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Posted at 6:03 PM ET, 03/25/2008

Coming Soon: Belgian Beers Alfresco

By Fritz Hahn

Lovers of Belgian beer have had much to be excited about over the past year, including the additions of Brasserie Beck and Dr. Granville Moore's, and the good news keeps coming.

Next week, if the weather holds, Beck will open an outdoor patio with room for 62 patrons and four draft lines that will pour different beers than the dozen offered at the bar inside. Beer director Bill Catron -- a knight of the Belgian brewers guild -- hasn't decided the balance of the outdoor list, but he promises the selections will balance out. "If we take Delirium [Tremens] and Campus outside, then we'll put two new beers on at the bar," he explains.

The patio seating at Beck may eventually double -- the restaurant's permit allows room for 120 customers -- and it will be open until 11 every night. The only downside? Catron says that sitting outside requires the purchase of food. However, just ordering an appetizer "should be fine if you want to have a beer," he adds.

For a while, Beck's only challenger for the city's best Belgian beer lineup was Dr. Granville Moore's. Credit for that goes to Chris Surrusco, who was formerly a brewer with Old Dominion and the architect of Rustico's original beer program before he set up shop on H Street. Surrusco parted ways with Granville Moore's last month, and he found a new position at Belgian gastropub Marvin, where he's been tasked with ramping up the restaurant and lounge's tepid beer list. When I reviewed the place last year, I was disappointed by the draft selection, which included the far-too-common Stella Artois and Hoegaarden, though the range of 30 bottled beers showed some promise. Surrusco, who brought in knockouts like Saison Dupont to Granville Moore's taps, tells me that it might take some time for his influence to show, but I'm eagerly looking forward to enjoying some more esoteric ales on that huge back patio this spring.

-- Fritz

By Fritz Hahn  | March 25, 2008; 6:03 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs  
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Methinks DC is trying to become another Philadelphia, America's Best Beer Drinking City, with its many diverse establishments purveying Belgian quaff. Unfortunately, a huge beer list is only one part of the equation; another one, and the most important one, is a comfortable atmosphere and welcoming ambience, two things that DC can never possess. Keep out the suits, the cells and the blathering poseurs who dominate this town - who knows?

Posted by: Jobo | March 26, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

I like the way this city is moving. When places like this do really well selling good or at least interesting beers, it puts pressure on the pre-existing bars to bring in a few decent taps and get rid of the budweiser, harp, stella, or blue moon.

Posted by: cha | March 26, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Fritz, is the food-with-beer requirement for sitting outside a business strategy, or some kind of a silly ABC regulation?

Posted by: someone | March 26, 2008 5:05 PM | Report abuse

From what I understand, it's the chef's decision -- they might make more money if the outside seats have people ordering entrees instead of lingering over a few beers. Then again, Beck sells beers that cost as much as entrees at nearby restaurants.

Posted by: Fritz | March 27, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Where is it located?

Posted by: someone else | March 27, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Several other restaurants feature extensive Belgian beer selections. Marvin, in particular, has an excellent selection, with certain brews Beck's does not carry.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 28, 2008 9:19 PM | Report abuse

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