26 Feb

bourbonschool (3)

Starting Tuesday March 5th, The Bourbon in Glover Park (2348 Wisconsin Ave NW) will begin featuring a series of educational beer tastings led by resident beer expert Rachel Murray. For 12 consecutive weeks, classes will be held every Tuesday from 7:30-9pm. There are six different classes total with each class being taught two weeks in a row. Each class cost $25, which includes 4oz pours of six different beers based on the theme of each class.  The ticket cost also includes tax and gratuity. Space in each class is limited.

Interest in craft beer in the Washington, DC area has grown exponentially in the past decade. From new beer bars opening up almost every other month to local DC Breweries finally making it out of the woodworks and more.  Plus the growth is nowhere at a stopping point yet!! The Bourbon Beer School strives to bring people in who care about knowing more about why they drink what they drink.

More people are realizing the fact that there are many delicious brews at their fingertips. Our mission is to teach people about where this craft came from, while introducing them to different styles they might not think to try on their own. During our classes, you can learn the history behind the popular styles you see in the everyday market, while also learning how it is produced and how it makes its way to your local bar. There are real people with strong passions that create the brews we see in our local bars. We want people to understand who’s behind it and why they love what they do.

Your teacher and host, Rachel Murray, is well educated in the area of the craft beer for many years. She started her stint in the DC beer world over seven years ago when she started working at the Brickskeller (DC’s first beer bar). After the Brickskeller closed its doors in December 2010, Rachel brought her knowledge and experience to Bourbon. She wants people in the Glover Park neighborhood, and all of D.C., to be able to sit down in a small group setting where they can ask questions and share their own knowledge of experiences within the craft beer scene.


March 5th & 12th – Fermentation and Yeast

March 19th & 26th – Hops

April 2nd & 9th – Malts

April 16th & 23rd – American Craft Beer Revolution

April 30th & May 7th – Origin of German Beer Styles

May 14th & 21st – Origin of Belgian Beer Styles

All Tuesdays March 

All Sessions: 7:30-9pm

Tickets $25

4oz Pour of 6 different beers & tax/gratuity



8 Apr

I finally have something once again that is fun and educational to offer the DC Beer Community. As some of you may know, the Bourbon in Glover Park took me and my beer knowledge in after the Brickskeller closed its doors in December. I’ve been working brunches at Bourbon since August and I’ve decided brunch can be a great time to sell some good Craft Beer. Many countries abroad, including Germany drink a nice refreshing brew or two in the afternoon with a good hearty meal.

So… to honor this tradition, so to say, I’m featuring three beers every Saturday during brunch from 11:30am-5pm. I’m offering the option to enjoy a tasting flight of each if you want to try them all, along with the tasting notes (provided to you in a handy brochure that explains the beers and the history behind them). Although I do love talking about beer to any patron that walks through Bourbon’s doors, I’m glad to offer everyone a “cheat sheet” to take home so they can actually remember and appreciate what I’ve decided to make them try.

My goal each brunch is to bring people back to the basics so they can appreciate where the craft beer scene we know today came from. I’m not trying to offer the most exotic and innovative beers every Saturday. What I’m trying to do is create a learning environment where you can try something new or rediscover something old and learn something new about it.

I hope my beer followers and fellow beer lovers come out and support me but I’m catering a little more towards the average Glover Park patron so I can convert them to the craft beer scene. Bourbon’s brunch has always been solid. I’m trying to mix up the usual mimosa and bloody mary drinking during brunch into some good craft beer drinking. And while the promotion art says you can come drink with Rachel Murray and her Brunch Time Brews, I just want to continue changing people’s perceptions about craft beer. I want them to learn something new when they come sit at my bar. And I hope you decide to be one of those people, I hope you can learn something new from me, but most of all, I hope my passion for BEER inspires you as much as I was inspired by the friends and mentors who taught me along the way.

So… Come by for Bourbon’s awesome brunch food and drink some good beer along the way. I have a feeling this combination will turn into something beautiful.

The Final Shift

18 Dec

I only have time to drop a quick line about what’s about to happen… I’m about to start my final bartending shift at the Brickskeller. It’s the end of an era and the end of a long chapter in my own life. I’ve had many ups and downs working at the brick. Most importantly I have met many of my close friends here over the years and I have also sadly lost a few at the same time.  The Brick showed me the wonderful world of beer and I fell in love immediately. Who knows what the future holds for my knowledge and love for beer. But the Brickskeller will always be the place where I learned it all, like many others, and I will always hold true to my roots. I intend to dig deep in my memories and write my own reflection on the legacy of the Brickskeller. Just wish me luck tonight and watch me as I continue on my path of promoting artisanal beer to DC and beyond. Also… thank you to everyone I’ve worked with who has shaped me into the person I am today. I owe it all to you.

Beer School Round 1

31 Aug

Almost a year ago, I began constructing an education program designed to teach people how integral beer is in our history, our culture, and our community.  After much deliberating, reconstructing, and procrastinating, I finally settled on a program that condensed the plethora of beer information available into three sessions during which the participants would taste 35 different styles of beer. With my ideas finally hammered out into a set plan I was ready to get the ball rolling. I picked a day to kick it off, waited on the owners of the Brickskeller to get it up on the website, and promoted it on my own via this website, Facebook, and other social media at my fingertips. From there I could only hope I was getting the word out and people would come.

