Northern Virginia’s craft beer sensation Solace Brewing Company turns on the taps at its anticipated Navy Yard location tonight, bringing D.C. a scenic spot to sample its beloved IPAs, beertails, and half-smokes from a respected Georgetown butcher.
The soaring, industrial-style addition to the Dock 79 waterfront development sports front-row views of the newly completed Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge (71 Potomac Ave SE). The sun-drenched taproom, dubbed Solace Outpost, starts pouring its star product on Friday, January 21, at 6 p.m.
Solace got its start in brewery-saturated Sterling, Va. in 2017, where its 20-barrel brewhouse churns out best sellers like Sun’s Out Hops Out (session IPA), Lucy Juicy (double IPA), Partly Cloudy (New England IPA), and Crazy Pils. Solace expanded to Falls Church in 2020, taking over Mad Fox brewpub’s former space with hospitality brothers Ian and Eric Hilton.
There’s no brewing going on in D.C.’s Solace Outpost, however, where the Hiltons are also partners. To give its Virginia super fans a reason to drive to D.C., Solace will make one-off beers exclusive to the Navy Yard location.
“They can’t get those drafts at the head brewery or in Falls Church,” Solace general manager DJ Suan tells Eater.
The nucleus of the operation in Navy Yard is a massive central bar, which pours 12 of its Virginia-made beers to start. Solace, which also likes to play with experimental IPAs, kettle sours, and smaller batches, will list its rotating lineup on a chalkboard wall above the taps.
Georgetown’s decade-old Stachowski Market supplies a section of half-smokes, bratwurst, and all-beef hot dogs to go along with an in-house food program the team calls “elevated ball park” fare. That includes burgers with ground beef chuck patties; fried buttermilk chicken sandwiches; salads; tots; crispy chicken thighs; and soft pretzels with beer (Crazy Pils) queso.
“Beer is obviously our heart and soul, so we try to reflect that through the food and drink,” says Suan.
A grab-and-go area near entry features a fridge stocked with Solace’s colorful cans and swag section of Solace apparel that riffs on D.C.’s sports teams logos and colors.
Following a soft opening this weekend, daily hours are: Monday to Thursday, 3 p.m. to midnight; Friday, 3 p.m. to 1 a.m.; Saturday from noon to 1 a.m.; and Sunday from noon to 10 p.m. A happy hour will include $5 pints and food specials.
An opening list of six beertails ($12) includes “Holiday in the Tropics,” which is an ode to the original Hurricane served at Pat O’Brien’s in New Orleans. The key ingredient behind its authenticity is fassionola syrup — a proprietary blend of tropical fruits that dates back to the 1930s tiki movement. Solace’s Hurricane beertail also features Crazy Pils, lime, and angostura bitters.
“It’s super crushable. I’ve never seen a beer version of a Hurricane and I’ve been in the cocktail game for a long time,” says Suan, who’s stirred drinks at Pearl Dive Oyster Palace, King Street Oyster Bar, and Green Zone, to name a few.
Bar manager Greg Robinson is also a recognizable mixologist around town and previously worked at Pub & The People and The Eleanor.
Solace’s version of a beer margarita is a split base of blanco tequila and mezcal, brightened up with Lucy Juicy IPA syrup, lime, and Crazy Pils. Its Old Fashioned blends bourbon and rye whiskeys with syrup used to make Solace’s Stouty McStout Face.
“We try to to stay true to the technique of the cocktail game while allowing ourselves to not be set in stone,” he says.
A massive wraparound patio will likely wait to go live until mid-March, or around the time the Washington Nationals kick off their 2022 season right around the corner.