Editors' pick

Rock Bottom Brewery

Brewpub, Patio/Rooftop, Bar
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Editorial Review

Your opinion of this Ballston outpost of the Rock Bottom chain is probably going to vary depending on how you arrive.

Come from the Metro exit, and you'll have to walk through the mall, past shuttered stores and speakers emitting Muzak.

Come from Glebe Road, and you walk past some construction barricades, a row of tables on the sidewalk and up to the
smaller of two bars here. The former might be the better option if it's raining, but the latter keeps you from feeling like a
mallrat.

However you enter, Rock Bottom is a comfy after-work hangout. The atmosphere is deliberately slouchy, with a
couple of rowdy tables on a Thursday night to unsettle things.

And the beer is pretty good. This brewpub currently serves up five beers, all with some sort of local-theme label - for instance, Potomac Pale Ale, Radio Towers Red (in honor of the Tenleytown skyline), Ballston Brown and Spout Run Porter. At under $4 a pint, prices are better than reasonable by brewpub standards - and in any case, the closest equivalent establishments are in Shrlington and downtown Washington. Check out the brown ale; it has some of the creamy smoothness of a good stout, but can be drunk when it's above 60 degrees outside. (Find something you like? Take it home in a growler.) Food, however, is nothing too special; try not to tax the kitchen's technique when ordering.

-- Rob Pegoraro