Hops and Shine

Beer? Make your own grilled cheese? Outside seating on a beautiful Friday evening? I’m there. Sadly, the “biergarten” section is really just three long picnic tables in the back parking lot and they were already packed by the time we got there. C for effort.

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On the other hand, so many taps! In fact, so many taps that we had a hard time choosing just two (or four, or five, whatever…) but we eventually settled on a passionfruit sour (me) and the Aslin next beer due (husband). Outside of Sovereign or, ya know, Belgium, I don’t remember the last time I saw this many sour beers listed on one menu.

Like the beer list, the grilled cheese menu was a little overwhelming. I settled on one of their house specials, the Herbalicious sandwich, to which I added turkey breast. My husband designed his own with cheddar, chicken, jalapeños, onion, and chipotle aioli. From the looks of things, it was time to get excited:

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The Herbalicious sandwich was pretty great. It was cheesy, packed with ingredients (and apple + cheddar = chef kiss), plus the pesto was a delicious addition. I had to ask for dressing for the salad, though. Not sure who dropped the ball there. All in all, satisfying.

On the other hand, my husband was not so lucky. His sandwich was a pretty standard grilled cheese but the chicken was straight outta the school cafeteria. Or maybe straight outta the microwave. Pure rubber. Inedible. Grilled chicken? Nah.

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We did stick around for a second round of beers. I took advantage of the opportunity to get some tasters, including a Crooked Run sour, a watermelon gose, and the Dogfish Head Super 8. Remember when I said they had too many to try? I could have been here all night. I was also very satisfied with the exception of the Dogfish Head. So bad it shouldn’t be on the menu anywhere. I don’t know how it contains seven fruits and still tastes like nothing? The eighth “superfood” ingredient, I learned? Toasted quinoa. Dogfish, I don’t even want quinoa in my salad; I sure as fuck don’t want it in my beer.

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I mostly really enjoyed Hops and Shine. It would be a great place for a post-work happy hour (it was obvious that the Alexandria teachers have gotten the message on this). Or so I thought…

Price: How. HOW. Did we spend $60 on grilled goddamn cheese? How? Here’s how: Because the beer is slightly overpriced ($9-10 pints) and the sandwiches aren’t cheap enough to mitigate that. $30 per person.

Bottom line: Come here for a great beer selection at slightly exorbitant prices. Go home and grill your own cheese.

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