In the interest of full disclosure, I fully admit that I was prepared to like this place for no other reason than my walkable pub options have diminished over the past few years. So as my friend and I carefully picked our way on foot through the construction nightmare that is my end of Germantown Avenue, I was mentally preparing myself to give these guys a LOT of slack. I was not prepared to absolutely, genuinely LOVE the place. If you were ever there when it was that horrible pub there previously, the space has been opened up, lightened up, and windows added that open to the Ave. The second floor has been expanded for additional seating and another small bar. The layout is funky with its multiple levels and the first floor is largely dominated by the beer tanks and the bread oven, but it manages to be charming in its awkwardness. The menu is small, and I would like to see a few additions, particularly to the apps options, but the warm marinated olives are delish. It was just two of us, so we ordered two small pizzas - Traditional and Seed. The Traditional was very nice with a fresh tomato flavor and the perfect amount of cheese, topped with a handle of fresh arugula...very nice. The Seed was outstanding - a white pizza with roasted pine nuts, sunflower seeds and perfectly roasted garlic was chewy and earthy and fragrant...
But the highlight is the BEER. There were four house brews on tap, and although the server was sweet about offering us tastes, they unfortunately are not doing "flights" yet. They really need to do flights....but my intrepid companion and I decided to go all in and got a 13 oz glass of each. The 'Love Your Mother' was a disappointment...there was a nice flavor hidden behind a texture that could only be described as 'watery' (I know - it's beer - duh), but your entire mouth gets wet before any of the flavor hits, and all in all I would recommend this beer only to people who don't like beer. The Biere d’ Earth (Farmhouse Ale) was an exponential improvement, and perfect with the warm olives we had as an app. The Sedgwick Pale Ale (Lemon Verbena and Local Hops) had a wonderful wild sweetness followed by a hoppy punch that made the Traditional Pizza sing. But the Religious Experience was the Terra Fume (Smoked Wheat Ale)...it is undescribably delicious and unlike any other flavor beer I have ever experienced. The smokey nose is followed by a full earthy sweetness that I tasted on my entire palate. Paired with the Seed Pizza, angels sang, the skies opened, and the strains of Ode To Joy floated above the conversations of my fellow diners.
The service is still working out its kinks, and the kitchen seemed a bit strained, but I was so very VERY happy with my collection of beers, I barely noticed that our entrees arrived ten minutes before our appetizers. I have faith those minor things will work themselves out in no time. Perhaps the best of all is that two pizzas, olive appetizer and five beers cost $46 with a 20% tip..and we left to face our trek back up the Ave full of food (and beer...).
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