Thursday, June 07, 2007

Brasserie Beck: Bill Knows Beer!

At the newly opened Brasserie Beck on 11th and K, you’ll find (quite possibly) the most knowledgeable and gregarious beer barista this side of Belgium. His name is Bill Catron and his level of expertise and knowledge of the drink is like nothing I’ve ever seen, save for wine sommeliers. In fact, he’s something of a beer sommelier (Bill, if you’re reading this, instead of “beer specialist” your card should read “beer sommelier” or “beer maestro”).

Brasserie Beck is Chef Robert Weidmaier’s (of elegant Marcel’s in the West End) down-market answer to good Belgian eats. There are the moules frites and l’onglet…all that good stuff. It’s casual and airy and styled like a big train station. But let’s focus on the beer. There are 50 choices, all Belgian and as nuanced and sophisticated as any wine.

Bill explained and had us taste (in specialty glasses specific to each beer) everything from the rare-in-America, rich and and slightly acidic Duchesse De Bourgogne---which, as he puts it, "doesn't suck," to the light Delirium Tremens (my favorite beer) and educated us on everything in between. He talked about the triple fermentation, the difference between white beers and wheat beers, had us taste an apple beer, and so on. Honestly, it's all a little fuzzy now, if ya know what I mean, but one thing is clear: Bill knows beer.

Questions? He’s got answers. Write him at

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