|Will it be a white Christmas?|
If you live in the environs of Beer City USA you’re either ecstatic about not having to deal with snow so far this winter or you’re lamenting the fact that the unseasonably mild temperatures are going to continue through the end of the year. Depending on your point of view, one of the strongest El Nino’s on record is either the boon or the bane in this rather uncommon weather scenario.
While I’m not upset that I haven’t had to pull out my boots, my heavy coat and my wool-lined Stormy Kromer, I can empathize with folks who love to ski and snowmobile and fish on frozen lakes. I no longer have the desire to engage in those hardy outdoor winter activities but I am disappointed that we won’t be having a white Christmas this year.
When you’re accustomed to white Christmases the absence of snow around the holidays is a little disconcerting. Colored lights draped on houses and trees look peculiar without a contrast of white. Christmas carols for some reason sound less lovely. Wreaths and garlands hanging on doors and windows somehow seem out of place.
Because I’ve been dreaming of a white Christmas I’ll have to search a little harder to find the holiday spirit this year. But then again, a little inner searching may be a good thing. Perhaps I need an occasional Christmas without snow to reawaken the inner child, and to help me rediscover the enchantment and true meaning of Christmas.
New and Returning Beer
- Brewery Vivant Wizard Burial Ground, $$6.29/16oz (4 per) - "Brewed once a year, this special quadrupel is aged in freshly drained bourbon barrels and disappears into the shadows for a full year of cellaring. This year's brew becomes next year's release. We've been wood-aging beers and experimenting with wild fermentation since we opened in 2010. We encourage those in search of funky flavors to join us at our annual Wood-Aged Beer Festival each Autumn to find out more" (source).
- Thirsty Dog Barrel-Aged Siberian Night, $6.89/12oz (1 per) - "We took our award winning Siberian Night Russian Imperial Stout and aged it for 11 months in fresh bourbon barrels. The result blew us away. The dark chocolate malt yields a milk chocolate flavor that blends perfectly with the vanilla flavor from the barrel. The bourbon aroma adds the finishing touch" (source).
- Thirsty Dog Wulver, $6.89/12oz (1 per) - "We made this beer specifically for bourbon barrels. The result is our most acclaimed bourbon barrel beer. Bourbon barrel aging and specialty malts create flavors of vanilla and carmel that blend in perfect balance" (source).
- North Peak Sinous, $1.79/12oz - "North Peak Sinuous is a unique hoppy celtic ale brewed with Cascade, Amarillo and Simcoe hops" (source).
- Stone & Sierra Nevada NxS, $9.49/22oz - "For many, California is considered an epicenter for brewing innovation, particularly where hoppy IPAs are concerned. We teamed up with longtime craft compatriots and mutual hop admirers Sierra Nevada to create a truly one-of-a-kind IPA. This special-edition beer conveys the true character of collaboration with touches of inventiveness and creativity. Two batches of an IPA were brewed and expertly blended to craft this multilayered beer. The first batch was split down the middle, with 50% being aged in gin-infused bourbon barrels and the remaining half aged in rye whiskey barrels. These beers were blended with the fresh second batch of IPA, which was generously dry-hopped to impart rich aromas to accompany the citrusy, piney, woody, herbaceous flavors achieved from this truly one-of-a-kind collaboration" (source).
- Stone Stochasticity Grainiac, $9.49/22oz - "This hoppy, deep amber-hued beer was created to shine a light on rare, unexplored grains seldom used in the brewing world. In addition to barley, wheat, rye and triticale, we added malted millet and malted buckwheat to bring the total unique grain count to nine. The earthy, nutty notes of granola found in this experimental multigrain malt bomb are complemented by the citrusy, floral flavors of four classic American hops. We dry-hopped the beer with Cascade and Centennial hops at the end, adding more citrus notes and rounding out the grain bill’s rich, bready character" (source).
- Lagunitas Bitter Oats, $9.09/22oz (1 per) - "A Big Boozy Blonde was brewed with a boatload of oats, giving it a creamy sweet mouthfeel with a hoppy blast. It’s like a powdered sugar donut topped with deliciously dank resinous hops" (source).
- Tapistry Peck's Porter, $2.59/16oz - "Nate’s robust porter recipe incorporates British malts and hops creating a rich and dark flavorful porter with a hint of sweetness" (source).
- Short's Liberator, $2.39/12oz - "The Liberator was made as a 30th birthday gift to Joe Short. As a double IPA, this beast employs a sizable malt bill, but it is the crazy amount of hops added to the boil every 4 minutes, for 120 minutes, that really make this beer special. Fruity, floral, and piney hop flavors penetrate throughout the caramelized malt profile. The Liberator is a well-balanced, full bodied brew that has a bitter finish due to the post fermentation addition of lemon and orange zest" (source).
- Victory Java Cask, $17.29/750ml (1 per) - "Depth, complexity and richness occur when delicious ale ages in a barrel, just as friendship grows over the years. This stout was created in collaboration with our friends from Philadelphia’s Standard Tap and Johnny Brenda’s restaurants. Using their delicious hand-roasted JB’s Coffee, our bourbon barrels deliver a bold and robust, chocolate malt-tinged stout. We invite you to toast the Victory of friendship and beer with Java Cask" (source).
- Lagunitas Hairy Eyeball, $4.79/22oz - "A roasty, toasty, malty, hangover-halting beer. Especially formulated for when you wake up feelin' like you need to shave your eyeballs to see the new day" (source).
- Ballast Point Pale Kolsch, $1.89/12oz - "The beer that launched Ballast Point. Our original Pale Ale is a rich golden brew, crafted with aromatic German hops and rounded out with a blend of American and Munich malts. While it’s hopped like a lager, we ferment it like an ale to create a smooth, bright taste that has just a hint of fruit and spice. It’s extremely drinkable, like a Kolsch should be, yet complex, like a good craft beer demands" (source).
- Perrin Black Goat, $11.49/22oz - "This beer is aged in Woodford Bourbon Barrels, some of the most sought after bourbon barrels in the craft brew industry. We took the recipe for our Black Lager and doubled the ingredients. Forty days after the magic happened, the goat was birthed. Black Goat is a Double Black Lager, sure to please the harshest of critics" (source).
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