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30 Days of Christmas Beer: The Results

The nitecap - and a damn good one.

Well, I made it all the way through. There were a few days of struggle, a few pushes. In the end, I had the gumption to get it done. 30 days and many beers – but each night a Christmas ale – are complete.

There were highs thanks to De Dolle and Hair of the Dog – and there were lows due in part to Ninkasi and Bridgeport. But all in all, I loved each evening. The beer did as I had hoped: restored Christmas to its rightful jolly state.

Throughout the process, I posted a blurb about each beer on our Facebook page. After 30 days, I made my choices. Here are the results:

 

Top 5 Beers – Overall Quality:

 

1. De Dolle Stille Nacht 2009

 

2. Hair of the Dog Doggie Claws 2009

 

3. Troegs Mad Elf

 

4. Nogne O/Jolly Pumpkin/Stone Special Holiday Ale 2009

 

5. Great Lakes Christmas Ale

 

Honorable Mentions: Brasserie Thiriez, Goose Island 2009 Xmas Ale, Fremont B-Bomb, and Silver City Old Scrooge

 

Top 5 Beers – Christmas Style:

 

1a. Nogne O/Jolly Pumpkin/Stone Special Holiday Ale 2009

 

1b. Great Lakes Christmas Ale

 

3. Anchor Christmas Ale 2010

 

4. Maritime Jolly Roger

 

5. Thirsty Dog 12 Dogs of Christmas

 

Honorable Mentions: Eggenberg Samichlaus, Silver City Old Scrooge, De Dole Stille Nacht, and Breckenridge Christmas Ale

 

Top Beer Description:

 

Most of the time when I wrote these reviews, I was half intoxicated at a bar typing on my phone. The quality of the review depended on my motivation level and surrounding conversations. Some beers were cheated, others were given too much (See De Dolle Stille Nacht for “too little” and Fremont Abominable for “too much”)

My favorite description came from drinking an Anchor Christmas Ale at Collins Pub in Seattle:

 

The Xmas ale is their staple, a seasonal release of many years. This year it tastes like some took a glass of milk, nuked it, dropped in 5 gingerbread houses and a black tea bag and put it in a laundry machine for 6 hours. After that, I drank it. It’s delicious, a fine example of Christmas flavors.

 

Top Memory of 30 Days of Christmas Ale

 

One night, Timperial came and surprised me with a party pig (finally, my own tap) and a bottle of Brasserie Thiriez Noel. We got sentimental:

 

I have a pretty good story about this brewer. Timperial and I drove out to West Flanders one morning to visit Saint Sixtus Abbey and drink the Westvleteren 12. After we got biblical, we decided to peruse the towns. We visited St Bernardus, shot the shit with local Woesteners, and proceeded to make the journey across enemy lines (kind of a joke) to France.

Escalbecq is literally 10 kilos across le border. The border is an unrecognizable line where my Tom Tom starts speaking french. We pulled up to a shanty of a farmhouse and went searching for Daniel (owner of Brasserie Thiriez). We bumped into a brute of a man (seinfeld Kramer reference) who had on denim suspenders and a weird rat tail haircut. I engaged him in conversation. He stared blankly and retorted: “oui?….” imagine the most confused vocal tone on earth, in French. That was this guy.

After nearly 10 minutes of charades, awkward hand signals and phony sign language – he finally understood “Daniel” and illistrated that he was sleeping. This guy? Le brassuer.

He also finally grasped my guzzling booze depiction. He led us to the farmhouse and we – extremely awkward – downed a few samples an bought a few bottles. On the way back to Belgium (10 kilos), we road soda’d a blonde and laughed hysterically at the hijinks. Tonight, we formed a consensus that a return was a necessity.

Thiriez makes amazing beer. They have one of the best yeast strains I have ever tasted. Grassy, earthly, active – but clean – it’s always a different experience under each cap. The Noel is phenomenal. It has a clean, yet significant scent. It packs a mouthful of cherries, strawberries, vanilla, and hay. There is no denying the French farmhouse styling – and we love it. A lively beer with a fresh scent yum.

 

All in all, it’s the best Thiriez brew we’ve had. Kudos to Bottleworks for pulling this guy in. If it’s on the shelf – it’s a must buy.

It was a good ride. Look for a repeat, with all new beer, next year.

 


New Year’s Eve Beer Events, Another Year Come and Gone!

December 30, 2009 Leave a comment

Celebrate 2010 with specialty kegs from Oregon at Seattle's Uber Tavern.

