Last week I had a great time visiting some of my friends in Washington DC. Naturally I wanted to visit a brewery. Most breweries were only open for tours on Saturday, but Capitol City Brewery has a restaurant right downtown where I could get dinner and a couple beers.
If you go to this place during happy hour on a weekday – it will probably be crowded and loud. The plus side is that it’s because appetizers are cheaper during happy hour. The place is also big enough to accommodate it. We were told our wait would be 20 minutes and we only waited about 5. We sat down at our table, and our server promptly brought us one of those appetizers everyone gets. But here it’s not chips, salsa, or bread; it’s totally pretzels and mustard… which is awesome, & obviously respectable for every brew pub. If I find one without pretzels available on the menu from now on, you will hear about it.
The first beer I tried was their Pale Rider Pale Ale. If you like Pale Ale or IPA, do not order this. It has the usual Pale Ale medium weight, but just no flavor and no complexity at all. I usually like to let you know what food to have with your beer, or if you should have it before, after, or during dinner. If you have to have the Pale Ale for yourself, please just order it during dinner so that at least you have your food to eat between sips.
After finishing my Pale Ale as quickly as possible I tried their Prohibition Porter. It was a lot lighter than I expected but it has a creamy oatmeal malty flavor. You could totally have this for a beer during or after dinner. I wouldn’t recommend it be your first beer.
After the porter, I asked out waiter what their best beer was – he said he didn’t drink beer, like at all. He didn’t like it. I ordered the Rye Saison with no help from that guy. It was good: Hoppy, grape fruity, and full. It tasted exactly like I expected. It was a blessing a curse – nothing terrible, but nothing creative.
On a scale from “Beer I drink in a College Basement” to “Creative Small town Wisconsin Brewery,” it’s a 5, or C, meaning it’s entirely average at all counts. If you’re going to DC, there are lots of pubs that have great beer selections of beer made in other parts of the county; I would check out those.
Things to Google before you go (to make your DC conversations & experience better):
House of Cards (be prepared to discuss which episode you’re on, and whether or not the British version is better)
Snowquester (if you’re from the Midwest, you’ll want to make fun of some people for this)
DC Brunch (brunch is the best ever in this city – you’ll want to experience it)
The White House & the US Capitol Building*
Here’s where you can check out what’s on draft now: http://www.capcitybrew.com/seasonalbrews.php
Follow them on Twitter: @CapCityBrewers
*This seems obvious, but a lot of tourists take pictures in front of the Capitol Building and caption them “I’m at the White House!” They’re not. Just make sure you know the difference so you don’t embarrass yourself.