Balance Beverage Project

Live with intent. Live with balance.

Balance is about living a life that incorporates all the things that bring you joy. We believe that you shouldn’t have to give up one love for another. Balance isn’t about perfection; it’s not black and white. It’s taking life as it comes and finding happiness alongside all of life’s inherent challenges and imperfections. Be you. Live a life you love. Chase your hobbies. Live with intent. Live with balance.

Born of the desire for balance, I’m thrilled to introduce you to our Balance Beverage Project. Balance Beverage Project is a side project that we started at True Respite late in 2019 with the goal of bringing our customers an alcoholic product that fits within a truly balanced lifestyle. We recognize that everyone’s balance looks different. We want to design a product that complements (rather than hinders) your ability to do the all the things you love.

The inspiration for Balance Beverage Project came last summer when I was training for the Marine Corps Marathon. I love running. I ran my first race when I was 9 years old and have been hooked ever since. However, while logging high weekly mileage during the hot summer months I found it extremely challenging to stay hydrated. I found that when I drank a beer in the evening I would feel the effects of dehydration the next morning during my run. As the summer went on I virtually stopped drinking beer because the frequent dehydration had become too prohibitive for my training.

After a while, foregoing beer started to make me feel sad. Beer is something I love so much that I left my engineering career to open a brewery. I feel strongly about the bonding and communal aspects of sharing a beer with friends, family, and strangers. I love the artistry found in craft beer. I didn’t want to have to give this all up because of my additional love of running. I figured there had to be a way to balance these two loves of mine so that I could enjoy a fulfilling lifestyle that included both.

Thus, Balance Beverage Project was born. I started researching how alcohol affects hydration and recovery from athletic performance. I learned that the diuretic effect from alcohol does not kick in until on has consumed a certain volume of alcohol, roughly the equivalent found in a 16oz can of a 4% ABV beer. I also considered a study that showed adding salt to low ABV beers has a net hydrating effect on the body (while determining that if you add salt to a high ABV beer it’s still going to dehydrate you). Another aspect of recovery I focused on was glycogen replenishment. My research indicated that alcohol does not inhibit glycogen replenishment if one continues to eat the same as one would without drinking the alcoholic beverage (so don’t replace your food with beer!).

We decided that beers under our Balance Beverage Project would be 4% ABV or below, would have an added electrolyte like salt, and would have another commonly accepted nutritious ingredient to add antioxidants or vitamins to the beverage.

You may have seen our Balance: Salted Acai Blonde Ale that we released earlier this year on draft. This was the first iteration in our Balance Beverage lineup. We decided to use acai because it is a low sugar and high antioxidant fruit. It turned out to be quite challenging to source aseptic acai without added sugar. I eventually found a local provider and drove out to Hagerstown to pick it up myself. We brewed a low ABV, salted, acai blonde ale to fit the template for our Balance Beverages.

We’ve got some exciting ideas for the next beers under our Balance Beverage Project! The current crisis has changed our release dates but the ideas are still brewing in our minds and you’ll see more Balance Beverages coming as we get closer to the summer months. It’s also important to note that Balance may extend beyond beer in the future but for now we’re sticking to beer.

Construction Progress – 2017-12-27

On December 4th, 2017, it finally happened. We started construction on the True Respite brewery and tap room. Progress felt painfully slow for the first week as our concrete floors were saw-cut to open up access to our sewer and drain piping:

At one point, we had our very own Stonehenge made of concrete slab:

Once saw-cutting was complete, things started to really pick up speed. We got an excavator in to dig out the trenches and open up the pits for our plumbers to lay pipe while the drywall team started framing out our walls:

It wasn’t long before we received approval from the WSSC plumbing inspectors so we filled in all the trenches with dirt and rocks and continued to build our interior walls. This wall in particular may have a very interesting future as a 14′ x 28′ art piece:

The concrete crew then came out and began prepping the tank farm sump curbs and the concrete sublayer for rebar supports:

Meanwhile, the drywall guys have gotten to work closing up one side of each wall while the electricians pull wires for our brewery lighting and power outlets:

Every day it looks more and more like the brewery we’ve dreamed up over the years. It’s a warm, happy feeling to watch this all come together exactly like we’d imagined it!

