Where Spotted: De Vinos, 2001 18th St. NW
Price: $3.66/12 oz. bottle
Hit Single: Come summer, I get irresistible cravings for refreshing, straw-colored, funky saisons. They usually come in large bottles, and when I spotted a six-pack at Virginia Market, I could see why; a sixer of Ground Break ran $22. Fortunately, a trip across the street yielded a shelf of singles, where I could buy just one to sample. That’s before I realized that for this saison, with its spicy notes of pretzel and rye, some puckery apricot and a wheel of Swiss-cheese funk, it would be worth going whole-hog on the six-pack.
Stale Joke: Why the high price? Ithaca beers are new to D.C. And, for now, shipments are scarce. Frustratingly, they’re often stale. Ithaca only produces Ground Break through April, which meant my beer was at least a month old when I bought it. In the saison, the age didn’t show, but I also bought a tragic bottle of Cascazilla, which I later discovered is Ithaca’s autumn seasonal. Right idea. Wrong equinox.