Where Spotted: De Vinos, 2001 18th St. NW
Price: $5 per11.2 oz bottle
Scale Tactics: Like cooking for one, drinking alone presents problems of scale—sometimes I want to try a new beer without committing precious fridge space. D.C. law prohibits stores from splitting up six-packs, so when I want a one-off, I like to browse the often-neglected Belgian singles. Here you’ll find everything from tart lambics to spicy mustard beers, styles that you rarely see in the more celebrated “champagne” bottles.
XX Marks the Hops: Hopped-up Belgian-style pale ales and IPAs were arguably the biggest beer trend last year, and today it seems every brewery is trying to pair fruity Belgian yeast strains with Big Gulp-sized doses of juicy American hops. XX Bitter is extreme in a more European fashion, hoppy for a Belgian but with the crisp, grassy notes you’ll find in a good pilsner. Bitter enough for hopheads and light enough for pils drinkers, it marries these clean tastes in a way that no American has truly mastered.