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It’s official. DC Brau is the first production brewery to operate inside the District of Columbia in more than 50 years. On Thursday, founders Jeff Hancock and Brandon Skall received their Certificate of Occupancy (on St. Patrick’s Day and Hancock’s birthday, no less). Today, the brewing begins.

Public Ale, the small craft brewery’s pale ale, will be the first brew out of the tanks. This morning, Skall and Hancock started a dial-in batch to see how the pilot recipe works on the brewery’s large-scale equipment. “We’re keeping our fingers crossed that it will come out right,” Skall said.

According to Skall, Public Ale cans and kegs should be available throughout the Metro area by the second or third week of April. DC Brau will be distributed by Hop & Wine Beverage, a local company that carries over a hundred brands of European imports and American craft beer. “We are comfortable with them and really respect what they do in the market. They are craft beer specialists. They get everything about craft beer,” Skall explained.

Now that DC Brau has a green light for production, Hancock and Skall are putting their collective nose to the grindstone. “We are going to brew and brew,” Skall told me. “It’s really exciting to have beer in the tanks after all these months of planning and building.”

In the meantime, Skall and Hancock are leading an effort to get local law changed so breweries can have on-site tasting rooms and serve their beer to the public. Last month the duo helped introduce The Brewery Manufacturer’s Tasting Permit Amendment Act of 2011. The latest news is that Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham has called a hearing for sometime in April before the council will bring the bill to vote. The hearing will allow a chance for District residents to speak out in favor or against the change. Where do you stand?

Photo courtesy of DC Brau

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