Wednesday, November 15, 2006

November is....

What can I say? I've been busy figuring out how the organization I work for fits into the new make of the Minnesota legislature. It should come as no surprise that I'm pleased as beer-spiked-punch (ok, that's gross). The leadership posts of both the House and Senate are filled with advocates of early care and education (ECE): Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller, former chair of the K-12 Committee, has always touted the benefits of ECE; Assistant Majority Leader Tarryl Clark lobbied for Head Start for years; Speaker of the House Margaret Anderson Kelliher has long promised promoting ECE when she's speaker; and House Majority Leader Tony Sertich was in past years a huge advocate of affordable child care.

In other words, my job became a lot easier with the results of last Tuesday, and even more so after the bodies picked their leaders.

Election season also means that it's winter beer season. Mmmmm, winter beers. Winter beers, in case you don't know, are usually darker ales, somewhere along the lines of a porter. But some breweries take the opportunity to try something new. Take Bells for example. They introduced their Winter White a couple years back, and I have to say I'm not a fan. I like White Ales, and no one does 'em finer than Bells, but not when it's 20 degrees out. Schells is another that likes to experiment with their Snow Storm. They did a cherry porter a couple years ago, a brown ale recently, and this year a Sweet Stout--which by the way is perfect, as most of their beer are.

Summit Winter is a real standard bearer for winters, as far as I'm concerned, but I have to say I was pretty disappointed this year. Instead of their usual dark spicy goodness, they brewed a brown ale. Granted, it was good for a brown, but I was really let down. Two other great solid winter ales this year are the Snow Cap by Pyramid and Wassail by Full Sail--although the latter was much better, in my opinion.

But by far The Best Winter Beer Every Year is the Anchor Christmas Ale. While the recipe is different every year, you can always taste nutmeg, juniper and, hm, coffee or chocolate or hazelnut or something. Incredible.

Back to Bells for a minute. If you don't want to try their White, please do not miss their Hop Slam, one of their limited release brews. As the name suggests, its full of hops. Like 10 percent alcohol slam worth of hops. Yeah, it's about $13 a six pack, but if you like bitterly hop-o-riffic brews, then don't pass this up.

So, in closing, it's an all around good November. And I'll try to get in at least one other post by Christmas...