DC Advice

Discussion in 'Mid-Atlantic' started by sprucetip, Feb 23, 2012.

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  1. sprucetip

    sprucetip Initiate (0) Nov 13, 2007 Alaska

    Thanks in advance for your advice for my upcoming visit to DC. I will have 5 nights and 4 full days. I've taken a look at the place reviews and all, but first hand advice is nice too. I'd like to know the best beer bars generally and for local/regional beers, and the best bottle shops for the same, as I plan to stuff checked bags with beer I don't have access to at home in Alaska.

    I've spent quite a bit of time in New England and am familiar with many of those breweries, but have had very little exposure to the mid-Atlantic ones. Thank you!
    davesway10 likes this.
  2. KarlLagerfeld

    KarlLagerfeld Initiate (0) Dec 9, 2011 District of Columbia

    You must visit Churchkey. It is the premier beer bar in the region and one of the best in the world. The pub food is excellent. If you're interested in a more formal beer-paired meal, make a reservation for their sit-down restaurant, Birch & Barley. Other good beer joints in the city include Pizzeria Paradiso and Meridian Pint. For bottles, Connecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor brings in the exotic brews that aren't distributed here. Their selection is limited, constantly rotating and disappears quickly. The area Whole Foods, particularly the P St location, have great beer programs. Their selection is a good blend of international and local distribution.
  3. mdfb79

    mdfb79 Poo-Bah (5,073) Jan 11, 2010 New York

    In DC I think the places to go, in order, are:

    Pizzeria Paradiso's (one by Dupont Circle, and one in Georgetown, both have different beer lists)
    Big Hunt (Dupont Circle)
    RFD...would make this a Chinatown trip in general, and would go to RFD/Iron Horse/District Chophouse/maybe Gordon Biersch

    I think Churchkey is far and away the best beer bar in the city, but it can definitely get expensive. For bottle shops, Conn Ave Liquors (north of Dupont Circle) will have some cool things that you can't find anywhere else in the city. I'd say half the "rarer" bottles there are decently priced, and half and priced pretty high. The P St. Whole Foods (around the corner from Churchkey) also has a great selection. Other then those two, maybe check out Rodman's.

    If you have a car, I would suggest making a trip out or Northern Virginia, and going to Mad Fox Brewpub. They have some great brews and amazing food, and are reasonably priced. In Alexandria, pretty close to Mad Fox, there is a good beer store named Ricks, and a year old brewery (for tastings/bottles/growlers) named Port City a mile away, though Port City may only be open on weekends.

    If you don't have a car, or either way are willing to metro, I'd suggest checking out Arlington as well. On the Orange line between the Court House and Clarendon metro stops there are two great beer bars named Fire Works and Galaxy Hut. A 10-15 min walk from GH (or 2 more stop from Clarendon at the Ballston stop), there is also a great restaurant named Rustico - Ballston (they also have an Alexandria location). Same owners as Churchkey, great food and beers.

    Long story short, if I were planning on making 4 or 5 trips, I'd probably do:

    1. Churchkey/P St. Whole Foods
    2. Dupont Pizzeria Paradiso/Big Hunt/Conn Ave Liquors
    3. Chinatown/RFD/Iron Horse/District Chophouse/Gordon Biersch
    4. Virginia trip. Mad Fox/Alexandria trip or Arlington trip, or both
    5. Churchkey again.

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  4. ArlVABeerGuy

    ArlVABeerGuy Disciple (371) Feb 23, 2012 Virginia
    Society Trader

    In addition to the above, for bottleshops you might also want to check out De Vinos and Virginia Market in Adams Morgan (about a 10-15 minute walk north from Conn. Ave Wine & Liquor in Dupont Circle), and D'Vines in Columbia Heights. If you can get into Arlington, Westover Market and Arrowine are excellent bottleshops as well.
  5. Jtc2811

    Jtc2811 Initiate (142) Dec 13, 2011 California

    +1 to Churchkey and RFD. So far RFD is the only place I have ever seen where you can get a single serving of Utopias. You can skip Pizzeria Paradiso if you check out these other places.

    It should also be mentioned that Meridian Pint has a great local and regional selection, and often a little cheaper than churchkey. On Tuesdays they have a 2$ deal on 1/3 of their drafts; also, it's the only place in the city to get Oliver Ales out of Baltimore.

    Black Squirrel in Adams Morgan also has a great selection of taps, though they rotate often. Nearby bottleshop DeVinos also has growlers of the local Chocolate City Brewing Co. Not my cup of tea, but it is super local and growler only.

    As for bottle shops, Conn Ave is pricey, and tends to focus much more on beers hard to find in DC. For local selections I recommend Rodman's in Friendship Heights and Chevy Chase Wine and Spirits or Magruders on Conn Ave. They all have a good selection of Heavy Seas, Port City, and Lost Rhino. They occasionally get DC Brau, as well. For more VA stuff check out Arrowine.
  6. Jtc2811

    Jtc2811 Initiate (142) Dec 13, 2011 California

    I hate Virginia Market in Adams Morgan. Every single thing they have there that isn't a fast mover has been there forever. I periodically check their bottles of Weyerbacher Slam Dunkel - they have been sitting for almost 2 yrs now!
  7. Crabbicuss

    Crabbicuss Initiate (0) Jan 3, 2011 Maryland

    Agreed with all the bars, BUT... You should set aside a Saturday for a Brewery tour of DC Brau. They open at 1 PM (get there a half hour early), the tour starts at 1:30. You'll be able to sample 4 beers for free, tour the brewery for free and you can buy what ever they are canning and get growler fills of any beer currently available. I highly recommend this as I finally made the pilgrimage several Sat's ago and it was well worth it.

