Hello, I'm Michael Stein and I like to brew beers that don't exist. Is that an existential crisis? No. It's just a fun way to draw people into history by using America's favorite beverage as a jumping off point.
Did you know that brewing is one of the oldest industries in DC? Were you aware that before prohibition, the brewing industry was the District's largest private employer? If not, now you do! DC's first brewer opened shop in Alexandria in the 1770s and the first commercial brewer of the federal city was the first brewer of the port city. Scottish immigrant Andrew Wales, DC's first commercial producer, sold beer to George Washington, amongst other historically significant people. Prior to prohibition, Anheuser Busch, Pabst, and Schlitz all had bottling plants in DC, long before the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the birth of the beer can, or the Washington Nationals.
Ever wondered how many breweries were in DC during Frederick Douglass' lifetime? Five.* There were five breweries in DC before the lion of Anacostia passed away on to glory. And what did the beer taste like produced during Douglass' life? Well, therein lies the rub.
The mission of LostLagers, the beverage research firm I run with Pete Jones, is to educate drinkers on what beer tasted like in past centuries. We’ve brewed many historical beers like molasses beer with Pen Druid of Sperryville, VA, pre-prohibition lager with DC Brau Brewing Company, and Lake Anne Brew House (of DC and Reston, respectively), and Polish porter with District Chophouse & Brewery. We collaborated with Bluejacket on a historic blended porter for the Smithsonian's American History After Hours event, Brewing up History. We’ve also brewed Wales' Strong Ale with Portner Brewpub, as well as 1895 Barleyweiss (with Union Craft Brewing Company of Baltimore) a Berliner-style Weissbier which was originally brewed without wheat, amongst others including our Heritage Lager Series with Lake Anne Brew House.
But this exploration of beer history is not only for breweries! We love history, brewing, and working with people who have a passion for either. If you'd like to learn more about the beer historians in DC, sign up for a historic homebrew class at the Hill Center. Classes in April, June, September, and November, will demonstrate how to take colonial, industrial, and old recipes, and turn them into futuristic beer.
Lost Lagers is available for collaborations, consultations, to supply historical context, ideas, and information to modern breweries in and around the district. We love working with breweries and their ancillary services. We partner with large production breweries, small pubs, libraries, museums, historic sites, and various nonprofits. Please feel drop us at line at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also sign up for our newsletter on our site, at the bottom of the page. Please reach out if you have questions or even if you’re just looking for a resource recommendation.
*There were five breweries in DC in 1895 according to Garrett Peck's Capital Beer: Albert Brewing Company (2431, 2445 F Street, NW), Banner Brewing Company (421 Tenth Street, NW), Christian Heurich Brewing Company (Block encompassing Water Street between Twenty-fifth and Twenty-sixth Streets, NW), Maurice Kernwein (124 N Street, NW), National Capital Brewing Company (D Street between 13th & 14th Streets, S.E.), Washington Brewery (Block encompassing Fourth and Fifth Streets, NE between E and F Streets, NE).