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Where Spotted: Whole Foods, 1440 P St. NW
Price: $10.99/750ml bottle
Brew School: I like to root for the little guy, but I get as giddy as a lush on Super Bowl Sunday when a craft-beer stalwart flexes his innovation muscle. This started last year, when Sierra Nevada unleashed a volley of new seasonal beers. The California brewery is one of the industry’s best evangelists, and it was cool to see it step outside its comfort zone. Belgian icon Brasserie Dupont keeps a nice-sized roster of beers outside its famous saisons. But only the rare variety winds up stateside, so snatching up this bottle was an even easier decision than, uh, buying a second one.
Herb Your Enthusiasm: Dupont has been making this gruit-style beer since 1983 to be sold as a traditional tipple for a nearby archeological tourist destination—something like the colonial beer recipes that you find at Mount Vernon. In the Gallo-Roman style, apothecary herbs such as woodruff and bog myrtle are used to flavor and preserve the beer. Hops, which generally fill that role, barely figure into the equation. The resulting elixir is a delicate, slightly sweet beer that pours a hazy straw color, with a breath of heather and coriander that begs for a dish to pair it with. It’s living proof that those luxuriant Belgians have been living well since the Iron Age.