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Baladin Nora

Where Spotted: 2Amys, 3715 Macomb St. NW

Price: $8/glass

Sphinx Drinks: Nora is one of the oldest styles of ale, based on ancient Egyptian recipes that call for myrrh and ginger. Even after trying this Italian version, you won’t know myrrh from frankincense, but the ginger cooperates with orange peel to give the beer a faint flavor of sweet spice. Nora’s light in sweetness and has close to no hop flavor; drinking it yields an experience more aromatic than flavorful. Let this one come to room temperature so your nose can unlock the subtleties.

The Original Food Pyramid: Ancient Egyptians had two main food groups: bread and beer. The bulk of their agriculture comprised cereal grains like barley and emmer, both of which were main ingredients in early beer recipes. They drank it from morning to night, both to cram extra sustenance into their diets and to ensure that their water was potable. So on one hand, the B.C. quaff was a flat, yeasty broth and weaker than an underfed peasant. On the other hand, this means beer for breakfast is not just a bad idea; it’s an age-old tradition.

Seen an interesting quaff lately? E-mail beerspotter@washingtoncitypaper.com