Hidden in Plain Sight

Connecticut Avenue runs the length of the northwest quadrant of Washington and is a central commuter artery between downtown DC and suburban Maryland.  It connects most of the city’s northwest neighborhoods, from Lafayette and Farragut Squares, through Dupont Circle and Adams Morgan, to Chevy Chase in the north.  And along this avenue at the city’s northwest edge is a gem to which I have been recently introduced.

Chevy Chase Wine and Spirits lies just south of the traffic circle at Western Avenue, where the district becomes Maryland’s affluent Montgomery County.  A conversation with a colleague about hard to find Belgian beers led to us discussing the store’s extensive beer selection, numbering over 1,200.  While I know several excellent downtown beer and wine markets, this was new information.  Not surprisingly, I was unaware of the store because I spend little time in upper Northwest.

I was determined to visit the new store as soon as possible and took advantage of the light traffic over Thanksgiving weekend, when most city residents leave town.  The store’s selection – as well as the absence of city traffic – did not disappoint.

The store’s tiny and easily overlooked frontage hides its impressive and extensive selection.  Although small, the store contains a massive amount of beer from around the globe; rows of bottles line the walls, doorframes, and aisles.  It seemed every horizontal surface available held several microbrews or imports.

Inside I casually and carefully wandered the narrow aisles; I was in no hurry and slowly explored the geographically-organized selections.  Should I choose a few bottles from the Baltic countries?  Or perhaps a few from Germany?  Ultimately I decided upon a few Belgians: a small Chimay blue; an Achel Blonde; a large Saison Dupont; and for good measure, a Full Sail Pale Ale, an Oregon microbrew recommended during the earlier conversation from which I learned about the store.

The drive back home took me back south along Connecticut, just after sunset.  As I passed embassies, restaurants, and apartment buildings, the bottles rattled against one another, a pleasant reminder of my new source of rare international brews.

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Published in: on December 12, 2010 at 6:34 pm  Comments Off on Hidden in Plain Sight  
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