Christmas presents

After a three week sabbatical from blogging, I’m back for 2009 with a vengeance. All beer, all the time.

I just wanted to share a little bit from my Christmas experience. You know how when people find out that you like something or collect something, then everyone always buys you that thing for a gift? Well, lucky for me I’m known as the “beer guy” in my circles, so everyone buys me beer. Being somewhat of a minimalist, I’m very thankful for that, since I won’t end up with a thousand crystal swans or hula girl dashboard figurines stuffed in a closet.

Matt presenting me with gifts from the
Great White North. “Some nice jugs you got

Well, my friends and family came strong this year. All those lessons and “teaching moments” on beer are finally paying off! I got hooked up. I haven’t had the opportunity to try many of them to this point. The ones I have tried so far were given to me by Matt, a friend of mine from high school that was down from Minnesota. He brought me a selection of Bender and Furious beers from Surly Brewing Co. in Minneapolis and Two Hearted Ale from Bell’s Brewery in Galesburg, Michigan. The Furious and Two Hearted Ale IPAs and both were hoptastic. I can’t get any of them here in South Carolina, so it certainly was a special treat.

Surprisingly, given my love of hops, my favorite of the three may have been the Bender. It’s a dark brown ale with a complex, yet smooth flavor. The head poured thick and creamy, a very attractive beer. The flavor starts off clean and slightly bitter, but finishes with caramel, vanilla and coffee. It’s a really nice winter beer that hits the spot on a chilly evening. Since I’ve been drinking a lot of higher gravity beers lately, it’s nice to find a non-high grav (this is only 5.1%) that brings a lot of flavor without overpowering. I could see myself sitting down in a pub in the great white north and downing a few pints of this while debating Gus Frerotte vs. Tavaris Jackson with some Vikings fans. (If it were me, I would just direct snap to Peterson and forget the whole quarterback thing.) Maybe that’s why they call it Bender.

Some of the other highlights from my spoils include Allagash White, Dubbel and Tripel; Guinness Stout; Highland Oatmeal Porter; a sample of four winter seasonals from Ridgeway Brewing in Oxfordshire, England; and three selections from Founders, including the Breakfast Stout, which has somehow elluded me for months since it arrived in South Carolina. I’m waiting for just the right time to drink it. Maybe for breakfast tomorrow. Oh, and how could I forget Johnny bringing us a gallon sized bottle of Troegs Mad Elf Ale. He arrived from Pittsburgh just in time to help me drown my sorrows as Denver got crushed by San Diego and effectively ended the Mike Shanahan era.

So thanks to all who so generously gave me such wonderful gifts. I don’t deserve any of it, but I truly appreciate it.


About Brian

I like beer.
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4 Responses to Christmas presents

  1. I thought of you as I picked out the Magister’s Christmas gifts: Arrogant Bastard, Jew-bilation 12 (from He-brew), and another craft beer whose name I can’t recall here at the beach house (perhaps Chimay?) It’s a bit of a dicey proposition to gift your dearest beloved with a bottle of Arrogant Bastard, but he was a good sport and appeared to enjoy it.
    Glad y’all enjoyed the kahlua.

  2. Izzy says:

    The one she can’t remember is the first Belgian Ale I’ve tried and actually liked. It was a Gouden Carolus by Brouwerij het Anker. It was a dark ale (possibly their Classic) and came in a large bottle with a champagne-style cork & wire wrap arrangement. Tasty. Which is surprising, since Belgians usually make me want to scrape my tongue clean.

  3. Brian says:

    Great choices on Christmas gifts, St. E. Arrogant Bastard is awesome. If Izzy hasn’t tried Stone’s Ruination IPA, that’s also a must-have.

    I don’t believe I’ve had the Jew-bilation 12 or Gouden Carolus. I know Schmaltz, the makers of He’Brew, brew some good stuff.

    I’m also embarrassingly short on experience with Belgian ales. That’s sort of the last frontier of beer for me. I think part of my problem is that I’m not much of a linguist, so it’s hard for me to remember what I have and haven’t had. It all sort of blends together. It also doesn’t help that a lot of Belgians are $10+ a bottle.

  4. Eric says:

    I am not a fan of Surly Furious- too furiously bitter for my taste. But I too love the Bender. A great mix of flavors, unique, but also extremely drinkable. Two Hearted is one of my favorite IPAs. Nice selection from the Midwest…I too have a bottle of Mad Elf waiting for the right moment! Happy Holidays!

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