After the holiday week, Beer Blotter is back on track and ready to plan your New Year’s Eve night.  Celebrating the new year amongst friends, beer lovers and great beer seems like the obvious thing to do. So we present you with a list of beer bars to stop by or beer events to attend tomorrow night, December 31, 2009.  The focus will be on 2 cities, Seattle and New York City (where we were and where we are now)  Check back on Monday for Beer Blotter’s regular weekly event posting.

Seattle, Washington

Uber Tavern will have beer specials galore on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, so bring your sleeping bag and crash there. A list of specialty beers from our neighboring state, Oregon on tap for the occasion include Cascade Blackberry Nightfall ($4.00/goblet); Cascade Sang Noir ($5.00/goblet); Old Lompoc Old Tavern Rat ($3.00/schooner); Old Lompoc C-Note ($3.50/pint); Old Lompoc LSD ($3.50/pint); Old Lompoc Holiday Cheer ($3.50/pint). Enjoy your brews along side a smorgasbord of cured meats, cheeses and chocolates.

Fremont Brewing is hoping to entice Seattleites that may over indulge on New Year’s Eve to join the Resolution Run 5K and Polar Bear Dive. That will cure a hangover! After a 5K run and an OPTIONAL Polar Bear Dive into Lake Washington, Fremont Brewing will provide participants (over the age of 21) with unlimited beer and chili to warm them right up.

New York, New York (home to a beer lover’s dream NYE)

Blind Tiger Ale House will have unlimited beer and food from 9:00 PM-2:00 AM for $120.00/person.Call 212-462-4682 for reservations and details.

Rattle-n- Hum features an amazing tap list and karaoke to usher in the new year. Patrons have the option to pay-as-you-go, or buy a $150 open-bar ticket, which includes all beers, liquor and a Brooklyn Brewery’s Black Ops toast at midnight.

Beer Table is a modest establishment in Brooklyn, New York and is hosting the Past, Present and Future Dinner with two separate times to dine. The special menu includes three beers (from the past present and future) paired with spicy black eyed pea salad, Bamberg onion (stuffed with pork and topped with bacon) and potatoes, and Bayley Hazen Blue with honey and hazelnuts. The two sittings are at 8PM for $45 and 10PM for $55.
Then start start 2010 off right with Schneider Aventinus Eisbock from a gravity keg and butter beans with bacon.

But….

If your in the mood for some R and R, some Dick Clark and beers in the warmth of your own abode. Then check out these winter warmers and Christmas beers, chosen by Timperial Stout.

Kulmbacher – Eisbock
9.2%
http://www.kulmbacher.biz/en/klb/index2.php
From the website:
KULMBACHER Ice Bock (Eisbock) – our winter beer specialty

The ice bock, also known as “Bavarian”, owes its discovery to a coincidence. According to the chronicles of the Kulmbacher brewery, some time around 1900 an apprentice forgot on a cold winter day to carry two barrels of bock beer into the brewery cellar. The barrels stayed outside, were covered by ice and snow and weren’t discovered until the following spring. The barrels had burst and the apprentice was reprimanded. But the carelessness was a stroke of luck because under the thick ice coat, a bock beer extract remained, strong tasting and high in alcoholic content.  Even if the dark, tasty speciality is not produced in this spectacular way anymore, the chance that gave birth to this beer became a tradition. Today this beer rarity is brewed in a modern brewing and freezing process, but the incomparable taste is still the same and can always be enjoyed in winter months.

Mikkeller – To/From
8%
http://www.mikkeller.dk/index.php?land=1
From the website:
The second Christmas porter from Mikkeller. A spiced porter with fine malt background and lovely hop aroma and flavor. The label is designed as a ‘From To’ card – fill in the names and put the bottle it under the Christmas tree. The perfect give away gift for the lazy man/woman…!
Ingredients: Water, malt (pale, smoked, cara-crystal, brown and chocolate), roasted barley, dark cassonade, hops (amarillo, saaz and cascade), spices (star anise, clove, cinnamon and coriander seeds) and yeast.

The Bruery – Two Turtle Doves
12%
http://www.thebruery.com
From the website:
2 Turtle Doves is the second in the 12 Days/Years of Christmas Services. We decided to take our inspiration from the name and base the beer on the “turtle” candy, brewing it with cocoa nibs, toasted pecans, caramelized sugar and a lot of caramel malts. Somewhere between a Belgian-style Dark Strong Ale and an Imperial Porter, this beer is designed to take the journey through time until 12 Drummers Drumming.

Alesmith Brewing Co.- Yulesmith Holiday Ale

9.5%
http://www.alesmith.com/
From the website:
For the winter season, YuleSmith is brewed as an Imperial Red Ale. This version is maltier, more balanced, and darker in color than the summer version. Although quite malty, big hop flavors and aromas are abundant making this an unforgettable winter warmer.   Winter YuleSmith is packaged in traditional holiday red and green.

