Monday, December 29, 2014

War of the Christmas Novelty Ales 2014

After a couple of years of European battles between beers with a yuletide theme, I thought it was time for American brewers to get into the fray. I'm keeping up the tradition of drinking beer for the benefit of my dear readers. No sacrifice is too great for you all.

Here are this year's contenders:

1. Yule Tide brewed by Heavy Seas. Describe as "weizen dopplebock ale aged in rum barrels," this has the excellent flavor I've come to love from Belgium-style ales matched with a hint of my favorite spirit, rum! The nutty, malty flavor is smooth and delicious with a 9% alcohol kick that puts a smile on my face. This brew is part of the brewers' "Uncharted Waters" line of beers that are "carefully matched with a wood treatment." All I can say is, more please! I will try out the Heavy Seas label for other beers (they are a local Baltimore brewery). The title is a nice pun on the company's name and the holiday, too!

2. The Mad Elf Ale by The Troegs Brothers. Described as "A cheerful creation to warm your heart and enlighten your tongue. Fermented and aged with a spicy yeast, this ruby red beer delivers subtle cherries and enticing aromas." Usually fruit flavors are a big turn-off for me (the only bad experience I had with beer in Belgium was in a grocery store when I saw Hoegaarden for sale in a variety of fruit flavors as if they were wine coolers), but the cherry in this is very subtle and adds a nice tartness. It's robust without being rough. The 11% alcohol content is not noticeable in the flavor, which I guess could be dangerous. Another fine product coming from Hershey, Pennsylvania!

3. St. Festivus by The Brewer's Art. Described as"Ale brewed with spices," the bottle is particularly uninformative. It is a dark, nutty ale with a spicy finish that is reminiscent of the season but could easily be offered any time of the year. It has good flavor and 8.5% alcohol. The gigantic bottle (750 ml or 1 pint 9.4 fluid ounces) is drinkable by a lone drinker in an evening (another sacrifice for my readers) but is a good size for sharing as well. I like the beer but it doesn't seem very seasonal in flavor and the name is a little bland too.

4. Corsendonk Christmas Ale by Brewery Du Bocq. Describes as "Dark ale refermented in bottle," it sounds like there's no real holiday spirit in this spirit. The ale is made in Belgium according to the Belgian style. It has the rich flavoring I've come to expect from Belgian ales but with a little bit of aftertaste. This bottle is another 750 ml behemoth with 8.1% alcohol. It's a fine drink but like #3 the brewer could easily slap a different label on it and sell it at a different time of year.

This year's winner is this year's first contender, Yule Tide! Be of good cheer my dear readers and I look forward to next year's batch.

No comments:

Post a Comment