Young and Hungry

D.C.’s a Great Beer City, Chapter 1

Call me simple, but to me Baltimore means beer, seafood, The Wire, and a place to "weekend" for folks who ordinarily can't afford to use "weekend" as a verb. Their aquarium more or less blew my 5-year-old mind some years ago, dethroning Chuck E. Cheese's title as The Best Trip Ever. My cooler friends say Charm City's great for record shopping, too.

But in this gauntlet, thrown down by a Baltimore Sun guest blogger named "Kelby Brick," he denigrates our fair city, stamping us with not one but two four-letter words: "wine town."

That's right, while Baltimore is a city of freedom-loving, Rudy-watching Americans, D.C. festers with "white-glove parties" and "happy hour discussions [that] revolve around grapes." We also brush our teeth with caviar, preferably in our limousines, which are driven by Baltimore-born chauffeurs. (OK, he didn't say that, but I can read between the lines.)

Now, I do die a little inside when I sit down for a nice meal and have to watch my wino friends leaf excitedly through a Homeric list while I choose between Blue Moon and Amstel Light (a Negroni, please). But D.C. is a fantastic beer town, dammit. And after this egging from the Sun and some encouragement from The Atlantic, it's time we put it on paper a blog.

So here you have it: D.C. Is a Great Beer City, Chapter 1

  • The stores. Oh good lord, the stores. Save for the beer-barren wasteland that is downtown/Penn Quarter, every Metro stop in Northwest is a short walk from a store that has good craft beer. (Yes, even Petworth.) The other three quadrants? Um...let me get back to you.
  • The bars. Yes, Baltimore, we're aware the Brickskeller beer list belongs in the fiction section. But as destination bars go, we've got Birreria Paradiso, Rustico, Brasserie Beck, and Granville Moore's, just to name a few. Did I miss some? Yeah, probably a hundred. Get the idea?
  • New beer. In the past few months, D.C. has started bringing in new offerings from the likes of Duck-Rabbit and Founders. Others in the pipeline? A little birdie tells me Blue Mountain and Lost Abbey are in the works.

That's just Chapter 1. Of course there's also local brewpubs, a kickin' new stadium, and a super-nerdy e-mail list (take my word, or sign up and see).

What should be in Chapter 2? Fill up that comments section, neighbor!

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • Alan

    While there is a stronger emphasis on wine and liquor, Schneider's in NE Cap Hill has a decent beer selection. So does Marvelous Market in Eastern Market.

  • Andy

    You tell 'em, Orr. Chapter 2: In Which Our Hero Espouses on the Historically Impressive Beer Expertise of the Average Washingtonian, and Also Perhaps Mocks the Ravens, Just for Fun

  • caffeind

    *gasp* No mention of Fado's or Commonwealth? I think those should go in Chapter 2! (please). :)

  • Arlene

    The people! The beer community on twitter, Beer Advocate and Rate Beer, Bill at Devinos in AM or Greg at Birreria, the list of knowledgeable passionate brewfans is huge. Half of the people that populate Max's Belgian beer fest every year are taking off work from the DC area and driving up there.

  • SG

    Baltimore blows. They have small penis syndrome when it comes to DC, whereas most DCers could care less about Bmore, the same way we don't really care about, say, Richmond or Norfolk.

  • Matt

    Where can I find Duck Rabbit? They don't list DC on their website. . .

  • Tammy Tuck and Bruce Falconer

    Matt, Duck Rabbit is widely available in NOVA, the welcomed "fifth quadrant" that helps us throw down with Baltimore in the beer city battle. As for DC, we heard Bar Pilar had some recently.

  • eli

    this is a crap beer city. we look okay next to baltimore?? so what. try portland. the difference between a good beer city and ours is delicious local craft beer. ours comes on a truck cross country (if not from across the ocean), is mostly corporate, and overpriced...don't kid yourself.

  • Tim

    It is true that it's hard to throw down against places like Brewer's Art and Duclaw, and I'd take B'more's Brew at The Zoo over Savor any day (I may be willing to spend a lot on beer, but not 90 bucks or whatever savor was). But we certainly have a growing passion for beer in DC and its only a matter of time before we get some more micro brews and a more accessable beer culture.

  • Orr Shtuhl

    Tim, you're right that Savor's pricy, but the beer selection there is also on a very different level than Baltimore's Brew at the Zoo.

    D.C. also has great festivals that are smaller and cheaper, as the Lager Heads have cataloged. This week's Bourbon Beer and BBQ and the NOVA Summer BrewFest might both be up your alley.

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  • The Lagerheads

    The Lagerheads have weighed in. You can find "Chapter 2" of this thread here:

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