Jared Pulliam spent his days in 2013 teaching high school students in Montgomery County and his nights working shifts at Chocolate City Brewing, which closed the following year. His wife and business partner Anne Choe told him that he probably needed to make a choice between the two. Pulliam decided to drop the teaching gig and sent off an email to one of his favorite breweries in Petaluma, California to see if he could land a job. The answer came back yes and the two left for the West Coast with a plan to eventually return and open their own brewery.
“We were here in DC and it was our home, but we still felt we had to go somewhere to find our voice,” Pulliam says.
After nearly a decade of working for institutions in Northern California and back here in DC–including Lagunitas and ChurchKey for Pulliam and the Girl and the Fig and Iron Gate for Choe–the two finally opened Lost Generation Brewing Company in an old Nabisco factory in Eckington last weekend. The brewery is named for Pulliam’s fondness for Lost Generation writers like Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway. He finds their dissatisfaction with the status quo and willingness to step outside of their own environment “timeless.”
Murals and decorations in the taproom nod to Pulliam’s fascination with the Lost Generation literary movement. Photograph courtesy of Lost Generation Brewing Company.
Their speakeasy-themed brewery and taproom is housed in an industrial, 120-year-old building with exposed brick, high ceilings, and a massive bar made from the building’s original flooring. The focus is on lagers and IPAs, but the owners look to produce a diverse range of options, including a selection of sours, seasonal options, and seltzers. Among their signature beers: a crisp lager called Shift and a dark lager called Grave Shift, which Pulliam says represents the style he’d reach for after an overnight brewing shift at Lagunitas. All the beers are available in four-ounce tasting pours, full glasses, or crowlers. Non-alcoholic options will come by way of Wild Bay Kombucha.
In addition to the beers brewed just a few feet away from the bar, there will be snacks from local vendors like beef jerky-maker Jerkface Jerky and salsa purveyor Daddy G’s, along with a rotating cast of food trucks. Lost Generation also welcomes drinkers to bring in outside food, and the space is dog-friendly.
Pulliam and Choe say they were inspired by West Coast taprooms where they felt a special connection between people on both sides of the bar.
“I think the difference is that we are very taproom focused,” Choe says. “In order to do that, we made sure that we had the experience, and we brought a team on with a lot of experience – and not just in brewing, but in hospitality.”
Lost Generation Brewing Company. 327 S St., NE.