The kit is very complete with two kinds of LME - hopped and unhopped dark, 2 kinds of DME - light and dark, crystal, chocolate and roasted malt grains, Nugget hops, Fermentis US-05 American Dry Ale yeast, oak powder, priming sugar and even a grain bag.
We spent dinner at the Yardhouse and there's always a great selection. This time there was Young's Double Chocolate Stout on hand. All I can say is OMG. The head on this brew is so amazing, I've never tasted anything like it. It is as thick as a chocolate milk shake. The brew has a very distinct chocolate flavor and the aroma really kicks in once you have warmed it up and drained about half the glass. The head remains long after the brew is gone.
I was in the midst of reading Randy Mosher's "Tasting Beer" and was on the Belgian section. I remembered reading about Chimay and was surprised to see an abbey-brewed ale on the menu. Obviously I should have had these in reverse order. The Chimay was overpowered by the residual stout and the jambalaya I had. It was a nice brew, but I really could not taste its nuances even with cleansing my palate with water. It certainly was not very hoppy, but did seem a bit citrusy.
The next night we went to Cheesecake Factory. A fairly uninspired beer menu, especially in this case with their proximity to local breweries. One of the few redeeming entries was the New Belgium Fat Tire red ale. You can see the incredible color and lacing. It stood up well to whatever it was I ate, oh yeah - chicken pasta with marinara sauce. Very much a sessionable brew, even at over 5%, quite malty with subdued hop flavors...just enough bittering hops for balance.
All in all - a pretty great weekend for beer.