Young and Hungry

Beer ‘Sommelier’ Bill Catron Is Out at Brasserie Beck

Bill Catron, the man who put together the killer beer list that won a Best of D.C. award last year, is no longer with Brasserie Beck, Robert Wiedmaier's Belgian-heavy restaurant at 11th and K streets NW. Catron's duties are being assumed by General Manager Thor Cheston, who's no stranger to suds. Cheston helped launch Birreria Paradiso in the basement of Ruth Gresser's Pizzeria Paradiso in Georgetown.

"Robert offered him another position within the company, and Bill declined," Cheston said this afternoon. The job was a management gig that would allow Catron to continue as beer manager for Beck, Cheston said. The general manager didn't know why Catron declined the offer, and Beck's former "beer sommelier" was not immediately available for comment. Catron's last day at Beck was Jan. 23.

As the new man in charge of the beer list, Cheston doesn't plan to mess with success—at least too much. He's already added two German beers, including Weinstephaner Hefeweizen, and he's thinking about "branching out and doing American versions of Belgian beers." Cheston is even planning a trip to Belgian to visit two of his favorite breweries, Van Steenberge and Het Anker, to develop a signature beer for Brasserie Beck.

Cheston doesn't know yet what style of beer he may want to create. "My beloved Belgian triple is really calling to me, but I wouldn't want Het Anker to compete with themselves." Het Anker, he says, already produces one of the best triples anywhere, the Gouden Carolus Triple. As such, Cheston may look toward an imperial stout or even a lambic.

Speaking of unanswered questions, Cheston didn't know where Catron has landed, or even if he has landed somewhere yet. Catron's resume will certainly help him find future employment. In 2007, he was knighted by La Chevalerie du Fourquet des Brasseurs, or the Knighthood of Brewers' Mashstaffs, the direct descendant of Belgium's ancient brewers' guild. At the time, Catron was only the 14th American to be knighted by the group.

Beck is moving along without its original beer man. Cheston has a special, four-course dinner planned for March 16, 17, and 18. Representatives from Kasteel, Delirium Tremens, and Het Anker will be on hand to pair each course with beer. Cheston even promises some surprises, perhaps a taste of Het Anker's single malt.

  • Walter Davis

    What makes a restaurant different from any other restaurant? The silverware, Ethnicity, Quality?....I guess, but in my opinion the real difference is the staff, and customer service.

    Brasserie Beck is a loud and boisterous restaurant filled with K Street lawyer types and stuffy people that like to be seen. The food is mediocre at best, and is laden with salt and different types of fat. My friend actually got a Coq au Vin dish there that had RAW CHICKEN. That said, I can forgive all of that if the service is up to par. "Alas"

    My family “out of towners”are somewhat beer aficionados and they had met Sir Catron about a year ago. Catron was the most knowledgeable, down to earth and personable beer guy we had ever ran into. He gave us the best recommendations, made us feel at home, and basically made the whole experience worth wile. His passion for his job was infectious, when he found out that my father’s favorite beer was Kwak he actually wrapped a glass and handed it to him as he left. I remember the look on his face, at that point it made the 350.00 check no so bad.

    The best thing that the restaurant had is now gone, Catron was an unbelievable asset to that establishment. Now you see the beer list changing into what is now the new Pizzeria Paradiso located conveniently in Brasserie Beck……nice…

    All I can say is that I wish you the very best Bill, my whole family are fans and will follow you wherever you go. MOVE TO NYC!!!

  • CitrineDC

    What terrible news! Bill offered us such wonderful beer selections based on what we were eating / personal tastes. Plus, he is ultra charming and a great host -- Bill has always made us and our friends we have brought to Beck feel at home. I hope he is sticking around the DC and we find out where so we can say hi (and continue to enjoy his recommendations)!

  • Matt in Florida

    Bill was the sole reason I ever went to Beck the two times a year I visited DC. I had the great honor of meeting him in Belgium and his knowledge of Belgian beers is exceeded only by his passion for them. Wherever Bill goes, that is where I will go, and I trust that wherever he ends up next will far surpass whatever Brasserie Beck had achieved.

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