First Tasting in a While

Yesterday, my brother treated a friend of his and me to the 812 Cafe in Richmond. Shade from the partially closed venetian blinds covered an otherwise light colored cafe and bar. The tables jammed together with people lent a cramped feeling to this otherwise comfortable atmosphere. Our party was given a table near the bar, and we soon ordered a round of Two-Hearted Ale from Bell’s Brewery. While waiting for the beer, I proposed that we have some appetizers; but, this request was immediately shot down by our generous host on the grounds that the main course would be enough. With the help of the extra calories provided by the beer, this turned out to indeed be the case. So, I can’t complain.

PwywW

In short time, that round of Two-Hearted Ale arrived. Last year, my brother had offered me a bottle of Two-Hearted Ale. At the time, I did not find it very impressive, perhaps because it was served too cold or kept too long. Anyway, a beautifully tasting IPA met us at the table. The hops provided all the flavor with notes of lime, orange, and grapefruit. This melody of citrus rendered the beer very bitter to boot.

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Happy All Saints Day & National Blog Posting Month

Happy All Saint’s Day!  I hope that all you Catholics went to church today.  The Feast of All Souls is celebrated tomorrow, so I encourage everyone to remember their departed friends and relatives or the holy souls in purgatory generally on that day.  Even if you believe your loved ones are in heaven by now, prayers for the dead are never wasted: if one prays for a soul already in heaven, the Church on earth benefits.  This is also a simple way to perform a work of mercy.

Anyway, I’ve been very neglectful in posting for the past while, but I recently got a message about it being National Blog Posting Month; so I’m going to turn over a new leaf.  Each and every day will have some sort of post for the entire month–no matter how short of an article.  There have been a few ideas for posts churning in my brain, though I have not found the time.  Here are some examples:

1.  The relationship of Kiba and Cheza as symbolic of the bond between Jesus and Mary

2.  A review of No. 6

3.  A post about St. Leo the Great before his feast day on November 10th

4.  A review of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, which I’m reading for the first time

5.  A review or more thoughts on Weighted and Wanting by George MacDonald

6.  A review of Humanity Has Declined (two episodes to go)

7.  Impressions of Fairy Tail, Dusk Maiden of Amnesia, and Samurai Deeper Kyo manga

8.  Some information about Baltimore

9.  A Report of the Eucharist Congress held by the Diocese of Trenton at the Garden State Arts Center (where you may learn interesting facts about the blogger in addition to the Congress)

10.  Reviews of certain teas and beers

So, this ought to be an interesting month on this blog, provided that I can write the five substantial papers also due this month.

A Recipe, One Cider, and a Laundry List of Beers

For a change, I’ll be giving a cider review alongside my beer reviews.  I enjoy cider as an eminently quaffable, uncomplicated, and refreshing beverage.  It also features as part of my favorite seafood recipe, which I gleaned from Mark Bittman’s magnum opus. The Best Recipes in the World.  So, let me start by giving you that recipe.

Cider Poached Red Snapper/Cod

Ingredients

Salt and Pepper to taste

Half a Stick of Unsalted Butter

2lbs of Cod/Red Snapper Fillet

1 Large Onion, diced

Plenty of Portobello Mushrooms, sliced

Enough Cider to cover the fish (have at least two bottles handy, one may suffice)

(How do you like my precise measurements?  🙂 )

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From Virginia with Beer

Well, the time spent at my brother’s was most enjoyable and productive in finding new beers.  There’s a splendid shop called Total Wine where he lives, and it stocks a great selection of American craft beer.  This visit, I was shocked to find some Goose Island and quickly snatched up their English Pale Ale and Matilda, a Belgian Style Pale Ale.  I also saw an English Pale Ale (So they say.  Tasted more like an IPA to me.) from the Shipyard Brewing Co. named after Joshua Chamberlain, one of my favorite heroes from the Civil War, and snatched that up immediately.  I shall also be reviewing Dogfish Head’s Sah’tea.  Plenty of other ales found their way into my hands, and it will be my pleasure to reveal their tasting notes later.

