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Blue Mountain Full Nelson Pale Ale
Where Spotted: Whole Foods, 2700 Wilson Blvd., Arlington
Licensed to Hill: Most American beer drinkers are used to California-style pale ales like Sierra Nevada. Those West Coast pale ales are dominated by Cascade hops, with fresh pine and citrus bitterness. In Virginia’s Full Nelson, the hops are subdued, letting the dark, bready malts come through. It tastes like a British IPA that’s been gently Americanized—on a scale of Julie Andrews flashing her boobs to Tony Blair palling around with George W. Bush, this is Kate Winslet crying when accepting her Golden Globe.
Mountain Manna: Tucked away in the Blue Ridge, Blue Mountain grows a plot of its own Cascade hops. This is more than a nod to Jeffersonian yeoman-farmer ideals; Beer is almost always made with dried hops, but every fall, the fresh buds allow Blue Mountain to brew a “Harvest Edition” of Full Nelson. The “wet hops,” as they’re called, infuse the beer with floral bitterness.
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