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Verdi Imperial Stout

Where Spotted: Rustico, 827 Slaters Lane, Alexandria

Price: $12/330ml bottle (to go)

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pepper tiger: Verdi is an Italian imperial stout brewed with chiles, combining dark chocolate and spice notes like a mug of South American chocolate. But this is no heavy-handed extreme brew; smooth cocoa flavors cascade down your throat with only a wisp of chile burn, seductive and romantic as the country it hails from.

Room to improv: I first tasted this beer as part of an experiment, pairing beers with jazz records on the porch. We sipped Verdi while listening to “Ysabel’s Table Dance,” off Charles Mingus’ Tijuana Moods, and those 10 minutes of sultry, south-of-the-border jazz were all we needed to quaff the entire bottle.

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