Help us drink the last two kegs of DC Brau's "Heurich's Lager", a historic recreation of Christian Heurich's pre-Prohibition beer!
Just as most DC residents are closely acquainted with DC Brau today, there was a time in recent history when many Washingtonians knew of Christian Heurich, his successful Foggy Bottom brewery, and his iconic mansion below Dupont Circle. The last time anyone tasted a Heurich beer was 1956, the year his brewery closed and made way for the Kennedy Center. The Chr. Heurich Brewing Co. had been the District’s last production brewery, and no others existed in the city until DC Brau opened in 2011. Heurich’s legacy survives at his former mansion, the Heurich House Museum, which today displays the Heurich family’s original furnishings and decorations, as well as the home’s original state-of-the-art technology.
Heurich was an avid record-keeper who maintained books of brewery invoices, advertisements, and records, some of which have survived. Beer historian and avid homebrewer Mike Stein spent months poring over brittle invoices at the National Archives. With the help of DC homebrewers, Joshua H. Hubner and Pete Jones, several test batches were brewed using modern ingredients when literal historical accuracy could not be achieved. Several ingredients like the Palmer Seedling hop and “fancy malt” used by Heurich are no longer produced. In addition to the Palmer Seedling hop, through his research Stein found evidence that Heurich used hops from Germany and the Czech Republic. One receipt was for “Saazer Hops” the German word for Žatec, a historic hop-growing region in the Czech Republic. While Heurich didn’t have the convenience of using highly modified malts like Vienna and Munich, he did love modern technology and new innovations. Brewers today have the advantage of using pre-gelatinized flaked corn and puffed rice, both of which were used in the final commercial example.
In June, this truly "Classic American Pilsner" was scaled up from 5 gallons to 1,000 gallons at DC Brau Brewing Company. According to William E. Kelley’s Brewing in Maryland, Heurich “had often said his ambition was to produce a fine light beer, and claimed his beer, and that of other American breweries, was as good as any produced in Germany, with an exception, however, which he admitted, of the Pilsener beer made in Czechoslovakia.” Under the guidance of Jeff Hancock and Brandon Skall, the DC Brau beer is both a recreation of the pre-prohibition product brewed by Christian Heurich Brewing Company and a nod to the lager beer Heurich enjoyed in Bavaria, Bohemia, and Vienna. The result is a balanced, golden elixir, a delicious beer and a fitting homage to Christian Heurich’s lager.
This project is part of the Heurich House Museum’s continuing efforts to honor the legacy of Christian Heurich, to preserve and maintain his historic home, and to promote local Washington, DC history and culture. Every third Thursday throughout the year, the museum hosts monthly local craft beer tastings and beer-centric house tours called History & Hops. Other programs presented this summer include free outdoor movies, local music concerts, and public house tours. For more information, visit the museum’s website at www.heurichhouse.org or check out a review by Fritz Hahn of the Washington Post's Going Out Guide HERE.
When & Where
Heurich House Museum
The Heurich House Museum preserves local Washington, DC history and educates the public through Christian Heurich's legacy and mansion. The mansion was built from 1892-4 by German immigrant, local brewer, and philanthropist Christian Heurich (1842-1945). Recognized as Washington, D.C.’s most successful brewer, he ran the Chr. Heurich Brewing Co. until his death at 102. The mansion is notable for its technological innovations, original interiors, and rich archival collection of one of the most important local families.
The museum, located at 1307 New Hampshire Avenue in Dupont Circle, is open for regular public events and public tours Thursday through Saturday at 11:30 a.m., 1:00 and 2:30 p.m. Private tours and event rentals are also available. For more information, visit heurichhouse.org or call 202-429-1894.