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Posted at 12:37 PM ET, 03/ 1/2006

A Pall Over Foggy Bottom

By Fritz Hahn

Foggy Bottom beer is no more.

Founder and owner Gary Heurich has announced in a e-mail today that "after 20 unprofitable years, the Olde Heurich Brewing Company has discontinued brewing operations, and will cease sales of its beers ... with the last of [February's] shipments to our distributors."

Heurich said that he expects all kegs and bottles will disappear "by the beginning of April."

While it wasn't brewed in D.C. -- that was handled by a contractor in Utica, N.Y. -- Foggy Bottom's lagers and ales were a fixture at local restaurants and taverns. Its distinctive Washington Monument-shaped tap handles were found behind many bars and at RFK Stadium, which boasted a wood-paneled "Foggy Bottom Brewpub" behind home plate.

Heurich's letter took a parting swipe at Washington's "relative lack of a hometown spirit" for not supporting "the Washington area's heritage beer," but to be honest, if Foggy Bottom was turning out a truly great product, the company might not have been in such dire straits. As it was, I enjoyed many pints of Foggy over the years, but other than its local ties, the brews never really stood out from an increasingly crowded microbrew market.

Washington's last brewery, owned by Gary's grandfather Christian Heurich, closed in 1956, and the Kennedy Center now stands on the site. Gary Heurich will discuss his grandfather and the history of brewing in Washington on March 23 at the Woodrow Wilson House.

While it's too late to save Foggy Bottom beers, Gary Heurich is currently involved in efforts to keep his grandfather's Victorian mansion open to the public. The Brewmaster's Castle, completed in 1894, is one of the best-preserved Victorian homes in America, but must raise around $180,000 by March 15 to avoid forclosure. The Castle is open for tours on Wednesdays at 12:15 and 1:15 p.m., and Saturdays at 1:15.

-- Fritz

By Fritz Hahn  | March 1, 2006; 12:37 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs, Restaurants  
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Comments

this is really terrible news. does anyone know where i can get some kegs of foggy bottom lager?

Posted by: sadlagerfan | March 2, 2006 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Every Nats game, you could count on me getting an ale or three from Foggy Bottom. Nice beer, short(ish) lines. I'd have bought it more regularly, in other places, if it was actually brewed here in the DC area. How can a beer made in Utica claim to be "hometown"?

A related story. I was up in Pittsburgh this weekend, and was shocked to find that the famous Penn Pilsner is no longer made there. It's now brewed & bottled by the Frederick Brewing Company, and nowhere near as tasty as it used to be. Wild Goose also "returned" under this label a few years ago, and it too was a pale shadow of its former greatness.

Posted by: mizerock | March 9, 2006 4:52 PM | Report abuse

yeah - i thought it sucked

Posted by: carrie | March 9, 2006 11:14 PM | Report abuse

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