With the classes slated to start the second week of July, they actually coincided with my 5 year anniversary at the Brickskeller. Unintentional but a happy coincidence. What better way to mark 5 years of service to DC beer than to bring my passion to the community through my Brickskeller Beer School (BBS)? The weekend before I began BBS, there were probably about 10 people signed up for each day. I was shooting for 15 but for the first time around I would have no complaints if it were to be on the small side. I was definitely nervous about the first go round of BBS. I talk to people about beer all weekend long, but I’ve never done it in a structured setting. Details and the overall process would probably need to be tweaked; I was worried I wouldn’t have enough to say, and that I would lose people’s interest along the way. I was stressed, but if working in a restaurant over the past 5 years taught me anything… always be prepared for the worst. You never know what a night will bring you or who will be walking through that door. You got to anticipate every need and be set up to the fullest in order to meet those needs.

Now lets talk about the week BBS began. With the number of people signed up, I had the beer ready to go, I had my co-facilitators ready to go, I hopefully had my head and info ready to go. So I just needed to take a big breath and jump in. The Monday I kicked it off. I got a phone call from Joe who works for, a great resource for what’s going on in your city. He wanted to get the info and let everyone know what was up who follows Thrillist. Let just say that the number of people signed up for the classes soared. The next day after Thrillist posted the details, I had over 30 people show up. I little more than I wanted to have in each class but I can’t deny people who have a passion to learn about beer.

Overall, about a hundred people signed up for BBS in July, I would have to say that’s not a bad start at all. Some came to all three, others signed up here and there as it fit their schedule. Hopefully they’ll be interested in making up the classes they missed when I continue BBS in September. I want to thank everyone who came out and I hope you all enjoyed it while learning something new. I enjoyed sharing my passion with you. I enjoyed having Alex Winnett and Dorlyn Catron beside me to help facilitate the learning process. I enjoyed making everyone taste the sour intensity of the Lindemans Cuvee Rene Belgian Gueuze and hearing everyone’s reactions. “Do people drink this on purpose” one of you asked. Yes they do! But trust me not everyone likes it, not at first… just give it time. But beer is 99.9% subjective. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Another favorite highlight of BBS was to hear the passion coming from you all at the end. Talking about creating a beer tasting/dinner for your friends with your newfound knowledge and asking for classes related to more specific aspects of beer.  I guess I hit a nerve after all.

So come be inspired the next time around. Starting September 13th. Learn why beer is down-to-earth, culturally/historically important and overall the best alcoholic beverage out there. Although I am biased and your entitled to your own opinion. But hopefully I can convince you otherwise.

Wish you were on a Island? So do we…

7 Aug

A day late and a few hops short… Today’s 5 beers come from my fellow Brickskeller Beer Slinger, Alex. Starting from number 5 and moving downward, here are his picks to enjoy on a deserted island.

Photo Credit: Bernt Rostad CC

5. Cantillion Lou Pepe

  • An amazingly tart and refreshing Lambic from some folks who do it the best. Lou Pepe is a Belgian Lambic blended to resemble French wine… The Best of both worlds.

Photo Credit: @joefoodie CC

4. Bear Republic Racer 5

  • An outstanding example of a West Coast IPA. Dripping with resinous hops, it some how resembles tropical fruit punch.

3. Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout

Photo Credit: jeremydeades CC

  • This stout is silky smooth and rich with chocolate, smoke and rawhide. Very few stouts can stand up to the complexity of this one.

2. Ommegang Witte

  • A very mature and refreshing wheat ale from one of the best breweries making Belgian Styles this side of the Atlantic. Try this one and you’ll never think about Blue Moon again.

1. O’Hara’s Irish Red

  • I (Alex) lived on an island once: Ireland. And while Guinness is Ireland’s most well know beer, it doesn’t hold a candle to O’Hara’s. Slightly salty and fresh tobacco makes me long for the Antrim Coast.

Want to know more about what Alex likes to drink!! Check him out at

Friday’s 5 beers for your island

23 Jul

What 5 Beers would you bring on a deserted island?

I asked a former fellow worker, Eddie, what 5 would join him on his deserted island and this was his answer…

Anderson Valley Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout
A delicious smooth stout from California with a fluffy, creamy brown head and a sweet chocolate scent.

Bell’s Two Hearted
An IPA from Michigan with floral hops that will knock the socks of your wine-drinking mother.

Photo Credit: swanksalot

Southampton Double White
A crisp, tangy, and refreshing high gravity (6.7% ABV) witbier from New York.

Van Honsebrouck Kasteel Tripel
Dank, musty herbs and a fluffy white head make this dry Belgian tripel (11% ABV) a delicious treat for your taste buds.

Weyerbacher Double Simcoe IPA

Photo Credit: joefoodie cc

This Pennsylvanian IPA manages to be ridiculously bitter and hoppy while being sweet and musk like at the same time.

What 5 beer would you bring to a deserted island?

