Posts tagged “Bear Republic

Bar Review – Justin’s Cafe

I’m really torn here. Part of me wants to behave like Bill Murray in Rushmore who deliberately talks down a woman to his friend so he can go for her himself. I want to write a horrible, scathing review of Justin’s in the hope that no one else ever goes there; I want to keep it all to myself. The other Part of me wants to pull a Jerry McGuire and storm into a room announcing that “you complete me.” I feel like the entire world needs to know how incredible this place is.  Justin’s Cafe opened a year ago down in a very revitalized SE.  And it’s incredible.  I’ve tried over and over again to find one thing even slightly wrong with this bar, and I just can’t.

Justin’s only has 4 beers on draft, but they all meet Pyzocha’s dream of no macro-brews.  Racer 5, Lagunitas, and Bell’s Oberon, and GL Eliot Ness are all available.  The draft list is complemented with a solid bottle/can collection including two choices from Oskar Blues, Two Hearted, North Coast, Duck Rabbit and more.  While it’s not necessarily the most extensive beer list, it’s unbelievably solid and there is something for everyone there.

But hey, there are plenty of bars in DC with a good beer list – what makes Justin’s so good?  Staff and ambiance.  The staff at Justin’s is unbelievable.  Joe, Eric, Liz and the rest of the staff I’ve met have all been unbelievably friendly, helpful and nice.  Despite a somewhat bustling bar, Eric took the time to introduce himself to me on only my second beer.  Liz found a way for me to somehow order 7 drinks in about 50 minutes.  Joe shared a bottle of GL Holy Moses just because he could, and remembers what people are drinking – when they leave the bar and come back 3 hours later.

Justin’s is just that neighborhood bar.  It gets a ton of transient ballpark traffic, but also plenty of locals and other beer aficionados that aren’t just there to drink, but to enjoy people’s company.  Sitting by yourself at the bar isn’t a lonely experience at all – I’ve talked hops, SE, Wrigley Field, and women with people I’ve sat down near at the bar.  Between the staff, the beer, and the atmosphere, Justin has created a place that really feels great to spend time in.

The food is similarly solid.  The brunch, wings, and buffalo burger Pyzocha and I have had there have all been really solid, and I haven’t even had their signature brick oven pizza.

The only possible issue is size and crowd.  The cafe isn’t huge and before/after games can get pretty packed in, impacting the overall ambiance.  Popularity unfortunately has it’s downsides, but I’ll live with them.

I hadn’t gone to Justin’s before our own Beer Hunt, and I’m so glad I got that opportunity.  It’s introduced me to yet another great DC bar that I’m always excited to spend time in.


Beer Madness! 38 (3)Bear Racer 5 v. (6)Dortmunder Gold

(3) Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA
(6) Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold

Overrated Racer 5 limps into this contest at less than full strength while Dortmunder comes in hot and rested from Thursday’s blowout. Some analysts have Racer 5 going deep into the tournament, but I think the rugged Great Lakes brew is going to slow down Racer 5.  Sorry Bear Republic, this is not your one shining moment.

Beer Madness! 10 (3)Racer 5 v. (14)Old Dominion Victory Amber

(3) Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA
(14) Old Dominion Victory Amber

These two beers face off in a match that pits a California-based, fan and GABF favorite beer against the hometown brew, Old Dominion Victory Amber. The Racer 5 IPA has won numerous awards, including two golds and two silvers at GABF with the first gold coming in 1999 and the last-one being awarded a decade later.

Old Dominion is strong in the paint with it’s big offering, THE TOWER O’ BEER, which not only intimidates both servers and those who order it but will easily dominate even the most ambitious drinkers. That said, the staying power is with the higher-seeded newcomer.

Racer 5 IPA by 10 points.

Beer Madness! (An ode to ale, college basketball, and day drinking)

You are probably an American or living in America.  (If you are not, please click this link.)  Since you are an American or have had America thrust upon you, then I am sure you are aware of the big month-long amateur sporting contest that begins this week.  This contest is a great opportunity to gamble and to slack off at work while doing research* for your impending gambling binge.  The great thing about this implicit endorsement of wagering on the physical performance of 19-year-old boys, is that everyone can participate and anyone can win.

Your college is not represented?  Fill out your bracket predicting the 1st round demise of your hated rival.  You don’t know the difference between a box-in-one and a box of shit?  Fill out your bracket based on which mascot would win in a fight. You know more about college basketball than Dick Vitale and Bill Raftery?  I guarantee your bracket will not win.  Karen from accounting is going to win because she likes Kansas State’s purple uniforms.

In honor of this great gambling orgy, J Street Beer is doing you a favor.  We have combined your two favorite things into one great thing. Alcohol and gambling. Together at last! That’s correct, we are hosting our inaugural J Street Beer Madness Super-Brew Tournament For The Ages (JSBMSBTFTA, for short).  Over the next few weeks we will whittle our 64 brews down to one supreme beer champion.  View the bracket below and then vote on the individual match-ups. The voting will be for a complete 24 hour period and each match-up will coincidentally be voted on during the same day as the corresponding match-up in that other tournament that everybody in your office will predict better than you.  When we get to the excellent eight final beers, J Street Beer will have head-to-head taste tests to determine the winner.

On to the match ups…


Brew Review-Bear Republic Mach 10

They didn't have a logo, so I made one.

The Bear Republic Mach 10 is a hopstravaganza.  Most of you have had the Racer 5, Bear’s hoppy IPA.  Well, the Mach 10 (as I’m sure you’ve guessed) is their double IPA.

Generally speaking, it’s twice the power of the Racer 5.  A lot more hops, a lot more malt.  It will crush your taste buds.

The Mach 10 pours a great bronze color with a huge floral hop aroma.  One small sniff and you know what you’re in for.  The flavor is all hops up front.  Very floral with a little citrus tanginess.  There’s a gentle malty middle to spare you from the crush of the hops.  The finish is fairly dry and slightly bitter with the hops making a quick return before exiting the building.

If you’re a hoppy beer fan, definitely check this one out.  I think there are other beers out there that do the double/imperial IPA idea a little better, but the Mach 10 is in no way a bad beer.



The Sad Day That Almost Was

Many of you had heard the rumors, “Bear Republic is pulling out of the DC beer scene.”  It was a frightening thought.  One of the big players from the California market would no longer be available out here on the East Coast?  What did we do to deserve this slighting?!?

Was it going to be a mad rush to grab what was left?