I know. I missed last Friday, but I assure you that I did enjoy a few craft beers. And even though it is early right now, I want to talk about two of my favorite beers.
First, last Friday, I sampled the always excellent Anchor Steam Christmas Ale. Now if you've had this beer and really know this beer, then you know that the label changes every year as does the recipe. Not only is the beer a wonderful experience, with tastes and aromas of Christmas--spices, malty goodness and a slight trace of mild hops, but it reminds me why I love the Christmas season. With this great beer, I do something that has become a Christmas tradition for me.
Each year, I buy a magnum of the Christmas Ale and wait a year to enjoy it. But, for today, I am reviewing the 2013 release from a 12 oz. bottle. This beer is a solid 5 for me. Beer was poured into a SPG with a beautiful brownish color with a creamy white head. There are notes of chocolate, holiday spices like cinnamon and clove, all finished with a slight bitter taste reminiscent of a dark chocolate. I love this beer. Try it...you won't be disappointed, and at only 5.5% ABV, you enjoy more than one.
The beer for today, actually from last night around 12:30am, is another winter favorite--Sierra Nevada's Celebration Ale. First off, this is a far cry from the traditional gingerbread Christmas beers. This is an American IPA (or APA), with a big 6.8% ABV. Sierra Nevada makes many beers that I love, and this is one of them.
Forget the cinnamon and spices you might expect because this is a big pale ale that pours a somewhat cloudy amber color with a rich head and excellent lacing. The citrusy, hoppy aroma remains a constant, with slight hints of earthiness and grapefruit. This beer lacks the heavy bitterness typical of many pale ales, and that makes it finish with a nice smooth mouthfeel. Excellent beer. I would also rate this a 5.
As for a Christmas blog, can't do it. Too much to say, too little time.
Anyway, Merry Christmas to all, and a Happy New Year as well. In the meantime, drink good beer, enjoy time with family and friends, and if at all possible, do something nice for a total stranger. And I don't mean just hold a door or offer a holiday greeting, I mean something truly heartfelt and full of Christmas spirit. It will make you feel good.
Earlier this week, at a local restaurant with a good friend, he and I noticed a woman, perhaps in her 40's with two young children. The woman wore a head scarf and was seemingly bald. Maybe a cancer patient. Regardless, I secretly paid her tab and was thanked by her waitress and the manager. And you know what, it made me feel damn good. Try it. I hope she and her children have a fantastic Christmas.