Bill Catron, the man who put together the killer beer list that won a Best of D.C. award last year, is no longer with Brasserie Beck, Robert Wiedmaier‘s Belgian-heavy restaurant at 11th and K streets NW. Catron’s duties are being assumed by General Manager Thor Cheston, who’s no stranger to suds. Cheston helped launch Birreria Paradiso in the basement of Ruth Gresser‘s Pizzeria Paradiso in Georgetown.
“Robert offered him another position within the company, and Bill declined,” Cheston said this afternoon. The job was a management gig that would allow Catron to continue as beer manager for Beck, Cheston said. The general manager didn’t know why Catron declined the offer, and Beck’s former “beer sommelier” was not immediately available for comment. Catron’s last day at Beck was Jan. 23.
As the new man in charge of the beer list, Cheston doesn’t plan to mess with success—-at least too much. He’s already added two German beers, including Weinstephaner Hefeweizen, and he’s thinking about “branching out and doing American versions of Belgian beers.” Cheston is even planning a trip to Belgian to visit two of his favorite breweries, Van Steenberge and Het Anker, to develop a signature beer for Brasserie Beck.
Cheston doesn’t know yet what style of beer he may want to create. “My beloved Belgian triple is really calling to me, but I wouldn’t want Het Anker to compete with themselves.” Het Anker, he says, already produces one of the best triples anywhere, the Gouden Carolus Triple. As such, Cheston may look toward an imperial stout or even a lambic.
Speaking of unanswered questions, Cheston didn’t know where Catron has landed, or even if he has landed somewhere yet. Catron’s resume will certainly help him find future employment. In 2007, he was knighted by La Chevalerie du Fourquet des Brasseurs, or the Knighthood of Brewers’ Mashstaffs, the direct descendant of Belgium’s ancient brewers’ guild. At the time, Catron was only the 14th American to be knighted by the group.
Beck is moving along without its original beer man. Cheston has a special, four-course dinner planned for March 16, 17, and 18. Representatives from Kasteel, Delirium Tremens, and Het Anker will be on hand to pair each course with beer. Cheston even promises some surprises, perhaps a taste of Het Anker’s single malt.