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Where In Town: Scion Restaurant, 2100 P St. NW

Price: $18/22 ounces

Breath of Fresh Ale

Sometimes even hardened D.C. beer lovers experience Goldilocks syndrome. You know, the finicky feeling you get when the city’s best beer bars seem too crowded, too expensive, or just too routine. Suddenly, the Bier Baron’s a tyrant, Pizzeria Paradiso isn’t so Edenic, and ChurchKey’s 555 brew count brings to mind the biblical mark of the beast. What you need is a low-key watering hole like Scion, probably the District’s most underrated craft beer destination. Big-name breweries such as Florida’s Cigar City share space on the bottle list with oddities like the Seussian Fatty Boombalatty, brewed by Wisconsin’s Furthermore Beer. Best of all, though, might be the offerings from California. I recommend this one from Port Brewing. Don’t be fooled by the holiday-sounding title; there’s no nutmeg in there. It’s good enough for Saint Nick to sip year-round.

Brewed Awakening

You might recall my recent rant against high-alcohol “imperialists,” and here I am reviewing one of the latter. What gives? Well, Port Brewing, praised for its IPAs and Lost Abbey Belgian-inspired ales, isn’t just any brewery, and its reputation was enough to make me take a chance on this oily concoction. It smells strongly of coffee, roasted fruit, and wood. And it tastes like a syrupy, herbal shot of espresso. Dangerously smooth, the stuff is a lot stronger than it seems: 10 percent alcohol by volume. But, compared to the harsh flavors of other double-digit doozies, it’s just about right.