Monday, December 24, 2012

Beer of the Week (Vol. CLXV)

Another holiday themed edition of Beer of the Week sponsored as always by the merry folks at Glen Lake Wine & Spirits who can help find the wine, whiskey, and beer you need to bring cheer to any holiday occasion.

Our next beer bearing the Christmas title is from Bell’s Brewery in Michigan. Bell's Christmas Ale:

The basic inspiration for Bell's Christmas Ale was to create a sessionable holiday beer, using locally grown malt, which would stand apart from the array of spiced winter warmers that are typically introduced this time of year. In contrast to many other seasonals, Christmas Ale doesn't contain any spices: all of the dry, toasted notes & subtle toffee flavors come from the 100% Michigan-grown barley, custom malted by Briess Malting, while a blend of hops from Michigan & the Pacific Northwest lend earthy, herbal aromas. At 5.5% ABV, it stands as a smooth, highly drinkable beer intended to complement holiday menus, not overshadow them.

Six pack of 12oz bottles sells for $9.99. Label features a scene of a single decked out Christmas tree in a Midwestern field with a crimson border and classic font.

STYLE: Scottish Ale

ALCOHOL BY VOLUME: 5.5%

COLOR (0-2): Dark amber. 2

AROMA (0-2): Rather light. Sweet malt with a touch of pine. 1

HEAD (0-2): Off-white color. Good volume and retention. 2

TASTE (0-5): Caramel malts up front followed by fruity sweetness. Medium bodied and pretty drinkable. Mouthfeel is on the creamy and thicker side. 4

AFTERTASTE (0-2): Sweetness lingers pleasantly. 2

OVERALL (0-6): Bell’s Christmas Ale is indeed a departure from the typical winter seasonal. It’s not only not spicy, it’s also lighter and sweeter than what you find with more hearty winter fare. And while I do enjoy the more traditional winter beer profile, I found that I also liked the approach Bell’s take here. 4

TOTAL SCORE (0-19): 15

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