We look forward to offering more exciting updates in the near future. Stay tuned!


The True Respite Team

Brendan, Bailey, and Kenny


He’s a wonderful teammate, a highly accomplished brewer, and a humble family man.

The wait is over. Today, we can finally introduce you to the man whose experience and technical brewing excellence will be a differentiator for True Respite. We’re very proud to announce that Kenny Allen will be joining the team full time as Head Brewer and Director of Brewing Operations.

Meet Kenny Allen

Kenny’s 17+ years of professional brewing experience started in Ashburn, VA, at Old Dominion Brewing Company. His first day was a last-minute bottling gig he landed after walking in and asking for a job on a whim. It didn’t take long for him to realize that he’d stumbled into a special place full of uniquely talented people. He put his nose to the grind and did whatever odd jobs needed to be done while continuing to put in regular work on the bottling line.

Through the high caliber tutelage of the cast and crew around him, he learned the ropes of running a brewing line. He soaked in as much as his peers and mentors could offer, eventually earning his way to becoming a shift brewer. He continued to learn feverishly and climbed the ranks through lab manager and packaging manager until finally earning Old Dominio’s esteemed title of Brewmaster.

OD brewed no less than six GABF medal-winning beers under his direction as Brewmaster. Some were original OD recipes (like the GABF Gold Medal the OD team earned for their IPA) and others were beers contract brewed for other brands. Regardless, the brewery thrived, putting out quality beer after quality beer.

After 13 proud years at Old Dominion, Kenny ventured out to pursue professional knowledge in a larger and more structured manufacturing environment. He spent six years as a production coach and quality manager for Nestle, learning and perfecting lean manufacturing practices. By the time he left, he was armed with all the tools necessary to dominate quality control and to maximize production while minimizing waste.

Six years was long enough to reinvigorate Kenny’s thirst for brewing great beer and a golden opportunity soon presented itself: Kenny was offered the role of Brewmaster at Ashburn, VA, startup Old Ox Brewing Company. Kenny joined up early enough to help oversee construction. He was there for the critical early life of the brewery and helped make it the esteemed beer lover’s destination it is today.

Mid-2016 saw another opportunity to help grow a fledgling brewery arise. Mustang Sally Brewing Company had just opened in Chantilly, VA, and Kenny got word that they were looking for a seasoned pro to take the reins on their young brewing operation. Kenny, now experienced at growing a successful craft brewery from the ground up, jumped at the opportunity to leave his mark on another great Virginia craft brand. A short year and change later, MS is growing at breakneck pace and earning a reputation for consistently brewing high quality, approachable beers. (If you haven’t tried their Amber Lager yet, we suggest you do!)

Still, one thing has been missing at each of Kenny’s stops: true ownership. It’s one thing to love brewing and to love the excitement of growing a young business into a flourishing industry leader. It’s something entirely different for that business to be yours.

Early on, we [Brendan & Bailey] decided that we were never going to hire True Respite’s first brewer. It just didn’t feel right. We wanted a partner in this process. We wanted our brewer to have the same level of energy and devotion that we were bringing ourselves. In regards to managing the business, we wanted an equal who would challenge us to find newer and better ways of accomplishing our goals–especially if those challenges came from a voice of experience.

We’re so lucky to have Kenny joining our team as he has all that we’ve been looking for and more. He’s a wonderful teammate, a highly accomplished brewer, and a humble family man. He’ll be the perfect torch bearer for this movement we’ve been building. We can’t say enough how proud we are to have gotten where we are and to have built the team we have. This is truly the start of something great!


Brendan, Bailey, and Kenny

[P.S. We start construction in two weeks!]

Missing The Mundane

Let us first start by saying we are very much looking forward to one day writing about emotionally mundane things like cutting concrete and passivating steel. We continue to feel a bit like that bitcoin guy:

Bitcoin - Up
Good day.

