Stars and Bars: Monday Night Beer Club @ Pizzeria Paradiso — 11/3/14

samfitzmattpollardSam Fitz and Matt Pollard of Pizzeria Paradiso

I’ve long been a fan of the Pizzeria Paradiso chain and its beer program in particular.

I was a fixture on Wednesdays at the beer bar in the basement of the pizzeria’s Georgetown location (3282 M St. NW, DC) for many years after its inauguration. I drifted from the Georgetown location to the Dupont Circle location for the past several years, but new beer director Sam Fitz has given us good reason to visit Georgetown.

On the first Monday of the month, Sam hosts the Monday Night Beer Club, where Pizzeria Paradiso offers the chain’s happy hour deal from 6-10pm. Beers on tap are half price, and small pizzas are $10. Sam likes to give the Monday Night Beer Club a theme — it could be built around a type of beer or a brewery.

On Monday, Nov. 4, Sam featured four beers from Oxbow Brewing Co., Newcastle, Maine. The selection of Oxbow in this case may have been influenced by the move of Sam’s predecessor Greg Jasgur to Oxbow a few months ago. Sam featured the Oxbow Oxtoberfest, Loretta, Harvest Ale and Farmhouse Pale Ale, the brewery’s flagship beer.

I appreciate an occasional farmhouse or saison, and I welcomed the Oxbow takes on two of my traditional favorite styles, Oktoberfest and pale ale. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to sample the Double Duckpin on cask, brewed with Nelson Sauvin hops, from Union Craft Brewing of Baltimore. Union hits all the right marks in everything they do, in my experience.

The Monday Night Beer Club draws a welcome crowd of beer aficionados, gents who have forgotten more about beer than I ever will know. It’s a great opportunity to chat not only with Sam but with distributors and barkeeps from other popular purveyors of beer throughout the city.

Finally, we received a pleasant surprise from Paradiso bartender Matt Pollard, who brought to the party his own homebrewed Kolsch, dubbed “Country Kolsch” at the moment. Matt based his Kolsch on aspects of the Reissdorf Kolsch, a 4.8-ABV German import offered in the bottle at the Paradiso bar. The Country Kolsch was a very pleasant brew with a light fruit taste.

Of all the Paradiso locations and their accompanying happy hours, I’ve long held a soft spot for the lodge-like basement pub in Georgetown, and I’m pleased to see that Sam has inaugurated the Monday Night Beer Club to make good use of the space. The Paradiso happy hour already was the city’s best happy hour, IMO, and Sam truly has wasted no time putting his own mark on the pizzeria’s beer program. A trip to Georgetown is highly recommended.

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