DCBeer decided to “Have a Beer with” Brian Kruglak, the bar manager of Bourbon Adams Morgan and the upcoming Jack Rose. Here’s what he had to say about his beginnings with craft brews, his plans for Bourbon, and a few details about Jack Rose.
How do you market a liquor-themed bar called “Bourbon” to DC craft beer lovers? Brian Kruglak, the newly hired beer manager of Bourbon in Adams Morgan, has the answer: embrace Bourbon’s identity and fuse it with craft beer. I caught up with Brian at Great Lakes’s 1st DC tapping of their Conway’s Irish Ale to chat about how he (like the rest of us) became hooked on craft beer, his vision for Bourbon, and a few new details about the ever-secretive plans for Jack Rose.
It took a European road trip to get Brian hooked. He self-admittedly drank mostly Natty Boh (National Bohemian for you fancy folks out there), and thought that’s all beer had to offer. Then he went to Europe with a buddy…and got Trippel-ed. The Belgian Trippels won him over to craft beer for life. He returned to the American mothership to dive into our domestic breweries’ versions of this Belgian strain: New Belgian’s Skinny Dip, Allagash, and Flying Dog’s Raging Bitch. At Brian’s home, you’ll find a West-Coast style porter a month away from completion – his first serious homebrew experiment.
Hired a month ago from Bread & Brew, Brian hopes to make a name for Bourbon in the DC craft beer community. Bourbon’s beer menu currently averages 11 bottle offerings and 8 drafts, and Brian rotates them often for repeat customers. He keeps his menu filled with American crafts, with a growing number of mid-Atlantic brews like Duck Rabbit and, keeping with the theme, bourbon-aged brews. And the best part about it (what might separate Bourbon’s offerings from other medium-sized beer offerings in the area): the draft beer is cheap. $2 off happy hour drafts, with the majority of them at $3 – and all of them are interesting, creative craft brews. Unlike many other DC establishments, Bourbon’s stylish environment can still leave your wallet in good shape.
Bourbon AM's 2nd floor bar….sophisticated
Brian is bringing more creativity to Bourbon with upcoming events as well. Every Wednesday, Bourbon breaks out the “Hump Day Collection.” The brewer (that’s Brian) joins Bourbon’s bartender and chef to “pair” (or rather, since it’s the internet and I can do this sort of thing, I’ll make up a new word: to “thrice”) 3 brews with 3 bourbons and 3 foods. Craft beer-lovers are often bourbon-lovers, and who doesn’t love great food? So why not thrice them together??!! Building on his experience at Bread & Brew and developing contacts with DC beer reps, Brian also hopes to introduce a “Get Stoned” night with creative offerings from Stone Brewing Company, metal music, and other stone-themed paraphernalia. (Sorry readers, no drugs at “Get Stoned” – this is DC, not California.)
As beer manager, Brian also spilt a few, much-cherished details about the upcoming opening of Jack Rose, the brainchild of Bourbon owner Bill Thomas. Named after a popular 20s/30s-era cocktail, Jack Rose will open sometime just before or after the new year, first with a soft opening followed by a full-blown operation. Bill is finishing up the property now, an old boxing gym at 18th and Florida on the south end of Adams Morgan. DC, it’s going to be SICK – I’ll put my name on that. Three floors: the basement for craft beer lovers, the main floor for the bourbon/scotch crowd, and the rooftop for the most decadent, classy cocktails and carousing you can drum up. Jack Rose will be imaginative; it will cater to all DC lovers of fine alcohol, including us beer fiends; and, best of all, the staff will be primed and knowledgeable about their specialty. But keep guessing about any other details. Even the Jack Rose website is meant to create more, not less curiosities. Check back with DCBeer for details when it opens.
Brian: Thanks for taking the time to chat and Have a Beer With us.
DCBeer-iverse: What got you hooked on craft beer? Are you a closet bourbon-lover as well? Who else do you want us to Have a Beer With? Can you use “to thrice” in a sentence today?