Over the past few weeks, we’ve returned to The Porter twice. We’ve also made a stop in at The Brick Store Pub. We still haven’t managed to get over to The Bookhouse Pub (we tried once, but they weren’t open for lunch) or The Bureau.

The Porter has been nice to us. We went there the week after Christmas, the day before New Year’s Eve. We sampled their burger (awesome) and their mac & cheese (also awesome – but slightly less awesome than the way we make it at home). And then just last weekend, we took my sister and brother-in-law to eat there. We enjoyed their hush puppies and their mac & cheese yet again. This time we also tried their calamari which was terrific. It was served with fried julienned jalapeƱos, fried onion petals, fried lemon curls, and a lemon aeoli – delicious through and through.

Also while my sister and brother-in-law were in town (here on a week-long whirlwind tour of the east coast), we finished off my last bottle of Hump’s Dancing Monk Ale. This was a strong Belgian-style ale that I made over two years ago. The final product was close to 11% abv. It was a mellow, warming, smooth, malty, complex ale and much better than I remember – no doubt with help from 2+ years of aging. Its more intense fruity and licorice flavors – which stood out in not-so-perfect ways – had subsided. The beast had been calmed. Did I mention it was smooth? It was quite drinkable for 10.6% abv. I was pleased.

I’ll try to get photos of the “cellar” in my next post. I’ve collected some amazing beers over the past few months and don’t have a drinking partner to help sample the goods (my usual co-conspirator, my wife, is in her third trimester carrying our unborn son). So the fridge has turned into a stock pile – which I gleefully raid when we have company.