Home For The Holidays Part 2

Because of Charles Dickens, Christmas and associated holidays will always have a supernatural touch added to memories. Call this The Ghosts of Christmas Past as I remember memorable pleasant moments that now seem irretrievably lost:
For example, at one time, here in the state of Ohio, beers produced by The August Schell Brewing Company were available, including their annual winter/holiday offering. sometimes called Blizzard, but more often called Snowstorm.
Not only does Schell change the recipe every year, it also changes recipe styles. Forgive this old beer drinker’s war story, but I remember sampling their Cherry Bock, over a decade ago, when a carpenter friend I worked for, ordered a half-barrel to start up his holiday season with very festive authority.
This year I gather, that Snowstorm is a Baltic porter, but alas, unless I travel to another state, it will appear and disappear without ever tasting it.
Other famous American holiday brews sometimes take unexpected turns. Goose Island Christmas Ale, which use to be a Midwestern holiday staple (available often in affordable 12 packs) is now a limited 22oz affair. It seems the brewery in Chicago has gone off in nearly an entire new direction, with its Bourbon County Stout, which it describes on their web page as “a great cigar beer”, which personally I find aesthetically disgusting, but that’s just me.
One great Christmas ale that I am so happy to discover is still being produced, and that is the Belgian masterpiece La Binchoise Speciale Noel. Probably my favorite wassail in the entire world.
Speaking of spice ale, I recently tried Anchor Brewing’s “Our Special Ale” 35th edition, which is a lively, dark mahogany colored pour, with that prerequisite spicy-spruce aroma in the nose that is a trademark for a recipe that varies from year to year. I have sampled their Christmas Ale since the 17th edition, and this year’s version is not the most memorable, Although it is fairly easy to drink, with moderate strength, the palate starts out front with a citrus-soapy approach, but then gives way to some chocolate notes that seem hesitant at best. This ale is good, but not remarkable, when compared with other previous manifestations.
But of course, this holiday season is just getting started.
Thank you!


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