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Get Free Beer at the Opening of This California Brewery’s New Union Market-Area Store

The Bruery Store will give away bottles to the first couple hundred customers on Friday, January 19.
The Bruery Store located by Union Market. Photograph by Evy Mages.

East Coast fans of The Bruery previously had to ask friends or relatives to ship bottles across the country if they wanted the California-brewer’s sought-after sour or barrel-aged beers. Now, they can pick up some on their way to Union Market.

The Bruery Store, located at 513 Morse St. NE, opened in December but celebrates its grand opening on Friday, January 19, with giveaways, discounts, and, of course, plenty of beer. The first 100 attendees will get T-shirts and a complimentary three-bottle set of beer, while the next 100 will get two free bottles. Visitors can join one of The Bruery’s three membership programs—called “societies“—to gain access to quarterly discounts, merchandise, and growler fills. Leading up to the celebration, Rue is hosting a meet-and-greet on Thursday at Georgetown Belgian beer bar The Sovereign.

Be warned: the new store does not feature a tasting room or bar, and the beer is brewed in Orange County, California, not DC. Rather, its main purpose is to provide easier pickups for East Coast members. Co-founder Patrick Rue says DC was one of The Bruery’s biggest markets outside of California, which motivated the expansion. Beyond beer, the store also features clothing, drinking glasses, and other Bruery-themed merchandise.

Rue started The Bruery 10 years ago after graduating from law school and realizing that he would much rather pursue his passion for brewing than study for the Bar exam. Now, he’s a Master Cicerone, a certification that requires a two-day oral and written exam on brewing.

The Bruery is best known for its experimental, barrel-aged beers, such as “Black Tuesday” (a bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout) and “White Chocolate” (a bourbon barrel-aged wheatwine-style ale brewed with cocoa nibs), which are presented in Champagne-style bottles. 

Interior of The Bruery Store located by Union Market. Photograph by Evy Mages.

“I’ve known about The Bruery for a long time because of its quality and unusual creativity,” says Kevork Garmirian, a customer from McLean who walked away with a bag of beers and a membership this week. “Beers like this one [White Chocolate with Cherries] are great conversation-starters.”

The Bruery Store. 513 Morse St. NE. Open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 AM to 8 PM. 

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Elliot joined Washingtonian in January 2018. An alum of Villanova University, he grew up in the Philadelphia area before moving to Syracuse to pursue a master’s in journalism. His work has also appeared on Syracuse.com, TheAtlantic.com, and Catholicnews.com. He lives in Eckington.