Happy December First! This is one of my favorite times of year for beer blogging because it’s the start of my annual Beer Advent Calendar—and this year marks the tenth(!!) year I’ve been doing it! Hard to believe it’s been 10 years’ worth already, but here’s to 10 more!
This year I thought we’d start with a classic Christmas beer from one of the oldest and most venerable breweries in the U.S.: Bell’s Christmas Ale. Bell’s Brewery sold its first beer commercially in 1985 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, two years after Larry Bell founded the Kalamazoo Brewing Company as a homebrew supply shop. It has since grown to be one of the largest craft breweries in the United States, with a lineup of well-loved and highly-rated beers.
Of their Christmas Ale, Bell’s says:
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.
The ratings sites describe Bell’s Christmas Ale as a Scottish-style Ale, and at 5.5% abv it’s a great beer with which to start your holiday festivities. Cheers!