The insider's scoop on food, travel & southern culture
Chef Robert Wiedmaier may be known around Washington, DC, as a successful restaurateur and a Harley hog rider; however, an entirely different reputation may soon be preceding him…
At the end of this month, Chef Wiedmaier’s Belgian roots will take him back to the city of Brussels, where he’ll be officially enthroned as an Honorary Knight. The Knights Who Say Ni is what immediately comes to my mind. I can picture Robert clomping around with the knights from Monty Python, protecting the sacred word and on a mission for the shrubbery! (Thanks to the Washington Lobbyist for that great graphic)
In all serious, the Knighthood of the Brewers’ Mash staff is the noble guild of Belgium’s proud and ancient brewing industry, which will soon be welcoming Robert into their ranks. Chef Wiedmaier is being honored for his contributions to Belgian cuisine in Washington, DC, and the surrounding areas. Before long, it’ll be Sir Wiedmaier to you and me… as if that personality of his needs a righteous title.
Thus, in observation of DC Beer Week, I thought who better to comment on its significance than a (soon-to-be) official knight of the brewers!
In conversation, Robert has always put DC Beer Week right up there with Christmas morning as his favorite time of year. He described beer week to me as a celebration of the beer culture, both world-wide and in our own backyard.
“The craft beer movement can at times feel expansive, but this week shows people the local side. There’s a city-wide scene that’s been nurtured here and it spans the bars, restaurants and breweries. Beer week is about us continually pushing the boundaries and highlighting our position in the craft beer world.”
I’d venture to say Chef Wiedmaier practices what preaches when it comes to pushing the boundaries of beer. His restaurant Brasserie Beck hosts an ever-changing beer list with over 100 bottles and 11 drafts. The Belgian-style beer menu sources both from Belgium and here locally, and much of the menu is crafted in pairing with the artisanal ales.
“A well-paired beer will enhance and transform a meal,” he told me. A Palm Ale will make a cippolini onion succulently sweet, while a Piraat Ale will cleanse your palate of a rich blue cheese.
The goal is to show beer’s versatility and elegance by combining it with the right fare, and that’s what Chef Wiedmaier will be emphasizing throughout beer week. Brasserie Beck’s beer specials for this week are worth a glance. I’m thinking I might have to make it out for Thursday’s draft features from the Saint Louis Brewery. Apparently there’ll be barbecue rib special that uses Schlafly Biere de Garde both in the braising and in the sauce. Slap a bib on me, and I’m there.
Whether Robert’s induction into knighthood will change him… I cannot yet say. To the 300+ employees who work at his restaurants, I think he’s always been Sir. They just may be saying it with a little more conviction. Ni! Ni! Ni!
I’m Simone. And this is what simone sez…