I enjoy really.

Mouth- A thicker medium body with a thicker medium carbonation even for a small abv pale ale. Just okay.

Drink- Its okay. I am not the biggest fan of Vienna malts so this was just an affirmation of that. Decent pale ale. Just not my style.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.68/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz CAN, provided by "blackie" on his latest seattle residency

appearance: served in a hilliards can-pint pale orange body, nice 1/3" white froth, good lace

smell: toasted malt, tangerine, light citrus

taste: good flavor profile, but a little unadventurous. bready malts, a light citrus hop profile, tangerine

mouthfeel: light slick body, light bitterness

overall: good, but pretty pedestrian

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.97/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Awesome... The elusive DC tick!! Received this in a great trade with Kmccabe33.. Thanks a ton Korey!!

Poured into my slim tulip... light khaki head sticks around for quite a while leaving good lacing... the brew sorta looks chill hazed, but is a deep golden.

Big ole mash-up of hops ... plenty of citrus, but floral and piney undertones are also present... some background maltiness... caramel malt probably..

Fairly balanced brew with all the above aromas translated onto the palate, but with a little bit of toastiness... Nice hoppiness.. very drinkable.

good body and carbonation... but somehow sorta a creaminess makes me want another sip.

Thanks Korey for a great trade.. let me know if you want to do another.


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Photo of jjboesen
4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The Public comes across as the quintessential pale ale: translucent copper body topped with a shimmering finger of marshmellow foam with consistent lace splotching.

The nose is good; there is the requisite floral notes - with a whiff of Lemon Pledge, grapes, grass and honey. Not bad in any case. The palate receives a repeat of the grass (tastewise in this case) and lemon with a harsh chalky finish.

At least, this one had a nice balance in establishing a non-confrontational meeting of mild hoppiness and subtle maltiness, which forms the backbone.

A highly quaffable session beer madeby this small brewer from our Nations' Capital.

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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 pburland23
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to my kid sister for bringing a six pack up from Washington for me to enjoy.

I've drank several of these from the can already, but to review I poured the beer from the can into a snifter.

Appearance: Beer pours a hazy, rusty orange with a about two fingers of thick, resinous tan head. Very thick and pretty lacing.

Smell: Very hop forward smelling. Big citrus and piney notes with some strong malt backbone. It's a very balanced and nice smelling beer.

Taste: Maltier than I expected. Strong caramel malt flavors that work well with the big piney and citrus hops flavors. Moderate bitterness with a dry finish. This pale ale drinks like an IPA.

Mouthfeel: Resinous, on the thicker side of medium bodied. Nice level of carbonation. Creamy and drinkable.

Overall: This was my first DC Brau beer and I'm pretty impressed. I used to live in DC and it was a wasteland for craft beer in those days, so I'm happy to see a quality brewery in the District. As for The Public, it's a hop forward but well balanced APA. Very refreshing from the can which was my preferred method of drinking.

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Photo of largadeer
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Appearance: Dark muddy amber body capped by a big frothy head. Doesn't look like a pale ale at all, more like an amber/red.

Smell: Nose is hop forward, yeasty, estery. Toasted malt, pine, citrus and floral notes. This brewery seems to have a strong house character - their IPA had a very similar yeast character.

Palate: Bready toasted malt, citrusy/floral hops. Touch of stonefruit from the yeast. Spicy, floral. Firm bitterness that doesn't overwhelm. Body is curiously big for a supposed pale ale. Finishes bready and yeasty with a mild hop bite. Pretty damn good, this stuff.

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can from Chevy Chase.

A surprisingly dark amber with a dense, off-white head with good retention and nice lacing, this beer looks nice. It does have a moderate density of floaties, though. The nose is decent, and in many ways, what I'd expect of a flagship pale ale - moderately sweet and moderately hoppy with a pleasant enough aromatic hop character. The Vienna malt is a nice touch, rounding out the sweetness. The hop character is rather juicy, with a mild pine, a little citrus and some melon as well. Solid.