Bitcoin - Down
Bad day.

Bitcoin - Roller Coaster
Pretty much every day.

It’s a good thing motion sickness only applies to the physical world; we’d never hold down a lunch. Anyway… We’ve crossed another major milestone: We’ve finalized our brewery and tap room design and secured the funding we need to build it! (Stop us if you’ve heard this before.) Still, we have to admit that we’re feeling pretty great about managing to squeeze a little blood from this stone just one more time. (We’ll save you the horror of posting a .gif for this one!) Let’s take a moment to reflect on what has happened since we last wrote:

  1. We designed two breweries: Best Case and Worst Case. This let us determine how much blood must be squeezed from the stone.
  2. We requested a loan increase through the SBA.
  3. Our request was approved by the SBA.
  4. Our request was approved by the banks using the SBA guarantee.
  5. We secured additional private funding from a few key people.
  6. We finalized the brewery & tap room design. (It’s a very happy medium between Best & Worst Case.)
  7. We got a new tap room rendering to finally share with the world (and we’ve featured it on this blog post!)
  8. We received our pilot brewhouse and our pilot cellar tanks.
  9. One of those cellar tanks was badly dented upon arrival.
  10. We received a few of our production cellar tanks.
  11. We received our glycol chiller, air compressor, and keg washer.
  12. We got our online merch store up and running.
  13. We passed the Montgomery County Liquor Board hearing.
  14. We received our Montgomery County Building Permit and had our Forest Conservation Plan approved.
  15. We’ve applied for our plumbing permits through WSSC.
  16. We’ve put in progress cool things like tap handle, flight carrier, and glassware design.
  17. We brewed a great NE IPA and an absolutely delicious Grisette.

Here are a few photos to offer a little imagery for some of the bullet points above:

Bailey defending our request for a liquor license

Denton the dented fermenter

The pilot cellar tanks

The first batch of production cellar tanks still strapped in the shipping container

Hauling the first production fermenter into the space

Our first three production cellar tanks

Our semi-automatic keg washer

Things are still in progress that may end up delaying this process yet again–but we’ve learned to roll with those punches. This thing is happening and we’re very, very proud of what we’re building. Hopefully the next time you hear from us we’ll be droning on about trench safety, p-traps, and low point drains. Until then…


The True Respite Team

The Origin Story

True Respite Brewing Company is the culmination of an ever-growing love for the craft beer moment

Our story started when Co-Founder Brendan O’Leary set his phone’s alarm for 5 minutes before midnight: January 18th, 2008. That 5-minute window gave him just enough time to wake up, wander through his empty house down to the fridge, grab a cold brew of choice, and head back to his dimly lit room. Then, right at the crack of twelve, he took a hearty gulp and welcomed himself to the ripe age of 21.

Although the rest of the house was dark and still, that moment still burns brightly in his mind. His discovery of craft beer while off starting an internship 516 miles from his friends back at Georgia Tech quickly turned into a home brewing hobby meant to pass the time. That hobby turned into a passion; that passion turned into a dream. Today, that dream is becoming True Respite.

Although they’d been dating for nearly two years, it wasn’t until 2011 that Brendan finally convinced Co-Founder Bailey O’Leary to join a brew day. She immediately fell in love with the marriage of art and science found in home brewing. Even more so, she became inspired by the culture surrounding the craft beer movement. Her appetite for embracing new beers in new environments became insatiable as she soaked in every detail of each local brewery experience. For her, the wholeness of the social and cultural moment was every bit as crucial as the tasting of the beer itself.

Energized by the growing scene, Brendan and Bailey spent four of the next five years living in Denver, CO, soaking in the vibe of every local brewery and tap room they could find. Together, after drinking great beer and conversing with former strangers, they often discussed what made each visit special. These shared thoughts and experiences eventually snowballed into a vision for the “perfect” craft beer experience.

Now, True Respite Brewing Company is the culmination of an ever-growing love for the craft beer moment. Creating these moments of true respite, where great beer and a relaxed environment turn strangers into friends, is our primary mission.

