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Atlas Brew Works gets ready to turn on the taps

Wine barrels from Boxwood Winery, to be used in making sour beers

Because Atlas's space has low (12-foot) ceilings, these tanks had to be custom-built to fit

Fermentation tanks

A Pella growler (2 liters) and a coaster

Atlas Brew Works is waiting to pass one last city inspection--the health inspection, scheduled for Thursday, July 25--and then the city's newest brewery will be able to start making beer, says cofounder Justin Cox.

Beer fans throughout the city should get their first taste of Atlas's three brews by September.

The three beers Cox and his co-founder Will Durgin will begin with are the District Commons, a California Commons style beer, the Rowdy, a hop-forward rye ale ("I like rye in everything," says Cox), and a third, secret beer. Cox and Durgin have also acquired French oak barrels from Boxwood Winery in Middleburg, Va., that the brewers plan to use to age "normal" beer as well as create complex sours.

In addition to perfecting their recipes, Durgin and Cox have been busy the past few months getting their space into shape for brewing. (Compare the photos above with their empty warehouse from just two months ago.) That included bringing in custom-made conical fermenters. Standard brewery ceilings are about 20 feet high, Cox says, but Atlas's space has ceilings just over 12 feet. 

The brewery will start with a capacity of 20 barrels, or 40 standard-size kegs, at a time, says Cox. He envisions Atlas churning out 3,600 barrels of beer per year, but they've designed the space with room for expansion.

The launch is the realization of a dream for Cox, a former home brewer. "I've been wanting to do this for a while," he says.

Read more articles by Rachel Kaufman.

Rachel is the managing editor of Elevation D.C. She also covers tech, business and science for publications nationwide. She lives in Brookland.
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