With the local craft beer trend on the rise in Arlington, another homegrown brewery is working to open its doors before the new year.
New District Brewing Co. — formerly known as Metropole Brewing Company — is on track to open its 2709 S. Oakland Street location by the end of the month. The brewery is off S. Four Mile Run Drive near the Shirlington dog park and the W&OD Trail.
The 5,200 square foot space was formerly home to a moving and storage company. The garage-style building is now in the final stages of being repurposed into a fully-operational brewery with short- and long-term cold storage, a bar with 12 taps, a tasting room with tables and seating, as well as a small retail space.
Though he couldn’t give an exact opening date, co-owner Steve Katrivanos said the small company is now working on the final touches.
“We have a clear vision for what we want to do,” he said. “We’re still developing our brand as we finish up packaging and labeling. Still, we’re pretty confident in a late-December open date.”
Katrivano’s brother, Mike, first had the idea to start a brewery, and rumors of its opening started in March. The company is owned and operated by the two brothers, their father and one of Mike’s college friends. Katrivanos said they’ve also been fortunate to have the help of other family and friends to have their vision realized.
“We’re very much a DIY organization that’s been building up for quite some time,” he said. “My brother’s an electrical engineer by school, and he can build about just about anything. I’m sure he’s saved us hundreds of thousands of dollars and he’s done such a good job.”
In the case of New District Brewing Co., “anything” includes the brewhouse system, an original Mike designed and built himself.
The question then becomes what, exactly, New District plans to brew.
“Our focus has been thought-provoking beer because we want people to not only drink it and enjoy it, but also really think about it,” Katrivanos said. “We’re trying to come up with some unique beers that aren’t over the top flavors but instead add to our beers and don’t distract from them.”
For example, the company’s flagship beer, called the 1821, incorporates the flavor of a Mediterranean herb grown in the mountains of Greece. The brew also pays tribute to the Katrivanos family roots.
“It really adds to, not overpowers the taste of our beer,” Katrivanos added.
The brewery plans to have six ready-to-serve beers on tap when they open and will add one new beer a week until all 12 taps are full.
After that, Katrivanos said the plan is to have four or five beers available year-round. The regulars will be traditional and staple brews, such as a pillsner, a strong ale, a brown ale and the 1821.
The remaining taps will be rotated to accommodate new flavors and brews, depending on what’s popular. Katrivanos said they’re currently preparing a pumpkin ale, a ginger saison and a dark version of the 1821. They also spend Saturdays brewing and experimenting with unique flavors like saffron and jalapeño, to name a few.
These flavors, though, will only be special additions to the menu.
“We want to stick to traditional beers that are drinkable, done well and anyone can come in and enjoy,” he said. “We do like having those interesting flavors so a seasoned beer drinker can come in and will definitely notice something different.”
New District Brewing Co. is the second brewery to open in Arlington this year, following Sehkraft Brewing which opened in Clarendon last week.
However, Katrivanos said at least locally, craft brewing doesn’t seem to be about the competition.
“It’s the least cutthroat business you’ll ever find,” he explained. “Everyone is so friendly and encouraging. It’s a cool trend, people are noticing, and the community’s support has been incredible. We’re proud to be a part of it all.”