What's a "denizen"?
And, now, it's also a brewery.
- A person, animal, or plant that lives in or often is found in a particular place or region.
- One that frequents a place.
Denizens Brewing Co. opened in mid-July, in Silver Spring, Maryland. It is the first, and, in fact, only brewery ever in that close-in suburb of Washington, D.C.
And, it has a beer garden: a 3,000 square-foot outside seating area for 150 folk. Well, its a white-painted concrete, red-umbrella festooned, garden, but there are plenty of shrubberies, seats, benches, and tables. And beers.
The day I visited, there were two house beers on draft —Southside Rye IPA (slightly tangy with a citrus-hoppy nose and spicy finish) and Lowest Lord ESB (fewer hops but more sweet malt) — and six 'guest' draft beers.
The building is located on a steep slope; so, the beer garden is actually upon the roof over the brewing facilities. That afternoon, however, there wasn't any aroma of steaming malt wafting up from underneath. The brewing system —a 15-barrel brewhouse— wasn't yet active, but it would be soon, Taylor Barnes (the brewery's Director of Marketing) told me, in-between jumping up to greet guests, in a quickly-filling beer garden.
Brewer Jeff Ramirez has been splitting his days between overseeing the plumbing-in at the brewery, and brewing his beers, under contract, at Beltway Brewing, in Sterling, Virginia. By September, he expects to have all its beers brewed on-site in Silver Spring, with five core brands on draft, and five ever-changing draft selections. Ramirez is also reserving two 15-barrel tanks solely for producing sour beers, a skill he's brought with him from Mountain Sun brewpub, in Boulder, Colorado (and Iron Hill, in Pennsylvania, before that).
Inside, on street level, there's a taproom and dining area, with some interesting artwork hung on the walls. Denizens has no kitchen, so any food is bring-your-own, but the brewery has given space in the lower level to BBQ Bus, a popular food truck company, to build its own kitchen. That's a clever arrangement: a stationary food truck, if you will, ready for permanent service by mid-August. Filling out the 7,000 square feet of interior space, Denizens is erecting a second bar, on the lower level, next to BBQ Bus, to overlook the brewhouse.
Sitting outside, sipping on a Denizens' E.S.B., I perused the guest draft beer list. Why the double-shot of The Brewers Art love, I wondered (although I certainly wasn't complaining)? It seems that Denizens' co-owners, Emily Bruno and Julie Verratti, are Silver Spring neighbors of Volker Stewart, who is an owner of the Baltimore, Maryland, Belgian-inspired restaurant/brewpub.
Maryland beer love: a good way to begin.
- More photos: here.
- Denizens Brewing Co. is located at 1115 East-West Highway, in Silver Spring, Maryland. A nearby landmark is Montgomery College. Parking is limited at the brewery itself, but there is a public garage, a block away, at the intersection of Kennett Street and Bottleworks Street: free after 6pm weekdays, and all day weekends.
- Current hours are:
- Monday through Thursday: 4-11pm.
- Friday and Saturday: 3pm-1am.
- Sunday: 3pm-10pm.
- Until BBQ Bus' kitchen is up and running, "guest star" food trucks will provide food. On the day I visited, it was Holy Crêpes!.
- Bruno and Verratti had originally chosen "Citizens Brewing" as the name of their brewery. Washington, D.C. brewery, DC Brau, objected, due to its beer called The Citizen (and a similar logo).