In the spirit of beer being the beverage of the everyday man (and woman), we present Musical Cheers, a column that puts real beer in the hands of real people. Musical Cheers is guest authored by a revolving selection of friends and columnists with tastes as varied as the beers they review.
Guest reviewer name/occupation: Andrew Mueller (Chef Andy) Owner and Executive Chef of Galley 57 Supper Club located at 3171 Manitowoc Road, Green Bay.
Currently listening to: James McMurtry's “Live in Aught-Three" — an amazingly gifted songwriter, storyteller and guitar player.
Most underappreciated ingredient: Salt — It makes things taste like they're supposed to.
Favorite Recipe to Prepare: Galley 57 Signature Steak — an 8-ounce filet mignon over Gorgonzola toast points with a balsamic merlot demi-glace and caramelized onions.
Preferred Blue Collar Brews: Pabst Blue Ribbon
Preferred White Collar Brews: New Glarus Spotted Cow
Name of beer reviewing: Bell's Christmas Ale, brewed by Bell's Brewery Inc, Comstock, MI
Type of beer: Traditional Scotch Ale
ABV: 7.5 percent
Pre-tasting: I was intrigued by the green and gold Christmas tree on the label, so I had to give it a try. Pop the top and malty sweet hits the air. Warm caramelized amber color with the expectations of fermented sugarplums soon to be dancing on my palate. Easy pour, creamy medium-tight froth.
Post-tasting: This is a big, malty ale with a bit of sweet from the caramel notes. It will pair well with cured meats and robust cheeses like sharp cheddar, bleu cheese (like Stilton) and other piquant, firm aged cheeses. If I were to pick a perfect pairing for this beer, it would be a grilled Wisconsin bratwurst on a pretzel roll with sauerkraut, diced Vidalia onions and a hefty slathering of Düsseldorf mustard. Being 7.5 percent alcohol by volume, it also pairs well with annoying holiday guests.
You'll like this beer if: You'll like this beer if you like a malty, full-bodied beer with just a bit of sweetness.
You'll dislike this beer if: You'll dislike this beer if you're more into hoppy beer, light beer or domestic standards.