fluffheady (109) Chicago, Illinois | November 11, 2013| Updated November 24, 2013
Really great spot. They have some amazing exclusives on draft, and they obviously have ridiculous connections. The ambiance is great, and I wish I lived around here so I could hang out here more often.
The staff was a little awkward. When we asked why they served so much Belgian/German beer - which is fine!!!! We just wanted to know their inspiration - they said íto be differentí. Interesting, because we all know the first generation of US craft beer bars were heavily Belgian/German. Is this the first íretroí craft beer bar? (Or was I too dense/drunk to take a joke? Probably.) I also felt a familiar vibe from the management - a vibe Iíve experienced before - when someone has a bar they obviously know is good, but competition in the area is so limited they become a little ostentatious. Meh. They were so damn nice I honestly didnít care.
Go here. Itís a special place.
Yes it is that good. Located in unassuming space in corner of Norfolk. Fairly busy beer bar. You will see guests from all strata of society, bikers, beer geeks, lawyers etc. Bar is under guidance of beer enthusiast couple. I had only pleasure meeting Mailia. Service was quick, professional and knowledgeable. Beer was just excellent, not just good -excellent. Tap is only 20+ but you wonít find anything that is less than ordinary. Hidden gem!
It is no stretch to say this is the best (dang near almost) place to get unique and limited beers in the Norfolk area. There are other good beer bars but they donít seem to get the rarer offerings. Staff was friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful. I really like that they offer three sizes: half pour, full and growler. I thought the prices were really fair for what you got and the selection was very diverse. They have a nice bottle selection but I was distracted by the taps. No real food (grilled cheese and other pub snacks) but they are about 1 mile from Ghent where there are plenty of restaurants.
Donít let the location and exterior fool you. Once youíre inside, you know you have arrived at a place where everything evolves around craft brews. There is a rotating selection of about 20 taps in addition to a nice bottle list. They have a good selection of cheeses as well which can be paired with the perfect beer. Lots of international beers in addition to a very good selection of domestic ales. Absolutely a place to visit.
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.
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.
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.
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.