Showing posts with label washington dc. Show all posts
Showing posts with label washington dc. Show all posts

Monday, September 17, 2012

Union Drinking

Some time back in the Spring I had a Skype chat with my best friend. At the time he was living in Kyiv, Ukraine and during the conversation he was drinking his homebrew pale lager which reminded him of Staropramen. Eventually it transpired that he would be back in the States for a few months, he being American, and that we should get together for a lads' weekend in his hometown of Baltimore.

Thus on Friday morning I took my first train ride in the US, to get from Charlottesville to Washington DC, where once he was finished with work for the day we would meet to make our way up to Baltimore and perhaps have a pint or two over the coming days. With several hours to kill in DC before meeting up, I hopped on the Metro (btw - I love public transport, civilised places have public transport) with the intention of going to Churchkey and sitting with my book for a few hours. Having walked for about 20 minutes from the nearest Metro station, I discovered that Churchkey doesn't open until 4pm. It being only 12.30 I headed back to Union Station to see if I could find one of the pubs I had read about. Just an aside, I know far too many pubs that don't open at a reasonable hour like 11am, I am yet to work out why such places are adverse to the capitalist notion of making money.

Having made it back to the Union Station area, I headed in the vague direction that I remembered there being somewhere to drink from Google Maps. I don't have smart phone and so the idea of navigating by phone is something I don't do. Anyway, half an hour of concerted bimbling lead me to The Union Pub, where I sat gazing in wonder at the Devils Backbone Vienna Lager tap in front of me, I had found my place. There I sat, reading the occasional snippet of David Hume's 'Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion' and feeding money into the juke box - if anyone reading this was assaulted by my choice in music - The Smiths, Rammstein, Die Toten Hosen and Gerry and the Pacemakers, then let me apologise.

Spending a few hours sat a bar, with good beer and a good book really is one of my favourite things to do, and I think whenever I head up to DC again, The Union Pub will be my first choice place to go. They have a really good selection of beer, a nice atmosphere and from my experience of one afternoon, excellent staff. I was almost tempted to get my friend to meet me there rather than at Union Station, but as he had said to me earlier in the day, if we met in a pub we would probably never get to Baltimore...

Friday, June 1, 2012

Landlord, landlord!

A quick post today as I am at the Society for Scholarly Publishing annual meeting. Last night though I went back to Church Key with some of my colleagues for dinner.

Highlight of the dinner was very simple, bottled Timothy Taylor Landlord, though the J.W. Lees Harvest 2011 aged in Lagavulin casks was also rather nice. There are many times when I wish there was an American brewer making English style pale ale with as much panache and flavour as Landlord, especially when paying more than $10 for a bottle. As a treat though, it was worth every drop of the amber nectar.

When I get back to Charlottesville tonight, I can see a few bottles of St Bernardus in my future, and possibly finally tucking into Evan Rail's homebrew...

Friday, May 4, 2012

In Excelsis!

As I mentioned on Wednesday, I spent a chunk of this week up in Washington DC at a conference and that I was hoping to find a good pub to while away a few hours after everything work connected was done with for the day. Eventually then a colleague and I jumped in a taxi and headed to Churchkey.

I had heard mention of Churchkey from various sources. Having climbed the stairs and had my ID checked, I stood in wonder at the bar. I barely noticed the 50 something tap handles crowding the wall behind the bar, for there, at the very heart of it all were handpumps, five of them. Yes, you read that correctly 5 handpumps in an American pub. Sure, Charlottesville has a couple of places with a solitary handpump but having a choice of cask ales was magical, perhaps even mythical. I have to admit though that I can only remember 2  of the available beers, because they were the two I drank, Williams Bros Midnight Sun Porter and a beer called Ape Must Never Kill Ape, a 3.3% abv beer from Oliver Breweries up in Baltimore.

I am planning a trip to Baltimore with my best friend in August.He is from the city and when we were flatmates in Prague in 2000 we drank shed loads of beer on the balcony of our flat while he told me that one day he would show me his home town. Suffice to say that the Pratt Street Ale House, home of Oliver Breweries is very much on our list of places to get slaughtered in. Quick side note, sampling dozens of weird and wonderful beers is all good and well, but sitting with your best mate getting totalled is the pinnacle of the drinking world. Anyway, the AMNKA is a session strength Belgian inspired dark ale, which according to the commercial description is made with:

"English pale malt, dark crystal, chocolate, carafa 3, Belgian biscuit and caramel vienna. Bittered with Kent Goldings and Czech Saaz, finished with Fuggles and German Tettnanger then fermented with Belgian DeKonick yeast and cold conditioned with vanilla beans"

Absolutely packed with flavour this beer is, a veritable melange of coffee, chocolate, toffee, grass and so many other flavours that you need a good few pints to really examine it well. I didn't have my note book so I had a good few pints just because it was so damned good. Another silly little aside, the glasses at Churchkey are 16oz nonic kind of things, which just look weird to my proper pint trained eye.

We sat at the bar for a good few hours, watching ice hockey, drinking beer and talking about work and life in general. We chatted with random strangers at the bar, naturally plugging this here blog, and if they come back and read this post then I hope they took the time to learn a bit more about the Scots language.

Churchkey seems to be finding that most elusive of balances, at least in my experience, of being a beer bar which keeps the tickers happy and a pub where regular drinkers feel welcome, and they have simply excellent bar staff. What a great way to waste several hours.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Hoping for the Unusual

I am in Washington DC today, at an industry conference for the company I work for. There is a rumour that once today's activities are done and dusted with, I will have the evening free, which naturally means finding a bar to park in for a few hours and indulge in some amber nectar.

A possible venue for said bum parking and pints is Churchkey, a place I have heard much about and am eager to peruse the apparently extensive list, here's hoping for some of the following:









Just a quick aside, we went to a restaurant called Cityzen last night, and they had Gaffel K?lsch which was nice. Out of interest, does anyone know how you powder olive oil?

Beyond January

Dry January is over, but my beer fast continues. Well, it continues until Friday. As a general rule I only drink at the weekend, thus my win...

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