Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Dual/Duel Review: Christmas Inspired Beers

Dual/Duel reviews are an online smackdown between two books, movies, games, podcasts, etc. etc. that I think are interesting to compare, contrast, and comment on. For a list of other dual/duel reviews, go here.

Last year, I ran across a bunch of Christmas novelty ales and had a smack-down review where I picked the best. Not many such novelty ales came out this year (one or two cask ales did come out but I saw nothing in bottles). So I had another idea.

I originally wanted to have a whole bunch of beers inspired by the Christmas story with the possibility of making a Nativity set out of beer bottles. Apparently that idea was too impious and the Good Lord struck me and my family down with a stomach bug. I could only shop at local supermarkets for beer and found only two that I could shoehorn into the theme: Caesar Augustus and Wonkey Donkey. No Marys or Josephs or stars or shepherds or wise men. I could have found sheep but didn't even get around to that. So here are the two contenders:

First up is is Caesar Augustus, described on the label as a "Lager/IPA Hybrid." Instead of a sublime fusion of the human and divine like the Christ child, this beer fuses the worst parts from each side. It was a bit too insubstantial like a bad lager and finished far too bitter like a bad IPA. Perhaps a fitting tribute to an emperor who had everybody move around just so he could count them properly.

Second is Wonkey Donkey, a whimsically named "pale amber bitter." This bitter was nice--not too strong and not too weak. It's not outstanding but is a pleasant drink. Like the donkey that took Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem, this beer is a good, steady, and reliable and will get you through cold days and rough patches.

Clearly the winner is the Donkey. It seems strange that a donkey could best one of the most powerful leaders in human history, but I suppose Christmas is a time for miracles, isn't it?

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