Washington DC Trip...where to go?

Discussion in 'US - South' started by AlcahueteJ, Jul 20, 2022.

  1. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,996) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
    Society

    Hi everyone,

    I searched for "Washington" and "DC" in this forum and didn't see a dedicated thread for Washington DC.

    Heading that way soon and was curious what are some of the top restaurants, beer bars, breweries, regular bars (cocktail bars, wine bars...etc.) in the area.

    I know about Churchkey and DC Brau....but that's about it.

    Thanks in advance!
     
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  2. VABA

    VABA Poo-Bah (6,330) Aug 8, 2015 Virginia
    Society

    Breweries: Other Half and Right Proper.

    Bar/Eatery: The Sovereign
     
  3. colty42

    colty42 Initiate (104) Nov 14, 2011 District of Columbia

    Bluejacket gets my vote. Excellent food, above average-excellent beer all of which is Bluejacket-brewed. Owned by NRG, same people as Churchkey, Sovereign, etc., both of which I also recommend for beer/food
     
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  4. BikeChef

    BikeChef Defender (622) Dec 27, 2007 District of Columbia
    Society

    Churchkey has a sister bar, Shelter, if you're over near Capitol Hill.
     
  5. beerman2017

    beerman2017 Initiate (121) Aug 18, 2017 Virginia
    Trader

    I'd agree with the above. Neighborhood Restaurant Group (NRG) has good beer/food.
    Other Half DC is good, but it's on a bit of an island in terms of other stuff around there (the BBQ joint nearby is pretty good though).
    If you venture into Virginia, there's Dominion Wine and Beer in Falls Church, which has great drafts, food and to go cans/crowlers.
     
  6. IZZIE8

    IZZIE8 Initiate (16) May 7, 2022 Virginia

    Maybe the Bruery Store is worth a stop. There are some really good bottles in there. Most of what I believe is worth doing in DC is already listed above. Depending on when your trip is scheduled, Snallygaster is a great beer festival. Lately it's been the second Saturday in October.

    I hope you get some good suggestions. I would love to learn about some hidden gems in the city.
     
  7. arizcards

    arizcards Poo-Bah (5,633) Jun 11, 2003 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    @AlcahueteJ Da Boss and i are staying at The District by Hilton end of October/early November and found Aslin within a 13-minute drive. Curious to hear Aslin opinions from the locals. Churchkey is within 15 minutes which is cool. Glad to see Bluejacket is a 20-minute drive away. Looking for local recommendations as well!
    Cheers!
    Tom
     
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  8. montman

    montman Devotee (434) Mar 10, 2009 Virginia
    Trader

    Aslin's quality is not what it used to be, check the thread just a few down and you will get a sense pretty quickly. Buyer beware if you see any of their cans around, they don't date them and they can/may sit.
     
  9. beerman2017

    beerman2017 Initiate (121) Aug 18, 2017 Virginia
    Trader

    If you've never been, it wouldn't hurt to hit up Aslin. Personally, I wouldn't. I'd rather hit up one of the NRGs, ChurchKey and other spots. Some people who haven't had Aslin certainly love it, but when you used to get it back in the day (vs the quality of today), it's nothing short of disappointing. If I were you and taking an Uber to a brewery somewhere, I'd go to Other Half DC instead.
     
  10. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,996) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
    Society

    This is great! Thanks everyone!

    Any breweries that excel at lagers or English ales? Also, I saw there’s a German restaurant, curious if that was any good.
     
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  11. colty42

    colty42 Initiate (104) Nov 14, 2011 District of Columbia


    Port City does the best German style beers in the immediate DMV, hands down. English ales (and Belgians as well) goes to Silver Branch in Silver Spring.
     
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  12. barrybeerdog

    barrybeerdog Initiate (186) Aug 17, 2012 South Dakota

    This statement leaves me very confused. You wouldn't go to Aslin b/c it's so disappointing, but you're recommending it to @arizcards? Hmm, scratching head:astonished:!
     
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  13. IZZIE8

    IZZIE8 Initiate (16) May 7, 2022 Virginia

    I don't want to speak for beerman, but I might say that Aslin is a bit over-hyped. It's worth visiting if you set realistic expectations.

    If you're heading down to the ballpark to catch a game, the Atlas tasting room on half street had a game day special with 2 slices of Andy's pizza and a beer for ~$10. Good time to visit Bluejacket too, it's close. It isn't the best for beer selection, but if you're looking to get plastered, the Diamond Club seats at Nats park include all you can drink draft beer and wine. The buffet isn't bad either. Day of the game, you can probably score tickets for $80-130. Think Sam's Summer, Toasted Lager, or Leinenkugel plus the macro beers on draft. I've been to a few MLB parks around the country and seats this close behind home plate usually cost at least this much and include nothing.

