THE SUDS CYCLE: For some time now, the owner of Pizzeria Paradiso in Georgetown (3282 M St. NW; 202-337-1245) has been watching what her customers have been drinking, and it isn't necessarily vino.
Despite the restaurant's Italian tilt, "so many people choose to drink beer" with their meals, says Ruth Gresser, who also owns the Pizzeria Paradiso in Dupont Circle.
So, beginning in January, the downstairs space currently used for weekend overflow and private parties will be made over as Birreria Paradiso, a 40-seat salute to microbrews and artisanal suds and an acknowledgment of the natural affinity between pizza and beer. Gresser, a fan of the Belgian-made Chimay, hopes to quench the thirst of like-minded customers with 16 beers on tap and 80 by the bottle. (At present, Paradiso offers four beers on tap and 20 by the bottle.)
Heading up the pub project is manager Thor Cheston, a 27-year-old beer aficionado aiming to pour "the best from Belgium, Germany, England and the States" -- including beers produced by the Brewer's Art in Maryland and Old Dominion in Virginia -- and to serve those representatives "properly."
That means beers served in the kinds of European glassware you'd expect to find abroad, explains Cheston, who also brews beer at home. "We want to elevate people's taste a bit," he adds. To that end, Gresser and company plan to offer beer dinners in the forthcoming pub and maybe even flights of beer with matching cheeses, "though I'll have to convince Ruth," jokes her manager, "because all the cheeses won't be Italian."
A 2001 graduate of Georgetown University, Cheston says he once dreamed of going to medical school and retiring early so he could run a brewery restaurant. "But why bother" with the first step, he realized, when he could do what he really wanted to do.
Beer fans need to be patient: Birreria Paradiso won't open until Feb. 1.