In every major American city, there is that special microbrewery everyone speaks highly of. Since 2013, the Right Proper Brewing Company has been the latest draw to the DC area. Located on Girard Avenue, NE in the Brookland neighborhood of Washington, DC, Right Proper Brewing Company has made a name for itself. Washington, DC has become more than a city of memorials, museums, and talk-tough politics. It is now a place where beer has become part of its culture. With each and every can, bottle, and keg, this fast sprouting microbrewery has become the talk of the town. But, there is much more to the story than politics and beer.
Right Proper Brewing Company was founded in 2013 by Thor Cheston and John Snedden. The bigger story came from Thor. Thor, a pre-med student at Georgetown University, ditched the medical school tract to go into the beer brewing industry. When asked to comment on this bold career move, he said “It turned out to be the best investment made. We’ve been in business for five years now.” The business started with their Shaw Brew Pub & Kitchen in the Shaw neighborhood in northwest DC. From there, the business expanded. Right Proper Brewing opened the Brookland Production House & Tasting Room in 2015.
Every microbrewery is well-known for its selection of beers, beers with signature ingredients and distinct taste. Since 2013, Right Proper Brewing has produced over eighty-five beer recipes. Cheston was more than happy to share a handful of samples. The first sample provided was called Being There. This beer, for starters, tastes fantastic. It is known for its bready, floral, and unfiltered finish. The next sample was the beer known as Raised by Wolves. The beer’s recipe is “focused on hops, rather than bitterness”, Cheston pointed out. The next beer sample presented was called Diamonds Fur Coat Champagne. If anyone has ever tasted a beer with a sour but pleasant finish, it’s a beer not to be missed out. After one sip, one can feel the sour, lemony bite. Diamonds Fur Coat Champagne is dry-hopped Berliner Weisse-style ale, a sour wheat beer. The beer would not have its signature sour taste without the key ingredient-lactobacillus.
Immediately afterward came another great beer, known as Astral Weeks. If anyone likes a smooth but natural beer taste, this beer does the trick. Cheston pointed out on the menu the essential ingredients. Astral Weeks is a true favorite among customers. It is dry, floral, and tropical beer. The fruitiness sure shows through in this beer. The second to last sample was a beer called Häxan, a dark and strong tasting beer. In beer terms, explained by Cheston, Häxan is a robust porter. If anyone likes Guinness Stout, Häxan is Right Proper Brewing’s rendition of that dark, earthy, but strong finish. The fifth beer sample, a true favorite by locals, is called Ravaged by Wolves. Unlike Diamonds Fur Coat Champagne, Ravaged by Wolves has a juicy and ravenous texture. When commented about the beer’s taste, Cheston added “It’s an IPA with Brettan omyces. All five of these beers are truly fabulous recipes. They are recipes which avid beer drinkers would truly appreciate. Notably, they’re beers that have locals and out-of-state visitors returning time and again.
With such an incredible selection of beers on their menu, it was believable how someone like Thor Cheston could ditch medical school to start a microbrewery. The level of success the brewery has had in just five years couldn’t have brought up a better question. What lessons and professional attributes would someone carry over from the medical field into making beer? Cheston couldn’t have answered the question more simply. He responded “It’s all about having an appreciation for the science of beer making. It’s also about having the appreciation for biochemistry, which is where the concept of beer making comes from.”. He then added “It’s about showing the appreciation for the ingredients and overall product, especially yeast. Yeast is the key ingredient in all beers. Happy health, happy yeast!”.
A great local brewery can’t function without having some notable customers. Throughout the DC area, there are dozens of restaurants, pubs, and venues where Right Proper Brewing’s beer is sold. At the top of their list is Nationals Park, home of Major League Baseball’s Washington Nationals. Other locations include Whole Foods on H, I, and 40th Streets, the Metro Center Marriott, Pinstripes, Circa at Foggy Bottom, the W Washington, DC, Pizzeria Paradiso, and Morton’s Steakhouse. With regards to their successful market, Cheston was asked about the company’s plans to expand. He offered a very humble response, saying “We expand a little bit, but we’re gonna grow our market through Maryland and Virginia.”. “We’re planning on expanding our market into Pennsylvania, but not immediately. We are truly enjoying the business we’re getting from the DC area. The customers know us extremely well, and we respect that 100%.”.
The microbrewery market today is booming. According to Cheston, there are eleven microbreweries around the Washington, DC area. Overall, there are seven thousand microbreweries in the United States. Each and every one of them are known for their signature beers, recipes, and the distinct ingredients. The Right Proper Brewing Company’s success has put itself on the map with its unique recipes and distinct flavors. After just five years of business, Right Proper Brewing is on track to establishing itself as one of the finest breweries not just in the DC area, but throughout the Chesapeake Bay region. Washington, DC is more than just a city of memorials and monuments. Undoubtedly, it has become a beer brewer’s city-the home of a legend.
David Kriso is a guest contributor to our ” The Beer-Centric Traveler” blog.
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