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The Brickskeller


DonRocks
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I haven't been to the Brickskeller in years, but have tilted many a bottle in times past.  Has anyone been here recently?  Also, with such a large list of beers, is freshness ever an issue for the more obscure choices?

Cheers (for real!),

Rocks.

P.S.  Anyone tried the mussels? :-)

I have indeed been to Briskskeller; considering I live next door, it's a wonder I don't have a charge account there. Or get greeted by "Hey, Baltika girl!" - the only Russian beer on the list, I believe.

I have been known to toss back a few fruity beers. In particular, I recall one cherry-flavored and tropical fruit dealio...I believe, made in Holland.

Oh, yeah. The food is vile. Also, zero romance in the air.

Edited by Nadya (log)

Resident Twizzlebum

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...

Or get greeted by "Hey, Baltika girl!" - the only Russian beer on the list, I believe.

...

Not the only, but probably the best, for better or worse. Let's hear it for Baltika 6 and Baltika 9!

Hmm. Perhaps I should go tonight. It's been a while, and I haven't had a good stout in ages.

By George, that sounds like a....Brickskeller Run!

Also, with such a large list of beers, is freshness ever an issue for the more obscure choices?

I've never had a problem with freshness, but they have definate problems with availibility. You are almost guaranteed to order something that they're out of at least once over the course of an evening. Certainly a few at your table will, anyway. I'll betcha a sixth or so of the beers on the list aren't in the fridge! Ok, probably not THAT bad, but it happens more than you'd think, and it's always frustrating! There are also minor problems with Waitron/Bar communications. Never sure who is to blame for these, but there will be at least one "Wait, this is the Steelhead...I wanted the Scotch Porter" over the course of the night.

Edited by Chef Shogun (log)

Matt Robinson

Prep for dinner service, prep for life! A Blog

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We used to go quite a lot, mostly to the upstairs room with the DJ, as opposed to the downstairs room with the crappy jukebox. Never had a freshness problem with anything, but they were frequently out of my first choice, whatever it was. And it's one of few places that reliably had selections from Der Dolle Brouwers - usually the Oerbier and Stille Nacht.

The beer tasting were excellent but we haven't been to one in years.

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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I've been living in DC for just over 4 years, and I've been going to the Brickskeller regularly, though less so in the last year for the simple reason that the menu of beers has gone from an impressive periodical-sized list of brews, to a small pamphlet of 8 or so pages. As recent at three years ago, you could go to the Brick and expect to and find the best beers from throughout the country. They regularly carried superlative (but hard to get here) beers such as Deschutes in the Northwest, Schell's from the Midwest, and Smuttynose from the Northeast. You could also expect to find a great international selection, including seasonals such as Aass Christmas Bock (one of my favorites). Crucially, if the beer was on the list, it was probably in stock. These days, the selection has dwindled, listed beers are regularly out of stock, and the focus is clearly on the Belgium beers--not that that's a bad thing, but there's plenty of places in this city to get Belgium beer. There is NOWHERE to find excellent brews from right here in America--where, in my mind, some seriously creative brewing is going on. The owners of the Brick have interests in RFD, and it seems they have shifted their attention to that project. Which is a shame, because space at the Brickskeller is so much more drink-beer-at-able. I'll admit that the Brick (in conjunction with RFD) has done a fantastic job promoting our "local" hometown brewing heroes over at Dogfish head (always available in several styles), but there are other exceptional beers that deserve recognition. One beer that has been leaving the shelves like crazy in the past couple years is Bell's from Kalamazoo Michigan. For a short time, even Brickskeller carried some Bell's brew, they even invited Larry Bell to host a tasting (oh my god it was amazing), and over at RFD there is sometimes a tap of Bells, and if you go to the men's room, there's even a quote by Larry himself, painted beautifully on the wall. Now, go to Brickskeller today and ask if they have one bottle of Bells. Nope. They don't. I just checked. Well, ok, that's Bells. But that's a beer the Brick has given a lot of life to in the past, but doesn't anymore. There's plenty of others that have fallen off the list, and I'm skeptical they will return.

