A True Beer Paradise (Almost)
The Lagerheads tend to avoid Georgetown, but we do get down there on occasion and about 95% of the time it is to visit Birreria Paradiso, the basement bar of Pizzeria Paradiso on the west end of M Street. Birreria has long been one of our favorite places to drink beer in DC, and we owe much of our beer education to its revolving list of impressive taps and ever-growing arsenal of bottled beer.
We've been going there since Thor Cheston (now beer czar at Brasserie Beck) was running the show and have been delighted to see how current manager Greg Jasgur's capable hands have expanded the beer program to include monthly beer events and a more extensive, organized, and descriptive menu–with one cask, 16 taps, and around 180 beers available in bottles and not a single American macro-brew or other "well you gotta stock it" beer to blemish the impeccable list.
Paradise, right? Well...almost. We gush about this place constantly, but don't actually go as often as we used to. The Tuesday/ Wednesday half-price draft happy hour is wildly popular, as it should be. But the bar can only seat around forty people, and outside of happy hours there is often competition for those seats with overflow from the restaurant upstairs, so it can be really hard to get a table–especially for more than four people. The non-happy hour days of the week are a little bit better, with Monday being the best bet for a stress-free experience.
Because of constantly growing demand for such little space, the rules around seating have become very strict. It's become such a hassle that we have been holding out for the new P street location to open, hoping that it will be big enough to accommodate beer fans and pizza lovers alike. We don't have long to find out, as the new site is due to open in just a few weeks–late August or early September.
Tammy stopped by this week to see what was on tap. Of course there was more than one great beer to try so she decided to get a flight (another great thing about Birreria–5 oz. pours of three beers for $9, or four for $11). They made her go upstairs to have the flight since it was happy hour (another rather strict rule), but she had a nice time all the same. The three beers she tried are described below. Get down to Georgetown if you want to check them out before the taps are dry.
Brasserie Dupont Foret – A fantastic saison from the Belgian brewery (hope you speak French) that makes THE saison. Nice smell of yeast, flowers, and honey. Maltier than most saisons and a slightly higher alcohol content (7.5 % ABV), which gives it a nice little kick. Dry, hoppy aftertaste. This beer got Tammy's coveted rating of "SUPER!"
Weyerbacher Foxtrot – Another farmhouse ale, this Pennsylvania brewery's Biere de Garde poured a dark brown amber and had a thick, creamy head. Aromas were of smoke, dust, and on digging deeper, cocoa and brown sugar. Taste was mild compared to the nose–a little more like a brown ale than expected (translation: bland). Would probably like this beer better aged in the bottle awhile.
Great Divide 15th Anniversary Wood-Aged Double IPA -Very nice specialty beer from this fine Colorado brewery. Smell is fairly complex with both floral and citrusy hops, caramel malt, and a hint of whatever alcohol was in those barrels. Slightly smoky oak taste with prominent vanilla and spice, but sweet throughout. Hoppy and dry in the finish only. Very balanced for a 10% beer, and a DIPA to boot.