“Luck is not as random as you think. Before that lottery ticket won the jackpot, someone had to buy it.” – Vera Nazarian
That’s exactly how I stumbled upon The Public Option, a Langdon-based brewpub just a stone’s throw away from Brookland in Northeast DC. I was on a blind date, and we had some time to kill after our initial date at the Hirshhorn Museum, which is a great place to meet strangers (they can’t run away because the place is a circle!) As we giggled at the phallic statues and suggestive sexual paintings (I told you it’s a good first date spot), I leaned in and whispered, “Hey, do you want to go on a brewery adventure after this?” She said, “Yes!” Two nights before, a blip had appeared on my Yelp screen about a local beer place that opened last fall. We were going there, and she was coming with me!
“We gonna rock down to Rhode Island Avenue…and then we’ll drink some fi-yah!” – a buzzed Bierdo quoting Eddy Grant
Long story short, that was our first and last date (she politely told me she didn’t really like beer – what are the chances, Bierdos?) But even she enjoyed the atmosphere of this quaint little neighborhood hole-in-the-wall (with beer literally brewed in the basement). The Public Option has ample new beers to try, bowls upon bowls of free Goldfish crackers (a.k.a. fat kid heaven), and some food options sourced from STUFF’t DC and Republic Kolache. For the most part, however, this is an ideal low-key beer den offering eight varieties of beer, two of which seemed to be rotating experimental or seasonal brews. They also offer domestic canned beer for you hipsters, plus wine, spirits and a tasty handmade whiskey ginger cocktail on tap, which was perfect for my non-beer drinking date. But don’t judge her too harshly – she did after all agree to a date with me.
We talked with the brewers, Tony and Bill, and found out they’ll be expanding soon, both in their current brewing facility and in some type of cool music venue upstairs, which used to be an old-timey jazz club. Sounds too cool for school, huh? It was. Here’s what you should try when you visit with your boo, non-boo, blind-boo or just go boo-less for heck’s sake! They’ll provide the booze. Get it? Got it? Great!
Citra IPA, 6.5 percent: It seems like Public Option’s IPAs are constantly rotating, but they definitely know how to brew them. This one had your typical malt backbone and citra hops, but it was also more on the bitter side toward the end. It’s an acquired taste, but bitter beer when done right is fantastic and you should give it a try. Rating: Bitter than what the other local guys are making! #lovedthisplace
Cream Ale, 5.8 percent: Not a hop head? This is the beer for you. It’s a cream ale that goes down easy. It’s a pale, light beer with “flaked maize” added to it. Don’t ask, but it totally works! Rating: Creaaaaammm…get on top!
Sam’s Stout, 5.3 percent: This was probably my favorite of the bunch because it was so drinkable. Oats, malts and roasted barley create its backbone for a dry, palatable stout, but it also has some lactose to it so it goes down as smooth as mother’s milk. It’s balanced, and probably the perfect winter warmer for this time of year. Rating: I joined a new Sam’s Club, y’all.
The Public Option: 1601 Rhode Island Ave. NE, DC; 202-397-5129; www.thepublicoptiondc.com
Have a beer for the Bierdo to try? Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.