Restaurant Review: Churchkey


1337 14th St.

Washington, DC 20005

So Churchkey is one of the top three reasons I moved to DC. The other two are: the boy I was dating lived here at the time I was looking for jobs and I lived here for a semester in college and had wanted to move back ever since. To catch you up on the last 18 months, that relationship ended before I actually moved here and I don’t love DC as much as I did when I was 21.\

But Churchkey…50 beers on tap and an entire binder full of bottles. Friendly staff who really know their beer. The crowd can be DC-douchey, so I recommend a later-weeknight or early weekend day trip, but there’s really never a bad time to be at Churchkey.

The good news for the Gluten-free Experiment is that Churchkey has several gluten-free beers available, and thanks to some critical intel from my friend Wes, I felt pretty confident going into my first gluten-free beer experiment. (Apologies for the terrible image quality. Churchkey is lit like a cave, so this is how all my photos came out. Fortunately, I had the foresight to pack out my beer bottle so I could take some better photos in my well-lit kitchen.)

My first gluten-free beer was Green’s Discovery. It’s brewed in Belgium and it is, overall: not bad. The flavor is a little thin and almost metallic; it reminded me a little bit of a sour. This isn’t something I’d keep on hand to kick back with in the evening, but it’s nice to know there are decent options for when a beer craving strikes. The nice thing about Churchkey is that the gluten-free beer isn’t priced any higher than the regular beer on their menu (I paid $15 for a 16 oz bottle) – it’s kind of sad how much I appreciated not being expected to pay more for the inconvenience my food allergies cost a restaurant. (And obviously, I should limit my beer indulgences given the IBS – I definitely felt kind of shitty this morning, but it was nothing compared with how I feel after a regular beer.)

ImageWhere Churchkey always falls short with me is their menu. Their food is amazing. Everything I have tried, I love. But there’s nothing vegan or gf (our waiter was super helpful and pointed out that the tater tots were fried in the same oil as bread things – before I even asked) so I usually end up eating something that I know will make me sick or not eating, which is not the greatest option when your’re out drinking. My friends Emily and Matt split an order of the arrancini (risotto balls) and tater tots, which they generously shared with me. These tater tots are so. delicious. so I forgave them for being bathed in gluten. But dudes, you obviously have some talented and creative minds at work in your kitchen. Give them some quinoa or a sweet potato and see what they come up with.

As I mentioned, I didn’t feel awesome this morning, but I recovered more quickly than normal for me, so I think the occasional trip to Churchkey might actually be manageable. This last photo is the allergy information from the Discovery Ale. This beer definitely had the most informative label I have ever encountered.

photo.JPGI have another doctor’s appointment tomorrow afternoon to go over my three weeks of food and symptoms tracking. 


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