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Bell’s Christmas Ale

Where Spotted: Ace Beverage, 3301 New Mexico Ave. NW

Price: $0.75/12-oz. bottle

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Christmas in July: Seventy-five cents is a small risk for good beer, even if it’s in the bargain bin. Bells Christmas is a thin Scotch ale, driven by figgy maltiness and without the spice customary to holiday beers. The hops in my bottle had faded too, as is the case with all aged beers. But the confused faces of the cookout guests who pulled it out of the ice bucket made up for that.

Aging Hopster: To age your own beers, choose less hoppy brews with at least 6 percent abv, which have a shorter shelf life than the Furby. Unfiltered beers (with yeast in the bottle) will become sweeter while growing in complexity and alcohol content. But it’s most important that you do it at a cool temperature, below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The fridge is too cold, but in summer, err on the side of frigid—it’s better than waiting a whole year only to find that your baby has wilted in the heat.

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