Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Best Beer (and Babies) in the World

Last night was a train wreck. Martin continued his trend of only wanting to sleep in our bed. The problem is that with Jen home it's a bit tighter in that bed than it was with her away. This meant that he centered himself in the bed and got a fantastic night's sleep. Jen and I were pushed to the sides and both had horrible nights.

Elliott's First Grocery Store Shopping Cart Experience

After dragging ourselves out of bed we brought the guys to the grocery store. It was an unnecessarily long shopping excursion which made the guys a little restless. Elliott calmed down after I let him ride in the shopping cart for the first time. He seemed to really enjoy this even though he would occasionally slide to one side and hit his head on the side of the cart.

First Peaches

First Peaches

At home, after a lovely two-hour nap, we made them their first fruit: peaches. They were frozen and a little acidic but the guys seemed to enjoy them. They're slightly below avocado in their list of favorites but I'm confident that if they had fresh, ripe summer peaches that they'd probably be straight at the top.

The Wombats' Favorite Foods (in descending order from favorite to least favorite)
  1. Sweet Potato
  2. Avocado
  3. Peaches*
  4. Butternut Squash
  5. Carrot
  6. Peas
Serenading the Wombats with Neil Young's "Southern Man"
After their nightly ritual they still were not tired so I took out my guitar and sung them the classic lullaby, Neil Young's Southern Man. Some babies like songs about wheels on the bus or the lives of infant sea-dwelling mammals. Our babies like songs about racial tension in 1970s America.
Lamb Stew with River Horse Belgian Freeze
For dinner I made this lamb stew with garlic, onion, potato, carrot, parsnip, rutabaga, rosemary, turkey stock, flour, salt, pepper, and most of a bottle of Belgian Freeze beer.
Brouwerij Westvleteren Westvleteren XII
While the stew finished and the wombats slept I poured this Westvleteren XII from Sint-Sixtusabdij in Belgium. Jen had picked this extraordinarily hard-to-get beer up for me for Christmas and it was among one of the greatest Christmas presents I've ever gotten, right up there with the time I got the Soundwave action figure from The Transformers.
Westvleteren XII Six Pack Box
For the first time ever it was released as a six pack -- an extremely expensive six pack that looks like it was designed by the makers of Wolfenstein 3D. The verdict was that this beer was pretty damn good. Was it the best beer in the world? That's difficult to say. It was certainly excellent. It was certainly among the best of its style that I've ever had. I just don't feel comfortable comparing it to wildly different beers. In the realm of Belgian Quadruples it is definitely tops. The history and story behind the beer are romantic and it's hard to taste it without allowing that reputation to cloud your judgment. I'm glad I have a few extra bottles to try aging. I'd love to see how the flavor is affected over the years.
Blue Castello with Candied Pecans
Along with the beer I put out this Blue Castello cheese with candied pecans. Jen enjoyed the beer but she enjoyed the candied pecans even more. She even ate more of the cheese than I did which is rare as she is not as in love with blue cheeses as I am.
Lamb Ale Stew with Polenta

Finally the stew was ready after the Wombats (mostly Martin) had settled down. I served it over a creamy polenta with some additional fresh rosemary.

It was a great night. We had a great time with the boys. I got to make a winter stew in the freezing cold. I got to have the best beer in the entire world. It really doesn't get that much better than that.

Now it's just hard to stay up to watch hockey when we are so unbelievably exhausted. We're still getting used to the fact that a simple day off with the babies is one of the most tiring things that can happen to us in our lives.

But maybe the babies will sleep straight through until 7:00 tomorrow morning and we will be completely refreshed.

I have no idea what I would do with that kind of sleep.

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