Beer and Pavement

Tis the Season for Beers

Posted in Beer by SM on January 3, 2011

I’m not gonna lie. I drank some beer this holiday season. That’s what you’re supposed to do, right?

The following are not all the beers consumed this holiday season. They are either beers I liked, felt were interesting enough to mention, had pictures of, or some combination of the three[1]. Also, it’s worth mentioning that I’m using the term “holiday season” loosely to describe several weeks of beer-geek debauchery. Mostly, I just wanted to write about some beers I had over the last month.

Mikkeller Black Tie
Honeyed ash tray. That’s all I can say about this one. It’s not terrible, but good luck finishing an entire 500 mL on your own. I shared this with some dudes in a little pre-holiday fatherly drinkfest[2].

Stone Double Bastard
Well, it’s double the Bastard. So, how can it not be good? This one was purchased for me by family mistakenly thinking they had found the Lucky Bastard I so wanted this holiday season. Alas, Lucky never made its way to Missouri[3], but this held me over for a bit. That is, until my siblings proceeded to send me this picture on Xmas Eve:

Not cool. Not cool at all. Of course, for those of you who know the Bastard, you’ll adeptly point out that the beer in their glasses is not Lucky Bastard. I think it was Southern Tier’s Krumpus. So, there’s still hope, I guess.

He’Brew Jewbilations 13 and 14
How are these beers 1) only $5 and 2) still available? I’m talking about two beers that measure in at 13 and 14% ABV respectively. I had both several times this winter and still hold onto one bottle of each. Hopefully, I can hold on for 15.

He’Brew Rejewvinator Year of the Date
I am not a big fan of this particular lineup of He’Brew beers, but the annual Hanukkah party gives me an excuse to show up with a few bombers of the ‘Brew. This one surprised as it festered with festiveness and raisins…or might those be the dates?

He’Brew Origin Pomegranate Ale
This beer accompanied me to said Hanukkah party last year and I was pleasantly taken aback as the pomegranate pairs well with and feeds the dry, fruity, hoppy bitterness. I like a dry fruity finish with my beers and somehow pomegranate does the trick. This one will become a Hanukkah tradition around this gentile’s house[4].

Mikkeller Rauch Geek Breakfast
I had this several times this fall and winter. Normally, I am not a smoked beer fan, but this one is different as it is smoky Beer Geek Breakfast Stout. This beer does for smoke what Beer Geek Brunch Weasel does for poop. Perfect smoky beer for a Polish feast.

Mikkeller Ris a la Male
I’m not sure this one fits with the holiday theme, but I found one and had to try it. I’m still not sure what I thought of it. Almonds, cherries, but not too much of either. The packaging and appearance are beautiful, but the beer lacks anything to make it memorable or even interesting[5].

O’Dell Deconstruction Golden Ale
Held onto this beer for a while until breaking it out for movie night and Indian takeout. Phenomenal. Slight tartness and pungent but golden sweetness to make it one of the more balanced and diverse beers I’ve had this year.  This beer defies style and that may hurt it hype-wise, but I enjoyed it both times I was able to sample it, especially that night I killed the entire 750 on my own. See below for the other time I sampled Deconstruction.

Yankee Swap – Allagash Odyssey
This is the only beer I have yet to try. I “won” it in a Yankee Swap after some persistence. It was that or a Russian River beer I’ve since forgotten. I’ll let you know when I do cork it. This was one of the few acquisitions over the holidays that will still hold a spot in my cellar[6].

Alesmith Horny Devil
My brother (seen pictured taunting me with Lucky Bastard) brought this one on a whim. I asked for several breweries available in Ohio and he shows up with this one. I took it to a officer meeting for my beer club and so glad I did. Freaking awesome! As you can see in the picture below, we enjoyed some nice beers at our meeting. The three Hopslams were from last year and not one tasted like the others. It sorta made the case for never cellaring Hopslam again. Still, the Horny Devil was a nice discovery.

Anchor Steam Christmas Ale
This was my first foray into season craft brews so many years ago. Anchor Steam changes their recipe from year to year. I always hope one year will blow me away, but they rarely do. I enjoyed the one three years ago, but my taste buds have undergone a lobotomy since then. Still, it’s a nice, flavorful beer. The spices actually accent the slight hop presence as opposed to overwhelming. It’s not bad and plenty sessionable. Of course, it’s taken the entire season to get through the sixer[7].

Afternoon at Hellbender
I have these friends who are trying to get a nano brewery off the ground. It’s called “Hellbender” and it mostly runs out of their garage at the moment. I hope they make this thing happen as their beers are consistently solid and unique. I got a chance at Thanksgiving to try their  Rosemary, Baby, a beer they plan to enter in The Bruery’s Batch 300 Contest, and I have to say it’s the best beer The Bruery hasn’t brewed. I’m predicting it wins, but I’m also prepared for the West Coast bias. The homebrew in the pic is that very beer. We also had a beer geek’s delight in the rest of the lineup: Deschutes’ The Dissident, another Deconstruction, Odell Mountain Standard Double Black IPA[8], Cantillon Kriek, and The Lost Abbey’s Devotion. All beers were good. Drink them if you get your hands on them, but you could probably live without the Lost Abbey.

