It’s Wednesday. Work is piling up, exhaustion is setting in, everyone within a twenty mile radius of you seems to be driving you crazy with their noise, noise, noise…
Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, it simply has to be said that the winter holidays are a great time to be a beer geek. Seasonal spices bring new depth to classic styles with the added benefit of inducing a little holiday nostalgia. Of course, I’ll use absolutely any excuse to wander off the beaten path when it comes to libations; I hopped on the Christmas in July bandwagon to give you my thoughts on a couple winter-themed beverages.
Grab a glass and meet me under the mistletoe…
Beverage: Noel De Calabaza – Belgian Strong Dark Ale
Crafted by: Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales – Dexter, MI
This poured dark and rich with a thick head that receded quickly. The scent was complex–a mixture of dark fruit and oak with a hint of mulling spices. The flavors definitely matured as it came up to temperature. It had a great sour kick which was balanced out by a slight sweetness from the malt once it warmed a bit.
While the spices were there, I would not say this felt like a winter beer, per se. Maybe it was the sour character that made this seem much more of a warm weather sipper, or maybe I was just anticipating a deeper flavor considering the notes I picked up when I first smelled this.
Beverage: Peppermint Bark Porter (2014) – American Porter
Crafted by: Two Brothers Brewing Company – Warrenville, IL
Maybe I’m crazy, but I fell in love a little bit when I saw that my favorite beer spot still had stock of this beauty. The pour was smooth and almost black in hue. Peppermint can be a dangerous flavor in any food or beverage – a delicate balance must be achieved or you’ll end up with either overpowering bitterness or cloying sweetness; Two Brothers managed to pull it off quite nicely.
Up front this beer was all porter with dark chocolate malt flavors. The peppermint kicked in on the finish with just the right combination of refreshing and sugary. It was like drinking a York Peppermint Patty without that burning buildup of artificial flavoring.
And what happened then? Well… those on the internet say, that this beer geek’s small heart grew three sizes that day!
Will you be celebrating Christmas in July this weekend? If so, share a photo of your beverage of choice with me using #thegrownupgeek and I’ll be sure to check them out!