History & Hops featuring the last of DC Brau's Heurich's Lager
Thursday, November 21, 2013 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM (EST)
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
At the turn of the 20th century, Dupont Circle and its grand avenues became a "place of wealth and fashion" -- the center for great mansions and castles. Only a few of those homes have survived until today, and none are as intact as the Heurich House Museum.
Containing most of its original furnishings and decorations, the Heurich House's rooms are snapshots of the late-Victorian era. They reflect the life of Christian Heurich, a self-made businessman who came to America with $200. As the owner of the Christian Heurich Brewing Company, he became the District's second largest landowner and largest non-governmental employer. As the active manager of the company at his death in 1945 at the age of 102, he was also the world's oldest brewer.
The house is a technological marvel, incorporating the most modern inventions of its day. Features include full indoor plumbing, circulating hot water heat, central vacuum system, venting skylight, elevator shaft, pneumatic and electric communication systems, and combination gas and electric lighting fixtures. To ensure the home's safety, it was built out of reinforced steel and concrete and is completely fireproof. None of its 15 fireplaces has ever been used.
The interior of the house is a masterpiece of craftsmanship and design. The 31-rooms are replete with hand-carved wood, fireplaces with individually carved mantles and cast bronze fire backs, hand-painted ceiling canvases, luxurious furnishings, and original turn-of-the-century Heurich family collections.
We welcome you to visit the Heurich House Museum - take a tour, visit the unique backyard garden that is open the public on weekdays, or plan a special event or meeting with us.