Sunday evening we marked the end of the Christmas season by hosting our annual Epiphany open house. It was a fun-filled evening with good friends, good food, good conversation, and of course good beer.
As she always does, Colleen loaded the dining room table with copious delights for the palate. Each year she makes a point to find some new dishes for the feast, and this year was no exception. Two dishes we deemed "keepers" will definitely be making return appearances soon. The Sausage and Pickled Onions, and a new version of Spicy Buffalo Wings, were definite hits. Our guests contributed many sweet desserts too. I wish I had remembered to take pictures of the table full of tasty treats.
This year I decided to focus the beer selection on Virginia breweries. Specifically, I picked out Devils Backbone Vienna Lager, Port City Optimal Wit, and Starr Hill Northern Lights IPA. With a few dozen other beers always available from the beer fridge, some non-Virginia beers also made appearances. For a friend who requested a "dark beer" I pulled out a few bottles of Dominion Oak Barrel Stout. Of course, we always have Sierra Nevada Celebration on hand this time of year. The wine flowed freely as well for guest who preferred a grape-based beverage.
The Lager from Devils Backbone seemed to be the most popular libation during the evening. I think I'll be picking up more this week. Look for a review soon.
Apparently there was a football game going on at the same time as the party so we were convinced to have the television tuned on (but no sound) during the evening. (I admit to being wholly indifferent to professional sports.) This did have the effect of spreading the crowd out a bit, instead of everyone congregating in the kitchen as is typical. The folks watching game thinned as the evening wore on though. A smaller hearty group gathered outside on the deck where the beer cooler was stationed.
This is, I believe, the ninth year we've been marking the Feast of the Epiphany with a grand celebration. The days leading up to the event are exhausting; the hours leading up to the event are stressful; and the recovery and cleanup afterwards is tiring. However, the chance to celebrate with friends is looked forward to with much anticipation. Although the conversations did include the current issues we face as Catholics and Americans, the good times and true hope that filled the evening overrode all that. I'm already looking forward to next year.