Friday, December 04, 2015

The Session: Beer Blogging Friday #106. Holiday Beers.

Session 106: Holiday Beers The Session is a monthly event for the beer blogging community, begun in March of 2007 by Stan Hieronymus of Appellation Beer and Jay Brooks of the Brookston Beer Bulletin.

On the first Friday of every month, a pre-determined beer blogger hosts The Session: Beer Blogging Friday. He or she chooses a specific, beer-related topic, invites all bloggers to write on it, and posts a roundup of all the responses received. For more information, or to ask to host, go to the home page.

For December 2015's The Session: Beer Blogging Friday (the 106th edition), Jay Brooks himself is the host. He has asked us to

write about whatever makes you happy, so long as it involves holiday beers.
  • Discuss your favorite holiday beer.
  • Review one or more holiday beers.
  • Do you like the idea of seasonal beers, or loathe them?
  • What’s your idea of the perfect holiday beer?
  • Do have a holiday tradition with beer?
  • Are holiday beers released too early, or when should they be released?
  • Do you like holiday beer festivals?
For seasonal beers, the Solstice/Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanza/Mithra time of the year is my mostest favorite. Holiday beers are by design no one style, but are a chance for individual breweries to let their talent and imagination run wild. At the holidays, when people stop their busy lives and share some precious time with family and friends, the beer they choose should be equally as special as the time they’re sharing. So a holiday beer should be made to impress, to wow its audience, to stand out. That’s the only criteria that should be met by one of these beers.

Nothing profound from me today. (War on Christmas? Bah! Humbug!) Just a beer that 'makes me happy.' Thanks, Jay! I like that as an essential parameter of any 'winter holiday' beer-style.

'Nöelco' Santa

As a kid in the late 1960s, first seeing this television ad each year — a Norelco Santa schussing down foam snow hills on an electric razor— would announce the onset of the Christmas season for me. It should have been Mass and Advent wreaths, but, you know: Christmas and gifts. (But, please. No razors, or socks, for me.)

Post kidhood, the appearance of Sierra Nevada Brewing's Celebration Ale on store shelves has become a winter-season doorbell. (Still no razor, or socks, for me, please.) It remains so now, even though its appearance around Columbus Day is a bit too soon for me; I try to resist the urge to pop one open until Thanksgiving or so.

Celebration Ale 2015

Celebration Ale tastes pretty much the delicious same as it ever was (first brewed by the Chico, California, pioneering 'craft' brewery, in 1983), although the phrase "Fresh hop IPA" made it onto the label a few years ago. Christmas-tree-lights red; bright citrusy and piney hops chased by a Christmas sugar-cookie middle; some light caramel; long-lasting, white-peppery finish; warming but stay-standing-up 6.8% alcohol-by-volume.

Not laced with nostalgia for me, but of a more recent anticipatory vintage, is Jubelale, as Oregon brewery Deschutes conceives of a 'winter' warmer.' At 7.5% alcohol-by-volume, it's a darkish non-sticky figgy pudding (poured under a Christmas pine tree).

There's frost on the car this morning. It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. Later today, it'll be beginning to taste a lot like Christmas.


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