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Where Spotted: Euro Market, 2201 Wilson Blvd., Arlington
Price: $1.99 per 12 oz. bottle
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Cellar Mate: Most of the time, old beer is just that. But strong beers, especially those with minimal hops, are often made for aging and will develop into smoother, mellower sips over time. In practical terms, this means you should avoid stale IPAs when reviewing discount fridges like the one at Euro Market, but if you see a 2009 Duck Rabbit Baltic Porter (and a few still remain), you can pay your $1.99 and compliment the store on its “cellar.”
Impatience Makes Perfect: I had planned to wait a full year before cracking open this bottle, just to see how the flavors would develop. I was close: I waited four days. This 1-year-old baby showed its age in marvelous ways. Its alcoholic heat had dissipated, replaced by a bushel of juicy cherry aromas that led into a long, chocolate-y finish. Aging beers is always a crapshoot; another year and the cherry notes might fade, too. But I enjoyed this bottle just in time, and that blind luck is half the thrill.