The weekday craft-beer happy hour at Pizzeria Paradiso is one of the best deals around. From 5 to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at the Dupont and Georgetown locations, and Monday through Thursday at the Old Town Alexandria location, the restaurant’s entire list of carefully curated draft brews are half price. Not surprisingly, these nights get crowded, and getting a seat at the bar can be nearly impossible if you aren’t there early.
That’s not the case anymore, at least in Old Town. Earlier this month the popular Neapolitan-style pizzeria tripled the size of its bar area to accommodate more thirsty (and thrifty) beer enthusiasts.
“We were really cramming people in, especially during happy hour and dinner,” says bar manager Greg Jasgur. According to owner Ruth Gresser, there may be similar changes coming to the downstairs bar at Paradiso’s Georgetown location.
The renovations in Old Town were finished July 5, but a weeklong grand opening celebration is planned for this week. Read on for full details on each event, including two exclusive beer dinners, a tap takeover by one of the West coast’s best breweries, and a meet and greet with some of D.C., Maryland, and Virginia’s finest brewers.
Monday, July 23, Local Brewery Showcase and Brewer Meet and Greet: All 14 draft lines and the cask will be pouring beers from DC Brau, Port City, Lost Rhino, Devils Backbone, Blue Mountain, Flying Dog, Heavy Seas, and Oliver Ales. Highlights include an exclusive DC Brau Stone of Arbroath Abbey ale aged in maple barrels and a cask of Flying Dog Backyard Ale with Citra hops. All beers will be half-priced in the bar area from 5 to 7 p.m. Schmooze with reps from each brewery, which in many cases are will be the brewers themselves.
Tuesday, July 24 European Beer Dinner: The bar’s new 12-person communal table will be the setting for a dinner featuring rarities from German, Italian, and Belgian breweries. After the dinner, the beers will be available in the bar area. Price is $65 including tax and tip and the dinner starts at 7 p.m. Make reservations at firstname.lastname@example.org. Menu:
1. Thai-Spiced Watermelon Soup with Crabmeat / Birra Del Borgo Re Ale 6th Anniversary 2. Summer Vegetable Terrine / La Rulles Estivale 3. Spice Rubbed Roast Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Baby Carrots / Aecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier 4. Pizza: Almond/Apricot Pesto, Chicken Sausage, Goat Cheese / Birrificio Le Baladin Super Baladin 5. Fresh Figs with Ricotta and a Whiskey Brown Sugar Glaze / De Dochter van de Korenaar Peated Oak Aged Embrasse
Wednesday, July 25, American Beer Dinner: The details are the same as above, but this time you’ll be seeing how the Yanks do it. Try an assortment of top-notch American beers, including the super rare Terrapin 10th Anniversary Ale and a surprise firkin. Menu:
1. Cucumber Gazpacho with Shrimp and Honeydew Melon / The Bruery Trade Winds Tripel 2. Grilled Summer Vegetable Panzanella Salad / Boulevard Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale 3. Rack of Lamb served with Roasted Sunchokes / Victory Braumeister Pils 4. Pizza: Herb Tomato Sauce, Buffalo Mozzarella, Summer Tomato Herb Salad / Terrapin 10th Anniversary 5. Dark Chocolate Oatmeal Cherry Cake w/ Vanilla Gelato and Oatmeal Lace Cookie / Firestone Walker Parabola
Thursday, July 26, Green Flash Tap Takeover: Three casks and all drafts will showcase beers from Green Flash Brewing Company of California. The lineup is below, minus some surprises, including a beer that will be released for the first time simultaneously in Old Town and at the brewery in San Diego. All beers will be half-price in the bar area from 5 to 7 p.m. Snag some Green Flash glassware while supplies last. Drafts:
1. Retro Pale Ale 2. West Coast IPA 3. Imperial IPA 4. Hop Head Red 5. Le Freak 6. Double Stout 7. Fizzy Yello Beer 8. Palate Wrecker 9. Barleywine 10. Trippel
Casks: 1. West Coast IPA 2. Imperial IPA 3. Hop Head Red
As if all this weren’t enough, stop in for a draft beer between now and the end of the month and get a coupon for a $1 beer that can be used anytime this summer. Paradise, indeed.
Photo by Tammy Tuck