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The Discerning Beer Drinker’s Guide to Winter Restaurant Week 2018

The Winter Edition of Restaurant Week in the District is upon us. From January 22 through 28, you can enjoy three-course, prix-fixe meals at over 100 of the best restaurants in the DMV, all priced at $22 for lunch and brunch and $35 for dinner. 

But, as a discerning craft beer drinker, we know you wouldn’t reserve your Restaurant Week table without checking out the beer list first. So to that end, you’re in luck: Because I’ve done it for you.

  • The Sovereign. Located down a candle-lit alleyway in bustling Georgetown, this cozy Belgian restaurant--also from ChurchKey and Bluejacket’s Greg Engert--boasts easily the best Belgian beer menu in the city. You’ll find around 50 taps and 300 bottles of the stuff from standout Belgian brewers like De Ranke and De La Senne. A few U.S. breweries are represented as well--just don’t expect any IPAs (unless you count De Ranke XX Bitter, and you should).

  • Arsenal at Bluejacket. The only thing you need to know is that the tots at Bluejacket are so good, they named a beer after them. In all seriousness, as one of the only breweries in the District to serve food—and one of the best hop-slingers in the area, as far as I’m concerned—the Arsenal at Bluejacket is a strong start to your Restaurant Week beer experience.

  • Birch and Barley. Don’t look so shocked that the sister restaurant beneath ChurchKey, the award-winning D.C. beer bar, has an incredible tap and bottle list. With several Aslin and The Veil beers currently on offer, plus an always-rotating selection of some of the best beers in the country, you cannot go wrong. (Hint: Johann Buys A Broat is well worth the 9.4% ABV.)

  • Belga Cafe. From the same chef and owner of B Too, Belga unsurprisingly boasts a strong (and much longer) list of Belgians and American craft brews alike. It’s the Belgian beer equivalent of a fancy Italian restaurant where the wine list is a small book.
    Our suggested pairing: The “Gehakt Broodje Met Witloof (my Mom's veal meatloaf, braised red cabbage, garlic mashed potatoes, old fashioned mustard sauce) with Ommegang Abbey Ale

  • Brasserie Beck. Another Belgian spot where you come for the mussels and stay for the impressive Belgian tap list, including Saison Dupont and Gulden Draak on draught. The bottle list features over 100 beers from breweries like Allagash, Unibroue, Chimay, St. Bernardus, and much more. 
    Our suggested pairing: Pierogies (Amish cheddar, Yukon gold potato, apple choucroute, crème fraiche, mustard vinaigrette) with Saison Dupont Vielle Provision

  • Roofer’s Union. In the heart of Adams Morgan, Roofers Union is an awesome spot to enjoy a burger and a beer alongside some great views of D.C (especially from their third floor deck). On tap are at least two dozen crafts from “Light and Refreshing” to “Malty Dark to Heavy Brooding” plus a few cask ales. The “Cellar” menu has more than 80 bottles of really interesting stuff, for instance a raspberry and basil wild ale from Urban Family in Washington State, a curry-spiced beer from Italy, and a few dozen from showcased breweries like Almanac, Deschutes, and Avery.

  • District Commons. Beyond a tap list that includes a lot of local and national standbys, including some great crafts like Old Ox's Black Ox Rye Porter and Lonerider's Sweet Josie Brown, District Commons has a full page of bottles and cans in every style. Don't forget to head next door to Burger Tap Shake for a boozy milkshake dessert.
    Our suggested pairing: Shrimp & Grits (sautéed Gulf shrimp, country ham, holy trinity) with Evolution Lot 3 IPA

  • The Partisan. From the owners of Churchkey and Bluejacket, this place has an awesome tap list featuring about 20 or so brews across the range of styles, including tasting size and full pour options. Highlights include Maine's "Lunch" IPA, a "Double Espresso Hornswoggler" from The Veil and a sour red ale with plum and cardamom from Upland. Be aware that drafts rotate frequently.

  • Doi Moi. The beer list at Doi Moi really surprised me. Whether a Dry Hopped Pilsner from Ol' Factory, Stillwater's Sake Saison, Modern Times’ Hoppy Tropical Wheat, or a variety of Laotian and Thai beers to boot, the tap list at Doi Moi was clearly chosen to pair with their Southeast Asian cuisine. 

  • B Too. Serving authentic Belgian cuisine, B Too’s tap list features an impressive selection of Belgian abbey ales, lambics, and more alongside interesting waffles and a variety of mussels.
    Our suggested pairing: Wilde champignon wafel (wild mushroom waffle with Parmesan creme and mushroom sauce) with Sly Fox Saison Vos

  • DBGB Kitchen and Bar. DBGB offers a healthy dozen or so beers on tap, with most beyond the “District standards,” including an Austrian Pilsner, a German Hefeweizen, and a handful of interesting beers you may not know from breweries you do like DC Brau's Alpha Domina Mellis or Victory’s Sour Tripel.
    Our suggested pairing: Cookies and cream sundae (chocolate and Oreo ice creams, waffle bowl, Oreo pieces, fudge, chantilly) with Evil Twin Aun Mas Jesus

  • Homestead DC. Homestead offers a handful of local craft beers (and ciders), most notably a "Quadrahop" Belgian Tripel from Hardywood, an Imperial Double IPA from Monocacy, and Port City's Oscura dark lager. But what I appreciated most about their list is the option to create custom flights of the tap selections.
    Our suggested pairing: Catfish Lafayette (local blue catfish, fried or broiled with Cajun compound butter, topped with rock shrimp and tasso ham cajun cream sauce with stone ground grits and sweet and sour collard greens) with Fair Winds Quayside Kolsch

  • Sixth Engine. Sixth Engine’s draft list is a small-but-mighty variety of mostly local crafts and a few more interesting beers, including Firestone Walker's "Mocha Merlin" and Oliver's “Coventry Cream Ale” on nitro. They, too, have a sizable can and bottle list, and they’re one of the few places in D.C. where you can reliably find New York’s ISO:FT favorite, Other Half.

  • Penn Commons. Penn Commons has an extensive beer list with at least 30 beers on tap (mostly familiar local and national craft brews) in nearly every style, plus another 30 cans and bottles.)
    Our suggested pairing: Potato Gnocchi (butternut Squash, mushrooms, maple sage brown butter) with DC Brau Citizen 

  • Estadio. The beer list at this Spanish tapas spot is rather short, but where else can you get a rosemary honey ale from Valencia or a double bock from Granada?

What else is on your Restaurant Week radar? Let us know at @dcbeer! As more menus are released, we'll update with more suggested pairings!

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