Why we're here...

Beer culture is coming of age. At any store, restaurant, bar, or friend's house you can now find at least a few good brews. In fact, there seem to be so many new beers, breweries and bars it's difficult to separate the good, the bad, and the mediocre.

If you're going spend $10 on one beer, what should you buy? If you're going to drive 2 hours to check out a brewery, what's worth your time? If you're going to plan a Friday night, what has a good selection and friendly atmosphere? We're here to help you answer these questions.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pizza Rock and the Brewcepticons

Pizza Rock is a Pizzeria and Bar located on K street between 10th and 11th streets. It's across from the Crest Theater and Pyramid Brewing Company.

First things first. This isn't a food blog, but Pizza Rock has some amazing pizza. And not just one style from one oven. They have many different styles cooked in different ovens at different temperatures.

The Chef/Owner of Pizza Rock was the first American in history to win the World Pizza Cup competition with his Margherita pizza. And you can taste why.

There is no combination more classicly American than beer and pizza which is why I decided to blog about this spot, because it combines great pizza and great beer.

It starts with the happy hour, (a pitcture of the menu is in the upper right) which has draft beers are $3 a pint from 3pm to 6pm daily.  During non-happy hours, they also offer decently priced 20oz glasses.

$3 can get you a pint of Racer 5, Sierra Nevada Tumbler & Pale Ale, Fat Tire, Birra Moretti, and your standard pieces of crap macro brews - Stella, Blue Moon, New Castle, Bud. Wait, what's Birra Moretti?

La Rossa
I first discovered Birra Moretti, an Italian beer, at a wedding rehearsal dinner where I had their lager, named Birra Moretti, and was impressed by the body and flavor. At Pizza Rock they also have La Rossa Birra Doppio Malto, which they call a double malt. This is probably a take on a dunkel, although the bartender called it a dopplebock, which it is definitely not.

I was enjoy learning about new brands so I cam home and checked out their website. It was very well put together that wove a great story about the history of beer, but it was odd that Birra only made two styles and a non-alcoholic one. Something was amiss. So I checked out the ever faithful wikipedia entry where I learned that Birra is now owned by  Heineken, the world's third largest brewer.

Birra is a macro brew marketed as a craft brew. It's a brewcepticon.

Brewcepticons have been gaining momentum as macrobrewers re-organize to fight the tide of micro and craft brands. One battle I remember well was Lost Coast's Great White. About 10 years ago Great White was gaining momentum. It started popping up in bars across California and was the first White I can remember that was pushing out macro brewers.

Soon enough a new beer came on the seen to compete - Blue Moon. When I first tried it, I recognized that it was trying to directly compete with Great White. If a bar had Great White it didn't have Blue Moon and vice versa. Blue Moon tasted like a cheap knock off of Great White. Somehow Blue Moon was beating back Great White to the point where it's now rare to find Lost Coast's and easy to find Coors. Yes, Blue Moon is made by Coors. Macrobrewers like Coors use their production power to push out the Great Whites of the World with Brewcepticons.

After the success of Blue Moon, macrobrewers rushed to create brands to compete with the micros. Shock Top, a Bud creation, is another example. However, this was harder than they thought and micros just kept plugging along with new, experimental and well made beers that continued to take small bites out of the macro market. Finally, the macros figured out another technique -  buy existing micro brands use that to compete. Kona Brewing Company which rose in popularity was one example, owned partially by InBev and Widmer. Kona is no longer brewed in Hawaii, but Washington State.

Macros think they can buy a brand with decades if not centuries of tradition, cut corners on quality and market it to the emerging beer culture as an authentic craft beer. Pilsner Urquell is another example of buying a tradition to sell modern crap.

So, beware of the Brewcepticons.

Back to Pizza Rock.

The atmosphere is fun, a little loud, but a nice open area with cool things to look at. They even have some dude do a pizza tossing show at different times of the day. The outside patio is a nice place to sit on a good day and watch the circus show that is K street. It's also a decent spot to catch Monday Night Football - plenty of screens and not crowded.

Overall, I recommend you Try It. The happy hour has great prices on some good beers, that go well with some amazing pizza.

And for reading all the way to the end here's my final tip - if you go on your EXACT birthday, you get a free pizza of your choice. And if you bring friends I'm sure the beer will be free too.

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