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Bell’s Batch 9000 Ale
Where Spotted: Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, 3423 Connecticut Ave. NW
Hard Licorice: Bell’s took two of my most hated childhood flavors, licorice and molasses, and crafted them into one of the winter’s best imperial stouts. The licorice complements the dark malts and the molasses adds a wisp of that bulk-aisle-at-the-health-food-store aroma. It’s a one-time release, so horde up and let it age in your cellar.
Cheap at Half the Price: My first bottle of this was dropped off by a friend whose tastes ran milder than this 12.5 percent abv brew. And though I eventually bought my own, this intense six-pack is a good one to split with friends looking to try something new. It’s complex enough for each 12 oz. bottle to “feed” three, so you could consider it a bargain.