Another Belgian Dinner!

Friday night Jack and I went out on a long motorcycle ride and came back through DC to stop at a cute Belgian cafe we spied on MacArthur Blvd while biking, called Sur la Place.

Strange, there are actually two Belgian places right across the street from one another, and there’s not much else around. huh. Maybe because it is not in a very busy neighborhood or metro accessible, we walked in without a reservation and were seated at once!

I love these Chimay menus. They make my day!

Again I tried to get the Rochefort 10 or 8, but they were out! So instead I ordered the Westmalle Dubbel.

I love Trappist beers, especially dubbels. Poured a hazy, reddish brown, can smell the alcohol in it right away, but not in a bad way. Vague fruitiness and a dry warming spiciness.

When I ordered, Jack looked at me as said, “You’re drinking tonight?? We have a triathlon on Sunday!” I told him there was no way in hell I was eating here without getting at least one beer. Haha, so he got one too! It’s carb loading!! (my favorite excuse!)

The food here was fantastic too! We ordered the blood sausage and split a huge pot of mussels! I love black pudding so we order it whenever we can find it, I wish it were more widely available.

Yeah, not many beers this weekend. I’ll probably be slamming waters all day tomorrow, Let you know how the tri goes, it’ll be my first one ever!

Cooking dinner for Liz!

Don’t let the post title mislead you, I did none of the cooking. Haha, Jack is the man and cooked dinner for Liz and me. He’s an awesome cook. His special ingredient is ….more butter! (and usually bacon, but we did chicken for Liz)

Just a chill night around the house, I did have an Ommegang Three Philosophers!

Tastes of sour cherries, warm alcohol, and dry finish. The slight cherry flavors are great for a summer night, but would also go very well around the winter holidays.

As I posted this, I looked at the Corsendonk glass and it occurred to me that I do have an Ommegang glass! Damn! Why didn’t I use it?!?

Also, I want to thank my friend Joe Rollin who sent me some beers he recently brewed! I believe they are IPAs and I’ll let you know how they are when I crack them open! Yay homebrews!

Cassie and Sean’s Send-Off at Light Horse

Monday night we headed down to Old Town Alexandria to go to The Light Horse for Cassie and Sean’s going away party. They are moving to Portland! So many good beer opportunities for them, which I know they will take advantage of! But we will miss you!!

And our friend John is leaving too! (watch out Chattanooga!) Sigh, the climbing gym will never the the same!

I started out with one of my new favorites, Left Hand Milk Stout!

Very creamy, smooth, medium bodied, sweet, but not sickeningly sweet. Tastes of roasted malts, chocolate. No bitterness. I really like this beer! I haven’t had many Left Hand beers but I think I’ll be trying more based on how much I like this one!

Next, I convinced Jack to split the Allagash Black with me! Big bottle! Yeah, that’s how we roll on a Monday night! haha

In bars, I always seem to be able to order the Allagash White (being a Witbier, it must be pretty popular) but I never see the Black available. The Black, which is a Belgian Strong Dark Ale (7.5% abv),  seems more my style, so I was pleased when Jack said that he’d help me drink some.  I think I ended up drinking much more of this beer than Jack,  but I was helping him stay sober so he could drive home (at least that’s what I tell myself). This beer was great, fairly carbonated, sweet, charred and a little smoky, but you can’t confuse it with a stout. Its very dark, but more Belgian than stout. I can’t wait to get this beer again when I have less going on around me so I can pay more attention to the complexities in this beer.

Kind of a bitter sweet night. Good luck to Cassie and Sean! Now I have an awesome reason to visit Portland!

a Porter on Sunday

It’s been so hot I’ve been afraid to leave the house. Jack and I managed to make it down to Alexandria on Sunday night to have dinner with my dad! I brought a beer I’ve had in the fridge and been meaning to try. It was Legend Porter from Richmond, VA.

Not the creme-de-le-creme of porter, but not too bad. It must not have liked the car ride over, because I had the hardest time calming it down to open and pour it! Ok, so it probably had a more than normal amount of head. But it did pour a wonderful dark opaque black/brown. Tasted of roasted malts, kinda smoky, a little thin on the mouthfeel. Good, but not life-altering.  Then we headed out to dinner. No beer for dinner, I was kinda dehydrated and slammed water like it was my job!

Brasserie Beck in DC

Finally a weekend that’s being spent in town! I’ve been really looking forward to coming to Brasserie Beck for some good food and some even better beers! Friday night I had my heart set on coming here, but then I called mid-day to make a reservation and they were completely booked. I still made Jack go anyway because I was convinced we would find seating in the bar area. Fail. It really was packed! The only seating they had, where they could seat you immediately, was outside. Haha. Normally I would jump on the chance to sit outside, but we really had to think about this. It was about 104 degrees today and just starting to cool off. By now it was after 8, we thought about it, wanted to say no thanks, but at the last minute I decided we would brave the heat. Damn, I really wanted me some Belgian food!

Since it was super hot out, and since we were at a good Belgian place with a good Belgian menu, and since I have throngs of adoring readers (all 2 of them, thanks mom and dad! haha) that expect me to try new beers, I ordered the St. Louis Gueuze Fond Tradition.

This beer style needs a bit of back story and explanation. OK. If you want to get technical, gueuze is a mixture of 2 year old, 3 year old and 1 year old lambics. And lambics are made by spontaneous fermentation. Which means the brewer does not add specific strains of yeast to the beer, they will often put fans that blow air across their brewing vats and the natural yeast that falls in is what sparks the fermentation.