In the end, we just want to see you all happy.


We Did It.

For three years we battled. We battled naysayers. We battled inertia. We battled the slow onset of doubt that followed rejections from thirty different lending institutions. (This is the actual number. It is not an exaggeration.) But today… today, we don’t need to worry about a single one of those battles anymore. Those ones are behind us. For a moment, we’ve ascended to our own nirvana. You might even say we are experiencing something extremely valuable: True Respite. Why?

All of our loans have been approved.

We weren’t expecting the phone call on Wednesday when, while on a cycling trip through a very sticky 90+ degree heat, Brendan’s phone started ringing from an awkward back zipper pocket in his cycling shirt. After a precarious bit of fumbling and while coasting to a slow halt, he answered to a cheerful voice on the other end offering congratulations. Bailey, unaware, pulled up beside him and waited patiently to restart the journey.

The conversation didn’t last long. When it was finished, Brendan turned to Bailey and simply said, “That was Craig. We did it.” That’s when the rush hit.


Funding Moment
Us just moments after learning that our final loan had been approved

We leaped and cheered and hugged and high-fived and shouted without reserve. A couple of friendly guys who were stopped in their car at the intersection beside us laughed and danced a bit along with us, not knowing what incredible news we were celebrating.


Funding Moment Scene
The unfittingly plain scene surrounding our moment of great joy

The weight that was finally lifted off of our shoulders was immeasurable. That’s when we knew it was really happening. Like–really happening. We celebrated with a family trip to the local fro-yo spot and let our minds race to fill insanely long lists of things that must be done. It was all so incredible and terrifying and exhilarating at the same time.

This morning we had a conference call with all of our lenders to choreograph the oncoming blitz of loan closings. Timing has proven to be a critical factor and that’s especially going to be so when considering the delivery of our equipment. Therefore, it was decided that we had to get it on order as quickly as possible to cut the lead time as short as possible and to fully inject all of our required equity to satisfy the lender requirements.

As of today, our brewing equipment is officially on order.

mug of beer
A similar size and comparable model to the brewhouse that will grace the True Respite brewery

We’re absolutely giddy with excitement! The next major step is to sign our lease. We expect that to occur mid-to-late next week. Monday we have our final walk-through scheduled with the landlord and we will likely need to make a few minor tweaks to the formal lease document before finally being able to sign it. At that point, we’ll make a major announcement and let everyone know the address where we’ll be opening.

From here, it’s a sprint. We’ve stacked our dominoes well and are now having a blast helping them tip one after the other. Just today, we received our Design & Development documents from our architect. We cannot wait to share more about the incredible brewery and tap room we’re bringing you. We’ve designed something completely unique that will immerse every one of you deeply into what True Respite really is.

Hang on to your hats, folks. This wild ride is just getting started.



Brendan & Bailey

Rubbing Elbows with the Biggest Names in Craft Beer

Savor 2016 was a fantastic welcoming party to DC! The biggest names in craft beer were all around and I had plenty of opportunity to bump elbows with all sorts of people who were willing to share a kind word and some great advice. Dogfish Head Founder Sam Calagione (pictured with me below) took some time to discuss the future of craft beer:


The best conversation of the night happened early on with Richard Norgrove of Bear Republic as we discussed what could have been a large feud over branding. (This story was covered in “What’s In A Name?“) It was cathartic to stand with him discussing old issues and laughing them off over a freshly poured Bear Republic beer. New friends are great, but new friends made from old disputes are even better. This right here is why we decided to leave a life of being cattle herded from cubicle to cubicle and instead join the craft beer revolution:


The festival itself was spectacular! The Brewer’s Association did a fantastic job making the event feel cultured and high end while still leaving plenty of room for aimless wandering and tons of beer and food tasting. I especially loved the way the food and beer were presented together as a single paired entity:


I tried a lot of great beer and dishes, but my absolute favorites were the sweet chili fried chicken and the Allagash/Deschutes Belgian Pale collaboration called Pettygrove’s Chance. This beer in particular was featured at the Salon covering the sourcing of local ingredients for beer production where we were also treated to a very special tasting of a few of the two breweries’ rarest specialty brews:


All in all, it was a fantastic night of great food, great beer, and great company. I had certainly found my True Respite for the evening, and I encourage all of you craft beer fanatics out there to make sure to include Savor on your list of must-see beer events.



