Where Spotted: Rick’s Wine and Gourmet, 3117 Duke St., Alexandria

Price: $9.49/six pack

See the Light: When it comes to beer, I am a proponent of quality and quantity alike. This has fueled my quest for beers low in alcohol and high in flavor, a rarity in the world of high-octane IPAs and imperial stouts. But there are some great beers out there with less than 5 percent alcohol by volume—Yards Philadelphia Pale Ale and Stone Levitation spring to mind—and of this class, Bitter American is king. Its hop aroma is full of grapefruit zest and pine, leading to a bright and bitter taste that disappears as fast as you can gulp.

Promised Land: People often approach good beer with a bargain mentality, willing to shell out for strong beers but not as forgiving for session beers. But Bitter American is actually 21st Amendment’s most expensive beer to produce, even more so than its potent Belgian-style beers or rich black IPA. That’s because it’s made with copious amounts of Simpsons Golden Promise, a specialty malt from Scotland that fills out the beer’s midsection. Without good malt, it’s just hoppy water.

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