Advent Beer Calendar 2014: Day 9: Burton Bridge Festive Christmas Porter

Burton Bridge Festive Christmas PorterBurton-upon-Trent in England is one of the great brewing regions of the world, with a long and important history in the world of beer. In 1982, Geoff Mumford and Bruce Wilkinson, both formerly with the Ind Coopes Romford brewery, looked around the scene and saw the great breweries of old being consolidated into multinationals or closing, and decided to open a brewery and pub of their own: Burton Bridge Brewery.

Burton Bridge produces a number of traditional ales, including their yuletide seasonal, Festive Christmas Porter. At 4.5% abv their own notes describe this as a “Fruity beer with a distinctive bitter after palate.” It seems in essence to be the Christmastime bottled version of their Burton Porter but that’s fine: consider it their annual bottled gift to us.

To me this sounds like a perfect session beer to kick off the holidays, and it would make a great stocking stuffer as well. Wouldn’t you love to find some Burton-upon-Trent beer in your stocking?

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Advent Beer Calendar 2014: Day 8: Olde Hickory Christmas Ale

Olde Hickory Christmas AleToday’s Advent beer pick brings us to North Carolina to the Olde Hickory Brewery, established in 1994 in the town of Hickory, situated in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Olde Hickory brews on a 25-barrel system located in a historic landmark building in downtown Hickory that dates to 1880, and each year brew up their Christmas Ale for the season.

They release their Christmas Ale each November and is a Winter Warmer inspired the the flavors of the holidays (think cookies!):

Christmas Ale is a spiced ale brewed with the careful blending of orange zest, cinnamon, ginger and local honey. The marriage of these flavors produces a beautiful copper hue. Our most popular seasonal beer, it’s best enjoyed with the company of good friends and family.

Enjoy with a plate of Christmas cookies by the fireplace!

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Advent Beer Calendar 2014: Day 7: Pelican Bad Santa

Pelican Bad SantaToday’s Beer Advent Calendar pick comes to us from one of my favorite Oregon breweries, both for the beers and for their incredible location: Pelican Pub & Brewery. Each winter they brew a moderate-strength Cascadian Dark Ale for the holidays: Bad Santa.

You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, the brewers at Pelican are telling you why: Bad Santa has arrived! This mysterious dark elixir is filled with complex malt flavors and aromas with toasted malt and roast character, blending seamlessly to the alluring herbal hop aroma that comes from copious amounts of Fuggle hops. Bad Santa doesn’t care if you’ve been naughty or nice, he wants this beer on your list.

It’s more often the American citrusy “C”-type hops that put the “Cascade” in “Cascadian Dark Ale” so it’s interesting that Pelican opts to primarily use Fuggle hops instead. That Bad Santa—being contrarian of course!

You might expect to receive a lump of coal in your stocking, but this coal-colored Bad Santa would be a much better stocking stuffer!

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Advent Beer Calendar 2014: Day 6: Southern Tier Krampus

Southern Tier KrampusToday, December 6, is St. Nicholas Day, a festival observed in many European countries that celebrates St. Nicholas as a bringer of gifts to children. “Santa Claus” of course is derived from the St. Nicholas legend, and some of the regional celebrations of St. Nicholas Day are strikingly familiar: children place shoes or boots outside on the night of December 5, and St. Nicholas fills them with sweets and toys if the children have been good. In some German-speaking cultures, St. Nick is accompanied by Krampus, “represented as a beast-like creature, generally demonic in appearance. Krampus is thought to punish children during the Yule season who had misbehaved, and to capture particularly naughty children in his sack and carry them away to his lair.”

Accordingly this served as the inspiration for today’s Advent calendar pick: Southern Tier Krampus, a 9% Imperial Helles Lager that will surely raise a few eyebrows.

This Christmas season, enjoy a Krampus Imperial Helles Lager and decide whether you are naughty or nice. Finished with lager yeast and aged cold for no less than 30 days, it is the medley of rich, dark malts and aromatic hops that make this a diabolical brew, threatening to warm even the most frigid of hearts.

Naughty, nice, a little bit of both? Open a bottle of this and see where it takes you.

Happy St. Nicholas Day!

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Advent Beer Calendar 2014: Day 5: Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale

Sierra Nevada Celebration AleToday, December 5, is Repeal Day, the day we in the U.S. celebrate the Repeal of Prohibition: on December 5, 1933, Utah became the thirty-sixth and final state needed to ratify the Twenty-first Amendment to the Constitution, repealing the Eighteenth Amendment which had enacted national Prohibition starting in 1920.

It’s a day to celebrate, and I can’t think of a better beer to celebrate with than one of my all-time favorite holiday beers: Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale. This is an American classic, and each year it is brewed with freshly-picked hops (though not “fresh hops” in the sense of non-dried) so when it hits the holiday shelves it is one of the freshest beers on the market.

First brewed in 1981, Celebration Ale is one of the earliest examples of an American-style IPA and one of the few hop-forward holiday beers. Famous for its intense citrus and pine aromas, Celebration is bold and intense, featuring Cascade, Centennial and Chinook hops—honoring everything we have at Sierra Nevada.

So raise a glass to the end of Prohibition, something to celebrate and be thankful for this holiday season!

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