Saturday, October 24, 2009

Opening night at Birch & Barley

Birch & Barley/Churchkey Beer Manager Greg Engert climbs a ladder behind the bar at Churchkey, to gain access to the three refrigerated keg rooms located on a balcony over the pub.

Birch & Barley/Churchkey
, Washington DC's newest beer bar and restaurant, opened its doors at 5:45 Thursday afternoon. The line to get in snaked around a couple of city blocks, at 14th St. and Rhode Island Avenue, NW.

Your friendly neighborhood caskman was there to enjoy the beers (500 different bottles 50 different draughts, 5 cask ales), and was impressed into volunteer cask service. Gladly!

Tapping a firkin (2)

After helping out, I enjoyed pulls from two casks:
  • Olah Dubh: a dark ale from Harveistoun Brewery in Scotland, called Old Engine Oil, that has been aged before being cask-conditioned in casks of 40 year old Highland Park Scotch Whisky.
  • Stone Brewing's Double Bastard
Physically impressive, the restaurant —floor level Birch & Barley, seating 90, with a few seats at the bar, and the less formal upstairs beer bar Churchkey (130 capacity) — makes a strong beer statement for Washington, D.C.

The Beer Organ
In Birch and Barley, the downstairs dining room: Copper tubing house beer lines carrying 50 beer draught lines beer from two stories up, looking very much like the pipes of a church organ.


  1. "Churchkey"--lovely name for a beer bar.

  2. I remember when it used to be traditional to include a venue's address when writing about it's grand opening. Not that it isn't easily google-able, but still....

  3. Anonymous:

    Thanks for catching that. I've corrected the story to supply the 'traditional' hyperlink. By the way, in my story posted just the day before, I DID supply both the physical and web addresses. Here again:
    1337 14th Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 2005.

    Thanks for reading.


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