Sunday, March 15, 2015

An Early St. Patrick's Day Celebration

Saturday afternoon Colleen and I headed over to Blue & Gray Brewing for their 13th Annual St. Patrick's Day parade and celebration. We arrived after the parade, so headed immediately to the beer line for a couple pints of Stonewall Stout. As I've noted often, this is a well-done English Stout and perhaps my favorite Blue & Gray libation. Nicely balanced with roasted malts and a mild sweetness, it goes down easily. And at just 5% ABV, it's fit for an afternoon of festivity.

We ran into some friends and enjoyed good conversation, along with Irish music and dancing. As so often happens during this festival, a steady rain soon began to fall — Irish Sunshine I dubbed it. We crowded under the tents and managed to keep our fronts dry, though the backs of my pants and jacket got quite wet. But there's nothing like another glass of Stonewall Stout to ward off the chill. 

Not an actual picture from the festival

Eventually the weather won out and we headed into the Lee's Retreat brewpub to dry out and enjoy some tasty Rueben sandwiches, made with corned beef brisket cooked in, naturally, Stonewall Stout. And of course, another pint of the Stout to wash it all down. 

After that fitting lunch, we joined a friend and his daughter for dessert at Carl's Frozen Custard, then Colleen and I headed up to Adventure Brewing to continue honoring our patron Saint. In addition to live Irish music, Adventure had three new beers on tap to celebrate St. Patrick's Day; Scotch Ale, Red IPA, and Invasion ESB. Given they were covering some of my favorite styles, I was itching to try them out. Colleen ordered the Scotch Ale while I started with Invasion ESB. The ESB had a toasted malt flavor, but for my preferences was a little too mildly flavored. The Scotch Ale was very nicely done. Slightly sweet, it had a dark malt and roasted nuttiness that Colleen enjoyed very much.

Soon we found ourselves in need of food once again. The food truck on hand was Martina's Cantina, a somewhat juxtaposed option given the celebration. Colleen selected a burger, topped with carnitas and spicy Mexican "fixin's." My choice was a chicharons and porkito sandwich. Honestly, I didn't ask exactly what it was, but only know it was extremely tasty, and spicy. To accompany this meal I ordered a pint of the Red IPA. I had a preview of this ale a few weeks back and was glad to get a chance to enjoy it again. Full of citrus hop freshness, I'd have to rank it as my favorite Adventure Brewing beer, at this time anyway. 

The final treat of the afternoon was a tiny taste of the upcoming barrel-aged version of Wicked Nymph Imperial Stout. The Stout has been aged in barrels from the Bowman Distillery and will be available in corked and caged bottles. This, the first bottled beer from Adventure, should be out in about two weeks. I intend to get some to enjoy right away, and also some to put away in the cellar for aging.

After a long day of celebration, we headed home. My shoes were still a bit wet from earlier and it felt good to get into dry clothes. Although the Feast of St. Patrick is still a few days away, our Saturday celebration was a fun and fitting way to spend the day.

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