I finally made it back to ChurchKey! After proclaiming almost a year ago that ChurchKey was my new favorite beer bar, I finally made it back! What took me so long to return to the best beer bar in the greater Washington, D.C. region? Sure, there are a lot of different beer destinations in the area, and the ChurchKey DC location at 14th Street and Rhode Island Avenue isn’t the most convenient for this Maryland suburbanite, but there are no excuses — I have got to find a way to get to ChurchKey more often!
On December 6, I had an all-day meeting in downtown DC that ended around 4:00, and I was ready for a beer. I made a beeline for ChurchKey and found a lot of open spots at the long bar. That would change later as the place filled quickly, but the dearth of patrons as I arrived allowed me the chance to talk to Eric the bartender about the beer menu. He steered me to the five beers available on cask, and I didn’t resist. I started with a pint of cask ale, and it only got better from there. I ordered:
- Ironman Pale Ale (Oliver Brewery, Baltimore, MD) – I always have a pint of this beer as a tradition when I go to Orioles games; it was awesome to drink this delicious hoppy ale served from the cask.
- Schlafly Bière de Garde (Saint Louis Brewery, Maplewood, MO) – An excellent interpretation of the French farmhouse-style ale; a preview for my August 2011 trip to St. Louis.
- Harpoon Oak Aged Dunkel (Harpoon Brewery, Boston, MA) – This brew from Harpoon’s 100 Barrel Series is a traditional German lager aged on American Oak.
- Nøgne Winter Ale (Nøgne Ø, Grimstad, Norway) – A strong dark ale (8.5%) brewed specially for the Christmas season; my first Norwegian brew.
- Avery IPA (Avery Brewing Company, Boulder, CO) – “Brewed by hopheads for hopheads!” An excellent IPA and an excellent way to end the session.
I savored pints of the first and last beers on my list. The others I sampled in 4 ounce servings. I love having the option of trying different beers in smaller serving sizes, without having to commit to a pint. Though I would gladly down a pint of all of the beers that I tried at ChurchKey.
Set aside the awesome beer menu, and the best thing about ChurchKey are the people working there. Nowhere have I seen a service staff more enthusiastic than the crew at ChurchKey, and Eric the bartender was amazingly cool. Eric took the time to sample a few of the beers along with me, sharing his impressions and answering all of my questions.
I said it before, and I’ll say it again – I’m heading back to ChurchKey soon!