We are beer snobs and we may rejoice now.
Last week was a blur of magazine deadlines and other editorial misfittery (that's a new word, thanks). So on Saturday, I walked the neighborhood in a daze, as if I'd been locked in a shoebox for a month. The air, the people, all the colors... is this..... freedom?
D'Vines had actually opened last week, but this was my first glimpse; it's the New Kid in a huge mash of shopping craziness in the area.
I've already spewed my opinions about the retail "rebirth" of the area. DC-USA is a convenient-yet-necessary evil, with its Target, Best Buy, etc, but the architecture of the place is a shocking affront to the neighborhood. Next to the great old Riggs building and the Tivoli, DC-USA is a mammoth hellbox. An enormous robot's poop. Design-wise, I mean.
But of course, having it within walking distance is still better than driving 30 minutes to the soul-killing suburbs for a bulk case of chicken corn-dogs. Or whatever. So the verdict is complicated as always. Bittersweet.
Despite all the media madness surrounding the big-box openings, I was more thrilled about the birth of two tiny places across the street: Julia's Empanadas and D'Vines.
D'Vines is the new enterprise of the folks behind De Vinos in Adams Morgan (2001 18th Street) and the selection here is just as eclectic. Most of their wine, beer, and sake are specimens that didn't exist in the neighborhood before. Their mission is to remain aloof (in the nicest possible way) from the selections at the nearby Giant, and to be very price-competitive against Whole Foods.
I'm no wine expert, nor do I like the stuff very much (although several years in Syracuse turned me on to the mad genius of Bully Hill vinyards, still hard to find down here). So my enthusiasm is reserved for the craft beers in the back of the store. They've got a wide selection of Belgians, porters, and ales; everything from barely pronounceable imports to the humble yet consistently great Brooklyn Brown. My symbolic first purchase (photo) should empower some mighty yardwork and house-cleaning today. Having Maudite within walking distance is a mighty fine thing. And just in time for summer.
So call this a slobbery endorsement from Intangible HQ. Suddenly getting thirsty...
D'Vines: 3103 14th Street NW, Washington DC. Shouting distance from the Columbia Heights Metro.