Yet, I would first like to recommend a wine which paired perfectly with the grilled meat in yesterday’s dinner: Block 303 Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon 2010.  (By the way, I just learned something amazing: Amazon.com sells wine!  They’ve really branched out from being a simple bookseller!)  Some of you probably recognize the Rutherford shelf as the most prestigious sub-region of Napa Valley.  Unlike most wine from this place, Block 303 does not cost an arm and a leg, but still shows the quality one can expect from this region.  The wine is very full-bodied, shows great integration, and complexity with flavors of boysenberry and black cherry prominent, though one can discern other dark fruit flavors present therein.  (I forgot them, and I refuse to cheat by reading the label!)  These flavors blend marvelously with the tannins, which, as I mentioned above, make it a perfect match for grilled meats.  A beautiful wine.

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New Beer Reviews Soon

Dear readers, I will be having a short visit to my brother’s place this week. Whenever this happens, beer almost flows like water. So, I’m just giving you a heads up to prepare for more reviews of beer, which have been few and far between of late. Cheers!

By the way, I found a rather amusing picture:

Looking at that picture, their threat doesn’t seem very potent, does it?

Hop Wallop

A long time ago, I promised to start reviewing Victory Brewing Co.’s beers.  The first of these articles is finally here!  A couple of nights ago, I visited a friend’s place bearing a six pack of Hop Wallop, which far exceeded the expectations I had for it.  You see, American craft beer drinkers love hops; so, one often finds IPAs either containing enough pineyness to remind one of gin or such overwhelming citrus that one thinks one’s downing some grapefruit juice.

From the high ABV of 8.5% and the name “Hop Wallop,” one expect that this will be an abrasively hoppy ale.  However, developing such an expectation means that one has forgotten the softness of the water this brewer employs.  This prevents the hops from taking a rough edge.  We see a similar effect in Czech Pilsners.  Hop Wallop stands as an incredibly drinkable American Double with delectable flavors of pineapple, tangerine, and honeysuckle.  One really has to be careful not to drink this one too fast; otherwise, the 8.5 % ABV will soon turn one into a blithering idiot–which, by the way, is the name of a tasty barley wine from another Pennsylvania brewer, Weyerbacher.  The only drawback I can see in this beer is the high ABV, which effectively prevents one from having as much of it as one would like.

Cheers!

New Tastings

On the 21st we celebrated my mother’s birthday by visiting P. F. Chang’s, a great Chinese restaurant.  It provided an excellent opportunity to try a couple of beverages which I had not yet had the pleasure of imbibing.  So, here are a few things you might want to try yourself.

I opened the meal with Magic Hat #9, which is produced by a famed Colorado craft brewer which I have avoided until now for some reason.  Initially, my lack of surety concerning what style the #9 stood for almost made me pass up this beer.  Then, I figured that, if the sommelier here has any intelligence, this beer should fall into one of these styles: Belgian Tripel, Dubbel, or Witbier, IPA, or American Pale Ale.  These beers, especially Belgian Abbey ales, pair marvelously with Asian cuisine.  If you don’t believe me, pay a trip to the Mekong restaurant in Richmond.  Their beer list is huge–the size of their selection of Belgian ales is particularly astounding.  This makes for a great dining experience.  On the advice of a friend of mine who had the pleasure of staying in Belgium, we selected the St. Feuillein’s Tripel.  I shall leave off this digression by saying that no other Tripel has bested it before of since.

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Exploring the Brews of the Victory Brewing Company

Before I start extolling the virtues of the Victory Brewing Co., based in Downingtown, PA, let me say that your opinions have been heard, dear readers.  According to the history of the site’s traffic, fine beverages and anime are the two most popular topics.  So, while I will publish articles on my other hobbies, expect to see a slew of articles on these topics.  Without further ado, here’s your next favorite craft brewer.

So far, my palate’s had the pleasure of experiencing six of their brews.  By far, their Baltic Porter, aptly named Baltic Thunder, is my favorite.  Drinking this is like drinking a rich chocolate cake, but the sweetness doesn’t overwhelm one so much that one cannot drink it alone.  The next time I walked into the store, restraining myself from buying a case of this required not a little willpower.  Their Russian Imperial Stout, Storm King Stout, is another of their dark beers for which they are rightly esteemed.  This one is packed with espresso and dark chocolate flavor with a hint of vanilla; but, at the same time, its dryness would make it a nice complement to your first barbeque this year or some nice London broil, filet mignon, or meatloaf.

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