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The launch party, hosted by Chocolate City founders Jay Irizarry, Ben Matz, Brian Flanagan and Don Parker, will be in the back room at RFD starting at 9 p.m. on Thursday, August 18. Chocolate City brews will be $4 per pint all night, and DJ O’Scool will be spinning tunes.
The brewery crew has busied itself over the past two weeks with building inspections and securing the last of their equipment, including kegs that will soon debut at bars and restaurants across the city. Last Monday, Aug. 3, Chocolate City received its all-important certificate of occupancy and have been busy brewing since.
As for what beer will be first to come out of its tanks, Chocolate City has brewed its flagships, Big Chair IPA, and an ESB, along with a few surprises. A champion of quality control, head brewer Matz will not decide which beers will be available at the launch until he has been able to sample and test each batch. As a result, the brewery will announce the beer list for the launch party early next week.
According to Irizarry, the Chocolate City plans to produce about 50 kegs a week. He calls the project a “nano-brewery,” due to the comparatively small amount of beer that will be produced. Chocolate City has a seven-barrel system, which includes tanks from the now-defunct Dr. Dremo’s Taphouse, that Irizarry projects to produce 2,500 barrels of beer in the brewery’s first year. Compared with Flying Dog‘s 40,000 barrels a year, Chocolate City’s output will indeed be “nano.”
The Chocolate City team has hit its fair share of obstacles. When I spoke with the guys in October, they had originally planned to begin brewing and selling beer this past winter. But their fixer-upper in Edgewood required more effort to clean and properly outfit than anticipated. After a months-long effort, Chocolate City finally got power lines running to their building in mid-June.
But all the challenges haven’t hampered spirits, as anyone who has been watching their Facebook or Twitter feed knows. The Chocolate City crew have entertained themselves and engaged thirsty fans with promotions like a “Show us your D.C.” photo contest and invitations to tag their delivery van.
When asked if he had heard the news about growlers in D.C. and had plans to sell them, Irizarry responded:
Growlers are 100% in our plan, and we should be ready to start selling them in September or October. As far as a tasting room and tours, we don’t have our tasting permit yet but are looking to get it in September. Really, our space is so small you can just look in the room and there it is, but we’ll be happy to have people out.
Chocolate City Beer is located at 2801 8th Street, NE.
Photo courtesy of Chocolate City Beer