A week in Beer

The more patient readers will note that, a few weeks back, I announced the new weekly series Beer 101. True to form as a “back to schooler”, I promptly wrote up none of my homework, but drank beer instead 🙂

Seriously, I have been reading my textbooks, and during the last 7 days I’ve tried every new beer that someone would leave within arms reach.

So here is the barley retrospective:

Tuesday night, after a flight to Cincinnati for work, my bearded cohort and I stopped at the local Claddagh Irish Pub for drinks and dinner. First a Strongbow hard cider (always on the lookout for a cider to replace Scrumpy Jacks), and after the fruity fermentation failed to satisfy, I moved on to Smithwicks. This Irish red ale was so good, it even made up for the barman’s surprisingly foul sense of humor (of which, gentle reader, I shall spare thee). I’ll have to find a local source for Smithwicks and continue my education. (Note: the iPhone photo doesn’t do it justice)

Smithwicks in Cincinnati

Then, a few days of work to earn my wage, and we were awaiting sister and new brother (whom we’ll call G and P), from the land of Elvis. Flights were delayed, so we went straight from the airport to our favorite new sushi place — Cyros Sushi, just north of SouthPark Mall. Cyros deserves its very own post, and since WineGirl referred to their Avante Garde Roll as “a bit of heaven in the mouth, that melts into deliciousness”, I’ll let her take up that task.

For drinking at Cyros, I started with another new-to-me brew, Weihenstephan Kristall Weissbier. No, my lips can’t pronounce the name, but they drink the beer just the same. Weihenstephan Brewery, which claims to be the world’s oldest operating brewery (licensed since 1040), started in the Benedictine Abbey of the same name in Bavaria. As the multilingual reader can already tell, it’s named for Saint Stephen. I found it to be quite tasty, and as I must have bought the last half-litre in the bar, this filtered wheat beer will require additional study. I then joined P in quaffing Kirin Ichiban, a solid if conventional sushi sauce.

For a tasty dessert at home, WineGirl had made brownies with goat cheese. Oddly delicious, but again, I’ll defer to her for the write up. Alas, our dessert needed a dessert beer, so I reached into the refrigerated recesses and pulled out a winner. P & G, WG & me … we first split a Chocolate Stout from the Fort Collins Brewery. This brew was a 2010 U.S. Open Beer Championship Gold Medal Winner, and also quite a match for the choco-cheese brownies.

Next, in keeping with the dessert flavor category, I popped a Thomas Creek Stillwater Vanilla Cream Ale. Yum! But now what? hmm … the natives are getting restless, especially with 4oz pours, so out comes a Blackthorn Cider … and New Belgium’s 1554 Enlightened Black Ale … finishing with New Belgium’s Mothership Wit.

And that was all just Friday night. Saturday, we visited the Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, which will be written up in a future post, along with Frank the terror of the Brew Tour. We traded pints of the Mecklenburger lager and OMB Copper, and I can’t wait for their upcoming Mecktoberfest on October 2nd. Come support your local brewery!

I picked up a few more offerings to pair with WineGirl’s Korean Short Ribs for Saturday night: Shiner’s Smokehaus and Bad Penny Brown Ale from Big Boss Brewing Company of Raleigh, NC. The Smokehaus is brewed with mesquite-smoked malt, which was brought out even more by the barbecue ribs.

Sunday saw us at Big Daddy’s for lunch with fresh brews, and as P & G flew from CLT, I retired for the evening with Blowing Rock’s High Country Ale.

Here’s a line-up of this weekend’s brews:
Beer Gallery

After this brief “survey course”, I’ll be taking these one at a time to sample and report.

Beer Guy

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