“The Sovereign will showcase the widest array of drafts and bottles from the very best Belgian brewers”


From a press release:

“Greg Engert, Beer Director for Neighborhood Restaurant Group, announces the opening of The Sovereign, a bar and bistro located at 1206 Wisconsin Ave NW (at the end of the alley at M St. NW & Wisconsin Ave. NW) in Georgetown later this Fall. The two-story bar and bistro will be comprised of an 84-seat first floor dining room and 47-seat bar on the second floor. Known for his award-winning beer lists at Birch & Barley, ChurchKey, Rustico and more, Greg Engert is now curating and creating a Belgian beer list unlike any other at The Sovereign alongside a menu of classic Belgian cuisine from Executive Chef Peter Smith.

The Sovereign will showcase the widest array of drafts and bottles from the very best Belgian brewers. With 50 drafts and 200+ bottles, the beer program will feature the work of Belgian brewers who embody the standards, techniques, and innovative spirit that underpins the fabled Belgian brewing culture.

Just as The Sovereign will be championing brewers that use simple, true recipes and let technique and patience yield complex flavors, so will the menu feature rustic ingredient-driven dishes of Belgian cuisine, which draws from French, German and Dutch cooking traditions. Executive Chef Peter Smith of PS7 and Vidalia has developed the menu –which will be available throughout the restaurant and bar– by combining his French training with experience gained while traveling through Belgium with Engert.

While dishes will change with the seasons and use local ingredients, Smith has also worked to source key products like domestically farmed, bottom harvested Dutch-style mussels. Diners will also find traditional small bites (such as Saucisse Ardennaise, anchovies and pickled onion, or gruyere with caraway seeds, a range of Flammkuchen or Tartes Flambé, and a variety of braises and stews such as Lapin a la Kriek or Rabbit in Cherry Beer.

The Sovereign is committed to celebrating the brewers –many of them little known and rarely found in the US –who are sustaining and evolving the brewing traditions and culture that created Belgium’s reputation as a beer mecca. An expansive breadth of selections will illuminate the flavor-driven, craft-brewed complexity that is the trademark of the best Belgian beers. Selections in constant rotation will include:

-The deliciously dry offerings of De la Senne, De Ranke and Kerkom, among others.
-Singular farmhouse ales, including those of Blaugies and Thiriez (Thiriez crafts Belgian-style ales just over the West Flanders border in Northern France).
-Balanced, complex and bold Belgian strong ales, including those of De Dolle, and De Struise.
-The work of Trappist Monastic producers such as Achel and Rochefort.
-Authentic Lambic from Belgian brewers and blenders: Cantillon, 3 Fonteinen, Girardin, Tilquin, and De Cam.
-Up-and-coming Belgian brewers, including Alvinne, Jandrain-Jandrenouille, and Sainte Helene.
-The best international producers of Belgian-style ales, such as Dieu du Ciel (Quebec) and Toccalmatto (Italy) alongside selections from American brewers like Jolly Pumpkin, Prairie, Crooked Stave and Jester King.

The Sovereign will bring the same care and precision to its beer program as Engert brings to his other programs at venue like Birch & Barley and ChurchKey. Temperature controlled taps and coolers will ensure the selections are served at appropriate temperatures and a variety of glassware from Belgium is being imported especially for the bistro and bar.

Wine Director Brent Kroll and BAR & Spirits Director Jeff Faile will round out the beverage offerings. The wine program will emphasize old world wines–including many from lesser known regions–that are also sustainable, organic and biodynamic. Jeff Faile’s cocktails will be supplemented by an extensive selection of Genever sourced from storied but hard-to-find European producers.

The Sovereign will open with dinner and brunch service.”

18 Comment

  • That’s a whole lot of words for “we’ll have a lot of Belgian beers”. Though I guess NRG execs’ kids need jobs too?

  • justinbc

    This will actually be Georgetown destination worthy for me. I was so excited to hear about it earlier this week, it was hard not to say something.

  • 50 taps is not a good way to “showcase” Belgian beers, that is a good way to waste a bunch of imported beers that are best experienced from a bottle.

    • This might be true, but I expect these guys to get it right, given their track record. There may be a balance to be struck between ideal-ideal and accessibility. One of my favorite things about going to an NRG restaurant is that I know I can dabble in tasters and try 8+ things I’ve never had before every visit. There’s nowhere around here that offers that range of possibilities for Belgians, and it’s not likely they’d be able to reproduce the same experience focusing only on bottles.

    • I disagree with this. One of the reasons why people think most Belgian ales are better in bottles is because of the relatively short shelf-life of the beer on tap. Most places selling the ales on tap don’t sell enough before the beer starts going off. They’re also not keep on throwing away half-full kegs so end up selling beer beyond its prime. Orval is one of my favorite trappist ales. It’s great in bottle but even better on tap (you have to go to the Abbey to try it that way). If this place can pull in enough people and go through beer quick enough, having ales on tap shouldn’t be a problem.

  • They mentioned international producers, but no Ommegang or Unibroue? I’ve never had those other international breweries they mentioned. Has anyone else? Any good?

    • “The best international producers of Belgian-style ales, such as Dieu du Ciel (Quebec)” = Unibroue

      Most people on these shores have never heard of a vast majority of Belgian producers because they are rarely if ever distributed in the US. Given NRG’s reputation for getting them I would be excited to try a bunch of stuff I’ve never had access to.

    • justinbc

      I’ve not had the Italian brewery before, but Dieu du Ciel makes outstanding beers. You can get their bottles in a few shops around DC. Peche Mortel and Rigor Mortis are my 2 favorite offerings from them, both purchased here in DC.

    • Advertising you have Ommegang or Unibroue I think would miss the point of the selection. They’re not hard to find or exclusive (read:expensive).

      Three of the American beers don’t distribute to DC so they come in via the gray market. From what I’ve had at various events around town, they’re all fantastic. Jolly Pumpkin is available pretty much everywhere in DC and is good (but pricey). Dieu Du Ciel makes Peche Mortel, which was the beer geek beer du jour about 7-8 years ago and everything else I’ve had from them has been top notch.

  • palisades

    omg omg omg. this actually sounds GOOD. I’m so happy something like this will be around me. Hopefully it doesn’t get ruined by frat dbags (who am I kidding – it will).

    • Anonomnom

      Almost laughed at you until I saw your comment at the end. This is going to be a go to watering hole for Georgetown Bro-s. But I will wade through the polos, pastel button downs, and plastic thick sunglasses for Belgian beer 5 minutes from my office.

      • justinbc

        I actually don’t see this being a bro spot. It’s not like there’s a shortage of those, and there are plenty of older-than-bro-age folks who work in Georgetown who would frequent a place like this after work.

        • Anonomnom

          Such as me! I certainly hope you are right and I am wrong haha

        • palisades

          Never underestimate the tentacles of the frat dbag. They extend everywhere.
          Especially now that Bandolero, Rhino, and McFadden’s are closed, the bros are THIRSTY and ANGRY. I really do fear for this bar, because it is right in the thick of it. M Street is turning into a desert, and they are getting desperate.
          El Centro gets away with it’s location because it is Hispanic-themed, so that scares away a lot of the truly stereotypical frat bros, yet they still persist. I have the highest hopes for the future of Sovereign, but I will expect the worst.

  • oh man, I’m gonna have to suck it up and get me to Georgetown for this! This sounds fantastic!

  • I’m not rushing summer by any means but I can’t wait for the fall, for this opening!

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