Credit: Photograph by Darrow Montgomery

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Who needs a D.C.-flag tattoo anymore? Showing off your hometown cred is a lot easier these days: Just grab a shiny can of DC Brau! The label is all red, white, stars, and stripes—just like the flag—with the Capitol dome looming ominously in the background. The District finally began brewing its own beer this year, after nearly a half-century of only importing the stuff. And all the producers are playing up their D.C. roots. DC Brau’s April debut was followed by the August launch of Chocolate City. A third brewery, 3 Stars, will open soon.

This is usually the point where the boosterish interests of local patriots collide with the instincts of a food critic. But, as it happens, some of the District-branded suds are actually drinkable. Ask a reputable beer snob from the Big Apple. “This DC Brau, it’s a nice drinking beer,” Josh Bernstein, author of the new craft-beer book Brewed Awakening, says over a pint of the brewery’s Citizen Ale. “It’s something that you can definitely have a couple goblets of. Oftentimes, these beers tend to be a little bit sickly sweet. But it’s a nice little Belgian ale.”