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Dec 24

Holiday Beers: Wrapping Up

We’re wrapping up our Christmas Ales series on Christmas Eve with another American craft beer and a brew from the country that knows how to celebrate Christmas, Dicken’s style: England.

Winterwelcome

In an NPR story this morning, they talked at length on Christmas beers. One thing they mentioned is that wassail was originally heavily spiced beer. When you went a-wassailing, you went carolling for beer. It’s a shame carolling sort of went out of fashion. Our first beer, however, is considered a bit of a modern wassail. Samuel Smiths Winter Welcome Ale, from the oldest brewery in Yorkshire, had a sour cherry nose that Michelle detected while I focused more on the very traditional ale yeast and sour characteristics. The taste was a full flavored ale with a decent amount of carbonation on the palate. Michelle thought the end was similar to brambles, where I was detecting a grainy taste with a good amount of cream. Hints of spice started to appear at the end of the finish, but quickly faded. A very nice ale, but not exactly something that I overly enjoyed.

Kevin and Shel:

Bells-christmas-ale

Ending the holiday beers is the Christmas Ale from Bell’s Brewery. In the spirit of full disclosure, I am a huge fan of almost everything that I have tried from Bell’s. This is a Scotch Ale that started with a heavy dose of maltiness and non-fruity spices like ginger and cloves. The finish was short and crisp. Michelle found a Bretty sour taste that reminded her of a sugar-free peach jolly rancher. This was probably my least favorite of the different Bell’s offerings I have tried.

Kevin: Shel:

As a final note, the print version of that NPR story also lists 10 recommended Christmas ales, 3 of which I tried in the last few days. I’ve also tried the Anchor (Shel’s favorite of all of them), which I highly recommend.

Cheers and Happy Holidays!

- Kevin

Christmas Ales Series

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