I have to interject here. This is maybe the best part of being in a beer geek community. I had to drop something off at my buddy Jarrett’s place. With beer in-hand, I entered his garage. By the end of the 2-2.5 hour visit, these were the beers shared. Beer geeks are a giving bunch and my liver belly tongue thanks them.

Mikkeller Santa’s Little Helper 2010
I had the 2009 version of this beer among many other seasonals last Xmas. This one I broke out and consumed on my own for our traditional Polish feast Xmas Eve. I enjoyed this beer so much as I was able to spend time with it, getting to know it’s subtle intricacies, rubbing its thigh, whispering sweet nothings into its ear…Let’s just say 750 mL of a good Belgian-style ale with your favorite meal of the year is a nice way to ring in the holidays.

New Holland Spirits
I know this isn’t beer. I also know that New Holland brews maybe one beer I like. That said, my wife mixed things up this Xmas and purchased me some holiday spirit(s). The Brewer’s Whiskey is good, not great, but it’s a nice sipper and warmed the cockles of my heart Xmas day. The gin is pretty excellent. Me thinks my retired, gin-loving daddy will like some of his own come Father’s Day. More craft brewers should get in on this small batch spirits game. It’s the next big thing since, well, craft beer.

Rogue Yellow Snow IPA
I bought a growler of this last year just so I had something interesting to bring to a party. It was not our favorite IPA. Still, something made me buy it again this year, only in a smaller container. It was really quite nice. None of the super-sweet maltiness so many IPA’s are going with these days. The Simcoe and whatever give you that piney, catty sensation…It’s not for everyone, but this was the perfect hair on the dog Xmas afternoon[9].

Southern Tier Iniquity
I’ve had this beer many times, but the trend of the black IPA has to be addressed. Maybe the biggest trend of 2010, the black IPA is all anyone wants to brew these days. The name is terrible. How can something be black or dark and pale? Even worse is the Oregon-centric push for the style to be called “Cascadian Dark Ale.” I call it a “black bitter,” but I think “black ale” is appropriate for those brews on the sweeter/less bitter side. Regardless, this is easily my favorite of the style, closely followed by the Odell double black IPA.

Sam Adams Infinium
I haven’t had the best of luck with hyped beers, but this one pulled through. Sure, it’s getting blasted in reviews. However, Infinium is a fine beer. I don’t know that it’s a fine $15 beer, but I liked it. The only problem was that I didn’t spend New Year’s Eve with any beer geeks. No one was interested in trying this beer. I had to polish off the entire 750 mL myself[10]. That was a little much. Still, Infinium is a good brew, sharp, clean, fruity. It washed down the take-out Indian brilliantly. It did, however, make me feel a little dirty for drinking it alone.

This was my first attempt at writing some more beer-centric posts here at Building Coalitions. I want to do the same for music and for posts that intersect the two and stay away from things like college athletics, politics, and beards. It’s sort of a blogging New Year’s Resolution, which, as someone pointed out, usually run out by mid-February. Still, the hope is to get three of these bad boys out every week. I’m hoping to do one beer post, one music post, and one that intersects the two each week. I want more readers and regular content is the only way that will happen. Now, I just have to think of some topics.

As usual, read the footnotes and comment at will.

1Or it could be just the beers I remember. You know how that goes.
2It was father craft (beer) night, I believe as several mothers attended a craft (craft) night.
3Although, word on the street is that Stone will be in the Show-Me State next year. Yay.
4Although, I believe some people from my high school still think I’m Jewish.
5Which is strange, because if a Mikkeller beer is not good, it’s at the very least interesting. See the previously mentioned poop stout and Black Tie.
6And by “cellar” I’m just talking about a particularly cold closet in my basement.
7Actually, I had three or four of them. The last two were left at a New Year’s Day party. I’m good on holiday beers for another year.
8More on the black IPA later. Odell has always made dependable beers, but anything they do in a 750 mL bottle with a cork is liquid gold. This black IPA being black gold, Texas tea.
9There is no better hair on the dog than beer hair on the dog. Sugar and vitamin B. That’s all you need.
10Me alone with 750 mL of beer is an alarming trend, something that will need to be addressed in resolutions of moderation for the year to come.

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6 Responses

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  1. ZB said, on January 3, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Rosemary, Baby has scarcely left my mind since I had a glass. I’m looking forward to the day I find myself sipping it alongside a delicious home cooked meal.

  2. ZB said, on January 3, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Also, re:New Holland:
    I hope you try the Hopquila sometime. I’m not crazy about tequila to begin with (really, I’m not crazy about most liquor that isn’t wine) but I couldn’t stay away from that stuff.

    • builderofcoalitions said, on January 3, 2011 at 1:28 pm

      Crader shared some of the Hopquilla at our off-flavor beer tasting a while back. It is good. I be it’s make a nice margarita.

  3. […] at its worst, a Mikkeller brew is interesting. I once described their Black Tie Stout as “honeyed ash tray.” This wasn’t to say that the beer was bad. It was meant as a way to describe something […]

  4. […] Last year’s holiday season was dominated by Mikkeller beers. […]

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