You almost can’t think of this beer, as a beer. In fact my all time favorite book, Good Beer Guide Belgium by Tim Webb says that they used to recommend that people who have not tried authentic gueuze to wait until they have explored many other types of Belgian beers, but now the new edition of the guide says that if its available, to try it if you can cause it’s so “out there.”

And out there, it was. I really love sour beers and Flemmish Reds so I knew the time was right for me to try a gueuze. You can immediately smell the acidic vinegar and citrus in it. The taste was very tart, kind of similar to eating an unripe raspberry. Really funky and tart. I loved it!

After dinner, Jack and I decided to split a beer and order dessert. We split the Scaldis. The menu had us a little frightened because it described it as very sweet with a “bone crushing alcoholic finish.”

It came in an 8oz bottle (you know its gonna be strong when they limit you to only 8oz!) It poured with very little carbonation. Smelled of honey and dark fruits. The taste was very smooth with the peppery alcohol bite towards the end. Great beer, very good for dessert, glad we split it. By the way, bonus points to Beck for having all the appropriate glassware!

And for the actual dessert we ordered the beer float! Which has cinnamon ice cream in Kasteel Rouge! (now all they needed was a splash of Young’s Double Chocolate to top it off!)

So good! Date night=win!

Out in Daytona Beach!

Jack frequently gets sent to Florida for his job, so occasionally I join him for a long weekend! Got down Thursday night and by Friday I was ready to hit the beach! My day: pool, beach, pool, water slide! quick run, and of course, Harry Potter! (hehe, I had to go, after 10 years of HP, its finally over)

Then we hit up Robbie O’Connel’s!

I’ve actually been to this bar before. About 2 years ago Jack and I were down here for another long weekend and happened to find this place. It doesn’t have a very attractive front but I spotted Chimay and Orval signs in the windows, so we had to check it out. Last time I was there I was extremely happy with my find, and I wasn’t let down this time either!

The downstairs is more of an Irish pub, and upstairs is a Belgian bar! The first night we hung out in the downstairs, thinking that we would go upstairs the next night. But unfortunately we didn’t make it back till Sunday night and the upstairs was closed! Ugh! I got to take a peek in through the door and it looked pretty cool. They had large wall murals of the pink elephants from Delerium Tremens. Guess I’ll be heading back to Robbie’s again in the future so that I finally get to see the upstairs!

So Friday night I ordered La Fin Du Monde to start with, from Unibroue Brewery. I haven’t had this beer in a while and I thought that now would be a good time. (The beer selection was ok, not great, I think they might have a better beer menu for the upstairs) I was surprised at how sweet it was! It also has a bit of clove spiciness to it.

After that my next beer choice was the Rochefort 8. But they said their distributor sucks and they they were out of the 8 and the 10. So I opted for the 6!

After he poured it, he threw away the bottle so I was left with a wonderful looking reddish/brown beer to take a picture of and no bottle to go with it.  Hence my Grrr face…

Haha! But then the bartender saw me take that pic and he thought I was pissed at him! So I had to explain the whole picture/ blog thing.  He was super nice and gave me the bottle back for another photo! Yay!

Wow. They probably thought I was a nut job after that. Anyway, probably one of my favorite trappist beers. I think I tend to go with the 6 most often, but I need to get out and try the 8 and 10 again soon.

Thanks to Robbie’s for a good night of good beers!

ps- they still have smoking in bars in Florida!?! It was strange, my eyes were burning. Really made it feel like a gritty  dive bar though.

Lake Anna Weekend

Saturday Jack and I woke up, got our stuff together and headed down to Lake Anna with our friends Trevor and Steve. Jack, Trevor, and I are all training for some upcoming triathlons so we brought down our bikes and were also going to do some open water swimming in the lake.

As soon as we got down there the boys were ready to jump right in and go for a swim. I love swimming and have done a TON of pool swimming, but I’ve never swam in a lake, because they kinda scare me. I get a little scared when I cant see the bottom (there are lake zombies down there!). The water is murky and the bottom is squishy. Call me crazy, but if I’m in the ocean, I’m fine! We picked a water trampoline and then a bouy that we were going to swim to and took off! Wow, no wonder some people freak out during the swim part of a triathlon, lakes are creepy!! When we made it back I was very happy, the lake zombies didnt get me this time! The boys went out for another swim and I played Bocce ball with Steve and of course, had a beer!

Aha! See? I can drink something other than porters and stouts! It was light and hoppy, perfect for mid-afternoon lawn sports.

Then we geared up for a bike ride. I (barely) kept up with the boys (they had to stop for me a few times, I’m new at cycling!) I headed back after about 24 miles, but the boys kept going! This time the lake didn’t scare me, after getting off my bike I headed straight for it! Then Steve and I worked on getting the fire made and enjoyed another tasty beer!

So creamy and delicious! I loved this beer and can’t wait to have it again! I only wish I had had a glass to drink it from instead of the bottle. I guess that’s roughing it though. This beer was gone before I realized it. I wish I had brought more. Sigh.

We finally had a fire going when Jack and Trevor came back.

Damn. They dont even look tired!

Then we went out tubing! It was actually my first time tubing, it was a blast!

During dinner Jack and I split the Full Sail Imperial Porter.

We chilled by the fire for a while, got to see some fireworks across the lake, and then I crawled into the tent to call it a night. I was exhausted!

Sunday was more chilling by the lake, another swim, a run, more bocce, and of course on of my all time favorites…Young’s Double Chocolate Stout!

What a weekend!