Birch & Barley / ChurchKey
Ratings: 169 | Reviews: 106 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by HardTarget:
4.88/5 rDev +8.2%
Above the restaurant, up a steep stair, a shotgun barroom with windows at the front and bathrooms in the back. Long bar fills 2/3rds of the room with a great mix of booth, table, bar chairs. Mostly wood, seats aren't the most comfortable, the large crowd that gathered were middle upper class young and lively.
Quality Everything sampled was clean and excellent.
Service: Fantastic. Both servers we encountered were very knowledgeable and obviously loved beer. Friendly, took great care of us even after the place got very busy, we never sat without a beer or water. I really was impressed that the menu (which is impressive for several reasons) listed serving temperatures.
Selection. The night I visited they were just putting out at least 30 English kegs and casks adding to the 30 or more other taps present for an event. The bottle list is a phone directory. I recognized almost nothing. What I did, I recognized as high quality choices. This is graduate school for beer drinkers.
Food: What I had was good (the fried mac and cheese) but not great. The servings, like the beer sizes were small, which is fine as the price reflected that. Very good for bar food, but I wouldn't recommend going in hungry.
02-22-2014 15:42:50 | More by HardTarget
More User Reviews:
4/5 rDev -11.3%
A superb beer selection is what you'll find here, as well as some good food with an emphasis on locally-sourced ingredients. That's a good formula for me.
I had the bratburger, which came with fries, and was comped some green beans that were probably the highlight of the meal. Well, except for when the bartender (I was sitting at the bar) gave me a small pour of Aecht Schlenkerla Fastenbier to complement the brat. It was a match made in heaven. The juicy, smoked flavors of the brat paired with the campfire, smoked ham flavor of the beer was a brilliant combo. Kudos to the bar guy for that.
And kudos to ChurchKey for the enviable tap selection. There was recently a sort of tap takeover by an Italian brewing outfit, Brewfist, so many of their brews were on tap. I wasn't crazy about any of them but they do some wild brews that were worth at least trying. Also available were some relatively local breweries like Union and 3 Star Brewing which are doing some good things and had beers I enjoyed. The real beer geek in me thanks Churchkey for having Cuvee Delphine by De Struise brewers on tap. That's a beer I'd be hard-pressed to find, or even be on the lookout for, anywhere else.
Overall, this place offers a fine-dining experience (complete with a very dim-lit ambiance) and craft beer galore. You can kill two birds with one stone. Woohoo.
08-17-2014 20:08:18 | More by ONovoMexicano
Birch & Barley / ChurchKey in Washington, DC
99 out of 100 based on 169 ratings.