Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving, A Day of Beer

So, this year, my wife and I decided that we were going to forego the normal wine drinking on Thanksgiving day at my parent's house. Since it has been nearly two years since we really started to get into beer, we felt it was time to see what we could do to try to open up my (conservative) family to something new. Gasp!

To start, I should say something about the Thanksgiving meal that we have. My mom makes the meal and it is pretty standard fare. Turkey, mashed potatoes, corn (out of a can!), stuffing, boiled carrots, green beans, cranberry sauce (again out of a can), and rolls (yup, you guessed it, out of a can). Needless to say, my mom is NOT adventurous or interesting in her choices for the Thanksgiving meal. Hell, the turkey isn't even brined. We tried to convince her to do that before and let me tell you we barely had gotten one sentence in before she shot it down. So, we have lots of uninteresting meal components with little flavor. Ok, that should make things easier as you can pretty much go with any beer. We do have appetizers but they aren't particularly interesting either. Basic cheddar cheese and crackers, peanuts, veggies and dip, and cocktail shrimp. I like the shrimp but they aren't interesting or anything. So flavors for food all around are blah.

Ok, onto what we are going to "match" with this completely and totally uninteresting food.

Beer #1 - The Bruery Hottenroth

We are starting off with one of our favorites, this very pleasant berliner weisse. This is a summer seasonal for The Bruery, but we managed to get the last few around last week for just this event (and because we love the beer so much). This is light and airy as well as being very low in abv to start the day. This should pair nicely with the light fair to start and, as I said, the low alcohol keeps you from getting too toasted too early.

Beer #2 - Ithaca White Gold

A different style to follow with this American pale wheat ale from Ithaca. This is one of my favorite beers I tried this year. I loved the nice tartness and good carbonation. It is a big step up in alcohol but well worth it for the flavor you get with this beer. It is definitely tart but has a nice body with the wheat used in it. Planning to also have this with the many different appetizers that will be out.

Beer #3 - Rodenbach Grand Cru

Oh, now we have a nice good one to go with dinner. Flanders Red Ales are some of my absolutely favorite types of beer. Yes, we have a lot of more sour/tart styles here, but we have a more wine drinking family so I think that this is the best way to go with them (without pulling out a hardcore gueuze or american wild ale). The fruit flavors with the slight sourness should go nicely with the dinner meal.

Beer #4 - Saison Dupont

For this beer, we are planning on going with a classic. Saison Dupont is just a fantastic beer all around and goes with so many different foods. However, I feel it was made for roasted fowl, such as our turkey. The rustic flavors will go well with the meal. Plus, we sort of had some tasting of this last Thanksgiving on a limited basis with my family and this beer went over well. If it works once, try it again.

Beer #5 - Lost Abbey Judgement Day

Now we are looking to push them a bit with this big strong 10.5%abv quad from Lost Abbey. The heavy sweetness and dark fruit flavors should do well towards the end of the meal. People so often think dark beer means Guiness and we are looking to break that thought with this beer.

Beer #6 - 2006 vintage Dogfish Head Fort

Possibly the piece de resistance right here. We came across this randomly at one of our local craft beer stores in Providence a couple of weeks ago and snatched it up. We think it was leftover from the BeervanaFest back in October that didn't get used. Needless to say, I was thrilled. Fort is a nice beer, but very harsh with that 18%abv. The aging on this should smooth it out considerably and make it extremely drinkable. I think that this may end up replacing the after dinner cordials that the family usually drinks. I am very excited to open this one.

So, there you have it. Not sure if we are going to get to all of these beers, but that is our goal. So, hope you are having some nice beers with your Thanksgiving dinner.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Open it

Passing this along via the idea of Mark Dredge from Pencil and Spoon (and reinforced by Jay from A Beer in Hand).

December 3rd through 5th, Open it! Yes, pull out that beer you have been saving and open it up and drink it on the weekend between the 3rd and 5th of December. Have a bottle of wine instead? Open it! Just do it, talk about it, enjoy it, and drink it. If you want to write about it, do that too! Just make sure you go and open it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Recent MLB Moves

Just wanted to put some quick thoughts out there on the recent flury of early off-season baseball moves.

Let's start with the move that sent Cameron Maybin to the Padres for Ryan Webb and Edward Mujica. I love this deal for the Padres. Yeah, they had plenty of OF's already, but Maybin could be exactly what they really need out there. He is a speedy, rangy CF'r that they need in that outfield. He appears to be competent in the outfield (although tough to be sure without a larger sample size). If he can manage to get that K% down a bit, his speed will shine through and you could be looking at a really special player. Webb is a nice looking player as a reliever. Mujica is ok, but is prone to the long ball (not to mention he is arb eligible this year). So, I think the Marlins sold low on Maybin. They didn't get completely fleeced or anything but I like the Pads in this move.

Next one I wanted to hit on was the Uggla to the Braves for Infante and Mike Dunn. Either the Marlins know something we don't about Uggla, or they made another losing move here. Uggla is good, not great, but a nice bat for the Braves for sure. They can move him around there and start the season at 3B with Prado at 2B. When Chipper is ready to come back, they could even move him over to 1B (where they always seem to need help). Infante was ok, but he isn't anything really special. Dunn looks like a solid reliever. But, infielders that can hit 30 HRs don't just grow on trees anymore. Solid move for Braves.

Ok, now on to the John Buck to the Marlins for 3 years and 18 million. Seriously? They may not have gotten killed on the first two deals, but is Buck really worth this? Seems like a big time overpay in my book. Maybe there was that much interest in Buck, but could it really have been that much? I just don't get it. And I keep reading that he is a great handler of pitching staffs. Well, if that is the case, sign Brad Ausmus for a league minimum and go with that. Buck has a better stick, but he will not have an OBP over .300 next year, count on it. That will be ugly.

Final move I wanted to comment on is the one that just happened a couple of hours ago. The Tigers signed Joaquin Benoit to a 3 yr/$16.5mil deal. Ok, are they smoking something? He is a freaking middle reliever! Small sample sizes here people. No way is he good as his numbers showed this year. Yes, I think he IS good though. Just not 3/16.5 good. NO middle reliever (and very few relievers in general) is really worth that kind of money. A gross overpay by the Tigers and one they will grow to regret. He could still be very solid and it would be an overpay.

So, is this how the rest of the off-season will work out? Jeez, it is ugly so far. Interesting for sure, but ugly. We will have to see.