No Pie in the Sky at Fire Works: Just Gourmet Pizza and a Well-Chosen Beer List
In addition to good food and beer, Fire Works in Courthouse offers a fun atmosphere and happy hour specials.
Open since August, Fire Works American Pizzeria and Bar has 33 beers on tap and over 140 in bottles, but the sheer volume of the beer selection is just half the story here.
It's a labor of love for 30-year-old beer director and manager Mike Berry, who left the corporate world to join the Tuskies Restaurant Group, which also includes the original Fire Works Pizza in Leesburg.
"My wife Alison and I plan all of our vacations around visiting breweries, and we are such beer enthusiasts that we even had five of our homebrewed beers at our wedding two years ago," said Berry.
His wife tastes craft beers and then bakes with them, posting the recipes on her website www.threebakingsheetstothewind.com.
When he's not managing the bar, Berry is active in a men's hockey league. He's also been involved in the deejay circuit, where he met Jeff Hancock, one of the partners in DC Brau, a new brewery set to commence making beer later this winter. "I've been at them as to when they're going to have beer available," Berry said.
"Our goal," he adds, "is to feature primarily U.S. craft beer on draft, with a few imports featured from time to time (such as Belgian ales - Staffe Hendrik, Delirium Tremens and Kasteel Rouge)." Berry has a taste for Belgians: he says his "number one pride and joy" is the hoppy Belgian IPA Houblon Chouffe.
Berry adds, however, "We want to have beers here that we know people will drink and enjoy. We won't have something here just to say we have it."
Fireworks maintains two taps reserved for cask-conditioned ale, featuring mostly Mid-Atlantic beers (Oliver's and Clipper City of Baltimore, Flying Dog of Frederick), but, "we will also rotate a few others in from other regions when we can get them," Berry noted.
This week Fire Works also is serving Donnybrook Stout on nitro pour, a creamy Irish-style stout from Victory Brewing Co. in Downingtown, Pa.
The 5,500-square-foot space located at 2350 Clarendon Blvd. in Courthouse, on the ground level of Marriott's Residence Inn, is the company's first attempt to expand into Northern Virginia. Brothers Sean and Kevin Malone and a third partner, Gil Blankenspoor, also operate Tuscarora Mill, their original venture, in Leesburg and Magnolias at the Mill in Purcellville.
Fire Works sports a separate dining area from its bar, with a total seating capacity of 276 inside and 112 outside on their spacious patio, which will feature an open-air fireplace when the weather improves in spring.
There is private dining room at the rear of the restaurant that has been the scene of beer tastings since last August's opening. Also notice the exposed keg cooler near the front of the restaurant that lets guests know right away that this is not just your ordinary pizza joint inside.
Fire Works' full kitchen is stocked with locally-sourced produce and meats, whose growers and producers are proudly displayed on a board near the entrance. The excellent appetizers and charcuterie include tempura acorn squash with housemade tzatziki sauce for dipping; risotto fritters with smoky blue cheese, bacon and harissa; tempura calamari; mussels; and stuffed lamb meatballs. It's a real after-work destination for grabbing the best beer-and-bites in the busy Courthouse neighborhood (and just a block from the Courthouse Metro station on the Orange line).
Fire Works' soups and salads are seriously good, as are their sandwich selections, and one can't forget the array of 15 Neapolitan-style signature pies that are wood-fire baked.
You won't find any spotty crowds during happy hour, which runs 4 to 6:30 p.m. Monday to Friday. Selected drafts are $3 and include Terrapin Rye (a spicy pale ale), the classic Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Brooklyn Lager, Stella Artois and Miller Lite. Fire Works will reserve bar tables for you if you have a large (10+) group coming in for the weeknight specials.
Regular special events include Trivia Night, Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ( you can win $50 and it's free to play with up to six people per team -- access a weekly hint at TriviaTryst.com); Saturday night live music (Nate Ihara will be performing live on Jan. 8); and a lunch special for $8 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays with your choice of a six-inch pepperoni, herb & cheese, margherita or mushroom pizza with a summer greens house or caesar salad.
On Tuesday, Jan. 18, at 7:00 p.m., Fire Works will host a five-course beer dinner showcasing the beers of Terrapin Beer Co. in Athens, Ga. Chef Jeffery Potter and assistant Frank Mayo will be creating culinary delights to match up to these extraordinary beers. Seating is limited, so reserve early. The cost is $75, including gratuity. A beer dinner featuring Tröegs Brewing Co. in Harrisburg, Pa. is planned for February.
Fire Works hours are as follows: Sunday-Monday 11 a.m.-11:00 p.m. (dining room/kitchen closes at 10 p.m.); Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-12:00 a.m. (dining room/kitchen closes at 11 p.m.); Friday & Saturday 11 a.m.-1:00 a.m. (dining room/kitchen closes at 12:00 a.m., last call between 1:30 and 1:45 a.m.).
To make a reservation, call 703-527-8700.