The theme for the last potluck in January was "Travel." I had flown in from a research collaboration trip earlier that Thursday, and was only hosting because no one else had volunteered. I had a new Peruvian cookbook, so I decided to try making Arroz con Leche, or rice pudding. I had rice, but needed condensed and evaporated milk, an orange, and some port. So I went out to my car, turned the key, and... sighed in frustration. The bitter cold had agitated my finicky car battery, and my car wouldn't start. I called Gabriel and he agreed to pick up the food items at the new campus area grocery store while I went to a nearby liquor store for port.
I followed the directions, but felt that there was not enough rice for the prescribed amount of liquid. So I turned up the heat and figured I'd boil it away. Silly me: condensed milk+too hot pan+stepping away to put out dishes=terrible burnt milk smell. I rushed to the stove, turned off the gas, and started frantically stirring. Of course, that aggravated the problem, as I was now mixing liquidy (but unburnt) rice pudding with the horribly burnt stuff. I transferred the pudding to another pan, skimming out the blackened bits, and hoped someone would bring a better dessert. I was in luck: Geoffrey brought flourless chocolate cake (hallelujah!), and we also had salad and stuffed shells to round out the meal.
Now you're probably looking at this picture, thinking, "But Andi, I don't see anything like cake or salad or stuffed shells. All I see is beer!" I swear we did eat, but the talk of the party was really the beer. Mike brought this Audacious Apricot Ale, that we happily drank. I used to like a good fruity beer, but now I usually don't. Except for this one. It was delicious, and some of us began to wax eloquent about it. "It tastes like sitting on a porch, sipping something cool, on a warm summer evening after a hard day of work outdoors," I said. Lana said it reminded her of sitting in a field, eating a picnic consisting of small bites of different foods. Carlos was perhaps less of a fan, saying that it made him think of asking for the barkeep's recommendation, and then being disappointed. Mike was reminded of the first time he tried this particular beer, standing in the circle of a beer-tasting club, sipping beers and describing them. When Ed was asked what he thought of when he drank the beer, he replied, "Peaches!"
We've had the beer again since then, but not the rice pudding. Take from that what you will...
Thanks Mike for introducing us to such a conversation-sparking beer!