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Traipsing Through the Beer Aisle Vol. 3

Welcome to “Traipsing Through the Beer Aisle” a (kinda) recurring feature here at DCBeer where we walk through a well-stocked beer aisle and point out new and/or noteworthy offerings in the DC market. Today’s beers come from a variety of grocers around the District.

I do a lot of my six-pack shopping at grocery stores now.

/braces for chorus of boos, none of which are saying “Boo-urns.”

No offense intended to small, independent bottle shops, my buying habits these days just lend themselves more to throwing a six-pack in my basket than they do spending hours in a shop deciding whether this 22oz is really worth my money. 

I digress.

Anyway, the surprising thing about this edition of Traipsing is how decent (not good, but decent) the average DC grocery store’s craft beer selection is. That Whole Foods has a good selection is a given, but to see pretty good variety at a Target or Giant is encouraging for consumers.

Anyway, on we go.

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Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp series yielded the delicious Tropical IPA last year that was a real hit. This year’s beer is again hop-forward, and according to the brewery uses “wheat malt for a light, dry body and bold American and experimental hops for intense citrus flavor.”

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The problem with a lot of samplers is that it has two or three beers you want to drink and then a dud or something suboptimal. Troegs’ usually does a pretty great job with theirs. This one is no different. The Scratch series (In this case, Chocolate Stout), can only be had on-premise in draft or via these samplers. A hoppy winter seasonal sits tight with Troegenator (which has won a bunch of GABF medals) and Perpetual (a solid and reliable but not over-the-top remarkable IPA).

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As you may have seen, New Belgium did a pretty wide-ranging re-brand. Pictured are two of the new offerings, Whizbang, a hoppy blonde, and Voodoo Ranger 8 Hop Pale Ale. I have to be honest: I have no idea why the hell there is a skeleton ranger on this packaging or why a brewery in Fort Collins, CO has any connection to voodoo. But this guy (or maybe it’s a gal, I don’t know how to check gender on beer label skeletons) now graces the packaging of a pale, IPA, and imperial IPA. I wound up buying a six-pack of the pale. It’s quite tasty in a generic, high-quality hop-forward pale ale kind of way. 

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If this sampler is intended to bring us all together as a nation…we are going to need a bigger box. I’m on record as saying that the 6x2 configuration for a beer sample is way better than a 4x3. This has a little bit for everyone (unless you like stouts). Two malt-forward beers: Irish Red and Boston Lager. Two lagers: a Helles and a Pils, and two hop-forward options: Hopscape (another new six-pack offering) and Ella Blanc IPL.

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Hey, Austin’s Eastciders, which made its debut last year here in the District, is now being sold off-premise. If you want a pineapple cider, this is the best news for you.

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Here’s an IPL you could buy from Yuengling if you want to. (I didn’t want to, personally).

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Here’s another one of those new New Belgium offerings. This is a lemon ginger sour ale that is begging to make every beertail menu. 

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Chessie is Baltimore’s Union Brewing Company’s barleywine. It did very well at Scion’s Blind & Boozy a few years back, and if you don’t want to #drinkitnow (you should), it’ll cellar well. Along with Mad Fox’s, this is one of the best local examples of the style. Don’t @ me about how I’m inconsistent about whether Baltimore is local or not for the DC beer scene. I already know.

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Here’s a Stillwater and Cigar City collaboration whose label references something I am too young to understand. To the right, you’ll see Gose Gone Wild.

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Here are many good options from Perennial. These make excellent housewarming gifts, not just because they have a good story, but because they look fancy and they’re likely to be appreciated even by “non-beer people.”

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Sorachi Ace is in six-packs now. Sorachi Ace is a strange hop that (to me) makes beers taste like they’re oak-aged even when they’re not. It also has a very strong lemon note. If you like lemons and saisons, here you go.

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Exclusive vanilla bean porter! The jury is still out on whether I am worthy of buying this sampler, let alone drinking its contents. Also, wow Ruination in 12 ounce bottles? Is that new? Obviously the art is. Who do I expect to answer me in this inquiry? I have no idea.

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Here’s another Sam Adams sampler. It’s probably a little old at this point. Do you want to be drinking Old Fezziwig in mid-February? Maybe. The Christmas spirit has left me until at least September though. The rest here is pretty interesting: a ginger beer, white IPA, and chocolate bock. Okay, I just want non-chocolate bock.

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Skeleton Ranger is back again.

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Here’s some more New Belgium. That cow on the end is a Ben and Jerry’s collab. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ale. [Obligatory Cizauskas plug.] The other three are drinkable, but this is a case (literally and figuratively) for me where I’d have to hold my nose on the fourth beer.

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These Wicked Weed 750s clean up nicely. (This is P Street Whole Foods for those of you trying to track down any of these).

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Here’s a new Sierra Nevada six-pack. The fact that Sierra Nevada feels they need to make an Orange Pale Ale when they already make the best version of the style that has probably ever been brewed is insanely depressing. But then again when was the last time I bought a six-pack of SNPA? I’m part of the problem I guess. Anyway if you are on Team “I need fruit in all my beers,” congratulations, you’ve won again.

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Since I just got an email about Luponic Distortion 005, I’m going to guess this photo is a little out of date.

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TASMANIAN IPA ALERT. This beer is insanely tasty. The folks who run Lost and Found and the associated restaurants tend to bring this in a lot, and it never disappoints.

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Standing reminder that Lindeman’s Cuvee Rene is a perfectly fine (if not insanely complex) gueuze that is both a good introduction to the style and a budget addition to any bottle share.

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DC’s first cidery, ANXO, has a collab with Shacksbury!

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15 packs of session beer: it’s not just for Easy IPA anymore.

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I like this rebrand from Harpoon. The idea of putting the top three adjectives for the beer right on the packaging is clever, but my guess is that it also railroads consumers into only using those three words when discussing the beer. 

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Finally, here’s a very robust local beer section. It’s great to see this much variety from folks in the DC metro area. Keep on keeping on!

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