When the Train Comes Off the Tracks

Sometimes life can feel like being the conductor on a train. These are very precious times. It takes a lot to derail a train. You’re driving full speed in the direction of your destination. Little bumps and pushes come and go, seemingly unfelt. Debris will fly in your way but you plow through. The train is practically invincible. It takes a force of nature to change its course.

That’s how Brendan and I felt in April of 2014 when we first began planning True Respite. We had a plan, we had a vision, we had a destination and we were plowing towards it, full speed ahead. Then in July of 2014 a true force of nature knocked that train over and we weren’t quite sure how we were going to get it back on track. I was pregnant.

We discovered the news four days after Brendan sat down with my family and explained that it was the worst possible time to have kids because we were opening a business. He calmly explained what we had already decided together: they would have to wait at least five years for grandkids. We wanted to give our all to both the brewery and our kids and therefore didn’t want to have any kids before the business took off and built momentum of its own. Little did we know that as he explained this, I was already 6 weeks pregnant.

Needless to say, the news came as quite a surprise. How would we make this work? How could we have a child while we’re trying to start a business? Can we manage the financial risk? What about the wellbeing of the child? What about our own wellbeing?

After much thought and toil, we decided not to let having a child stop us from pursuing our dreams of opening a brewery. Instead, we could keep pushing forward as if nothing had changed. So we did. (And as a personal side note, I will tell you that giving up beer for nearly 9 months is extra hard when almost all of your free time is spent planning to open a brewery!)

Then the most incredible thing in the world happened: Aidan William O’Leary was born on March 5, 2015, at 10:20 am, weighing 7 lbs, 2 oz and carrying the key to our hearts. There is nothing more exhilarating, more terrifying, or more beautiful than welcoming a child into this world. As of that moment, our entire view on life changed. Opening True Respite went from being our dream and passion to being a way to teach our son how to set goals, follow dreams, and nurture passions. Everything in life became more than it was before.

It all became far more difficult, too. Trying to care for a newborn was the hardest thing we have ever done. Brendan went back to work full time after one short week and I went back full time myself when Aidan was 12 weeks old. So there we were, both working full time as engineers, caring for a baby, and staying up late at night to write the business plan after Aidan went to sleep. It was tough. Sleep was a luxury we couldn’t afford if we were going to accomplish everything. We stayed up late to work on the brewery, woke up early to go work, and woke up multiple times a night for at least 6.5 months when Aidan needed us. It took a toll on us physically and emotionally, but we somehow found a way to power through. We wrote a full 140-page business plan, built and perfected our financial models, selected contractors, selected brew house equipment, met and secured our Brewmaster, and more. It’s amazing what you are capable of when you really, really want something.

This experience taught us so many things:

1) Having a kid and helping them grow is the most incredible thing we’ve experienced. Kids change everything but they are more than worth every hardship.

2) Motivation and drive is a powerful, powerful tool.

3) The train of your life really can’t be derailed unless you let it. Sure, powerful blows can become diversions on the track. They may take you to a new destination; sometimes close and sometimes very far from your original destination. But you always have the power to keep the train on the track.

It’s up to you, the conductor, to choose how you approach these diversions and how far you’re willing to travel “off course.” Sometimes the scenic route can be incredible. Other times, you just have to make sure you have your cattle guard installed.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Bright Light of Day

When we were younger, we used to tell a lot of scary stories. For the best effect, we’d tell them in the dark and be sure to include tales of vicious monsters and mysterious creatures of the night. There was always this sense of terror that something like ManWolf might one day snatch us from our tents and sneak us to his lair under the bushes. Fortunately, alongside that fear was the comforting notion that at least our parents might be able to protect or save us. They were practically super heros, after all!

