Denizens Brewing Company opened in Silver Spring in 2014, well after I had left my cataloger job at NOAA Central Library. It’s walking distance from there, dang it! Although maybe it’s not a good idea to construct original authority records after a pint.
Like Union, Denizens is very versatile. For example, I’m a fan of breweries who take on the American macro style, so I snagged their PGC Premium Lager as soon as it came out. Playfully referencing PBR, PGC is named after Prince George’s County, home of Denizens’ second location in Riverdale Park. It pops open with an orange zest aroma that reminds me of how Disney likes to use smells to enhance its E-ticket rides. It has hints of honey and malt with a sweet citrus finish. It’s really everything I would want out of, say, Natty Boh. I happen to like Natty Boh and will not speak ill against it. But I also think this does Natty Boh one better.
From watery domestic to monastic tradition, Third Party is Denizens’ take on a Belgian tripel. It has a strong yeast flavor with hints of vanilla, cardamom, and orange and a touch of burnt caramel at the end. If I’m looking for a beer to help me indulge my fantasy of downing a metric ton of moules-frites at a bar in Brussels, I could grab an imported beer crafted by an obscure monastery with an eye for international monetization. Or I could just drink local, because Third Party is a credible take on a style of beer I adore.
If you were to ask me which Denizen’s beer is my favorite, I would hem and haw a bit. Lowest Lord and Born Bohemian both hold special places in my heart. The latter, as you might expect from the name, is a Czech-style Pilsner. It has a yeasty nose and a refreshing malt flavor that lingers. Born Bohemian just tastes like a classic Pilsner in every way and it is super delicious. In fact, Czechs would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between this and their native, local beer. And they would probably like this more and feel so guilty about it they would cry into their next three pints of it.
That said, I am deeply in love with Lowest Lord. It has a rich body and a hoppy tang to it without being stupidly hoppy. It tickles the back of my throat and leaves a pleasantly bitter aftertaste. I can nurse it for an hour and it holds up the entire time.
There are a whole bunch of other awesome Denizens beers. Liz Murphy of the erstwhile Naptown Pint column in the Annapolis Capital Gazette is a proponent of Southside Rye IPA and Big Red Norm, for example. But for me, it always comes back to these four. When I placed my Denizens’ delivery order during the quarantine, these are the four I ordered. They’re all special to me.