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Where Spotted: Rock Bottom Bethesda, 7900 Norfolk Ave., Bethesda
Scot in the Dark: I am a lazy man, but lust for a good beer can propel me all the way up the Red Line to Bethesda. Specifically, I was after Highland Courage, for which brewmaster Geoff Lively won gold at the 2010 World Beer Cup in the Scottish-style category. Of course, they were out of it, but I did find a cask of Courage’s little brother, the house brown. Primed with honey, it has mellow sweetness that lets you focus on the silky cask treatment.
Foam Sick: Rock Bottom’s beer engines have “sparkler” nozzle tips, mini shower heads that shake up the beer as it’s pumped. The effect is like plugging a bursting garden hose with your thumb, and it leaves the creamy, Guinness-style head prized by the Scots and Irish. I (and most of England) say it ruins carbonation and kills aroma. But here’s a trade tip: the nozzles simply screw off, no problem. So if a proper pint is what you’re after, proudly order your cask ale sans sparkler, even if it won’t win you customer of the year.