The weather last Saturday a bit out of the ordinary, especially for a mid-December day. But, this is Virginia, so no weather pattern can really be classified as unexpected. The day was cloudy and windy, though the temperature rose to 70° by mid-afternoon. After hanging Christmas lights in the morning, I headed to the porch with a cigar and a beer.
My beverage selection was the 2021 Anchor "Our Special Ale." The Winter Warmer style ale pours a deep brown shade with a stiff and long lasting beige head. I was surprised by the thick head during the first pour and nearly overflowed the glass. The aroma has notes of dark bread, nutmeg, and ginger, all with a faint rum-like undertone.
Sipping brings forth a pleasing combination of roasted notes, molasses, mild holiday spice, and citrus. The profile is balanced with no one flavor dominating. A lingering sweet malt and coffee comes out in the finish. Overall, a very tasty winter libation and one I'll enjoy frequently while it's available.
For the accompanying smoke, I decided to revisit the Quesada Oktoberfest 10th Anniversary
I sampled last month
. As expected, I got the same sweet, wood, and earth notes. Previously, my pairing featured an Oktoberfest beer, a combination that I found to be less than ideal. The Anchor Ale I opted for this time proved much more satisfactory. The richer notes of the beer provided a pleasing contrast to the cigar, and also seemed bring out a bit of toasted flavor in the smoke.
In keeping with the "dark" aspects of the pairing, the darkness of the weather increased as well. About halfway through my smoke the rains began in earnest. Due to the high winds, I could feel the rain coming through the screens of the porch. Relocating to the center of the deck, I escaped the moisture, but the dampness soon had me reaching for my sweatshirt. The thermometer still read 70°, which was actually up a degree from when I started the smoke, though it felt much cooler. The loud rainfall did force me to turn the volume up on my music, but it was still an enjoyable afternoon.
Returning inside, Colleen informed me the pot of bison chili she'd been working on was ready to serve. The meal provided a fine finish and perfect warm up from the time spent outside.