This is the first post of many where we’ll review the many wonderful brewpubs and beer joints in the DC area. I want to kick off this column with one of my current favorite restaurants in DC: the District Chophouse and Brewery.
Jess and I first went here quite by accident on my birthday in December. We’d been planning to see the Christmas lights on the ellipse and grab some dinner close by, but the rain and cold dashed our plans and we ducked into the Chophouse since it was close to Gallery Place Metro Station. We became instant fans and have been going back regularly ever since.
The Chophouse offers a variety of handcrafted beers, all of them brewed on site. Brewmaster Barrett Lauer’s skill with brewing is apparent in every foamy glass, and his beers are probably the best we’ve had in DC so far. Jess and I will give our impressions on the current lineup below. (The blurb next to the beer’s name is the Brewpub’s way of describing them).
1) Light Lager – “Crisp, Clean & Refreshing” This beer reminds me of Bud Light. It doesn’t have much flavor, although it does have more hops than I expected. It ends with a pleasant wheat flavor but is light in aroma.
2) Amber – “Northwest Style, Generously Hopped” The nose shows a lot of hops and that intensity carries through to the taste. Each sip finishes with sweet toasty malt notes. It has a hint of caramel with a medium mouthfeel.
3) Nut Brown – “Malty with Hints of Chocolate Toffee” Smoky maltiness, not a lot of hops at all. Some chocolaty and light toffee flavors. Roasty and nutty aromas, and the flavor matches the scent.
4) I.P.A. – “American Style India Pale Ale” We think these are Washington or Oregon hops, as they are very prominent in this ale. Malts don’t show well, but this is expected on an American I.P.A. Some hints of lemon shine through the hops.
5) Oatmeal Stout – “Dark, Bold, & Smooth” Very toasty malts, and exceptionally tasty. This stout is extra dark and very smooth. As Jess puts it, it is “as dark as Jason’s soul.” I don’t know how I feel about that.
6) Hefeweizen – “Bavarian Style Wheat Ale” A very good example of a Weiss. This beer is exceptional. (I enjoyed it so much that I ordered a full pint of it after our tasting). Great flavor of citrus with grassy notes and hints of coriander. Possibly the best American Hefeweizen I have had. It is like rolling around in the grass on a sunny day in summer, refreshing and playful.
7) Brewer’s Marker – “American Hopped Pilsner” Unexpectedly hoppy, definitely some northwest hops showing through on this beer. Grapefruit and pine aromas. The flavor is great, hoppy and malty at the same time. Tastes even better than it smells.
8) Bourbon Stout- “Oatmeal Stout Aged in Woodford Reserve Barrels” Buttery texture on the tongue. This is a strong flavored and dark beer. Aromas of molasses and smoke, and flavors of bourbon and smoke. The whiskey flavors shine through in an excellent manner.
9) Velvet – “Slow Pour Amber Ale” Very clean for an Amber, not a lot of extraneous flavors. Light maltiness, light hoppiness, a typical British Amber, and yet very good. Has a strong nutty and toasty flavor.
Due to a very late lunch the day of our last visit we decided to share the appetizer platter as our meals. This is a plate of some of their best appetizers and is a proper size appetizer about six people. We had more than enough to eat and still had leftovers. The sampler came with onion rings, chicken tenders, calamari, extra rare seared tune, BBQ shrimp, and a bit of artichoke dip with tortilla chips.
On most other visits Jess is stuck on their Chop-Chop salad, which has crisp greens, smoked turkey, garbanzo beans, pumpkin seeds, gouda, tomatoes, sun-dried blueberries, and avocado in an herb vinaigrette. Jess, being pescetarian, has it without the turkey. I previously had the 16-ounce Salt Crusted Slow Roasted Prime Rib served with a side of jus and horseradish sauce. I get mine as rare as possible, and this chop was delicious, tender, and perfectly cooked. In short, if you come down for the beer you have to stay for the food. These guys really know what they are doing.
On a side note, the service is also world-class. The servers are attentive and knowledgeable. Our server the other day was Jeffry, who was amazing. We were also visited by Saleem, a great guy who enjoyed talking beer with us and who was amazed that we both finished separate sampler beer flights.
Good Beer Guild Rating for the DC Chophouse and Brewery: