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Like a shell-shocked trauma victim, I’ve been devouring every memorial piece I can find about the Brickskeller. I’ve instructed Google News to alert me whenever a new one appears, like this blip from the Associated Press that made its way to L.A. I’ve even read the comments.
Scott is apparently unacquainted with the concept of the eulogy. Perhaps he’s used to reading eulogies that say, “Boy, Uncle Dan died. He had a great sense of humor. But what an awful drunk, and he was ugly to boot.” Doesn’t usually work that way.
From exceptional beers and long nights to concrete pierogies and cold service, my memories of the Brickskeller are mixed, but the experience I had during my last visit was the most poignant. My party and I had just shared a third-choice bottle, and as our waitress approached with a look of apology, it seemed we were about to strike out once again.
“We don’t have any gueuze right now,” she said. “But would you like to try this? It’s also sour.”
I’ve been here before, I thought. She was going to thrust some saccharine bottle of Lindemans Framboise that I’d sooner use as cheesecake topping than pour into a glass. But instead what materialized was a 750ml bottle of Odell Saboteur, a strong brown ale aged in oak and inoculated with the wild yeast strain Brettanomyces. I’d never tasted this rarity from Fort Collins, Colo., but I’d heard stories.
We obliged our server and tore through the bottle, inhaling the beer’s vanilla and pineapple sugars, coated in wild tartness. It was the first time in ages that the Brickskeller had actually aided my attempts to discover new beer.
As we left later that night (after learning that they were out of Saison Dupont), I thought of my conversation with new owner Megan Merrifield, who had told me recently that she would be interviewing the staff and offering them positions at the bar’s next iteration. As we’ve all seen, a daunting beer list such as the Brickskeller’s is wasted without a proper courier. But as the Brickseller closes its doors, there are signs that some of the people keeping the lights on might be up to the task.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery