GAITHERSBURG – The rapidly developing Downtown Crown area in Gaithersburg gained what some beer lovers may see as the crown’s shiniest jewel this past month with the opening of Old Town Pour House.
The brainchild of Chicago-based Bottleneck management, the Pour House restaurant features amenities that set it apart from most of its local competition.
The amenities include 90 different draft beers from 120 tap handles – ranging from traditional Miller Lites all the way to IPA’s and Big Belgians – eight wines on tap and almost a full wall of high-definition televisions, including three 110-inch video walls.
“The biggest thing I’ve heard is that people have been waiting for something different to come to the neighborhood,” said Pour House General Manager Daniel Gutierrez.
If the giant television screens and the gargantuan copper-inlayed bar wrapped around the back wall of the building do not immediately catch your eye when you walk into Pour House, the energy of the place will, Gutierrez said.
“What makes us unique? The sheer vibe when you come in here. The music’s a little louder, you got (televisions) all over the place, there’s a lot to look at,” Gutierrez said. “You just feel the energy of this place when you walk into it.”
Pour House has wasted no time integrating local beer into the menu, offering selections from local breweries such as Dogfish Head, Flying Dog and DC Brau.
“It’s nice to represent the local guys,” Gutierrez said. “Right now I’ve got a good representation but I want to ultimately get more.”
Gutierrez said so far it hasn’t been just the local beers flying off the shelves (or in this case, out of the taps) – Pour House’s vast selection has had customers trying a little bit of everything.
One of the ways the restaurant helps its customers try all the beers they want is by offering them the option to build their own flight of beers.
“Those are just killing right now because obviously everyone wants to try all 90 (beers) instead of just drinking their one,” Gutierrez said.
After the video walls, the next biggest thing the restaurant offers may be its massive 21-ounce Churchill Bloody Mary, which is served in an oversized goblet. The Sunday morning hangover remedy comes garnished with peppered steak, pepper jack cheese, pickles, a cocktail onion and a Slim Jim stir stick to top it all off.
Gutierrez said the only thing customers have been hesitant to try is the tap wine because most people are not used to it.
“Everyone’s kind of like ‘tap wine? Oh that’s gross,’” Gutierrez said. “But if you actually try it, it’s amazing.”
Gutierrez said the secret behind the tap wine is in its delivery.
“It’s delivered with nitrogen instead of oxygen so it’s not breaking down,” Gutierrez said. “When you open a bottle of wine, the second the oxygen hits it, it’s breaking down immediately. This is being delivered through nitrogen so it’s able to last longer.”
To complete the scientific experience of the nitrogen delivery system, Pour House serves the tap wine in beakers.
Another idea Pour House has brought from the windy city is the “game sound” concept. While displaying major sporting events on the televisions, Pour House switches the sound and display over to a music video or funny clip as soon as the game goes to commercial and then switches it back when the commercials end.
Gutierrez said they tried it for the first time during the NCAA conference tournaments and the customers enjoyed it.
“We did it this past weekend for the Maryland games and it went over amazing,” Gutierrez said. “The crowd loved it.”
The restaurant seats 120 inside and an additional 90 on the patio during warmer weather.
So far Gutierrez said he’s heard nothing but positive reviews and invites anyone in the area to “come on in, grab a drink, grab a bite and try it out.”