There is a reason ChurchKey is practically synonymous with DC beer: this place helped create beer culture in the District, and it remains at the forefront of the DC beer scene. ChurchKey has an impressive array of taps and bottles, the beer program here introduces trends into the market, and honestly, the Disco Fries are one of the best things you’ll ever put into your mouth. But perhaps most importantly, ChurchKey has made the daunting world of beer nerdery easy to understand: instead of categorizing their beers in styles, they utilize flavor profiles like “Crisp," “Fruit & Spice,” and “Tart & Funky." This makes bellying up to the bar at Churchkey feel like you’re about to embark on a guided journey into the unknown -- in like, a really pleasant way, of course.
The Big Hunt may seem like an odd selection, given its cartoonish, jungle-themed wall hangings and dark-in-the-daylight ambiance. But what was once a headquarters for the Miller Lite crowd has blossomed, over the past few years, into one of the chillest bars for uncommon brews. The beer program at the Big Hunt reveals surprising depth, typically offering a few trending styles, local brews, and usually something big (meaning “potent”) and bad (meaning “good”) to take the edge off your workaday DC existence. While the upstairs deck seating is truly tempting, the Big Hunt is best enjoyed on a weeknight or Sunday: the crowds get insane here during peak hours, and the downstairs has a bigger beer selection.