Last month, Silver Spring’s Denizens Brewing Company dropped a new release on the local market. No, it didn’t come in a bottle or a keg. It came on a plate…from a kitchen…inside their brewpub. The new kitchen, serving a menu under the heading “seasonal, shareable, made for beer,” opened Wednesday, October 28.
Since opening in the summer 2014, Denizens had been teamed with BBQ Bus, which handled all of the food service at the brewery and allowed the fledgling brewing operation to get up and running.
“Here at DBC, we care deeply about what goes into our beer and how you experience it, and we focus on the creative balance of interesting hops, malts, and yeast above all else,” notes Denizens’ website. “We’re excited to bring that same passion and creativity to our kitchen and your plate.”
The menu features a number of dishes created with beers and their inputs. For example, the popcorn is coated with butter using Lowest Lord ESB, thyme, and honey. Additionally, the bread board, featuring housemade pretzels, includes a cheese deep augmented with Mildly Soba mild, and the dessert menu features a gelee made with Ponch’s Porter. Denizens promises that more food and beer interactions are coming.
Other offerings include twists on standard brewpub fare like wings, burgers, and flatbreads, though overall the menu bends toward the healthy by including grilled broccolini, seared cauliflower, and roasted kabocha squash dip.
Denizens notes that the kitchen will allow the brewery to expand its event offerings. Both “beer dinners thrown in a brewery by a brewery” and “dinner specials paired with new seasonal beer releases” are alluded to on the website.
Not everyone is pleased by the change. In the comments section (remember, never read the comments section) of a recent Bethesda Magazine article on the new kitchen, no-doubt-erudite Denizens fans chimed (if you can chime negatively) in.
“They just lost a customer, WTF is on their brain?” notes commenter WTFITBS. “This was the only place to get decent bbq in Silver Spring. Now I can grilled broccoli with a veggie burger? Who complained about this in the first place? Greasy/comfort foods compliment beer. Veggies compliment water.”
Fellow comment-dweller DG agreed. “Why no hearty entree options? It looks like half a lunch menu or a small plates menu plus a couple salads & sandwiches. And toast? BBQ bus was tasty and filled me up….We have experience in the restaurant business, and I fear this isn't the right vibe, or at LEAST not enough choices for a filling 6-beer meal.”
In other news, six beers generally do not constitute a meal, and certainly no one has ever been made full through the consumption of burgers or pasta.
Regardless of the dissenters, however, Denizens is moving ahead with meal service. The only brewpub in Silver Spring is ringing the dinner (and lunch…and dessert…) bell and hoping that beer fans will heed the call.