Beer Slobbery chronicles one man’s journey to 1,000 beers by way of Duckworth’s new HopMan Beer Club. Devon Heffer is fairly new to the craft beer scene, so he’ll undoubtedly be discovering some new beers on his journey. Find all of his past posts here.
Ahh, the sounds of the holidays. I don’t know about your childhood, but for me they included jingle bells, caroling, and the mellow hum of family members bitching about Iran-Contra.
And of course the snap-hiss of a macro-label beer. In those days, carbonated pisswater was as ubiquitous during the holidays as it was during the 4th of July. Thoughts of beer’s seasonal heritage were as distant as Skylab’s crash site.
My journey to 1000 at Duckworth’s has shown me just how deprived I was. Clearly at age 10 I should’ve been chugging on a room-temperature oatmeal stout while arguing the finer points of the Keating Scandal, but instead I was forced to watch my father and uncles down Genny Lites and grunt at the Buffalo Bills’ not-quite-greatness.
It makes sense that a foodstuff as ancient as beer would have a seasonal nature. I bet if the ancient Sumerians had refrigeration we’d all be drinking some homogenous yellow beer. A standard for most occasions. Yawn.
Different ingredients and different temperatures throughout the year gave rise to different flavors. Now there’s a Benetton ad’s-worth of beer styles and consistencies.
So this week, we try some winter-ish heavier brews.
Also, I’d like to take a moment to give thanks for a very special gift I just received. I’ll do so by paraphrasing a particular Christmas movie we’ll all watch 3 or 4 times this year.
“That Christmas would live in our memories as the Christmas when we were introduced to fine beer. All was right with the world.
“Next to me in the blackness lay my glistening 2-litre beauty. The greatest Christmas gift I had ever received… or would ever receive.
“Gradually I drifted off to sleep, spilling lager down the front of my shirt and smiling lazily at nothing in particular”.
Let’s drink some beer:
Great Lakes Christmas Ale (Cleveland, OH) Winter Warmer, 7.5% ABV: This will be my first winter warmer style beer. According to my extensive “research” (asking the knowledgeable Duckworth’s bartender) these are usually spicier, darker, higher alcohol content beers. At 7.5% ABV, this packs a very slight kick. Mostly I smell malt, and take note of the beautiful whiskey color. I expected this to taste like a Yule Log, but it’s a very subtle clove and orange flavor underneath the malt. Sweet and mellow. Very nice.
Beer Advocate: A My Grade: A
NoDa Coco Loco (Charlotte, NC) American Porter, 6.2% ABV: I know NoDa has their Cold Crash and the new Tart Attack offering for the season, but I’m disappointed to find Duckworth’s isn’t pouring them. After I finish tearing my shirt in mourning, I opt for the Coco Loco. This is their signature porter and a Silver Medal winner at last year’s Great American Beer Fest. I’m smelling chocolate off the top, but after actually getting it in my mouth it tastes more like coconut. And sweet. Almost like a coconut macaroon. It’s rich and creamy smooth on the back end with a smoky ‘splosion up the sinuses for a finish. Damn fine.
Beer Advocate: A My Grade: A+
Terrapin Moo-Hoo Chocolate Milk Stout (Athens, GA) Milk/Sweet Stout, 6% ABV: There are lots of chocolate-y stouts out there. It’s easy leap to make a chocolate-y milk stout. And damned if this doesn’t taste like it. It’s dark as hell and effing delicious. This would be a great gift for the chocoholic in your life. Or the alcoholic.
Beer Advocate: A My Grade: A+
Bell’s Christmas Ale (Kalamazoo, MI) Scottish Ale, 5.4% ABV: Gonna close things out with Bell’s Christmas offering. I’m not quite sure what the difference is between “Scottish” and “Scotch” ales. Perhaps Mike Meyers could answer that one. I’d say it’s synonymous with “underwhelming”. I was expecting a festive explosion of spices, but this is very subtle without much complexity. I feel like this was designed for the consumer who just wants something with “Christmas” on the label. And indeed… it accomplishes that mission.
Beer Advocate: B My Grade: C