First Look: The Black Squirrel’s Downstairs Tap Room
See the tap handle all the way to the right? The one with the green label and white bands? That bottle of I Hardcore You IPA, a blend of super rare Mikkeller I Beat You and Brew Dog's award winning Hardcore IPA, shows how serious The Black Squirrel is about the draft beer list in their new downstairs tap room.
The space, which opened yesterday in the basement of the current Adams Morgan location, features a 50-foot bar with thirty front row seats to the tap room's 32 draft lines. The selection is spread across four tap towers with eight drafts each. Those ordering specialty brews like I Hardcore You will pay as much as $13 for a full pour, but more than half of this week's list of craft beers are under $7 each. See photos and the full draft list after the jump.
According to bartender Hollie Stephenson, no bottled beer is available because of space, but the full bar is equipped for any standard cocktail as well as a few unique concoctions like her signature shot, the pickelback.
A small performance space near the front window will soon have live bands. Starting today, the bar will serve food, but without a kitchen the downstairs tap room will offer only snacks and cold sandwiches. According to Black Squirrel owner Amy Bowman, chef Gene Sohn has plans for gourmet party mixes and house-made charcuterie. Sohn was busy this week roasting his own beef for a unique sandwich on this weekend's menu, Bowman says.
The long, narrow room's walls are full of colorful art designed by local graffiti artist and Black Squirrel regular Ryan McGill. "We saw him doodling and asked him about it. When he told us he did graffiti I thought, 'I have a job for you,'" Bowman told me.
The opening weekend draft menu, listed below and put together by bartender Rebecca Johnson, is a sign of good things to come. The rotating selection has a variety of styles from light, crisp session beers like Evolution Sprung Ale to strong, heavy brews like Flying Dog 2009 Horn Dog Barley Wine. While most of the beers are domestic, with several from nearby craft breweries like Oliver and Stillwater of Baltimore, Maryland, and Port City of Alexandria, Virginia, there are a few treats from afar like the lovely-on-draft Schneider-Brooklyner Hopfen-Weisse featured in the photo above.
With three distinct beer-focused spaces in the original building and plans to take over and re-open the Toledo Lounge with expanded draft and bottle menus, the Black Squirrel is quickly forming a small empire and significantly increasing the number of quality craft brews available in Adams Morgan.
CURRENT DRAFT LIST:
Kölsch, Pilsner & Cider
- New Holland Full Circle Kolsch (5.25%)
- North Coast Scrimshaw Pilsner (4.4%)
- Crispin Cider (6.5%)
- Evolution Sprung Ale (4.9%)
- Long Trail Double Bag Strong Ale (7.5%)
- Oskar Blues Dales Pale Ale (7.5%)
- Oliver Ironman Pale Ale (6.2%)
Wheat, Saison & Rice Beers
- Troegs Dreamweaver Wheat (4.8%)
- Schneider-Brooklyner Hopfen-Weisse Weizenbock (8.2%)
- Stillwater Cellar Door Saison (6.6%)
- Great Divide Samurai Unfiltered Rice Ale (5.7%)
Bock, Brown & Sour Beers
- Sierra Nevada Glissade Golden Bock (6.4%)
- Avery Ellie’s Brown Ale (5.5%)
- Goose Island Dominique American Wild Ale (8.5%)
India Pale Ale
- Harpoon IPA (5.9%)
- Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA (7%)
- Great Lakes Commodore Perry IPA (7.5%)
- Lagunitas IPA (6.2%)
- Stone Ruination IPA (7.7%)
- Breckenridge Lucky U IPA (6.2%)
- Avery Dugana American DIPA (8.5%)
- Mikkeller-BrewDog I Hardcore You Imperial IPA (9.5%)
- Dogfish Head 90 Minute American DIPA (9%)
- Southern Tier Unearthly DIPA (9.8%)
Rye & Scotch Ale
- The Bruery Rugbrod Dark Rye (8%)
- Founder’s Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale (8.5%)
Stout & Porter
- Port City Porter (7.5%)
- New Holland Night Tripper Imperial Stout (10.8%)
- Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter (5.8%)
- North Coast Old Rasputin Imperial Stout (9%)
- Boulder Chocolate Porter (6.25%)
- Flying Dog Horn Dog 2009 Barley Wine (10.2%)
Photo by Tammy Tuck, more here