Ommegang – Adoration
10%
http://www.ommegang.com/
From the website:
Ommegang Adoration, brewed in the authentic style of Belgian winter, or noel beer, is dark, strong, malty and assertively spiced.  At 10% abv Adoration is not a lightweight beer, and is best sipped before a roaring fire, or on a sleigh ride over the hills to Grandma’s house. (But let someone else drive.) It would also be a tasty accompaniment to dark roasts and wild game.  Even at the strong abv, the beer is well-balanced and not at all hot or fiery. The dark malts give it lush, malty flavors and aromas, strongly complemented by the five spices, including coriander, cumin, mace, cardamom and grains of paradise. Hopping is modest, as befits such a beer.

Troeg’s – Mad Elf

11%
http://www.troegs.com/
From the website:
The Mad Elf, a cheerful creation to warm your heart and enlighten your tongue. The combination of Cherries, Honey, and Chocolate Malts delivers gentle fruits and subtle spices. Fermented and aged with a unique yeast, this ruby red beer has significant warming strength that underlies the pleasant character of this intriguing yet delicious Ale. The Mad Elf, a jolly and delicious beer for the Holidays.

Nogne O – Winter Ale
8.5%
http://www.nogne-o.com/ (website is having some technical difficulties)
From the website:
A dark ale brewed specially for the Christmas season, with a rich, complex taste of caramel. This is a strong, dark and rather sweet Christmas Beer – just the way we think a Christmas beer should be.

Recommended serving temperature 12°C/53°F. Great with cheese or nuts. Ingredients:Lager, Munich, caramel, black, and chocolate malt; Chinook, Columbus, and Centennial hops; English ale yeast, and our local Grimstad water.”

Jolly Pumpkin – Noel de Calabaza

9%
http://www.jollypumpkin.com/
From the website:
Noel de Calabaza – Deep mahogany and malty, layered hops, figs, raisins, sugar plums, cashews betwixt rum laden truffles.

Port Brewing – Santa’s Little Helper

10.5%
http://www.portbrewing.com/
From the website:
Each and every year, the Jolly Old Fatman sits down and compiles a list of who’s been naughty and nice. It’s curious that he never knows which list to put our brewers on as this is one naughty but incredibly nice beer.

Originally brewed at the Pizza Port in Solana Beach in November of 1997. As dark as the biggest lump of coal Santa can deliver, this beer has earned a dedicated following and is code named Satan’s Little Hangover by those who have indulged in a holiday like manner from time to time.

Originally shipped from London to the Czarist rulers of Russia, Imperial Stouts are stronger, richer and more robust versions of traditional stouts. The increase in alcohol content means that literally, many of these beers are a meal in a glass all on their own. Made from copious amounts of Roasted and Black Barleys, our stout invites you to share a silky black body with hints of freshly pulled espresso from the coffee house, melding with dark bitter sweet chocolate from a Belgian Chocolateer and the ash of a smoldering fire on a dark winters night.

Just remember that somewhere out there, the jolly old fat man is making a list and checking it twice. He knows who’s been naughty and nice… Might we suggest that you forgo the Milk with the cookies this year and leave him of bottle of something incredibly nice- Say like Santa’s Little Helper? Mrs. Clause would probably like some as well. That is if Rudolph doesn’t drink it all himself. Bad Reindeer.

Malts- Two Row, Wheat, Domestic and English Crystal, Roasted, Black and Chocolate Malts
Hops- Phoenix, Challenger and East Kent Goldings
Yeast- White Labs California Ale and Proprietary Yeast Strains

Most importantly, while enjoying yourself at home or out on the town, be safe, have fun and HAPPY 2010!!!!


Events for the week of December 21, 2009

December 21, 2009 1 comment

The Old Toad, a British Pub in Rochester, NY

The countdown to Christmas Day is in full effect, so one can only imagine the lack of beer events to unveil.  In place of events, this post will provide more information on what will be on tap leading up to Christmas Day.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Extreme Winter Beers: New York, New York

5:00 PM- until close @ Rattle N’ Hum

A continuation from last week, this event wraps up tomorrow night.  This tap list is top notch and full of Christmas beers and “Winter Warmers.”  Start your holiday week off with the spirit of Christmas in liquid form: Corsendonk Christmas Ale, Elysian Bifrost, Troegs Mad Elf, Heavy Seas Winter Storm and many many many more. For a full list, visit ratebeer.com.

