For a kickoff Monday night to its Strong Ale Holiday Fest, the Library Alehouse partnered with new Main Street neighbor, Areal Restaurant, for whiskey tasting and food pairings, as well with Sweet Rose Creamery for ice cream desserts including a crazy good Bacon Bourbon sundae
Smack in the middle of Main Street, with an unexpected and mellow back patio is featuring through Dec. 31 amazing draft beer and some limited bottle pours from truly artisan breweries, including the highly awarded FiftyFifty brewery from Truckee, California and its “Eclipse” beers.
What makes these beers unique is the company they keep.
They are aged six months in barrels that previously contained some of the finest American whiskeys and rye: Elijah Craig, Four Roses and Rittenhouse.
For the next few weeks, a great way to sample these epic holiday beers at Library Alehouse is with a “3 beer-flight," essentially a choice of any three six-ounce pours of the eight selected breweries including St. Bernardus, Lost Abbey and Jolly Pumpkin as well as FiftyFifty Eclipse.
I opted for three ounces of the rare Eclipse Rittenhouse Rye ale. It was a good call. Dark, mild and warming. Just the right amount as I then headed across the street to Areal Restaurant (in what was previously the “Old World” space) to taste the actual Rittenhouse Rye whiskey my beer had been aged in. It was incredibly easy to sip, even at 100 proof (that's saying a lot for a lightweight like me.)
The whiskey "flights" were paired with Chef Alan Kwan’s small bites including cheddar cheese grits with a blackened chicken hash cake, barbecue pulled pork sliders and bacon wrapped dates.
For a bit of whiskey history, Areal’s Rich Andreoli explained Elijah Craig is known as “the godfather of the bourbon making process in America.” A minister in Kentucky, Craig was the first to "charr" the barrels made of New American White Oak. Charring helps release the sugars in the wood as the whiskey ages.
The Library Alehouse Strong Ale Holiday Fest continues through Dec. 31.
Look for Areal Restaurant to host bi-weekly "Whiskey Wednesdays" starting Jan. 4th.