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 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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