Capercaillie Pub will continue Machine House Brewery’s quest of serving English beer on E Jefferson. The new project is a result of a shift in ownership, and the pub will be taking over the brewery’s bar space, making a few smaller changes in addition to the name change and change in ownership.
“Our vision is the Capercaillie will be a neighborhood pub featuring cask ale, and a place where people can hang out and feel comfortable,” said Alex Brenner, the pub’s owner, “I really like the layout of the space, the staff are great with customers, and the beer we serve is spot on.”
Brenner co-owned Machine House with Bill Arnott. Arnott and Brenner began brewing English beers in 2012 at the brewery’s location in Georgetown, and opened the establishment’s E Jefferson just in time for the men’s World Cup last summer. While Arnott kept beers flowing, Brenner focused entertaining customers and making the space comfortable. The Capercaillie Pub is now born of Brenner and Arnott directing their respective energies towards what they each enjoy most about running a brewery.
“Bill has some things he wants to do with the brewery, and he needs his energy to focus on making great beer. I’m more interested in the pub side and being closer to the customer,” Brenner said, “It’s a win win for all involved, and It’s going to run, look, and feel exactly the same to customers that have been coming there for a year. It’s just going to have a new name.”
The Capercaillie Pub will not undergo any remodel efforts and will continue serving Machine House beers supplied by Arnott. Brenner believes minimal changes are ideal.
“I like to say it is an English pub. It’s not an English themed pub, but it’s more like a pub you would find in England. It’s modern, but it also has a traditional cask ale for folks to experience,” said Brenner, “One of the things I often hear from people who have had one of machine house’s beers is it reminds them of being in London. I really think that’s the unique beer drinking experience people should have.”
As for a capercaillie, the BBC describes it as a “bizarre grouse of the Scottish Highlands.” The name probably also owes to spouse Kelly Brenner, author of The Metropolitan Field Guide.
While the space and beer will remain mostly unchanged, Brenner plans to increase efforts towards making the space friendly and comfortable- especially for individuals who have no idea what a cask ale is. Brenner hopes events such as recurring pub trivia nights and all day happy hours will provide the opportunity for beer enthusiasts and skeptics to bond over cask ale.
“A cask ale can be intimidating because it seems like a beer nerdy thing to do, but we really try to make folks feel comfortable in the space and let them know you don’t have to be a beer nerd to appreciate a cask ale,” Brenner said.
Brenner hopes the closer relationship with customers running a pub rather than a brewery provides will further introduce cask ale to the Central District and Capitol Hill’s beer scene.
“I think the end product, the space itself, and the beer we serve is spot on. It’s really just letting folks know this is a great place to have a beer,” Brenner said.
The space will re-open July 1st as the Capercaillie Pub at 1315 E Jefferson. The pub will offer an all day happy hour in celebration of its opening — just in time to celebrate independence of the American colonies.
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