The time of Oktoberfest is upon us, with beer festivals everywhere Washingtonians turn. Where can one get their fall fill during between the festivities, and frankly any night they’re feeling seasonal? For both autumnal food and drink, look no further than World of Beer.
This may surprise some, as WOB is known almost exclusively for an astounding selection of brews and fun trivia nights. This perception is changing though, thanks to the kitchen in Ballston. Arlington’s WOB was the first to put out a full dining menu, causing several other locations within the franchise to follow suit. All DMV WOB locations have stepped it up even further this season, however, by introducing a unique fall menu that pairs well with the season’s best beers.
It’s understandable to be skeptical of the food at a spot specializing in brew – but don’t be. The fall menu at Ballston’s WOB is seriously tasty and best enjoyed on their patio during crisp fall evenings. Grab your scarf and enjoy an autumn night with these dishes and drinks.
Crispy wings are glazed in blackberry balsamic jelly and drizzled with spicy peanut butter sauce. They’re served with a blackberry jam and peanut butter dipping sauce. WOB’s excellent staff advised the wings be paired with WOB’s limited release The Gatekeeper, a Russian Imperial Stout and IPA blend with figs and plums. While my dining companion, Nate, didn’t love the noticeable stonefruit undertones, I thought they were fantastic.
German Pretzel with House-Made Beer Cheese
Although this isn’t exclusive to the fall menu, WOB’s gigantic pretzels are a must-order item for those who’ve never had them. The Bavarian pretzel was everything eaters look for – soft on the inside and crispy and salty on the outside. The house-made mustards were good, but the beer cheese was our favorite. This was paired with an Ayinger Oktober Fest-Marzen, a traditional Bavarian lager that WOB’s General Manager claimed was what all Oktoberfest beers aspire to be.
Prosciutto & Spiced Apple Flatbread
Of everything we tasted from the fall menu, this flatbread was truly phenomenal. Salty, chunked prosciutto ham complements the sweetness of the spiced apple, while the toasted hazelnuts and goat cheese add smooth and crunch textures. A drizzle of balsamic vinegar ties everything together and had us ready to order seconds. Even better, this was paired with a unique carrot amber ale by Jailbreak Brewing Company. The combination was ultra-seasonal and alone worth a trip to WOB.
Pumpkin Spice Apple Donuts
This traditional German fried apple donut took us by surprise – a whole apple slice is in the center! Once the dough is fried around the apple, it’s dusted with pumpkin spice sugar and paired with salted caramel for dipping. Again, Nate didn’t love the overwhelming presence of fruit, but I thought it was a perfect way to pay homage to the land of Oktoberfest. It was paired with Dogfish Head’s “Fall On Me”, a Belgian-style Farmhouse Ale with apples and fall spices. Naturally, this donut would also go well with a cider.
While we may not have ordered other fall menu items, it was definitely tempting. Football fans will swoon over the Green Chili Chicken Nachos with spicy cheese, tomatoes, green onion and jalapeño peppers. The WOBtoberfest Brat Burger – which tops a beer brat with house-made stone ground mustard, sauerkraut, beer cheese sauce and caramelized onions on a toasted brioche bun – also looked tasty.
Of course, had we not been so full of fall treats, we would have also indulged in some more beer. Owner Evan Matz was kind enough to fill us in on the details of WOB’s massive brew stock – the Ballston location has 150 kegs, 50 beers on tap at any time and 9,000 to 11,000 bottles on site. Better yet, die-hard beer fanatics can earn incentives – like a free happy hour – by keeping track of their progress on WOB’s app.
Ultimately, diners will be surprised with the quality of World of Beer’s new fall menu. It’s certainly worth the trip, so don’t leaf these dishes hanging (pun intended, but also poorly executed – it was worth a try).