The Birch | Norfolk, Virginia
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The Birch
World Class based on 41 ratings
Type: Bar

1231 West Olney Road
Norfolk, Virginia United States 23507 [ print map ]
(757) 962 5400

thebirchbar.com | facebook | twitter | beer menu

Hours: Tue - Thurs: 5 pm - 12 am Fri - Sat: 3 pm - 2 am


Mayor: bytemesis (8) | Affiliated user(s) here drinktomymood | Taps: 21 | Bottles: 100+


The Birch

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Beer Available At The Birch (arranged by most recent)
Birrificio Italiano Nigredo (Negra 3.0) 90, Alvinne Morpheus Wild Undressed 79, Smartmouth Cowcatcher Milk Stout 86, The Bruery Humulus Lager 99, Ducato Verdi Imperial Stout Zymatore (Granache & Chili Mead) , Harviestoun Old Engine Oil Zymatore (Pommeau) , Hitachino Nest Espresso Stout 99, Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale 92, Birrificio del Ducato My Blueberry Nightmare 48, Birra del Borgo Rubus 95, BFM Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien 2012 99, Victory Oak Horizontal 99, Champion Black Me Stout , Birra del Borgo 25 Dodici Zymatore (Gin Barrel) , LoverBeer BeerBrugna 96, Baladin Super Baladin 92, BrewDog Cocoa Psycho 99, Alvinne Cuvťe Freddy Zymatore (Zinfandel/Gin/Whiskey/Pinot Noir) , Harviestoun Ola Dubh 1991 99, Dogfish Head Kvasir 90
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41 reviews for The Birch
 Ambiance  90%
 Service  93%
 Selection  96%
 Food  71%
 Value  78%
 Overall  92%
 Rating  99%
90+
80
70
60
50-
Rating Distribution


100
  AMBIANCE 5/5   SERVICE 10/10   SELECTION 15/15   FOOD 8/10   VALUE 8/10   OVERALL 20/20
bkrm  (1) Portsmouth, Virginia | March 13, 2013
Excellent atmosphere, dark, and calm, there was a good crowd on the night I went, and the low low buzz of conversation was soothing and enjoyable. I especially love the obvious lack of big screen TVs and Neon signs. The focus here is really clear, good beer, and conversation. The bartender/owner is a really cool kind of mellow guy, very informative and really knows how to explain the complex flavors of the beers he serves. I enjoyed his simple conversation and attentive service. Iím sure Iíll be back, with intents to expand my palate.
92
  AMBIANCE 5/5   SERVICE 10/10   SELECTION 13/15   FOOD 8/10   VALUE 9/10   OVERALL 18/20
Thorpe429  (58) , Illinois | February 5, 2013
Stopped in here last week during a trip down to the Norfolk area for work. As others have pointed out, park around the corner for better options. Ambiance was fantastic. Fairly dark with a somewhat-industrial feel to it. Big chalkboard with all the tap listings. Nice glassware display and a mini "cellar" off to one side. Service was phenomenal, some of the best Iíve ever had. The bartender was extremely friendly, knowledgeable, and engaging. Service was prompt, and it was really nice talking with someone passionate about the beer and the establishment. Selection was great. A lot of imports, as well as a dedication to the Zytamore series. I went with 2011 Bon Chien (how can I pass that up?) and then smaller pours of a few other options. Cheese and sausage plate was fantastic to go along with it. Prices were fairly reasonable. Maybe a bit pricey for the area (not really sure), but quite a bit better than what Iím used to paying in the DC area. Overall, a must stop if youíre in the area. Highly recommended.
100
  AMBIANCE 5/5   SERVICE 10/10   SELECTION 15/15   FOOD N/A   VALUE 7/10   OVERALL 20/20
floater268  (1) Portsmouth, | January 25, 2013
Amazing bar that raises the bar for bars on the entire east coast, lol. Ben and Malea know more about beer than anyone and can recommend your next favorite beer if youíre unsure what to order. Donít forget to meet the most interesting man, Norbie, while youíre there.
90
  AMBIANCE 5/5   SERVICE 10/10   SELECTION 14/15   FOOD 6/10   VALUE 7/10   OVERALL 16/20
GT2  (582) San Diego County , California | January 22, 2013
I had three days off and no plans, so the fiance and I decided to pick a place and go. There was recently a thread on ratebeer claiming a lot of places get spam high reviews and mentioned The Birch. I was skeptical at first too. So I tried it out for myself! The location is very odd, 50 yards from an industrial loading dock and in a sort of low-income neighborhood. Next door seems to be a popular Mexican restaurant and bar. Parking along the street seemed to be enforced by resident permit, but around the corner closer to the dock entrance there is unlimited parking after 6PM I think. The inside is modest, homey, tavern-like, definitely a localsí bar with a lot of regulars, dark lighting, chalk board tap list. 20 Taps about with a lot of variety and nearly everything being odd or difficult to find. When I was there it was "43 Hours of Dark" where everything on tap was relatively dark including Nogne O DH2 on tap, which Iíve never seen before. Also a lot of one-offs from B. Unitedís Zymatore series, some of which were very good. The staff are pretty much the bar owners, who chatted with us and made us feel at home. After ticking the tap list, I was asking about some bottles in their cellar that were on display. Unfortunately, those bottles are for display only and I guess are the ownersí own private cellar. A bit of a tease but okay. But, the bottle I asked out was suddenly popped and sitting in front of me compliments of the house. What!? I ran to the car to bring some special beer to share as well. Really neat environment. Went back the next day to try the cheese plates and new things on the tap list. Likewise, we got to split an odd bottle from the cellar that the owners picked out for us. Awesome!

