The first night of Birch and Barley / ChurchKey was much anticipated. People (us included) have been going nuts for info on the opening of this beer bar. Good thing it opened on a Thursday as I hear the crowds on Saturday were really out the door. Needless to say, after our initial walkthrough and then our return on Thursday’s opening night, we were both happy and horrified that Birch and Barley ChurchKey exists. It’s such beer nerd heaven that we were insanely pleased with the tap list as well as just the future possibilities the place might hold for us. But we were equally scared as a few of the DCBeer crew live a little too close to the bar and we fear that our nightly visits might ruin both our finances and our rock hard abs. (All photos by Mehan and PJ.)

Opening Night Crowd -Mehan

We sampled a bunch of beers including the Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout, My Antonia–the continuously hopped imperial pilsner brewed as a collaboration between Dogfish Head and Birra del Borgo brewery outside of Rome–which tasted like a hoppy lemon, and a oak-keg aged Schneider Edelweise which I got tart, banana and a touch of vanilla from but not as much as I expected for a beer stored and tapped on oak.


Guessing-from the left:My Antonia, Double Bastard, Paradox Isle of Arran -Mehan

We also had The Ola Dubh 40, Rogue’s Double Bastard and the Brew Dog Paradox Isle of Arran on cask which were all pretty nice beers. The Ola Dubh 40 old ale had a wonderful subtle whiskey flavor, which as an American I was initially disappointed that the beer wasn’t bashing me over the head, but it was infinitely drinkable and smooth from the cask. It was an interesting contrast to the Arran which was a super strong and full flavored imperial stout aged on whiskey barrels as well. I really did prefer the Ola Dubh and beers of its flavor style over the bigger harsher beers–at least from the cask.

Click below for more pics of the night….