Monday, March 21, 2011

Beer Adventure: Saturday March 19, 2011

I was up in Manchester, NH this weekend to play in my fraternities alumni organizations annual Texas Hold'm tournament.   This presented the perfect opportunity for me to visit a bar I've been wanting to get back to: Strange Brew.  I had lunch there many years ago but that was before I got serious about beer hunting and a lot has changed in the beer world since then as well.

Strange Brew is a pretty big bar but it was mostly empty when I arrived around 1:30pm.  I was happy to see an Ommegang Abbey Ale on the taps by my stool and I ordered one without looking further.  I like Ommegang products but it seemed a little on the light side at 8.5ABV for a brew being offered in only in a 10oz pour.

My next choice was a Unibroue Chambly Noire.   I know Unibroue doesn't get a lot of love in serious beer circles but I think their beers are great.  This brew punched all my chits.  It was packed with yeasty flavors and yet was extremely drinkable (more on that point later). 

I ordered some food: fish tacos and some Buffalo shrimp.  The tacos where uninspired.  I like some contrasting crunch in my tacos either from a crisp veggies or a hard shell but these had neither.  They were just but small soft wraps with a little slaw and small hunks of fried fish.  Don't get me wrong they were tasty but they could have been a lot better with just a little extra love.   The shrimp were pretty damn good however.  An order had a dozen healthy sized shrimp.

The bartender was awesome.  She was very friendly and ready with samples and happy to answer any question.  

I finished up lunch with a couple more beers and headed off to the tournament where more beer was consumed - Sam Adams Noble Pils was the best choice on hand.  I actually played well and came in 3rd.  After the tournament everyone headed back to Strange Brew. 

At night this was a far differnent place.  It was wall to wall people and I even discovered a down stairs area with still more room.  I explored the drinkability of Unibroue Chambly Noire for the rest of the night (I had a hotel room and was walking) and can report it makes a nice session beer as well.   Even though the bar was now packed the bartender from earlier in the evening was still friendly and even remembered me from lunch.  

Strange Brew is a great place and I look forward to heading back soon.
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