Lagunitas Tasting: Portland, Oregon

5:00 PM-8:00 PM @ The Beermongers

Join the Beermongers for a special Lagunitas Tasting Event and Holiday “Give the Gift of Beer” Sale. Although a list is not posted on the venue’s website, expect to taste brews such as Lagunitas Brown Shugga and Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Extra and the brewery’s seasonal Cappuccino Stout.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Give a Pint, Get a Pint: Escondido, California

10:00 AM- 5:00 PM @ Stone Brewing Co.

Today and tomorrow, come by Stone Brewing Co., donate a pint of blood and enjoy a great tasting beer in your brand spanking new pint glass.  This event is just one of the many thing Stone Brewing Co. is doing this holiday season to help others in need.  Bring your canned goods down to the brewery for their annual food drive and/or participate in the Toys for Tots program by bringing in a new toy(s).

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Special Kegs!: New York, New York

4:00 PM @ Blind Tiger

For the past month, you have been running around buying gifts for everyone in your life.  Today is the day to buy yourself the gift of beer.  This NYC beer bar is cleaning out the cellar and there will be specialty kegs of the following beers (plus others), Dogfish Head Worldwide Stout (GET THIS!), Allagash Victor, Scaldis Noel, Great Divide Fresh Hop and Stone 13th Anniversary. We can only hope that some of these beers will last through the weekend, as we will be in the Big Apple for the Christmas holiday.

Brown Bag Night: Hollywood, California

6:00 PM- 10:00 PM @ Blue Palms Brewpub

Just in time for the new year, Blue Palms Brewpub is holding a blind tasting with a theme of “The Best of 2009.” Price of admission? Just a bottle or two of your favorite beers of the year, that you bring in for the occasion. Any beer of your choice, provided you think it is “worthy” of “Best of 2009″ consideration. If you’re bringing a 22 oz. or 750 mL bottle, one should be enough. If it’s a 12-ounce bottle or can, please bring two (if possible– if you only have one, just bring the one).

Give a Pint, Get a Pint: Escondido, California

10:00 AM- 5:00 PM @ Stone Brewing Co.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Holiday Ale Extravaganza: Rochester, New York

4:00PM- 2:00PM @ The Old Toad

Tonight ends the the range of Christmas/Winter beers on tap at The Old Toad.  Featured beers include, Goose Island Bourbon County Stout, Ommegang Adoration, Brooklyn Black Chocolate Vintage 08′, Avery Old Jubilation and Sierra Nevada Celebration.

Rare Draft Revelry: Seattle, Washington

3:00 PM- 2:00 AM @ The Beveridge Place Pub

It is the night before Christmas and Beveridge Place Pub is tapping some very special brews: Avery Samael’s, Deschutes Abyss, Schooner Exact Bourbon Hoppy Holidays, ‘t Smisje Catherine the Great Imperial Stout, Dubuisson Cuvee des Trolls, and a mystery bottle…Get a few pints and get home before Santa arrives!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Make sure there is plenty delicious beers to taste and have a very Merry Christmas!

From: Beer Blotter

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Brewery Tours: Brooklyn, New York

1:00 PM, 2:00 PM, 3:00 PM and 4:00 PM @ Brooklyn Brewery

The tours are informative and approximately 20 minutes long which leaves patrons plenty of extra time to taste all of the 8 beers on tap.  The brewery is open from 12:00 PM until 6:00 PM on Saturdays and Sundays and pints are only $4.00!

Boxing Day Beer Festival: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

8:00AM (oh yes) – close @ the Memphis Taproom

Starting bright and early, the Memphis Taproom will be featuring a rotating tap list of some of the following seasonal beers: **Lost Abbey Angel’s Share, **Port Brewing Older Viscosity, Lost Abbey Gift of the Maji, Port Brewing Santa’s Little Helper and Ommegang Adoration. In keeping with the tradition of Boxing Day, a British holiday, the bar will be collecting canned food and gently used winter coats and warm blankets for donation to two local organizations that distribute to families in need.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Winterfest ’09 Beer Tasting: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1:00 PM- 4:00 PM @ World Cafe Live

Space is limited to 250 tickets for this winter beer tasting. Get your spot reserved and enjoy a variety of Stouts, Porters, Winter Seasonals, and Special Holiday Brews.  What beers will be there? Ommegang Three Philosophers, Bells Expedition Stout, Left Hand Milk Stout and Rogue Chocolate Stout, just to name a few that pop. All of the selections are subject to availability.

Between Christmas and all these great beers on tap around the country, beer lovers should be pretty busy this week.  Make sure to check your favorite beer bar’s hours of operation this week, as they might be limited.  Beer Blotter leaves this Wednesday for New York City and we have a ton of stuff planned, so check back this weekend for an update on our beer excursions.  Merry Christmas to all, and to all who go to an event that we listed or know of one worth attending, please leave a comment or email us at beerblotter@gmail.com.

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