16 Jul
Wish you were at the beach…
…so do we!
Therefore, I’ve asked some of my fellow workers, former and current, to decide what 5 cases of beer would join them on a deserted island. Hopefully, their choices will help you find a new favorite from the Brickskeller’s selection, another DC Beer Bar, or your local beer bar. Maybe for a moment you can forget the insufferable weather of Summer in Washington, DC.
Every Friday I’ll post a new set of brews from one of my peeps and feel free to let us know what you would bring with you on a deserted island!! I’ll the start the series off with my picks…

Anderson Valley Boont Amber
  • Brought to us from California, this amber combines a bit of sweetness and grassy hop flavor with an aroma of caramel for your nose.

Duchesse de Bourgogne

Photo Credit: biskuit CC

A flanders red ale from Belgium. This mix of aged and new beer creates a taste that is sweet and sour at the same time (stay away if you’re not a fan of vinegary flavors).

Lagunitas Pale Ale

Photo Credit: Lagunitas

  • Brought to us from those crazy guys from Cali; a pale ale with a refreshing taste of grapefruit hops blended with a small hint of brown sugar.
St Bernardus Prior 8
  • A Belgian dubbel with a nice sweet, caramel maltiness and a hint of dark and dried fruit flavors.
Victory Prima Pils
  • Based on a German style, this Pennsylvanian pilsner refreshes your taste buds with a slight spicy bitter hop and notes of citrus and pine.

    Photo Credit: Victory

surprise, surprise!!!

14 Jul

Beer School has been going amazingly the past two nights. Monday was super chill. Had about 10 people signed up for the class, plus a few of our newbie workers from the brick. Dorlyn, one of my fellow bartender/managers, and I moderated the first class (YAH!!! for Women running the show). People asked great questions and interacted with each other which is exactly what I wanted to see happen!

As of last Friday, only two people we’re signed up for the Tuesday session. But when I came into work yesterday in the late afternoon, the class had gone up to about 16 people!! Which is awesome. We sorta got the ball rolling late with the press surrounding beer school but in the end it seems to have come together. Yesterday I co-taught the class with Alex, one of our super passionate servers who loves his beer. Having Alex their helped because he brews a lot more than I do and can help explain the process to the class a little better than I can. And for some reason, the attendees drank a lot more of their beer than Monday’s class. I guess after being at work for two days you need a little more drink inside of ya…

Well. Tonight I have 25 people coming, which is a little more than I really wanted in a class but we haven’t figured out how to put a cap on the tickets being sold. Just a few kinks to work out the first time around. Things could be a lot worse. I’m sure when I get to the brick in a few hours the number will have gone up. Plus the local press is coming tonight!! People are really liking the whole concept we put together. I’m crossing my fingers that the class does not become too big… I really enjoy have good interactions with everybody and hearing what they have to say. It’s me and Alex again tonight. Wish us luck!!! And maybe I’ll see you there.


1 Jul

Beer School is finally starting July 12th!!! The 1st session is offered the week of the 12th, so choose to come either Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday (it’s the same thing each day). Then the 2nd Session the next week, and so on. I suggest doing the sessions in order but if you choose to jump around I won’t hold it against you. I’ll beginning offering each session again shortly after I see how things go the first time around, so don’t worry if you can’t make it this month. To sign up, check out the EVENTS page of the Brickskeller website.

my beer week – part one

15 Jun

This is the first in a series of posts in which I will recap my own experiences during the days leading up to SAVOR (a yearly american craft beer & food experience in DC) and the days I spent exploring Philly Beer Week. I had my own personal beer week so to say. Got the chance to drink some dank brews and meet some cool new friends; so read on and hopefully you will learn something from my week!

To kick it off, on Wednesday June 2nd, I mangaged a Three Floyds tasting at the Brickskeller. Brewers Barnaby Struve and Nick Floyd graced us with their presence along with 8 of their delicious brews not usually available in the DC area. About 4 years ago is I was introduced to this brewery from Munster, Indiana. We received a few of their beers in at the Brick; Gumball Head, Robert the Bruce, Alpha King, and Dreadnaught. They did not last on our shelves for very long and sadly distribution to DC did not last very long either. Till this day, I get asked all the time if we carry Three Floyds. They have definitely become a favorite in the beer world. Especially for Dark Lord Day, the one day of the year on April 24th when you can buy their famous Dark Lord Imperial Stout, but only if you drive up to the brewery. It’s a beer that’s rated very highly on all the lists and brought up in conversations about rare beers all the time.

On Wednesday, when they came to the Brick, I was excited to see that they were bringing Dark Lord, but not just any Dark Lord… it’s was the oak aged in bourbon barrels version! Finally, after years of hearing about this beer I was able to try this delectable, chewy, boozy stout (13% abv) and it was good. I was glad to cross it’s path for once. Brewer Barnaby Struve (formerly at Rock Bottom Bollston, a former local brewer!) made the event by speaking on our stage once again about each beer and fielding questions for three hours, even though he and Nick had been travelling since 8am. Three Floyds stakes their claim in crafting “not normal” beers, and if you find yourself in the midwest you should try them out for yourself. It is some of the finest craft beer around and worth a trip.