For no good reason, I decided the have a party last night. Over 25 people were here and those who sampled the main course thought it was pretty good: grilled keilbasa with carmelized onions and apples.
Before everyone arrived, I peeled and cut a bunch of apples and chopped up some onions. Cook up the onions first in butter, and then add the apples along with some apple vinegar and brown sugar. Cook for about 15 minutes. Voila. Done. The keilbasa part is easy. Few packs of pre-cooked keilbasa (the hot dog-sized ones) and grill it. Wow. Tough, huh? Very, very easy and very very good.
Unfortunately, what was supposed to be the highlight beer of the evening (for me anyway) was the Belgian Pumpkin Porter from Bastone. I was there for dinner on Halloween night (the potato ravioli with truffles are great!) so I picked up a growler. I have had many of their beers before and have never been disappointed.
Well, there is a first time for everything.
My initial impression of the beer was admittedly compromised by the other beers I had been drinking. So, I made sure I sampled it again tonight.
While the color of the beer was basically a shade brown above black (always pretty cool in my book), the aroma was very spicy. The cloves were overpowering, while the nutmeg was less so. Any way you look at it, too much spiciness. The body of the beer was far from what I expected. Typically, a porter has some "thickness" to it. Creamy perhaps. Not here, I'm afraid. Very blah. On the palate, it was a complex. Often, that word suggests good things in beer. Not here. It was a complex mess. The finish? Bring in the cloves!!! After the cloves were done pounding my taste buds to a pulp, a dry yucky bitterness was all that remained. Cloves can be a tricky thing. Its presence in almost every step of the beer seemed to push the experience away from the realm of "spice" and into the realm of "chemical". Perhaps an Erlenmeyer flask would have been more appropriate.
I was sampling this with another beer guy and we each thought perhaps a 2 or 3 out of 5 (he is a self-declared porter guy and he did not think it was a good example of the style) . After tonight's re-sample, I will waffle between a 1 or a 2. Just not a good beer.