Sunday, June 8, 2014

Lazy Afternoon: Mussels and a Brown Ale

After a morning of yard work, a little dry fire practice and a light lunch, I realized I still had an afternoon ahead of me, and my son and Colleen were both out for the day doing other things. How should I spend my afternoon? Then I remembered I hadn't visited the Blue & Gray brewpub for several months, and it seemed like a pleasant afternoon to head over for a bit. I had hoped there would be folks sitting outside, but alas the patio tables were empty, so I joined a few other folks at the bar and ordered a pint of Garryowen Brown Ale.

This was a new beer for me. Blue & Gray describes this beer as "a hybrid English Brown and American brown ale." I admit I'm not really sure what that means, and interestingly, none of the usual beer rating sites have it listed. Garryowen Brown Ale is transparent reddish-brown color with a faint malt aroma. The taste is a nutty, roasted flavor with a dry finish. There is but a small hint of hoppiness coming through.

As I sipped my beer, I had the urge for a bit of food, and ordered an "appetizer" of Bacon and Gorgonzola Mussels. The generous portion of mussels were covered in bacon pieces and grated cheese, and swimming in a bowl of a red pepper spiced sauce. It's a good thing the dish came with a big chunk of bread too, I used it to sop up the tasty sauce. (And still had plenty left over in the bowl.) I opted for another glass of the brown ale with the mussels, rather than switch beers mid-stream. The roasted profile of the beer did indeed stand up to the spicy mussels and sauce.

After finishing my beer and food, I had an enjoyable conversation with one of the long-time brewers at Blue & Gray, as well as the new brewer, who was learning the ropes from the older hand. We chatted about the Blue & Gray beers and other Virginia breweries for quite some time. It turned out to be quite an enjoyable, and relaxing, Saturday afternoon.


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