Monday, December 3, 2012

Celebrating St. Andrew With Good Beer

This past Friday while our son was away at a high school swim meet, Colleen and I decided to go out and celebrate the Feast of St. Andrew. We headed downtown to Capital Ale House in search of food and beverage.

Colleen was determined to enjoy a Scottish-style Ale in recognition of the Saint. She saw Oskar Blues Old Chub on the draft menu and her decision was immediate. A few minutes later the server returned with the news the Old Chub was all gone. Okay, the other Scottish Ale listed was Belhaven Scottish Ale. Nope, that one's kicked too. Switching back to the Old Chub, she decided to get the canned version. Again our server returned with the news that they were out of the cans as well. This time he brought back a couple bottled suggestions from the bartender. One of those was Belhaven Wee Heavy which she selected to conclude her beer ordering adventure.

The Belhaven Wee Heavy was an exceptionally tasty brew. Wee Heavy is a style I enjoy very much but not one that I have all that often. In fact, if I wasn't already on my own mission for hops, I'd probably would have enjoyed a pint of this Scottish delight myself.

While Colleen was seeking a Scottish focus, I was in the mood to savor some hop-rich brews. Fortunately my ordering process was a bit more successful. I started my hop progression with Laughing Dog Hop Dog Pale Ale. This Pale Ale from the Idaho brewery was rich with grassy, fresh hops, in the aroma and the taste. Brewed with fresh hops, it was quite crisp and refreshing. Sadly, my 10 ounce serving lasted barely until our appetizer arrived.

Next in my hop-focused progression was Hopulent IPA from Utah's Epic Brewing Company. This one was served on nitro. I almost missed the nitro-served IPA as the Ale House's menu listed it as "Coming Soon." Fortunately a friend who is a server at the restaurant (though not ours that evening) passed by our table and let me know to try it. The Hopulent had a creamy texture from the nitrous serving. The aroma was sweet caramel and bready-like malts. The taste followed the aroma, adding very clean citrus and resinous hop notes.

Finally I moved up the scale to a Double IPA. My selection for "dessert" was Firestone Walker Double Jack DIPA. This big beer had the strong aroma of juicy citrus hops. The flavor was a nice balance of sweet malt and grapefruit like citrus. A thick, chewy beer, it was an exceptional finish to my hop adventure.

Colleen and lingered over our drinks and food for quite some time. We enjoyed a wonderful evening of conversation and people-watching. Eventually, we called it an evening and returned home for coffee while we awaited the late return of our son.

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