Thursday, December 22, 2005
Ah, the Holidays! The gifts, the family....the stress. What better way to relieve that stress than to quaff away at a fine selection of Christmas-themed beers; to float through the Holiday season on a fluffy cloud of beer-buzz? I can think of none.
Without further ado:
1) Delirium Noel. This beer is indeed Christmas in a bottle. Sweet nose, literally like baking sugar cookies. Tasted spicy, like mulling spices were used (you know...like mulled cider). Fruity, like cherries...sweet fruit, like a Christmas fruitcake. It's a good feeling, happy memories brew. 8/10, for being interesting and warm. Awwww....
2) Great Lakes Brewing Company Christmas Ale. Much like Delirium Noel, just slightly ever so less refined. Same sugar cookie scent, thugh this is a little more on the caramel side. Big huge sweet maltiness with little hops character; almost none, just a hint. Any more would be to get in the way of the mulling-spice taste and thick feeling you get in your mouth, like drinking sweet syrup. A "winter warmer" indeed. 7/10.
3) Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale. They produce this beer every November/December for the holidays, and it is different every year. First and foremost, lots of grapefruit on the nose and taste, with piney hops throughout. The hops linger, giving it a nice, full taste. There was a hint of something like coriander in it too. I just can't get over the grapefruit. Great holiday offering. 8/10.
4) Bourbon-Barrel Christmas Ale. This is really really special. Murky, dark walnut color, creamy tan head. Smells incredibly like bourbon, also heavy on the vanilla, maple and allspice. Big huge bourbon taste; also vanilla, nuts, figs/prunes, molasses and mulling spices. HUGE beer, and mightily complex. The up-front burbon sting is tempered by that oakiness described above. 9/10.
5) Great Divide Hibernation Ale. Another big beer. Amber red, tan 1-inch head. Smelled of warm bread, spicy hops; almost peppery. Comes across at first like an IPA, but balances with a warm mulled-cider sweetness. 7/10.
6) Brouwerij De Dolle Stille Nacht. A mouthful to pronounce, for certain. Also, a mouthful of beery goodness. Pours hazy amber/oak-white with tons of sediment floating around. It's supposed to be a dark ale, but damn if it's not a Belgian Trippel; coriander, spices, fruity scent. Almsot tastes as sweet as a white wine, with sour fruit (apple, lemon), zest, syrup and an alcohol tang at the end. All in all, not bad. 7/10.
7) Sam Adams Winter Lager. Sam Adams is always a great fall-back beer. This is no different. Dark brown with amber hues. Smells of caramel and warm Christmas bread. Tastes very much of caramel, toffee and lots of cinnamon. Sweet, chewy, and warm. A great, balanced winter warmer. 7/10.
So, only 7 insteqad of 10, but we'll all live, I am sure. Enjoy these "winter warmers" and have a Merry Christmas!