Monday, November 29, 2010

Raise a Glass of Christmas Cheer!

I hope everyone had an enjoyable fulfilling Thanksgiving shared with great food and loved ones.  I was very pleased with how my feast turned out and will post pictures once I figure out how to add pics to a blog entry (yeah, the joys of being a rookie blogger)  Anyways, Friday and Saturday also had their fill of good food.  There was no better way to finish off a successful Black Friday shopping spree then a BLT and Christmas Ale from B-Spot.  Saturday included a trip and lunch at a true Cleveland food landmark, The West Side Market.  However, my holiday cheer was brought out in full force at the first annual Winter Wine and Ale Fest on Saturday evening.  

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 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.


  1. Great review! My wife and I enjoyed it also. I too stuck with beers I had not tasted, but focussed on the holiday beers. Favorites were Hopin' Frog Frosted Frog, Willoughby Wencelas and Chop House's Holiday Ale. Thought the food was real good especially the cheeses.

  2. Ooh...lots of beers and wines for me to try now! Even though it's not local, I also must recommened Breckenridge Brewing Co.'s Christmas Ale (for sure available at Bar Cento/Bier Markt). It's got great spice, but is a little lighter than GLBC's Christmas Ale, which means I can drink more of it :-)

    What food/drink makes it feel like Christmas? The traditional, tried-and-true Christmas cookies we bake. Also, cranberry martinis (you cook down cranberries, then freeze them to make a slush that you pour vodka over).

  3. I hadn't even heard about this event until after it was over! I was so bummed!

    For me, a gingerbread latte from Starbucks officially kicks off the season for me. I haven't had one yet - looks like I'll be getting a coffee run in the schedule today...