This is the post where I belatedly, but with no less enthusiasm, get around to praising the beer and dish pairings held nearly a fortnight ago at Charles and Limeys. Kudos to KB for his fine selection of beer. My favorite of the evening was the Fort Collins Chocolate Stout. My most surprising taste was the Kasteel Rouge. I was fondly shocked to note I enjoyed the beer when I was surely dead set against any brew made with cherries as a part.
For those of you unfortuante enough to miss out on this, hopefully, first of many experiences, allow me to recap in some small way:
Open to Charles and Limeys lounge wherein a spread of appetizers featuring cheeses, meats, hummus and pita crakers was accompanied by small talk and Three Floyd's Pride and Joy. The beer: light and hoppy, the conversation: pleasant.
Segue to the dining room where the opening course, for myself, consisted of a cheese soup made with beer. The accompaniment: Erdinger's Hefeweizen. The soup was excellent with a slight bitter taste on the back end. The beer was a pleasant wheat with solid German backing without all the crazy Belgian yeastiness. (Nyah nyah, Belgianites!)
The main course was a choice of roast beef with yorkshire pudding and mixed vegetables or battered cod and chips. The paired brew was Two Brothers Heavy Handed IPA. The food was tasty albeit not spectacular. (Admittedly we have been spoiled by their steaks and ostrich offerings). The Two Brothers is a good, if slightly less hoppy than a standard, IPA. Our table personally would have swapped this pairing with, perhaps, the Erdinger opting for something less overwhelming in beverage so as to more fully enjoy the entree. An alternative of a nice American Amber or English bitter was also suggested during this course.
Dessert, of which I am usually a pass, was freaking awesome. A trio of chocolatey delights was presented to each participant: a chocolate sin cake, a chocolate stout pudding and the chocolate pyramid. They were all very, very good but the pyramid, based off the classical Egyptian style as opposed to any Meso-American variety, was out of sight. These tasties however were paired with beers to rival their flavors: Fort Collins Double Chocolate Stout and Kasteel's Rouge. The stout had a plesantly strong chocolate flavored the combined well with the chocolate desserts and the Kasteel had a light style with very present cherry taste providing a well needed complement to all the chocolate.
As the meal wound down and time crept closer towards parting, we topped the evening off with a sampling of a bourbon barrel stout. This is a style that is creeping well into its own wherein a strong stout is aged in former bourbon barrels imparting that smokey whiskey goodness I have never been able to get my head around. Needless to say, a beer that can withstand aging in a bourbon barrel needs itself be quite strong and that throaty alcoholic burn completes the style marking it as Bourbon's close relative in spirit at least.
Once again, kudos to Kevin for the beer choices and Peter for the chef pairings and Charles and Limeys for the venue and everyone who came for supporting the beer culture of Springfield. KB deserves our support for this and future endeavors.