    Andy's is a good slice, but I prefer Wiseguy pizza. They have a few locations in/around DC.
     
  14. colty42

    colty42 Initiate (104) Nov 14, 2011 District of Columbia

    yeah stay away from Aslin. There are so, so many better locally brewed options
     
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  15. arizcards

    arizcards Poo-Bah (5,633) Jun 11, 2003 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    A friend of mine lived in the DC area for a lot of years has always been a fanboy of theirs and now has poured for them at several festivals this summer in NC. Aslin has recently started distributing in Western NC and i have found their beers to be pretty decent. With that said there has been a few misses that my friend has brought into our beer tasting sessions.
    Cheers!
    Tom
     
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  16. arizcards

    arizcards Poo-Bah (5,633) Jun 11, 2003 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    I take it as "buyer beware"!
    Cheers!
    Tom
     
  17. Slack

    Slack Savant (993) Feb 14, 2012 Virginia
    Trader

    As a guy who supported (and traded/trades) Aslin from the OG Herndon days, I would say stop by the Logan Circle location and not try to go to Herndon or Alexandria. The problem with Aslin is that they expanded too quickly and scaled up their production but did not master consistency. Unfortunately this is still happening. The batch quality suffered and you had flagship beers like orange starfish tasting like crap. It's not all bad though as the fall from grace doesn't mean they are undrinkable but you have to be more scrutinous of each beer by trying before you buy. If it tastes like crap on tap, it isn't going to taste better in cans. YMMV but if I was in DC, I would stop by Logan Circle before Churchkey.
     
  18. Beers-es

    Beers-es Meyvn (1,083) Oct 30, 2015 Virginia

    To be fair, this has been true since they scaled up that very first time at the industrial park in Herndon.
     
  19. Beers-es

    Beers-es Meyvn (1,083) Oct 30, 2015 Virginia

    Churchkey may be your best bet for lagers, depending on what's pouring. They always keep an updated tap list online. A month or so ago I went there and they had Suarez and Bierstadt lagers on tap, arguably the best lagers in the US and maybe the world.
     
  20. Slack

    Slack Savant (993) Feb 14, 2012 Virginia
    Trader

    It's hard for me to remember a drop in quality at Herndon with IPAs. That may be part due to memory or lack of regular consumption. That being said, the older stouts were better imo than the newer ones produced at Herndon.
     
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  21. Beers-es

    Beers-es Meyvn (1,083) Oct 30, 2015 Virginia

    Yeah, I used to go to Herndon a lot starting just a month or so after they opened. When they got the bigger system, the problems started. Not that they didn't make some really good beers at times, but nothing like the very early batches of Mind the Hop and Orange Starfish. Those were world class.
     
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  22. Patrick_in_DC

    Patrick_in_DC Initiate (45) May 8, 2015 Virginia

    I like Atlas's location by the ballpark... which is good because I think the other might be closed for now. DC beer is hurting a bit now after 3 Stars went the way of the dodo. If you're willing to cab it then definitely get your way to Port city. The way i see Port City is they don't hit any home runs but they hit a lot of doubles. Its rare they miss on a beer.

    Other half just kills it. I hate to recommend them because I don't like "second venue" "second city" venues because it feels unauthentic. I like OG places when I can. However you can't deny they produce quality even for a non-sour non-IPA guy like me. Even when they make a lager its out of this world. Crazy.

    If you have a car and time I'd consider running out in the direction of dulles and beyond but i won't say anything unless you do because that opens up a whole new list. My personal preference is Ocelot when you get out that way, even further takes you out to Old Ox and to the often forgotten Lost Rhino. The beer scene outside the beltway to me really is mostly Routes 7/267/Dulles Toll Road. However I live on the other side of reality so I don't get over there as much as I'd like.
     
  23. RKP1967

    RKP1967 Disciple (320) Sep 26, 2010 Virginia

    Aslin's not even the best brewery in Herndon anymore.
     
  24. beerman2017

    beerman2017 Initiate (121) Aug 18, 2017 Virginia
    Trader

    This.
    My personal expectations are very high on Aslin from those days of lining up at Sunset Park for growler fills. Based on that past experience, I generally don't visit (aside from the occasional W&OD trail stop in Herndon).
    However, I would still recommend going there - just because I'm jaded doesn't mean others will have the same experience.
    To the other post: totally agree that if the draft sucks, don't buy the cans. They do still churn out some very solid beers, but you have to pick and choose nowadays.
     
