Friday, January 22, 2010

Baltimore Winter Restaurant Week

Apparently, 'tis the season for restaurant weeks, as the Baltimore Winter Restaurant Week starts today. From the site:

The most delicious week of the winter is back, as Baltimore’s restaurants offer special three-course menus for Restaurant Week. At select restaurants, enjoy a variety of three-course dinners, in just about any cuisine that strikes your fancy, for only $35.10! Or try three-course lunches at select restaurants for just $20.10.

It's running through February 7 (again, I ponder the mystery of how 14 days can be marketed as a week... sorry, poor fortnight, but someday the public will remember your terminologic awesomeness), and a full list of restaurants and other details can be found here, and are calendared below.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Howard County Restaurant Weeks

Starting this Monday, Howard County is having their awkwardly-named "winter restaurant weeks" (next time, people, go with "restaurant fortnight"). From their site:

January 18 to January 31, 2010
Menus range from $10.10 to $40.10

This winter, Howard County's top chef's are serving up savings and local dining experiences with an international twist. With 25+ participating restaurants, it will be easy to visit your favorite restaurants and try new ones too, all at great prices!

Indulge in the best French, Italian, Latin, Asian, Eclectic, Continental and English pub fare at fabulous prix fixe chef’s menus from $10.10 to $40.10.

The participating restaurant list is impressive, and can be found here. I'm particularly impressed that they've included a compilation of farms and other local food and beverage resources to support.

Dammit, just as I was getting back into the groove of eating at home more for the new year... I guess that can wait until February. ;)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Dogfish Head 2010 Beer Releases

Dogfish Head has put up their scheduled beer releases for 2010:

Year Round Beers

Seasonal Beers

Occasional Rarities (limited quantites, while supplies last)

The above is also available as a full color pdf calendar. It's clear that their recent brewery expansion is paying off in terms of capacity, as they have an impressive roster of their "occasional rarities" that they intend to keep producing. While I'm mildly disappointed that the Raison D'Extra continues to be on production hiatus, the fact that the excellent Palo Santon Marron has a place on their year-round list more than makes up for that.

The one new offering this year is the My Antonia, which is a continually-hopped Imperial Pilsner with an ABV of 7.5%. A bit of history from their site:

Sam brewed My Antonia at Birra del Borgo (hope you can read Italian) outside Rome, Italy with owner/brewer Leonardo DiVencenzo in October of 2008.

My Antonia (named after the Willa Cather read), is a continually-hopped imperial pilsner. This beer was brewed and distributed by Birra del Borgo. A small quantity was sent over to the United States.

In June of 2009, Leonardo came over to Delaware and brewed our Namaste beer with us at our Rehoboth Beach brewpub. What goes around, comes around.

And... for 2010, we plan to brew and package My Anotonia for the U.S. market! The beer will be released in both April and November.

Dogfish has released several iterations of the Imperial Pilsner style over the last few years, including the (unfortunately named) Golden Shower, Golden Revolution, and Golden Era. Having sampled both the Shower and the Era in the past, I know they can nail this style well. At least there's just "a few" other quality beers to tide me over until April...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Dogfish Head Sah'tea, and a specifically raised glass

I cracked this open tonight in order to raise a glass, in spirit, with Tee.

*raises glass*

  • Alcohol: 9%
Scoring (in solidarity with Charlie the Beer Guy):
  • Appearance: 5 - A deep, hazy golden body, with a sudsy white head that fades to a thin lace.
  • Nose: 8 - Quite complex, with fruity juniper components, a mix of spices (predominantly chai related, & ginger seemed particularly apparent), and a honey-sugary sweetness.
  • Taste: 8 - Very similar to the scent profile. Honey and sugar notes predominate upfront, with a mixed spicy and juniper-fruity kick through the middle to the finish, which has a hint of clove. The alcohol is well-concealed.
  • Mouthfeel: 7 - Moderate body with low to medium level of carbonation that works very well. Sweetly cloying, leading to a slight sticky aftertaste.
  • Holistic: 8 - Very smooth and drinkable for its ABV, and an incredibly interesting mix of flavors. The aftertaste and strong flavor profile do limit how much I'd be interested in enjoying in one sitting.
Overall: 36 - Tee recently mentioned that this was his new favorite Dogfish Head beer, and while it doesn't eclipse my ridiculous fandom of the as-yet-unreviewed 120 Minute IPA, it comes close. I've never had a brew in the Sahti style before, and Dogfish's take on it is certainly makes it unique. I'll be definitely seeking this out as a beer for special occasions, working best with a fruit-based dessert pairing or alone. For more on the Sahti style and Dogfish's take on it, I refer you to the following:

Friday, January 1, 2010

toasting the new year with other nog creations

Happy New Year!

*raises glass*

With some nog remaining from my Irish Christmas Piracy, I decided to try the beer/eggnog combination with something suitably seasonal on the brew end. I chose Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale for this, and went with the following proportions:

  • 1 part egg nog
  • 3 parts beer

Although it generated a lovely layering effect with a careful pour, mixing was necessary to get the full blended taste. Unsurprisingly, it was rather good, striking me primarily as a pumpkin-spiced milkshake with mild alcohol notes. That said, the true flavor nuances of the Ale were ruined by the egg nog, making this a wasteful thing to do with a wonderfully crafted brew, and not worth repeating in the future. Using a less flavorful (and cheaper) beer, like a Guinness Stout, would likely give a similarly tasty drink and possible improve the beer involved.

Having a tiny bit of nog left, I then tried it mixed with Dogfish Head Chocolate Vodka as follows:

  • 1 part egg nog
  • 3 parts chocolate vodka

This make for a tasty drink, although the lack of smokey notes from a bourbon or the spice character of a rum did not elevate it to a "must try again" holiday status. In other words, when it comes to nog-based holiday drink...

The Irish Christmas Pirate wins. As well it should.