My opinion of the Brickskeller has been in decline over the past several years. I go there a couple of times a year, usually with visiting friends, and it increasingly feels like an over-priced tourist trap rather than the neighborhood bar with a great beer selection that it used to be.

I went there last night with a few buddies for a few brews. We sat upstairs at the bar. Got a very friendly bartender. Ordered some beers.

Ace of Hearts – the pilsner of El Salvador – 5 mintues later – “Sorry we’re out of that.”

Wexford Cream Ale or Boddingtons whichever ya got- 5 minutes later – “Sorry try again”

Decided to get something on tap. Try the only beer that is less than $8 a pint. It’s crap. Start experimenting with the other beers on tap. Averaging $9.95 a glass!

Decided to give up on the expensive taps, and the non-existant bottled selection, and go with good old cheap American beers.

Order a Yeungling Lager – ten minutes later – “Sorry we’re out of that too.” – What!?

How can the bar touting the largest beer menu in the world be out of Yeungling Lager!? I mean run down to 7-11 for christ sake!

So we end up drinking Schlitz in a can the rest of the night. Yes, Sclitz in a can – the old stand-by -which I never thought I’d have to stoop to at the Brickskeller of all places.

As I sat there bitterly drinking my over-priced can of Shlitz, taking in the beer-hall decor, and running-down the list of not very rare out-of-stock beers I got to thinking that the ol’ Brick ain’t what she used to be.

Of course as my friends and I were parting ways out in front of the place, a tourist couple came strolling by looking for fun, the Brickskeller sign stopped them in their tracks. As they looked over the sign I overheard the woman say “ohhhh the largest beer selection in the world!” and they promptly went in. I caught myself starting to warn them, but then stopped myself thinking maybe the $60 they drop for 5 beers might buy a couple of cases of Ace of Hearts for the inventory the next time I get suckered into going to the Skeller.

9 Comments so far

  1. webjedi (unregistered) on January 6th, 2006 @ 3:52 pm

    I was sadly disappointed upon arriving there for the first time during the first of two bachelor parties for myself (yes, I had it good).

    Every beer I requested, or even the ones my friends suggested, came up empty. And as Michael noted, you were left with expensive brews or barrel scrapers.

    I’ve been to RFD’s for a tasting recently and enjoyed it, hadn’t stayed for the food, but overall it was good.

    If I had it in my right mind, I’d take my friends and start up a rival locale just to piss in their Cheerios, since they can’t seem to keep stuff in stock. Heck, I find more beer in three stores around UMD than you can find at The Brick any day.

    After comign back from Canada for New Years, in Quebec City, the tiny bar there (with no American beers on the menu I might add) had better pinache and ability to bring odd brews of which requested (and the stuff was served cold and with a smile…)

    Anybody want to quit their days jobs with me and start up a Brick Mark II?

  2. Jenn L (unregistered) on January 6th, 2006 @ 3:55 pm

    Completely agree. It’s sad, the Brick has definitely seen better days. We used to love going. But the last several times I’ve been, the exact same experience. Over the past few years too, so it’s not a new decline. “Try again, try again,” grrr….

  3. Tom Mills (unregistered) on January 6th, 2006 @ 4:45 pm

    Nooooooo…. I haven’t been in quite a while and to hear that it’s come to this is downright depressing.

  4. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on January 6th, 2006 @ 11:44 pm

    Here’s hoping RFD is better for us next week.

  5. webjedi (unregistered) on January 9th, 2006 @ 10:39 pm

    Odd enough, I’m finding that the Fair Oaks Total Beverage & Wine is a Brickskeller unto itself… in the past few weeks, I’ve boxed up five, yes five, mixed six packs from their single bottle selections, and feel that I haven’t even dented what’s available. I just wished that I didn’t live so far away in MD. It’s a veritable cornocoupia (sic) of beer (they advertise over 1,000… and it looks that most of that appears on the shelf most of the time). Combine that with a few other select folks, and pick your favorite friends basement and have your own trip to a Bavarian Ocktoberfest Bier Hall in the comfort of your own home (smoke, or smoke-frei).

    Anybody else pub-ify their basement yet?

  6. Chuck Triplett (unregistered) on January 11th, 2006 @ 9:35 am

    Aw come on now. It’s not that bad. I’ve been going there for thirty years and sometimes they are out of things. The best thing to do is check the cooler behind the bar as you come in. You’ll see see a bunch of interesting brews to choose from. And the beers they feature on tap are usually fairly rare or left overs from special tastings and you would expect to pay a bit more for them. While I do Enjoy their other venue RFD, I still prefer Dave and Diane’s venerable old Bricks.

  7. beerfan (unregistered) on January 11th, 2006 @ 1:34 pm

    If you went right after new years, did you ever think that might be one of the reasons they were out of so many? It was right after the holiday rush, which puts everyone – bar, retail, whatever – a bit behind. I doubt theres ever a time when they’re 100% in stock but give em a break!

  8. darpino (unregistered) on January 11th, 2006 @ 2:07 pm

    I’m not saying the Brickskeller is a total wash but
    New Year’s conditions aside, this is write-up is the culmination of a long series of frustrating visits over the last several years. The “world’s largest beer selection” may have been true once but it doesn’t seem to be anymore at least not since 2000.

    I’m through cheerleading for this place.

  9. rob (unregistered) on February 3rd, 2006 @ 5:37 pm

    same same. severly short-staffed on the table-serving end. ordering from the bar is not too bad, but a place with that many tables that serves food should be properly staffed.

    last time i was there, they wouldn’t let us in (a party of 6) upstairs because, “there were no available tables.” when they decided to let us in, after a 10 min. wait, we found the entire back section virtually empty. there were a few people sitting back there, so it’s not like it was closed-off.

    of course, they could have just been short-staffed, again.

    not even worth mentioning the non-availability of almost half their beer selection, as it’s now expected.

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