Thursday, December 4, 2008

Ho Ho Holiday Beers

Tuesday night the locally, and nationally, famous beer writer Don Russell (aka Joe Sixpack) taught a class on holiday beers at Tria's Fermentation School.

As he led us through 8 holiday beers, he touched upon various topics in his new book Wishing You A Very Merry Christmas Beer. I haven't quite finished browsing this book, but so far it seems to be a good reference for Christmas, I mean, the more marketable term holiday beers.

The highlights of the class are likely to show up in a segment on NPR's All Things Considered. They followed him to the happy hour at Tria before the class, and taped the entire class. If you hear a really nice pour soundbite, that was me. It'll be interesting to see how they piece it together; NPR wasn't giving up their angle. I'm especially curious to see how it turns out, as the interviewer seemed to have only recently learned a bit about beer. I talked to her after the class when she was tasting all of the beers she had just heard about for an hour and a half.

Speaking of's the line-up:
  1. Anchor Brewing Company Christmas Ale 2008 (San Francisco, CA)
  2. Brasserie Dupont Avec Les Bon Voeux (Tourpes-Leuze, Belgium)
  3. Mikkeller Santa's Little Helper 2008 (Lochristi-Hijfte, Belgium)
  4. Sly Fox Christmas Ale 2008 (Royersford, PA)
  5. Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale 2008 (Tadcaster, England)
  6. Tröeg's Mad Elf (Harrisburg, PA)
  7. De Struise Tsjeeses (Woesten-Vleteren, Belgium)
  8. Castle Brewery Eggenberg Samichlaus Bier 2008 (Eggenberg, Austria)
Highlights were Mikkeller Santa's Little Helper and De Struise Tsjeeses. I also have a growing appreciation for Dupont's Avec Les Bon Voeux. I certainly overlooked it last year in favor of other Belgian holiday beers like Gouden Carolus Noël and Corsendonk Christmas.

Sly Fox Christmas wins the award for beer I'd most like to have some holiday food with; rife with notes of clove, allspice, nutmeg, pumpkin and cinnamon, it would be awesome with a delicious seasonal dessert.

Perhaps the factoid of the night: St. Nicholas is the patron saint of brewers, lawyers and prostitutes. Funny how that makes sense.

Next Tuesday:
Importer Matthias Neidhart of B.United International will lead a class at Tria on rare winter beers.

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