For my money, if I want decent bottled beer, I visit Chevy Chase liquors for good but not great (but best in the area) selection of brew. Then I loop around the beltway to the German Gourmet in Falls Church for some truly incredible bratwurst and kraut. Then I invite over some from friends for a night of commiserating about the poor, poor state of affairs over at the Brickskeller.

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Annoying rules - "You're not allowed to stand there!" (Mind you, this was not in front of a service bar."

"I'm sorry, we're out of that."

Bar stools that are bolted to the floor. I hate that!

"I'm sorry, we're out of that."

An ego-driven owner who thinks he's da shit about beer because his bar sells more varieties than anyone else in this town.

"I'm sorry, we're out of that."

Food that's worse than Chef Geoff's (I'd never thought that possible!). Even RFD, their supposed "beer dining palace" serves garbage.

"I'm sorry, we're out of that."

Rocks, you haven't been there in years. Either have I. We've got great streaks going. Don't blow yours now!

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"I'm sorry, we're out of that."

I've been there two maybe three times in my life (all this year). I can't tell ya why either.

That should be their slogan.

We can hardly wait to tell you that everything is all gone.

...

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Food that's worse than Chef Geoff's (I'd never thought that possible!).  Even RFD, their supposed "beer dining palace" serves garbage.

Worse food than Chef Geoff's? Wow -- now that's really scraping the bottom of the barrel (no pun intended).

Edited by Minister of Drink (log)

"Whenever someone asks me if I want water with my Scotch, I say, 'I'm thirsty, not dirty' ". Joe E. Lewis

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There was a time in my life, granted it was 7-8 years ago, where I was part of a group who hung out there quite regularly. Loved their hard cider and lemonade selections. Celebrated a b-day there, if I remember correctly.

The last time I was there was a few years ago with a friend who had just returned from the Peace Corps. He was craving Bolivian beer at the Brick was the only place in the area where he could find it.

True Heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic.

It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost,

but the urge to serve others at whatever cost. -Arthur Ashe

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Okay. It is above Chef Geoff's. But it has been several years since I've eaten anything there. I learned early on that Brickskeller should be used only as directed....which was for drinking. Things might have changed with what comes forth from the kitchen. (But I'm not counting on it.)

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The Bricky has long been in the post service arsenal at Nectar. At least 37.98% of all listed beers are out of stock, the food is terrible and last time I was there I was greeted at the podium by two rats, which would have been fine had they been properly trained to show me to my table. so why do we still go 2,3,5 times a week? The beers they do have in stock rock, they have the second best jukebox in town, less punk-ass college kids than most joints, and most important its on my way home. What can I say, I'm lazy.

Word caution: If you do feel compelled to eat here I suggest finding something that comes out of the fryer. The gentlemen who meet me at the door may well like hang'n in the kitchen but I doubt they have the nerve to play bobbing for perogies.

Jarad C. Slipp, One third of ???

He was a sweet and tender hooligan and he swore that he'd never, never do it again. And of course he won't (not until the next time.) -Stephen Patrick Morrissey

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Even after the opening of RFD and the attendant shift in attention, there’s still no place better than The Brickskeller to sit with friends for a good four or five hours. There are enough tables available that there’s rarely a wait (and tables are the way to go here – the bar’s far too small and in too tight a space), if you steer toward some of the american craft brews in 12oz bottles the prices are very gentle, and if you get a good server it’s going to be a great night. The server’s often the issue – this place has more staff turnover than anywhere else I’ve seen. But they do train them all to do a proper Paulaner pour.

The constant beer outages are a problem, but I don’t think it’s any better or worse than before RFD opened. You’ve got to order with a plan B, C, and D in mind, but if you’ve got a good server they’ll come back with replacement suggestions for the one they’re out of – much better than playing a 20 minute game of Beer of Fortune with the bad servers. I’ve got the number on speed dial – now I ask if they’ve got Brigand before heading over.

