With the announcement this week that Brickskeller will be closing its doors in the next couple weeks, it seemed fitting to take inventory of what we still have in DC. J Street Beer has had a day or two to think it over and we added a bit of a twist. The question is not just what our favorite DC bar is, but what we would change about it if given the chance. Enjoy our thoughts and throw in your own picks, disagreement, or soul-crushing criticism in the comments section:
For the triumphant return of the roundtable (Tonzi stop sending death threats, leaving Busch Light on my porch, and ordering me Foster Oil Cans at RFD), I asked my fellow J Street-ers what their first rule would be if they owned a bar and did not have to worry about the effects of their rule (i.e. loss of revenues, fines for breaking the law, etc).
The background for this came from a drinking session with Dr Boozenstein at the summer opening of a much hyped bar. We were drinking, watching a shit-ton of people pass through the area, listening to kids (yes, kids at a bar) whine and parents shout their responses due to the loud music, and jostling for a position at this seemingly local (two doors down from where I was living at the time) bar. Naturally, one of my first thoughts was that the two of us should open a barebones bar a half-block up the street that catered to locals and only served a handful of beer in cans/bottles and had three taps (Dry Creek Cafe in Austin would serve as a template).
Of course, I’m sure few people open a beer bar in D.C. with the explicit desire to have the bulk of their clientele live in places where they have both taxation AND representation, so how would I go about creating my perfect (aka local based) bar?
Canned beer has gotten a bad rap of the years due to the water that macro breweries call beer. However, there has been a trend towards putting better beers in cans. This is great because canning beer is better than bottling beer. You may ask: “How could this be possible? All the best beers come in bottles!” Well, I’m sure most of you have seen the Sam Adams commercial talking about light destroying (skunking) beer and that’s why they use dark bottles. Well dark bottles still let some light through, but the almighty can does not let any light through! Also, it could be debated that the seal on a can is tighter than a bottle cap (especially screw tops) therefore letting less air into the vessel. Side bar for you environmentalists out there, bottles win this battle due to the ease of re-usability.
Obviously all of us are mindless sheep without the brain power to keep from drooling on ourselves, let alone form our own opinions about whether or not a beer is good. Well, not all of us are high functioning idiots, just you, the public, are. Here at J Street, we are experts with the most exquisite taste and the fairest minds for judging the rest of society. However, we use our extreme powers only to further the greater good of society. That is the purpose of these round table discussions: so that you, the public, can see what it is like when the gods disagree in Valhalla. Also, we have one track minds and that track is beer. Choo-choo! Beer train coming through! May it’s headlight guide us out of this cave of ignorance.
Having spent Thursday night at RFD and the Big Hunt, I can fully attest to the full splendor and variety of beer available. When you can get everything from a Flemish sour, a cherry wheat, and a bacon beer, it’s hard to ever believe you would want to settle down on one beer alone. Pondering this question, therefore, represents a significant challenge for beer aficionados (some would use the word “snobs” here) who have grown so accustomed to the normal diversity of beer we’ve been presented with.
So, for the first Roundtable on J-Street, I posed the following question to all the authors: If you were stranded on a (virtual) desert island for the rest of your life – that is to say could only drink one beer ever again – what would it be? The answers vary widely from person to person, but all hold one similar justification; all the beers selected are described by the authors as diverse across season, mood, company, and purpose. They are, in themselves, very diverse beers. Each author’s responses are shown below. (more…)