Best Beer Menu

Best: Hypothetically, the Brickskeller
1523 22nd St. NW, (202) 293-1885
2nd Best: Off-menu choices at Birreria Paradiso
3282 M St. NW, (202) 337-1245
If the Brickskeller actually stocked all of the 1,000-plus bottles its menu promises, it would have quite a library. But any veteran will tell you that when ordering at the Brick, choose a Plan B beer—and a Plan C. For an elusive menu with a better payoff, sidle up to the Birreria bar on a quiet weekday and chat up bar manager Greg Jasgur. If he’s not too busy, he might have time to fetch you an off-menu bottle. These beers aren’t really secret; usually they’re just ones that are nearly out of stock. When inventory gets low, he pulls them off the menu. Thus no one orders them and they sit, maturing, for months or even years. Not all beers benefit from time in the clink, but a stout old ale or barleywine will emerge a changed beer: sweeter, more mellow, and ready to make friends with an empty glass.