Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Beers 2011

This Christmas was memorable for a lot of reasons. We were able to get our lights and decorations up a full 2 weeks before the big day. That allowed us to enjoy the festive look of the house leading up to the holidays.  My brother and his wife put on a fabulous dinner for about 20 members of the family.  And my brothers and I were able to try several of the best Christmas beers available this season.

In all, we had about eight different holiday beers.  Some were just too plain to mention. Others were too different not to mention.  And then there were a couple that were “outstanding in the field” of seasonal brews.  This being the season of hope, let’s start with the best: Abita Christmas Ale.  You wouldn’t think that a place like Louisiana that never gets snow would make a strong Christmas beer.  But you would be wrong.  Everything about this beer made it perfect for a cold afternoon by the old Yule log.  It pours a dark brown with little to no head. The first whiff is of roasted malt.  That malt flavor comes through in the taste as well.  I’m surprised that it tastes lighter than it looks.  It goes down smooth like a fine wine.  There is just a touch of bitterness at the finish.  Those Cajuns can really do Christmas.

Another standout was the Chocolate Bock from Sam Adams’ holiday pack.  It had the same dark pour as the Abita, but with a sweeter smell and taste.  I detected caramel and licorice in my first sip.  It made for a nice after dinner beer that went well with dessert.
The surprise of the night came from Anchor Brewing Co.  I love the unique taste of their steam beer, but I felt their holiday ale was just a little too much holiday spice for me.  My brothers agreed that the spices overwhelmed everything else about this beer.  I’m sure there are holiday partiers drinking this beer by the case load, especially out in San Fran.  But here in New York it missed the mark.

Luckily, we had other great beer and lots of delicious food to enjoy.  I hope that everyone out there was as lucky as I was to be with family for the holidays.  So to all, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

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