Young and Hungry

Top 5 Beer Menus in Columbia Heights

I love my neighborhood of Columbia Heights, and I love lists. So when Spud Lite at The Heights Life posted his top 5 beer menus in Columbia Heights yesterday, I got to reading faster than a tween on Harry Potter release night.

I was semi-outraged — not angry, but not mock outraged, so maybe just surprised actually — at not only his her ranking order but also two glaring omissions: Pete's Apizza and new kid Room 11. I'm going to give Spud a break and assume it was an oversight and not a lapse in judgment, as she went so far as to bend his own rules and allow Tonic to sneak over from Mount Pleasant. Listless drinkers, I present to you my Columbia Heights top 5:

  1. Pete's Apizza – Pete's four drafts rotate often, and as of yesterday included beers from Bell's, Lagunitas, and Stone. (The fourth is Moretti, a crappy Italian lager owned by Heineken.) Add 8 to 10 American micros in bottles, and you've got a sizable menu for a place the size of the Five Guys next door. (beer list)

  2. RedRocks – Six drafts and only one a dud (Peroni; what is it with these pizza places?). The bottle list can be painfully patronizing with beers like Leinenkugel's Sunset Wheat, Miller's answer to Coors' Blue Moon, but there's plenty of better options. (beer list)
  3. Room 11 – Taps right now are Brooklyn's Pilsner and East India Pale Ale. Their diverse bottle list includes gems such as Old Rasputin Imperial Stout and Orval (wild yeast!). (beer list)
  4. CommonWealth – I have a soft spot for cask beer, and as long as their two casks are pumping Victory, I'll indulge. But their British draft list is as mainstream as it gets — you can get Newcastle, Guinness, Harp, and Smithwicks at Bennigan's. British beer is unfortunately expensive to import, but even an occasional rare keg from England, as Birreria Paradiso and Rustico are wont to do, would be a welcome treat for the neighborhood. (beer list)
  5. Red Derby – Come for the Dale's Pale Ale, stay for the Schlitz. When it comes to beers, they do good and cheap and mostly skip the mediocre. And what $4 light beers they do sell, as a commenter mentions, subsidize the rest. I'd love some draft beers too, but I'll settle for a blurry round of Connect Four at 1 a.m. (beer list)

What do you think? If you don't comment, I'll assume you agree 100 percent.

  • ESB

    Actually on Monday, Room 11 had two Brooklyn Brewery beers on draft: East India Pale Ale and I believe a pilsner?

  • Spud Lite

    Hey! Spud Lite isn't a man! I'm a girl! I swear!

    Also - Pete's has good stuff and would be sixth on my list, but I think the price is a little high for the atmosphere. And Room 11 doesn't have a lot of drafts and I haven't had a chance to really sample anything beyond their wine menu.

    Nice list though. Very thoughtful.

  • Orr Shtuhl

    ESB: Thanks for the update!

    Spud: I had to think about what gender to assume; it was a tough choice given there's both a Mr. and a Mrs. Potato Head.

    At $5-6 a pint, I'd say Pete's is as cheap as anywhere, and cheaper than CommonWealth. I usually go before 6:30 though, when drafts are half off. If you need convincing, I'm happy to buy you a $3 Bell's some time. Cheers!

  • dan riley

    I thought Leinenkugels was a small family brewery in WI that got bought by Miller, and Blue moon was a creation of Coors...isn't there a difference?

  • Paul

    Great post looking forward to checking out Red Derby sounds like a cool place to go.

  • Orr Shtuhl

    Dan: You're right, Leinenkugel's is a family brewery bought by Miller in the '80s. The Sunset Wheat was created in 2006, so the macro-beer cynic in me saw it that way.

    Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean Miller played a part in creating the recipe, though, so good point.

    (source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

  • andrew

    commonwealth's beers are $$$$$ unfortunately

  • Jamie Olson

    I was born and bred a half hour from where leinenkugel's started and had a bit of a soft spot for it until a few years ago. Among other things, they used to have some tolerable seasonals, including Big Butt, usually a doppelbock. Their more recent summer brews like sunset wheat seem like they're competing for the Mike's hard lemonade demographic, though.

  • Spud Lite

    Well Orr, I do suppose "Spud" sounds a little manly. Alas, the reason I may not agree on Pete's is that I'm never out of the office in time for their happy hour. This also means you can't buy me a $3 beer. Though you could spot me $3 for a $5 dollar beer after 6:30 and maybe you'll sway my opinion.

    I also don't get this rep that Commonwealth has for super pricey beer. Yes - their food isn't cheap for the neighborhood, but they have some expensive beers and plenty that are in the range of every other bar in the neighborhood. They also have two sizes and both a late and early happy hour with half off beers or $2 options.

  • Emily

    This is great! Who wants to write one for Dupont??? It's such a trek up that CH hill.

  • Trish

    I like all the above though a big fan of the Red Derby as they have 40 different beers and all cheap all the time.Plus they have connect 4!

  • dc foodie

    Emily - Weeeeeaeeeaaaaakkkk.

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