Denizens celebrates a year of beer

PHOTO: From left to right: Denizens Brewing Company co-owners Jeff Ramirez and Julie Veratti, marketing director Taylor Barnes and co-owner Emily Bruno.

BY BILL BROWN,  PHOTOS BY AMY CARR-TAYLOR

Today is not just Denizens first anniversary. It is the first anniversary of legal reforms that made the brewpub possible.

All Montgomery County brewers and brewpubs benefited from the liquor law changes. County liquor laws changed from crippling to enabling, thanks to a group of activists and elected officials. Instrumental among them was Denizens co-founder Julie Veratti. Veratti identified the law as the biggest hurdle between her and her dream of opening a brewpub, so in 2013 she approached county council member Hans Reimer.

Fortunately for craft-brew fans, they found that the Department of Liquor Control division chief Katie Durbin was sympathetic. It helped that there was clear evidence in other jurisdictions that brewpubs were economic stimulators.

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Denizens beer garden, Photo courtesy Denizens Brewing Co.

Since last summer Montgomery County brewers can now sell pints over the counter, they can fill growlers (bottles to be taken home) and they can sell kegs directly to restaurants without first shipping them to the county distribution center (where the prices were marked up). Verratti said that breweries can now even deliver growlers to people’s homes.

She was talking to reporters and bloggers at Denizens’ pre-anniversary press event July 15. She and co-owners Jeff Ramirez (the head brewer) and Emily Bruno outlined the brewery’s history and significance, but mostly they talked about the beer – as they handed out samples.

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Denizens now has 5 standard brews on tap: their signature Southside Rye IPA, Born Bohemian pilsner, Lowest Lord ESB, Big Red Norm red ale, and Third Party Belgian-style triple.

They also feature seasonal beers. For their anniversary celebration this week and weekend they are offering First Time, a limited-edition anniversary beer.

Their celebration schedule is below.

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Staff-member Nick Pignone has been with Denizens “since day one,” he says proudly.

• Thursday, July 16th

3:00 PM: Denizens kicks off their 1st anniversary weekend with DC101 broadcasting live from the beer garden. An outdoor concert by Darcy Dawn & Company follows from 4:00 – 7:00 PM. The first 101 people to arrive get free Merriweather Post Pavilion concert tickets.

• Friday, July 17th

6:00 PM: Free beer stein giveaway for those who can tell a Denizen founder the number of beers the brewery has released in their first year.

• Saturday, July 18th

1:00 PM: All-day party begins, $5 pints on most beers. Live music with DJ Sway at 3:00 PM and Sound Makers Union, an 8-piece jam/funk band, starting at 8:00 PM.

• Sunday, July 19th

1:00 – 4:00 PM: Brewery open house, hosted by the Denizen Brewing Co. founders.

The TPSS Voice covered Denizens opening last July.

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About the Author

Bill Brown
Bill Brown moved to Takoma Park in 1982. He has been involved in journalism in one way or another since he co-published an underground high-school newspaper in the late 1960s.