The pursuit of hoppiness

The Bier Baron

1523 22nd St., NW

In 2010, world famous tavern The Brickseller closed – reopening days later as The Bier Baron. While The Brickseller held the Guinness Book of World Records’ title for the largest number of bottled beers – 1,032 – The Bier Baron boasts more than 500 beers, with brews heralding from D.C. to Latvia and countries in between. The Dupont Circle bar has an overwhelming menu with rare ales and porters, and this exclusivity is a large part of its charm. With brick walls and bar stools crafted from barrels, the atmosphere is cozy and relaxing. Prices are reasonable, with a wide selection of drafts and bottles at $5-$7. Daily happy hours boast any draft beer plus a burger for $10. The menu is well-balanced between American craft beers and international specialties – including many Belgian, German and British brews. If you’re a fan of IPAs or wheat ales, the selection here highlights some of the best American breweries, including Goose Island Brewery of Chicago and Allagash Brewing Company of Portland, Maine. You can also try three selections from DC Brau, the District’s first brewery, which opened in 2011. As for the crowd, the bar typically sees a mix of younger and older patrons.

Media Credit: Franics Rivera | Photo Editor
Dupont Circle bar The Bier Baron boasts a menu of more than 500 different beers, brewed in countries spanning the globe. Daily happy hours and exclusive rare brews make this bar a must for any budding beer connoisseur.

Churchkey

1337 14th St., NW

If you’re looking for an upscale bar that offers beer of the finest quality, ChurchKey is your place. This Logan Circle establishment has more than 500 options with an emphasis on exclusive international beers, particularly Belgian brews. At $8-$10 a pint, they’re not cheap. But you can’t put a price on the chance to try some of the world’s best beers, such as Brasserie de la Senne of Belgium or Kissmeyer of Denmark. ChurchKey’s atmosphere reflects the quality of its beer, as the bar caters mostly to professionals and the Capitol Hill crowd. Modern, industrial décor completes the bar’s formal feel. Its popular happy hour runs until 7 p.m. and seating fills quickly. If you can’t make it to happy hour, check out one of the bar’s unveiling events – when it introduces a new draft beer and offers specials.

Meridian Pint

3400 11th St., NW

Meridian Pint draws both a typical college crowd and older beer lovers alike. A short walk from the Columbia Heights Metro stop, the bar offers 24 draft beers and an extensive selection of bottles. Unlike other bars, all of the draft beers are American, and patrons can sample selections from several local breweries. Options include Firestone Walker Brewing Co., an up-and-coming West Coast brewery, 3 Stars Brewing Company, located in the District and Mad Fox Brewing Company of Falls Church, Va. Prices range from $5-$10 for both pints and bottles. While the upstairs has a nicer dining room, the real fun is in the basement, where pool tables and a bar that stretches across the room create a lively, social atmosphere. Each Tuesday night at 11 p.m. Meridian Pint cleans its draft lines and offers $3 pints. It’s a bit of a hole in the wall, but the wide selection of American beer, low prices and the young crowd make the trip to Columbia Heights worthwhile.

Capitol City Brewing Company

1100 New York Ave., NW

“It’s all about the beer!” is Capitol City Brewing Company’s creed. This Metro Center bar offers about 10 signature brews, including rotating seasonal varieties. Out of all the District’s breweries, Capitol City has one of the most diverse lineups of original beer, including amber ales, pale ales, porters and stouts. Favorites include the Capitol Kolsch – a German-style golden ale – and Amber Waves – an American red ale. Pricing is reasonable, with pints going for $5-$7 regularly and $2-$3 during happy hour – from 4 to 7 p.m. Since the bar brews its own beer on site, the food is tailored to complement the beers’ signature flavors. Plenty of ale is used during food preparation as well, for options including beer-battered onion rings and porter-infused chili. The atmosphere at Capitol City is casual, welcoming a mix of professionals, tourists and a younger crowd. It’s a versatile bar for drinks, dinner or just watching the game.

Birreria Paradiso

3282 M St., NW

When it comes to pizza and beer, Adams Morgan bars and Jumbo Slice most immediately come to mind. But Birreria Paradiso, located in the basement of Georgetown’s Pizzeria Paradiso, offers a classier take on the combination and is a must-visit. It offers a rotating selection of high-quality draft beers and more than 200 bottled choices. Prices here can be steep, with most drafts going for $6-$10, so try to catch happy hour on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 5 to 7 p.m. All drafts are half-off, so try unique beers like Weyerbacher Autumnfest and Southern Tier Harvest Ale at an unbeatable price. The selection of drafts is perfect for fall, with nine out of the 16 beers on tap being autumn or pumpkin specialties. There’s plenty of Neapolitan pizza to complement your drinks. But because Birreria Paradiso is tucked in the basement of a restaurant, it is not as socially dynamic as other bars along M Street.

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