Last night we went to Flashpoint gallery in downtown D.C. to check out a show called Consume. It was the closing night reception and featured a live performance by Joe Lally and Jerry Busher, formerly of Fugazi.

The topic of the show, consumption, has potential, but the art itself failed to inspire. Luckily, I went mainly for the music, which I enjoyed even more than I anticipated. Of course I was also hoping there’d be a decent beer or two to be had but the beer drinkers in the crowd were disappointed. Plenty of wine flowed, but not a drop of the amber.

Luckily, the next part of the plan for the night was to redeem the “free entree with purchase of any other entree of equal value” coupon I was emailed by Gordon Biersch for my birthday.

Consume Gordon Biersch

The DC location of this national chain is conveniently located right around the corner from the gallery, in the heart of what most people call Gallery Place, but I call Brewpub Triangle.

Gordon Biersch was serving their usual lineup of clean-tasting German lagers and a winter bock seasonal. I like this brewpub because it is housed in a former Riggs National bank. The inside of the pub looks just like, well, a bank. I think it’s cool how many brewpub go into disused old buildings like this, putting some life into old marble the way the craft beer movement itself puts life into the brewing scene. I appreciate the consistency and quality of the beers here too, but that’s where the pleasure ends.

The piped-in generic “popular rock” music is loud and bad and giant television screens dominate much of the landscape. Despite being located in such rich architectural environs (they say part of the brewing system is in the former bank vault), the place lacks character and human warmth. It leaves one feeling that the dominant theme here is, in fact, money. All that said, if you like fresh beer and you have a Gordon Biersch in your vicinity, you can register your name with them and they’ll send you the birthday coupon.

Which reminds me, pick up a copy of the next issue of Mid-Atlantic Brewing News, which will be running an article by me about the value of locally-owned breweries.


3 Responses to Consume

  1. Marcia Bonta says:

    I think that’s the one D.C. brewpub I’ve been to, in your company. You’re right, it didn’t have much ambience.

  2. Dave says:

    (Oops, that was actually me! My mom doesn’t drink. Been doing some work on her new blog site.)

  3. beeractivist says:

    Hey Dave – thanks for all the comments you’ve been posting. Its good to know that at least one person is reading!

    About this post in particular, I was really reluctant to make any negative comments about GB because I don’t want to come off sounding like a whiner who just complains that no beer/brewpub is good enough for me.

    In general, I think that even a national chain of brewpubs like Gordon Biersch is far better than most other non-brewpub options. At the same time, I think some chain brewpubs verge on cookie-cutter and treat customers like economic units moving through the seats. That kind of treatment undercuts what is to me the essential value of them – replacing the impersonal nature of the corporate economy with something more human and fun where real people make the things we enjoy, like beer.

    Speaking of which, it’s after 6pm, I’m still in the office, and it’s time to go home and pop a cool one now.


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