This event was held as a part of Downtown's Winterfest which highlighted the lighting of Public Square. For $40/person, guests were able to sample 20 craft beers or wines of their choice from 19 different Ohio breweries and wineries. My approach was simple, do not taste anything you already had and know you like. This provided me the opportunity to sample other brewery's Christmas Ales since every time I go out, I remain loyal to Great Lakes Christmas Ale. Also, there were appetizers and deserts to enjoy with the winter libations. While tasting, we were able to rate our drinks on a scale of 1-5 (I did mine as 1 = lowest, and 5 = highest). Now, I am not going to present everything I rated, just the 4's and 5's Please keep in mind, these are based on my personal preferences.
My overall favorite was the Cleveland Chop House's White Chocolate Brown Ale. I love a good chocolate stout (I mean, it is a combination of two things I love...beer and chocolate). I think if I had this as the first brew of the night, the remaining 19 tickets I had would have been used on this beer. It was not the bitter stout that most people would think of, and there was a chocolate flavor throughout, not just at the end. Next time I am near by the Chop House, I must stop in for a White Chocolate Brown Ale.
My second favorite is Hoppin' Frog Brewery from Akron's "Frosted Frog". This is their Christmas ale which features my favorite Christmas flavor, gingerbread. I would be up for a trip to Akron to sample their other brews.
Other beers worth mentioning: Cellar Rats "Field Rat Wheat", The Brew Kettle's "Blackjack Porter", and Buckey Brewing Company's "Witless" (maybe I should get some for Thursday's Cavs/Heat game)
And now for wines:
My overall favorite was Firelands' Pinot Grigio. Would love to enjoy with a pesto dish since I love pinot grigio with pesto.
For something easy to drink and fruity, I would recommend any of the Virant Frosts (I sampled strawberry and blackberry). They were a little thicker then most wines, but enjoyable if you are looking for a fruity wine.
I also want to mention the carephilly cheese I enjoyed from Great Lakes Creamery. If you enjoy parmesan and provalone, I would recommend looking for this particular cheese. It would be a great addition to your holiday cheese platters.
I am looking forward to many more holiday culinary adventures. The Christmas cookie list has been started, and the holiday party invitations are starting to pile up. It truly is the most wonderful time of they year. With that being said, I am going to start something new on the blog, "Question of the Week". Feel free to comment below.
What food/drink really makes it feel alot like Christmas?
Until next time...follow your heart, fulfill your hunger.