Home For The Holidays Part 1

When it comes to beer, the winter/holiday season will always be my favorite time of year. The annual return of many favorites made over so many years, they can rightfully be deemed classics. Memories abound here too. For I recall first tastings: Samuel Adams Winter Lager, when it was just a non spiced, raw wheat beer.
La Binchoise Speciale Noel: the incredible Belgian Christmas wassail, back when a gentleman from Michigan, Jeff Dafoe, introduced this world classic to the United States for the first time, 14 years ago.
I will also never forget my friend Gar’s reaction to first tasting Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale 1993: “that’s one spicy taco!”
It is impossible for me to forget these things. The first Anchor Brewing “Our Special Ale” was the 17th edition of their Christmas offering. As a determined seeker of beer, this was quite a revelation.
The same can said of my beloved Saranac Season’s Best (an all-time Beer Doctor favorite). At one time it was a Holiday Amber and then later, Nut Brown Lager. A Vienna style beer, rich in malt flavor with lively hops, but not extreme or boozy in any way. It has become nearly impossible to obtain in Ohio any longer. The brewery was kind enough to send a gift of a six pack, right after the New Year of 1997. Such kindness and generosity I will never forget.
There have been many surprises along the way. Coors Winterfest 1995, was truly a shock for how good it was in those days, when macro and mini breweries were marketed like the Berlin Wall, where never the twain shall meet.
I would also like to mention that Leinenkugel’s Winter Lager was a great moderately priced holiday beer, that alas, was abandoned. Much of the distinctive aspects of the Leinie portfolio has been lost, as they aggressively market more pedestrian beers.
Moving away from remembrance of beers past, I would like to mention that this year is the first time I’ve tried Shiner Holiday Cheer, a unique dark wheat ale brewed with peaches and pecans. A very tasty, original recipe contribution.
For flat-out big time boozy wassail, Lakefront Brewery’s Holiday Spice Lager Beer, is what the doctor ordered. A massive, full strength, bold Holiday beer.
My only prayer is Thank You!

The Beer Doctor


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