You gotta eat. And you gotta drink. And one place to do that in the Gallery Place/Chinatown area of Washington where most of the national meeting action is taking place is Regional Food & Drink Washington, known for short as R.F.D. Its beer list is legion, so much so that the managers felt compelled to channel the spirit of Dmitri Mendeleev–whose 19th century photographic portraits suggest he would have been quite capable of gulping down a keg of beer without assistance (or at least a heckuva lot of vodka)–to help them and their customers grasp and classify the diversity of the beer offerings. All of the food servers–including my waitress last night, American University political science major Francesca Giarratana–wear a black t-shirt bearing “The Beeriodic Table.” The shirts are not some suck up for the meeting, Giarratana told me; they are part of the standard uniform. And the t-shirts will surely be a welcome draw for any ACS attendees who might wander into the restaurant. With the iconic shape of its chemical inspiration, the letters in the Beeriodic Table’s boxes codify different beer types, such as lagers or India Pale Ales. Numbers at the top of each box indicate the alcohol content by volume of the particular beer category. The numbers at the bottom indicate each category’s range of “original gravities” in degrees Plato (named after a guy named Fritz, not the philosopher), a scale of the brewing industry for the concentration of dissolved solids, such as sugar.
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