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Captain Lawrence Captain’s Reserve Imperial IPA
Where Spotted: Connecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor Deli, 1529 Connecticut Ave. NW; (202) 332-0240
Price: $6.99/500 ml
Buzz Without Buzz: Many lusted-after IPAs come off like novelty hot sauces, forgoing balance of flavor for hops en mass. By contrast, you can drink this 8 percent IPA by the pint, with its doses of hop bitterness and floral aroma bolstered by a sweet malt base. Forget “interesting” beer; this is a good one.
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Hop Local: Captain Lawrence Brewing Co., from Pleasantville, N.Y., has just started distributing its beer to D.C., and small, intermittent shipments make the bottles hard to find (they’re not yet available in Maryland or Virginia). I found out about it after a chance discussion about sour beer led to a Connecticut Avenue employee giving me a tour of his recent acquisitions. It’s just another reason you should become friendly with the staff at your local good beer store—they’re your best bet for knowing when rare bottles like this trickle down to the D.C. market.