  25. Beers-es

    Beers-es Meyvn (1,083) Oct 30, 2015 Virginia

    What else is there now that's good? Haven't been out there in a while.
     
  26. VABA

    VABA Poo-Bah (6,330) Aug 8, 2015 Virginia
    Society

    I believe the post was referring to Juicy Brewing Co. which took over Aslin’s original spot in Sunset Park Blvd in Herndon.

    ps-I have never been there myself, just not into juicy beers these days (pun intended).
     
  27. RKP1967

    RKP1967 Disciple (320) Sep 26, 2010 Virginia


    That's who I meant. Their IPA's are better than Aslin's current IPA's, their smoothie sours are fantastic (and better than Aslin's). and their non-trendy styles (lagers, hefes, non-adjunct stout) are good as well. No barrel-aged stuff yet.
     
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  28. seanchai

    seanchai Zealot (574) May 23, 2009 Virginia

    An underrated move is to hit Other Half and Red Bear Brewing in sequence. It's a long walk but we ended up Lyfting it on a hot muggy day. Two great and completely different vibes; solid beer at both. Hitting both in sequence shows the range of DC beer experience.
     
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  29. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (8,987) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania
    Society

    My wife and I are coming into town this Saturday and Sunday, mostly hit up the museums around the national mall. We are staying at a hotel near the convention center.

    It looks like of those places, Churchkey is the one within walking distance. Are they usually slammed for dinner on a Saturday night? I don't see anything on their website about accepting reservations.

    Any other suggestions for places with the combination of good food and beer in that part of the city?
     
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  30. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (8,987) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania
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    How are the food places that are also within The Roost?
     
  31. TomCat11

    TomCat11 Defender (607) Jul 21, 2012 Virginia
    Trader

    Lost Generation Brewing has their Grand Opening this weekend.
     
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  32. lateralusbeer

    lateralusbeer Zealot (546) Feb 7, 2010 North Carolina
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    Honestly Bluejacket has been awful in my experience. Mediocre beer, hipster crowd. Pass.
     
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  33. lateralusbeer

    lateralusbeer Zealot (546) Feb 7, 2010 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    I agree with everything here
     
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  34. hoppytobehere

    hoppytobehere Champion (862) Aug 10, 2012 District of Columbia

    If you don't go to Churchkey during your DC visit, then ya fucked up.
     
  35. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (8,987) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania
    Society

    We did go to Churchkey. Got there around 7 on Saturday night, had dinner then stayed for more rounds of drinks as we watched the entire Phillies game on the TV's above the bar. Great taplist, and the food was very good. I loved how they served Belgian strong ale, barleywine, and imperial stouts at higher temperatures like they should be.

    We were kind of shocked that over the course of those 5 hours, the place was never completely full, neither the tables nor seats at the bar. Is DC just that much of a commuter city that popular places aren't overly busy on the weekends?
     
  36. RKP1967

    RKP1967 Disciple (320) Sep 26, 2010 Virginia

    I don't have the answer but have noticed the same thing. It's definitely a post-Covid phenomenon.
     
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  37. hoppytobehere

    hoppytobehere Champion (862) Aug 10, 2012 District of Columbia

    It used to be very crowded on weekends. But then they shut down for 2 years during covid and reopened this past April. I think a lot of people forgot about them or maybe less people are into craft beer now. Not entirely sure. Glad you enjoyed it though.
     
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  38. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (8,987) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania
    Society

    For 2 years? That seems crazy - places around here typically only shut down during the first wave, or went take-out only for a period of time.
     
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  39. Slack

    Slack Savant (993) Feb 14, 2012 Virginia
    Trader

    They are part of a restaurant group that pretty much all shut down at one point or another. At the same time, they expanded online alcohol (and food) sales. With DC having such gray alcohol laws the venues can pretty much sell any hootch they can get their hands on.

    Regarding the smaller amount of people, that is amazing. Historically every time we went there (and it was always Saturday for sports) it was 2 deep at the bar. I have to go back and check it out now that you don't have to box people out to get a beer. I do recall someone saying in the DC NOVA thread that the fidens takeover was packed but not surprised there as they are the current hotness.
     
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  40. Sheppard

    Sheppard Poo-Bah (2,301) Mar 16, 2013 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    I wonder if part of the reason that they were closed for so long was the renovations. I also don't remember them serving stouts, barleywines, et al at higher temps pre-Covid (someone can correct me on this). That might have also been part of the renovations. I miss that place so much.