PROS: homey environment, rapid keg rotation, rarities/one-offs, amazing staff, crazy licensing here to allow bottles to go/bottles to bring in/growlers to go, informal bottle share ability

CONS: bizarre location, fairly pricey, cellar is not for sale via bottle list, minimal food/snack options though the cheese/olive/sausage plate is nice for palate cleansing.

So a must go location for any beer hunter/nerd and remember to eat beforehand and bring some special beers to share with the staff.
88
  AMBIANCE 3/5   SERVICE 9/10   SELECTION 14/15   FOOD 5/10   VALUE 6/10   OVERALL 18/20
TheBeerGod  (108) Newport News, Virginia | November 28, 2012| Updated April 6, 2013
Well maintained bar in the middle of a "nowhere" part of Norfolk. That notwithstanding means nothing compared to what is inside. Though high priced, the beers therein are typically hard to get and worth it, for the most part. The food is a bit on the lax side and the bare minimum of whatís required. Either way this is a worthy stop for any beer hunter in the area.
94
  AMBIANCE 4/5   SERVICE 10/10   SELECTION 14/15   FOOD N/A   VALUE 9/10   OVERALL 19/20
Travlr  (1500) Washington, Washington DC | November 24, 2012
Ben and his wife took really good care of me here, and the free samples were flying left and right. The place was full, but the crowd was very mellow for a Saturday night, with jazz playing in the background, and everyone gathered around the Big Board. Draft selection was terrific, but the bottle selection was amazing - and whatís on the card is the tip of the iceberg. Not bad for what looks like an old gas station. One change Iíd make is that Iíd add a complete cellar inventory. Great place.
98
  AMBIANCE 4/5   SERVICE 10/10   SELECTION 15/15   FOOD N/A   VALUE 10/10   OVERALL 20/20
bytemesis  (367) Sunnyvale, California | September 27, 2012
Stopped by on my last night in town, fully expecting to be disappointed - I mean it canít possibly be as good as the hype, right? Well, it is. This is probably the best beer bar I have been to. Ambiance is spartan but utilitarian; this place is about drinking good beer. Service is great, and the staff really know their stuff. Tap list is phenomenal, like nothing I have seen outside of Belgium. Bottle list is pretty impressive as well, and apparently what they show is much less than what they actually have in the back. I canít wait for my next trip out East so that I can stop back in.
94
  AMBIANCE 4/5   SERVICE 10/10   SELECTION 14/15   FOOD 9/10   VALUE 9/10   OVERALL 19/20
zizzybalubba  (72) Elizabeth City, North Carolina | September 20, 2012
If you are not familiar with the neighborhood finding The Birch the first time can be a bit tricky. However, this is a destination that is certainly worth the effort. The inside is simply decorated with a large bar and several tables. Behind the bar is the row of taps (21 of them). In the corner there are shelves with the appropriate glassware and on the other side large refrigerators with a ridiculous amount of great beer. For each of my trips to The Birch, Ben (one of the owners) has been my bartender and he knows his beer. The selection is pretty amazing. Truthfully, even as someone that knows a bit about beer myself, I have to do my research before each visit to make sure I donít miss out on anything great. The food is minimal, however, what they have they do well. I recommend one of the cheese pairings. The prices are probably reasonable for beers of this caliber and rarity on tap but I really have no comparison since I have not visited a bar anywhere else with these selections. Overall, this is a beer destination and worthy of its "World Class" ranking.
100
  AMBIANCE 5/5   SERVICE 10/10   SELECTION 15/15   FOOD 7/10   VALUE 8/10   OVERALL 20/20
hubrew22  (10) Virginia | March 2, 2012
Always serving up some incredible, hard to find brews. Ben and Malia have done Norfolk a big favor by opening up this gem of a bar.
100
  AMBIANCE 5/5   SERVICE 10/10   SELECTION 15/15   FOOD 7/10   VALUE 8/10   OVERALL 20/20
ghiaman74  (1) , | February 17, 2012
The Birch is by far my favorite beer bar. The food selection is small, but thatís because the focus is all about the beer. The staff is incredibly knowledgable and freindly. I always find something new when I go there.

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