I’ve been home all day today with the kids, and it’s been great having the day off work. In fact, at lunch, I had 8-Bit Pale Ale from Tallgrass. Tonight, I saw this beer in the fridge, which was part of a special holiday 4 pack of Sam Adams beers at Sam’s Club. Since I knew it had spices in it, I knew I couldn’t let it sit in the fridge until next Christmas, so I thought I’d have it tonight.
Location: Poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass from the bottle at my home in Bloomington, IL.
Numbers: 9% ABV, ~ 280 Calories
Ingredients: Spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger; Hops: East Kent Goldings and Fuggles.
Appearance & Aroma: It’s dark black with faint ruby highlights visible when held up to the light. It’s got a quarter inch thick, tan head on it, which had some great retention and lacing. The aroma is mostly cinnamon and nutmeg.
Taste & Feel: The body is medium-full and the mouthfeel is smooth. There’s a little bit of dark cocoa and dark malty flavor up front, with some warm cinnamon and nutmeg flavors. There’s still a little bit of a cocoa and dark maltiness in the middle, but the spices come forward even more. In the finish, the spices take center stage, but are still fairly smooth. The aftertaste lasts for a minute or so, and is mostly cinnamon and nutmeg.
Food Pairing: This beer has mostly warm, smooth, cinnamon and nutmeg flavors with a bit of cocoa and dark maltiness in the background. I’d pair this with some similar flavors, enjoying it with something like a bread pudding or christmas cookies. It would also go nicely with holiday turkey, as the turkey would accept the flavors and mix nicely with the spices.
Overall Impression: After just having the Stone Vertical Epic 12.12.12, I was a bit worried about the amount of spices in this beer. However, unlike the Vertical Epic, the spices in this one were smooth and blended well together. While I’m not a huge fan of spiced beers (except pumpkin), this was a pretty good spiced Christmas beer with smooth flavors and a pretty good stout backbone. Overall, I thought it had some good holiday flavors, and one I might enjoy again with Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.