I've sung the virtues of seasonal drinking many times, and North by Northwest Restaurant and Brewery is proving me correct right now. I stopped in this afternoon to spend some of last night's poker winnings on a growler of their Dunkelweizen (currently replacing Hefeweizen on their regular beer menu), and came away with so much more.
I haven't tried this year's Dunkelweizen yet — the growler awaits in my beer fridge, and I'll enjoy it with a Texas Lady Longhorns basketball game tonight — but I suspect it will be every bit as good as last year, with those rich tones of banana and cream.
I meant to just grab the growler and go, but then the Espresso Imperial Stout caught my eye. Coffee? Stout? Imperial? What's not to like? I stayed for just one pint, and it was well worth it. And at 7% alcohol, it wasn't quite as incapacitating as many products with "imperial" in their name, so I could enjoy it and head back to work. My only complaint was that it was served too cold. I recommend letting your glass sit for as long as you can stand it before the first sip.
But oh, my wandering eye! Right below the EIS on the seasonal beer board was Bourbon Barrel Aged Holiday Ale. Now NXNW's regular Holiday Ale was already a supremely fine barleywine, but aged in a bourbon barrel? Could it make a great thing even greater? Okay, I couldn't go quite yet. I requested just a tiny taster, and wow … the truly sublime beers don't just please your taste buds, they make your head swim with the deliciousness, and this one did just that.
As the word "seasonal" implies, these beer won't be available forever. I strongly recommend you get down there ASAP before they're gone.