Sunday, March 18, 2012

St. Patrick's Day

Personally, I do not think there are many better events that one can experience than when sharing time with people you care about.  During my youth, I always enjoyed the family holiday celebrations, dinners and BBQs with friends and family, those after church pitch-in dinners, and times when people got together just to hang out and spend time with each other.  St. Patrick’s Day is a time when we try to do something every year.  This year, Tibor and Nicole had Lori and me, and Dennis over for a traditional Irish dinner.  The menu was an appetizer of oysters on the half shell; the main course was corned beef with steamed baby red potatoes, carrots, and cabbage and deserts were Bailey’s cream pie and Irish whiskey coffee cake.  Pair this dinner with some Irish Stouts and you are in seventh heaven.  

The great thing about Irish Stouts is they are typically lower in alcohol because these are meant to be consumed through an evening or afternoon at the pub and the drinker is not inebriated. Stouts are not “heavy” as I hear people describe them, and in fact, they are typically lower in alcohol.  The primary difference between a stout and light beers is the use of dark malts (and not a large percentage of dark malt) to provide color and the roasty stout flavor. 

Guinness Extra Stout (5% ABV) was first on the list and how could it not?  Guinness is known for it’s Irish Dry Stout and it is very good.

Next up, with the Hama Hama Oysters (from Tony’s Meats) was O’Hara’s Irish Stout (4.3% ABV).  Oysters and stouts are a perfect pairing and I want to provide a shout-out to “Dr. Bill” Sysak for suggesting this pairing on the latest pod cast from New Brew Thursday. 

Nicole made some of the best corned beef I have tasted and see made steamed carrots, baby red potatoes and cabbage to accompany the beef.  Tibor had made fresh mustard that was a perfect match for the corned beef.  We also had Murphy’s Irish Stout (4% ABV), another fine Irish Dry Stout and a favorite of Nicole’s. Tibor also made some black and tans with a base of Harp (5% ABV) a pale lager and Guinness Draught (4% ABV).  I also brought over a couple of cans of Upslope’s Foreign Style Stout (6.9% ABV and 64 IBU).  The desserts were Bailey’s cream pie and Irish whiskey coffee cake.  It was the first time that I had made either of these deserts and they came out great.  Follow the directions and obtain good ingredients and it is hard to go wrong.

It was a fun evening and if you do not celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, I suggest you make a plan to invite some friends and / or family over next year and celebrate the day.  By the way, don’t wait until next year, there are plenty of opportunities to get with friends and family pick something or make something up and just do it.  

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