The palate is a lot hoppier than the nose would suggest. Quite aggressive in its bitterness, there's flavors of grapefruit (nicely done too), a sharp, mildly minty pine character flavor and bitterness. The malt character is moderate, lending sweetness (caramel, a little bit of a smooth and rounded bready Vienna malt flavor). Mildly resiny and moderately bitter on the finish with a hop pungency that's pretty intense, this beer is medium-light in body and moderately carbonated (a shade too high for me). This is where I apologize and say that this is anything but an expected flagship pale ale. I would drink this again.

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Photo of estlinska
3.92/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap, poured into a shaker. Deep ruby red in color, small rim of pearly head with fair lacing. Citrus fruit and grassy hops on the nose, minimal clean malts as well. The taste had a touch more spiciness to it along with the grass and citrus I smelled. Malt backbone is present, but barely accounted for. Medium body with lasting hops finish. Overall, very enjoyable, sessionable beer for a hot day wandering the museums.

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Photo of trxxpaxxs
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to IrishColonial for this can...

A: Pours a deep orange, verging on amber, with yellows around the edges. There is about a finger of foam that settles quickly. Not a whole lot of lacing as it drinks.

S: The nose is mainly malt, with some pine coming through as well. Yup, that about sums it up.

T: It's nice and juicy up front, lots of citrus notes. There is a sweetness in the middle that I'm enjoying. The finish is light, but piney. I'm actually a bit surprised how not-malty it is since the nose is pretty malt forward.

M: Medium bodied beer. Starts out wet and flavorful, the mild hop bitter linger to the end, but nothing overpowers. Great balance in this beer.

O: This is really nice. I didn't have a whole lot of expectations from DC Brau going into this beer, but I like this pale a lot. I'd pick up a bunch more if I ever head down to visit my relatives in DC.

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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 beergoot
3.65/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Taken from notes during a recent visit to Washington DC. Enjoyed at the Capitol Hill Hyatt Regency...

- Orange body, thin head

- Sweet malt in nose; spicy, citrusy hops; some aroma may have been killed off since they poured it into an iced glass...

- Nice, soft malt flavors, good bitterness

- Clean taste, finishes dry, bright carbonation

- Good beer, but rough around the edges...

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Photo of n2185
3.72/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a slightly hazy orange with two fingers of white head that fades into a dense cap with great lacing.

S: Some pineapple and grapefruit notes up front with pine bringing up the finish. The nose is a little muted, though.

T: Grapefruit and pine dominate up front with slight notes of pineapple. The finish is earthy and lightly bitter.

M: Medium body and carbonation, this beer is nice and lively feeling.

O: A pretty decent pale ale overall. The nose is a bit muted, but it's tasty and refreshing.

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Photo of mactrail
3.62/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Attractive amber in the glass, nice and sudsy. A lovely whiff of hops. The aroma is the best thing about this. Light body. Nice mouthfeel with a fine carbonation.

Very hoppy, after a brief flirtation with the malt. Some biscuit flavors, a little bit of honeydew melon in the aftertaste. Quite bitter. A slight flowery hint to the hops, but more about the grapefruit.

Not my favorite style, but a promising introduction to this brewery. A good quaff, if you're in the mood for the hoppy aggression. From the 12 oz can.

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Photo of bum732
4.15/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

S: Fresh, grapefruit, some spiciness, leather, dankness, some bready/yeasty notes

L: Hazy amber orange, white creamy head with good retention.

T: Fresh, pungent hop taste with a soft bready maltiness. Medium high dank-like bitterness. Finishes fairly dry with a long hoppy finish.

M: Medium full body. Medium high carbonation, almost spritzy.

Just delicious. Definitely on the hoppy side, but not at IPA malt levels. Love the mouthfeel and carbonation, makes me want to drink more. Might be my new go-to pale ale.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A clear, copper to amber pour with plenty of lacy, foamy off-white head and plenty of carbonation and lacing. Strong hoppy smell with lots of grapefruit as well as some pine. Malt is there but definitely well covered up. The flavor is strongly hoppy as well, with more grapefruit and pine. Refreshing citrus notes with a good bit of malty sweetness. This beer has a rather heavy body (for an APA at least) and also lots of bitterness. Honestly it drank more like an American IPA to me than an APA. Still, a great beer that I am quite proud to show off as a local.

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The Public Ale from DC Brau Brewing Co.
3.89 out of 5 based on 857 ratings.
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