A long winter nap is becoming more and more tempting, but there are beers to drink, and the Crew kept after them this past weekend.
My weekend started early, as per usual, but it was more of a working weekend, with trips to Marble and Tractor to interview staffers for our Look Back/Look Ahead Series. After leaving Wells Park on Wednesday, I made my way to La Cumbre, as an old friend of the Crew tipped us off that Mayor Tim Keller would be making an appearance. I was not able to bend his ear, but I did still get to enjoy some Pecos Porter and catch up with some readers who were enjoying some afternoon beers. Though the Pecos does not get the hype of other LC beers, it remains a solid, sessionable dark beer that fits the winter chill.
After a proper metal show with birthday boy Derek on Thursday night, I took it easy Friday night. By Saturday, it was time to head out again. Steel Bender has again had its 4 Casks of Christmas series every Saturday in December. They take the Brickie American Stout and infuse it with some other tasty elements, stick ’em in a cask, and watch everyone enjoy. This edition was special, as our own Franz Solo and old friend David Facey developed the French Toast Brickie. It was a delicious beer, with the sweetness of the maple syrup working in concert with the roasty malts. This Saturday will see another version, Fruity Chocolate Tart. Make sure to grab one or more of these wonderful brews while you still can this holiday season.
Speaking of the holiday season, Crew members found reasons for giving, and reasons to avoid the mass marketing rush and instead indulge in local beer and food.
Drinking for a cause
Sunday, we went to Palmer Brewery to drink for a cause instead of just drinking because. They were hosting a toy drive for the Make-a-Wish® Foundation. We drank the Switch Stance Stout, ate some chips and queso, and had a grand old time. Donors to the cause received a raffle ticket for each toy donated, or, you could buy raffle tickets for five bucks each. People were doing a great deal of both (good for them!) and there were some awesome prizes. If that doesn’t put you in a festive holiday mood, I am not sure what will.
Because we were feeling so holiday spirited, we followed that up with another stout and an aged egg nog at Broken Trail in Uptown. I am sorry to report the egg nog was just about gone (Sunday) afternoon, because that was a boozy doozy of a wonderful holiday drink.
Flee the mad shopping crowds and escape to some solid pairings
Ponderosa Brewing Company provided me with a much-needed break from a Sunday full of to-do’s. I required a substantial snack, satisfying beers, and a TV for football viewing. Ponderosa delivered on all three counts. I started with the Schwarzbier and pulled pork sliders. The Schwarzbier was roasty and a bit malty, yet light enough to enjoy with the sliders which were a perfect combination of flavorful barbecued pork and sweet crunchy slaw.
I followed it up with a second course (hard to refuse with the happy hour deals) consisting of chicken tenders and a Hop-Mosa. The chicken tenders were a step down from the sliders but still competitive with some of the better tenders I have had. The Hop-Mosa lived up to its name. This was Hop-Mosa 3.0, Ponderosa’s third take on a NE Hazy IPA. The mouthfeel was creamy, with a definite orange juiciness. The visit was worth it just for this beer.
A petite beer with plus-sized flavor
Last night, the Rowley Farmhouse Ales crew was kind enough to invite me to their holiday party. And, though, most holiday parties tend to be a “what happens at the Christmas party, stays at the Christmas party,” type of situation, this was not. It was a happy gathering of friends and family, and, of course, beer.
It was a time to reflect on the year, our highs and lows, what we’ve lost, but what we still have, and the great beer that made much of this gathering possible. Speaking of which, you must head over to the brewery soon to try their Petite Blanche with Galaxy and apricot. You won’t regret it. It’s a crushable beer with tons of flavor. Do yourself a favor and get some.