On the Trail of D.C.'s First Brewmaster - Atlas Obscura
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Alexandria, Virginia

On the Trail of D.C.'s First Brewmaster

Sip historic beers and walk in the footsteps of the District's first brewer, Andrew Wales.

Join Atlas Obscura and Capital Beer author Garrett Peck as we raise a glass to Andrew Wales, D.C.'s first brewmaster. 

In November 2015, a stunning discovery was made during the excavation for the Hotel Indigo in Old Town Alexandria: the fully intact remnants of the 1755 Town Warehouse. This building served as Alexandria’s first commercial brewery (and D.C.'s, since Alexandria was part of the District until 1846) when Scottish immigrant Andrew Wales leased the space in 1770.

Our walking tour will feature Wales' three Old Town brewing sites, his long-running commercial relationship with George Washington, and rare brewing artifacts in the Alexandria Archaeology Museum.

At the end of our excursion, Catherine Portner of the newly opened Portner Brewhouse will pour three freshly brewed historic beers for us to sample. Participants must be 21 or older.


  • All adventurers must be 21+ and have a valid form of ID with them.
  • This location is accessible via several different bus lines. Please check WMATA's website for more information about bus routes and stops.
  • Although street parking is always available, parking enforcement in Old Town is fairly strict. Your best bet is the underground parking lot under City Hall (Fairfax at Cameron). It costs just $5 for the entire day. Neither Atlas Obscura nor Garrett Peck validate parking. 
  • This is a 2-hour, outdoor walking tour. Please wear good walking shoes (no flip-flops or sandals) and prepare to walk on cobblestones.
  • Please check the weather and dress appropriately.


Email ashley.bowen@atlasobscura.com.

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