Those stories don’t scare us so much anymore. Our reason tells us that ManWolf is no more real than vampires, goblins, or zombies. But as entrepreneurs, the terror never really left; it has only changed form. Here we stand just 16 days away from closing on the sale of our home in Denver, CO, to move out to Washington D.C. We are taking this huge leap of faith for one simple goal: The pursuit of our dreams. We’re leaving stable, lucrative jobs in a city we love to chase the dream of owning and operating a brewery without the promise of income or any other small measure of success.

This is true fear: We’re putting just about everything we own on the line with the belief that this venture will turn enough of a profit to enable us to provide a roof and food for our family. The idea of this is romanticized in Hollywood and rooted deeply in this concept that is the American Dream. Let us tell you from experience: It’s far more romantic in story books and movies than it is in real life.

As of May 26th, 2016, we will no longer be covered by employer sponsored health insurance. On May 31st, we will not have a permanent address. On June 3rd, our final paycheck will be deposited into our bank account. We have no jobs waiting for us. We have no promise of income or healthcare. All we’ll have is the generous offer to live rent free in Brendan’s parents’ house for a year while we sort this all out. There is something truly humbling about accepting that sort of gracious offer from one’s parents long after having moved out and built an independent life–especially when married with a child.

While it all sounds crazy, we believe in one simple thing: We will succeed. That doesn’t stop us from being absolutely terrified as we take these concrete steps to move forward without any real certainty on what the future holds. But through our work ethic, through our dedication, and through our willingness to sacrifice the comfort that so many hold dearly, we truly believe we will be successful. We will create a brewery that connects with our customers. We will create a brand that proudly displays our culture and our values. We will create a product that makes our customers proud to be regular patrons. We will create a business that is profitable, sustainable, and that fulfills our personal dreams. We will succeed.

You, as our customers, deserve it. We, as entrepreneurs, will earn it. Together, we believe that these sacrifices and this fear will not have been in vain. Together, we’ll create something much greater than ourselves. And for that, all of this fear and sacrifice is worth it.

UPDATE (5/24/2016): We recently got some great news that helps quell a small amount of the terror in this scary story–Bailey was offered a work-from-home position with her current company, allowing us to move to DC and keep our health insurance and her income while we continue to pursue our last investors! This takes a massive weight off of our shoulders and makes this adventure slightly less scary. It’s amazing how quickly change happens in this world of the unknown!

What’s In A Name?

We are True Respite Brewing Company. We weren’t always, though…

Way back when, we started with a whole lot of enthusiasm and a heck of a name: Rebellion Brewing Company. It was a strong word with historic ties to the region. It was symbolic in the fight against boring pale macrobrew. In a word, it was perfect. The vision for the brand was clear—we even had a pretty neat logo:


Sure, some brewery out in California had brewed a beer under that name a few times. But after all, it was just the name of one beer; not an entire brewery. We felt confident we’d be able to work out some sort of agreement with the owner and we’d both move on our happy ways. Boy, were we naïve. You may also have noticed that this crest proudly announces that we were established in Loudoun County, VA, in 2015. That, in and of itself, is a story for another day. In the end, the biggest hypothetical headline resulting from our first foray into branding was: “Rookie Entrepreneurs Burst Their Way into Multimillion Dollar Branding Hell.”

Before we get further into this story, we’d like to clarify that the following sequence of events was only what we understood from a couple verbal encounters with a primary stakeholder in this story. We have not verified the extent to which these storylines outside of our own team did or did not happen. We just know that we became very scared of stepping on some rather large toes…

Let’s start from the beginning. Long ago, Bear Republic Brewing Company began experimenting with various single hop IPAs under the name “Rebellion.” Under this name, they brewed IPAs where they kept the same malts but varied the hop varietal to showcase the different flavor and scent profiles of their various hops. What they didn’t do, originally, was trademark the name. It wasn’t until early 2014 that Bear Republic finally submitted the formal paperwork to take full ownership of their beer’s trade name.

