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  1. I wouldn't call myself a beer expert, but I think that I'm pretty familiar with most everything distributed in the state of Virginia. When a friend, visiting from Arlington, saw this beer on sale for $3.99 a bottle and bought every single one of them all the shelf I figured I still had something to learn. His first moment of shock was that it was just sitting on the shelf at Whole Foods, while the second exclamation was at the 3.99 price tag, on sale for $1 off the regular price of $4.99. This is a $10 beer in DC he told me as he filled his cart with all twelve bottles, ensuring that one of the bottles would be for me. Last night I decided to open my bottle with along with some takeout Vietnamese from the most reliable option we've found in Richmond so far, Tay-Ho. The pairing was a perfect match. The Route des Epices could easily be overwhelmed by the addition of peppercorns in the brewing process, but while the flavor is in every sip, it is very subtle. The rye beer base recipe was very refreshing and by itself is a good beer to drink with a meal. The slight "tingling" (how it is described on the bottle) of the peppercorns really gives beer more of a cocktail feeling. One bottle could last throughout a meal, with a sip or two after every couple of bites to really enhance the flavor of the food. I was eating lemongrass stir fry, so the pairing could have just been kismet, and I'd be disappointed having this beer with a less complex dish. The less than stellar rating from the crowd on beer advocate lends some credence to this theory. All that being said, I'd definitely keep a bottle or two on hand to go with your last minute decision to swing by Pho 75 on the way home. It's 5% ABV, and I'm not sure who carries these beers in DC, but I'm sure you can find it around town.
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