Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Then and Now...and Beer

Spending much of my recent vacation in Massachusetts with my college friend Amanda means that there is some reminiscing and nostalgia about our days in Worcester, MA at Clark University.  A few nights ago we took some time to do the post-Thanksgiving holiday decoration frenzy. Silver Christmas trees, white lights, ornaments, and garlands popped out of boxes to be thoughtfully placed around the cozy Boston apartment. We joked about our first Christmas decorating stint in our tiny residence hall room our Sophomore year. Mandi's massive holiday penguin collection, and her cheerful Christmas decorations were balanced out by my humbuggy desire to leave the room as it was. I will say that my attitude has improved since then, and I opted to be involved in the festive-making this time.

One of my goals was to make the house smell like Christmas though cooking an amazing meal. I played around with ideas, and tweeted the whole process (you can follow me @clarecady). It was a ton of fun. I made up a pork tenderloin stuffed with gluten free bread, cranberry sauce, Parmesan, and mushrooms...topped with an apple/cranberry Greek yogurt sauce...mashed butternut squash with maple syrup...roasted Brussels sprouts...and rice pilaf with kale, sun dried tomatoes, leek, and slivered almonds. Oh it was divine! I ruminated on all the bacon and Chinese food we ate in school, and found it a wonder we did not have heart attacks.

Now, I have already written about the beer we drank back then, and I would like to think that our palettes have improved in the past 10 years. That does not mean we did not get to have a bit of nostalgia in our drink. Amanda's partner Aldo cracked a growler of beer that came straight from Worcester - English Strong Ale from Wormtown Brewery. This amber ale was carbonated like a champagne, which gave it a crisp mouth feel, and an uplifting sensation while drinking. I enjoyed the maltiness of the flavor, and well as the hints of vanilla in the finish. There was just enough hoppiness to remind me I was drinking a solid beer, but not enough to make it bitter. There was a wonderful hinting at clove and cinnamon mid-palette, which made the beer stand up well to our menu, and added to the festivities. This is a winter beer that is not too powerful, and would pair well with any Christmas/Hanukkah/Festivus (etc.) meal you were to plan.

And the decorations were just so lovely.


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