Along came Boston Beer Co. (a.k.a. Sam Adams.) In a move of strength, Boston Beer flooded the market with a new beer called “Rebel IPA” without discussing with Bear Republic or filing for a trademark. Instead, using their new market share as evidence that the “Rebel” brand and trademark should rightfully belong to them, they brought suit against Bear Republic for trying to trademark the word “Rebellion.” Curious, is it not? “Rebellion” and “Rebel” are not even the same word. How far can a brand reach? Does trademarking the singular of a collective thereby trademark the collective as well? If I trademark “Zombie,” do I also have the right to “Horde?” And what about Bear Republic? They’d been using the name for years before Boston Beer flooded the market with their own version.

Meanwhile, Bear Republic had apparently been working some form of a branding or distribution deal with LucasArts via Disney. Obviously, as new owners of the Star Wars franchise, Disney had special interest in the word “Rebellion” specifically, and as such, may have been willing to back the legal efforts of Bear Republic to protect the trademark. What resulted was a multi-million dollar legal Mexican Standoff as we at True Respite more or less walked into the saloon with a loaded six-shooter and one really bad attitude.

The threats flowed like sweat and tequila and we ditched our request to share the word so fast our spurs left scorch marks under the swinging saloon doors. We imagine the faint smell of burnt hickory lingered for weeks. That wasn’t our fight.

It left us in a bit of a hole, though, as we realized we had not only lost our brand but that the availability of any name for a brewery or beer was now a possible source of litigation even if the exact word hadn’t been used before. As a fledgling startup with naught but an idea, we wouldn’t have one hundredth of the cash needed to protect ourselves in court. We had to find something that had never been done before in any form or fashion.

Foolishly, we first considered The Holiday Brewing Company. Sure, Christmas Ale was a seasonal style, but nobody can claim a trademark to a style, right? Well—except that time Lagunitas tried suing Sierra Nevada over their IPA lettering. Or the fact that Full Sail claims ownership of “Session” despite the popularity of “sessionable” styles in the craft scene. So we already recognized we were on potentially rocky ground. Then, almost prophetically, one gentleman in Pennsylvania stumbled across our information and informed us that he and his partner(s) had already intended to open Holiday Brewing Company in… where else… Hollidaysburg, PA. Although they were more friendly, in the end, we passed on that brand. It was clearly far too risky.

At this point, we were bitter. No—we were angry. How could our brewing brothers and sisters be so selfish and so shamelessly aggressive? Where was the camaraderie and the “us vs the big guys” mentality that we witnessed as customers to the craft beer industry? We took that disdain straight to brand town: Odium Brewing Company. To us, it sounded regal and epic. It had an old world feel to it, almost like a Roman colosseum. It felt big, bold, and dangerous. After all, it meant “extreme dislike or hatred as a result of someone’s actions.” It was retaliatory. It was deliciously disobedient. “No bullies allowed,” would be our defiant motto.

Our friends and family, however, overwhelmingly hated it and repeatedly told us, “that doesn’t fit you at all,” and, “it sounds like odious. Gross.” In the end, we decided they were right. We had let the negative nancies out there drive us into trying to be something we’re not. We love beer because of the culture of beer drinkers. We love beer because it lets us escape into a relaxing place where flavor profiles and ingredient origins are all that matter. Rather than letting the big bad guys win, we had to persevere and be true to ourselves. We knew we could breed the originality we needed to create a strong brand that truly represented us and our values. And finally, we did that:


True Respite is wholly ours. The word “Respite” doesn’t even exist elsewhere in the brewosphere. Somehow, we managed to put our heads together and collectively scour the English language for an available word that really captured our spirits and our vision for a communal tap room where the most pressing issue is what style to order next. The keyhole at the center of our brand represents the gateway to that relaxing environment. Now, we are the proud owners of the “True Respite” brand, and we are very excited to continue on our way as we bring you, Montgomery County, MD, another great chapter in the storied history of DC beer.