I recently stopped into one of my favorite pubs (I like pub or tavern better than bar, it has a more classy sound to it) Lures Bar and Grill in Crownsville Maryland, to taste some of their recent additions to their beer menu (that sounds classy too, beer menu). I've come to like a bit of something to eat with my beverage(s) so ordered one of the happy-hour specials. This places offers a paddle as four, five-ounce pours. So how do you choose your four from a list of 20 or so. Well, first, I'm looking for something that may only be offered on draft and not available at package stores. Then I eliminate those that I've had before. I want something new - usually. Then I started to think, how will this decision accompany my small meal.
So I then came up with a plan. One beer as an adventure, one as an appetizer, one that would pair well with my meal, and one for dessert. Walla, I've turned a small plate of ahi tuna into an experience - well in my mind it was.
For the adventure, I choose the Brooklyn Hammarby Syndrome Ale – made with spruce fronds (I've read that spruce tips were used as a bittering agent before and a as a substitute for hops) and honey adds a tasty citrusy pine and some sweet notes at 8% abv. Working in the forest business for all my professional life this interested me. It was good and as expected - interesting. A good choice.
My appetizer was the Victory Dirtwolf with Citra, Chinook, Simcoe and Mosaic hops at 8.7% abv. Victory never disappoints.
For my main course I had the Flying Dog Horn Dog barley wine with notes of raisins, dried fruit, brown sugar and caramel at 10.2% abv. It did pair well with the ahi tuna and wasabi. Flying Dog is another of those breweries you know you can count on.
For dessert the Boulevard Smokestack Series Chocolate Ale – described as a smooth layers of dark chocolate intertwined with threads of caramel, vanilla, that rounds to a bittersweet finish 9.1% abv. This beer surprised me. I love the Boulevard Smokestack Series so I trusted the brewery. The chocolate beers I'm used to are the heavy stouts or porters - which I love. This was much lighter and as such, very drinkable. I savored the experience and hope to find this beer again some day.