Where In Town: Giant, 1345 Park Road NW
Price: $8.99/750 ml
Legends of the Hidden Tripel
Every beer geek has at least one secret spot: the corner liquor store whose rare brews lurk unnoticed, or the strip-mall megamart where vintage Belgian ales sit for years at bargain-basement prices. One of mine is the new craft beer section of the Columbia Heights Giant supermarket—yes, right near the boxed wine and appletini mixers. Although Giant will never trump d’vines, the neighborhood craft beer kingpin, it recently stepped up its game with a shelf of solid brews, including an array of Unibroue and Ommegang beers and strong offerings from Flying Dog and Dogfish Head. But the crown jewel is Duvel Tripel Hop—an exceptional limited-release beer that usually costs about twice what Giant is charging.
Red, White, and Brew
You might be familiar with Duvel’s flagship beer, the champagne-like strong golden ale in the stumpy white and red bottle. Tripel Hop is a special Americanized version, brewed with citrusy Amarillo hops from the Pacific Northwest. But don’t call this a Belgian IPA; it’s only slightly bitter. Instead, you’ll find a mysterious aroma of apples, honey, and fruity Belgian yeast, plus a smooth, balanced richness without much alcoholic warmth. (The bottles at Giant, brewed two years ago, have had time to mellow.) Not a bad reward for buying groceries.