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When forced to eat at the Brickskeller, there's only one choice to be made: the Brickburger, which comes topped with bacon, fried salami, cheese and cole slaw. I think it's still only $6.

bx23$qa has it exactly right-- the beer selection has really deteriorated, especially in the US department (how can they not have any Bell's?). The downslide seems to have coincided with the opening of RFD. RFD's selection isn't all that it could be either, though they do have some interesting things on tap from time to time (currently they have St. Bernardus 8, which is insanely good).

Chris Sadler

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  • 1 month later...

We went there last evening, and, well, it sucked. I don't know how else to put it. To say that service was slow would be an understatement. I don't fault the server, though; I blame management for keeping the place so understaffed.

After finally being served my third or fourth beer choice (here's a hint: don't aim for anything too exotic because they won't have it in stock), we ordered some food. The last time I was there, the fries were much tastier, and looked hand-cut. These were clearly out of the freezer, and undercooked. The onion rings were among the worst I've ever tasted. To their credit, the burger was awesome.

The Brickskeller is a great example of an establishment that is clearly resting on its laurels. Before moving here, friends and acquaintances had elevated this place to near-mythical status. Perhaps it was much better in times gone by. I do love the atmosphere in the basement, and it might be a great place to spend a few hours drinking beers with friends. That is, as long as you aren't too picky about which beers you'll be drinking.

Love,

Mr. Roger Troutman, who enjoys food and beverages.

CHAIR, INTERNATIONAL DINING RESEARCH INSTITUTE

WASHINGTON, D.C.

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i've been told that their selection declines as the year comes to an end, and best at the start of the year due to tax regulations (something about not wanting to end the year with a lot of stock in order to reduce tax liability).

whether this is true, or just an excuse made by loyal fans of the bar i know not.

it's okay, but could be great if only they could do something about the bad food (some decent pub/beer garden eats would be nice).

b

arsenal rule
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i've been told that their selection declines as the year comes to an end, and best at the start of the year due to tax regulations (something about not wanting to end the year with a lot of stock in order to reduce tax liability). 

whether this is true, or just an excuse made by loyal fans of the bar i know not.

it's okay, but could be great if only they could do something about the bad food (some decent pub/beer garden eats would be nice).

b

Lets be honest. The Skeller is not what it was in days of yore. It has devolved into a more "frat house", "pig drunkery" sort of establishment. I for one am all for an establishment like this to exist, where else can we get Chang Malt Liquor, I mean a malt liquor from Thailand??? No place else has it. Maybe we should be looking at the Skeller for what it is. Would I eat there? Probably not, would I try and recapture the beer fueled haze of my sordid youth? Of course. Just don't touch the floor or the walls and it will be ok.

PS- Had a really obscure Belgian offering about three years ago, it was really, reallly bad, and at 750mL a lot to stomach.

If he is thin, I will probably dine poorly. If he is both thin and sad, the only hope is in flight.”

Fernand Point

Cirrcle Bistro, Potato Peeler

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I will say it again. BYOF bars. Change the law. DA is a great asset to Washington, DC drinkers. Why should he worry about food and kitchens?

Jake Parrott

Ledroit Brands, LLC

Bringing new and rare spirits to Washington DC.

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I for one am all for an establishment like this to exist, where else can we get Chang Malt Liquor, I mean a malt liquor from Thailand???

Oddly enough, the bog standard Singha on offer in any Thai restaurant is usually also labeled as malt liquor rather than beer, I guess because of its sneaky alcohol content. I like the name of the brewery behind it, too. Boon Rawd. Sounds like an exotic curse.

"Mine goes off like a rocket." -- Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, Feb. 16.

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I for one am all for an establishment like this to exist, where else can we get Chang Malt Liquor, I mean a malt liquor from Thailand???

Oddly enough, the bog standard Singha on offer in any Thai restaurant is usually also labeled as malt liquor rather than beer, I guess because of its sneaky alcohol content. I like the name of the brewery behind it, too. Boon Rawd. Sounds like an exotic curse.

Now straying off topic...but does Singha contain no hops? Because I think then it has to be labelled Malt Liquor regardless of alcohol content.

Jake Parrott

Ledroit Brands, LLC

Bringing new and rare spirits to Washington DC.

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