Distilled: Advanced placement beer list at 101 Beer Kitchen

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From the October 3, 2013 edition

Open only a year, 101 Beer Kitchen is a resounding success. The gastropub has received a good (and well-deserved) amount of buzz from foodies, and even more so from beer enthusiasts. When discussing the Dublin spot with a friend — and far more knowledgeable beer geek — recently, we both came to the conclusion that 101 Beer Kitchen offers a beer list unlike anywhere else.

“We wanted to challenge people without being in their face; that we’re trying to do something completely different,” bar manager Brad Koinis said.

Novice and experienced beer drinkers are pushed to step outside their comfort zone. American lager drinkers won’t find their favorites, just craft options similar in style, only better. Practiced craft drinkers shouldn’t expect their staples either.

In the beginning, the drafts featured established breweries, just not the beers they’re best known for (e.g. Bell’s and Two Hearted). Koinis said it’s designed for beer drinkers to take their “blinders” off because too often they fall back on ol’ familiar.

While popular breweries are present, the 20-beer draft list has developed to include more interesting and lesser-known products. Koinis said 625 different beers have occupied tap space in the last year, becoming more experimental.

Where 101 Beer Kitchen is most impressive is its bottle list. Featuring unusual and extraordinary options, the most conversant craft beer drinkers are pushed new directions.

“With the bottles, it takes that to the next level,” Koinis said. “There’s a more refined element to the bottle list, without it being unapproachable.”

The nuanced list offers a number of options for aficionados to explore new styles and/or breweries. The list features an intriguing selection, especially the Belgians and sour ales, while also highlighting exceptional microbreweries (the Stillwater Artisanal Ales section being a prime example).

I rarely use the word “curated” when it comes to a beer list, but that’s exactly what Koinis and the knowledgeable staff at 101 Beer Kitchen have done. Koinis said the idea is to foster a conversation by exposing people to something new. Job well done, sir.

Photo by Meghan Ralston