    DC Brau link: http://www.dcbrau.com/

    Jeff has a fantastic IPA (Corruption) and great Pale (Citizen) both canned, along with his Belgian (tap only). He also has his DIPA (tap growler only) going on right now. All are fantastic! If you have the time I firmly believe this would be well worth a Saturday afternoon and it is easily accessible on the N.E. side of town.

    Happy Hunting and Cheers. Hope you enjoy your visit

  8. davesway10

    davesway10 Disciple (337) Jan 23, 2010 Iowa

    Man I'm glad this thread popped up as I'll be in DC Saturday through Friday.
  9. timtim

    timtim Initiate (0) May 28, 2007 District of Columbia

    This is not true... Big Hunt more than frequently stocks Oliver Ales offerings on draft and cask as well as Boundary Road, Scion, and Church Key to name a few. That being said, Meridian Pint is an awesome "locals only" type place.

    To the op, Oliver Ales is a little brewery run open-fermentation style by an English trained brewmaster out of Pratt Street Ale House in Baltimore.

    No one has mentioned Meridian Pint's sister restaurant, Smoke and Barrel, yet. One of the best draft sets in town for sure alongside fantastic bbq. After you check that one out, you can easily walk to The Reef (good beer/rooftop views), Black Squirrel and Jack Rose.
  10. air

    air Aspirant (205) Mar 28, 2007 Texas

    Brasserie Beck is worth a look too. Good selection of Belgian beer there and recently got to try De Garre Tripel, which was phenomenal. I know it's pricy, so best to go during happy hour (4-7 every day, even weekends) because some of their drafts will be half off.
  11. C20Percent

    C20Percent Initiate (0) Aug 24, 2011 Virginia

    I'll second DC Brau Brewery.
    Mad Fox isn't terrible, but I don't think it's amazing either.
    Port City is fun, but it gets packed -- busiest tour since Sam Adams.
    I think Lost Rhino is better, but it's probably just a bit too far outside of DC.
    And, I'd skip Gordon Biersch to be honest. Maybe check out Capitol City Brewing Company instead.
  12. Smakawhat

    Smakawhat Poo-Bah (7,040) Mar 18, 2008 Maryland

    The Belgian Pale "The Citizen" is available in cans also.

    Unless of course Jeff and Brandon are having trouble with demand, which as has been the case with their successful business all too common.
  13. Smakawhat

    Smakawhat Poo-Bah (7,040) Mar 18, 2008 Maryland

    It's WAY the heck out of DC if you are talking about the physical brewery it's in Ashburn.

    skip them both, there are plenty of many other better places to go to in DC for food and beer.
  14. Smakawhat

    Smakawhat Poo-Bah (7,040) Mar 18, 2008 Maryland

    Churchkey has had them in the past as well. You can get a 1 and a 1/2 oz pour for a little over $20 clams. Also last I saw I think Al there at Connecticut had a bottle for sale, to the original poster, if you are interested then you can go over there and ask.
  15. C20Percent

    C20Percent Initiate (0) Aug 24, 2011 Virginia

    Pretty far if you're visiting. Not so far if you live here. I do think it's better than Port City, though.
  16. sprucetip

    sprucetip Initiate (0) Nov 13, 2007 Alaska

    Awesome, thanks everyone!
  17. air

    air Aspirant (205) Mar 28, 2007 Texas

    For the DC Brau tour, do you have to pre purchase tickets or anything, or just be sure to get there 30 minutes early? I'm planning on going tomorrow!
  18. jaheussner

    jaheussner Initiate (0) Dec 25, 2008 District of Columbia

    Just show up! No tickets required
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  19. air

    air Aspirant (205) Mar 28, 2007 Texas

    Nice. If any other BA's wanna meet up, shoot me a BM. I'm from Dallas but in the area for business and always enjoy meeting up with locals.
  20. jjboesen

    jjboesen Meyvn (1,225) Feb 1, 2002 Maryland

    I will also chime in on Churchkey; they offer several dozen taps - with some choice casks. While they are pricey, you can get 4-ounce pours to keep down the cost. Of course, there are the cons: they do get excessively crowded on a daily basis, so if you can get there when they open their doors (4pm weekdays; noon, weekends) and grab a seat, go for it. My second choice is the aforementioned Rustico, of which there are two locations in Alexandria and Ballston, the latter is more convenient if you are going by Metro. RFD? Great draft selections with decent Happy Hour if you can ignore the generic sports bar atmosphere. Cheers!
  21. Crabbicuss

    Crabbicuss Initiate (0) Jan 3, 2011 Maryland

    You don't have to pre purchase at all and admission, the tour and usually four free sample tickets are yours for going. Enjoy that visit and yes I would recommend getting there a early. I also recommend getting two samples at a time as the line gets long fast for the tap sampling.
    air likes this.
  22. scraff

    scraff Initiate (0) Apr 18, 2003 Maryland

    DC seems like you have covered. I agree with everything mentioned. I will toss in Franklin's as a good spot (Hyattsville, MD -- 10-15 minutes north of the DC line) Definitely worth checking out. If you want to keep going by the BW Parkway, 45 minutes gets you to Baltimore....where you can really go beer crazy!
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