The air is crisp in the Northeastern section of the U.S.A., with lingering snowflakes grazing your eyelashes, and the smell of burning pinewood drifting into your nostrils from chimneys lit with traditional lore. Your thoughts turn to family gatherings by day, followed by intimate, sensual evenings adorned with holiday silks and seasonal ale.
As a woman of substance and panache, you want your selection of fine beer to be a reflection of the smooth elegance and dynamic pleasure that lives within your soul. Release your passion with a cache of Beer Fox recommended Seasonal Beers from the US and abroad:
2005 Christmas Ale – Sly Fox Brewing Company, Royersford, Pennsylvania, USA – Herbed/Spiced Beer – 6.5% abv
Corked and caged 750 ml bottle pours out a crimson amber body beneath snowy mounds of white. Nose is of gingerbread and toasted malt glazed with cinnamon sugar and nutmeg. Sweet malts dance in your mouth as toasted gingerbread with Christmas spices and a slight glance of orange peel in the finish.
Hitachino Nest Celebration Ale – Kiuchi Brewery, Ibaraki-ken Naka-gun, Japan – Winter Warmer – 9% abv
Dusky, russet-colored body with a sticky, ivory tan head sends wafts of cinnamon and vanilla into the air, mixed with a feather-like touch of sweetened fruit. Complex flavors of mandarin orange blend with marzipan with a slightly tart and warm edge, like a cocktail of exotic spices. Pepper, ginger and sweet citrus tingle the tongue and linger in a soft, finish that pulls you through a warm blanket of pleasure.
Three Philosophers – Brewery Ommegang, Cooperstown, New York, USA – Quadrupel – 9.8% abv
Seductive crimson-ruby body supports a towering caramel head. Enticing caramel entwines with dark fruits of ripened cherries, raisins, and pears. Taste is true to the aroma, with flavors of cinnamon drifting among the rising heat.
La Choulette De Noel – Brasserie La Choulette, Hordain, France – Saison – 7% abv
Hazy copper-auburn sucks the head to a thin slab above, leaving sticky lace on the entire surface of the glass. A spiced earthiness dominates the nose with a balanced blend of sweet and tart fruit, coupled with caramel malt. Caramel toffee flavors, mix with spices of mint, cinnamon, anise and cloves. A vinous and dry finish make this an enticing drinking beer.
Cold Mountain Winter Ale – Highland Brewing, Asheville, North Carolina, USA – Winter Warmer – abv not available
A body of coppery amber with a frothy cream head emits notes of brown sugar malt and butternut caramel into the air. Molasses and beet sugar mix with a solid malt backbone, while winter spices of nutmeg and allspice roll on the tongue with toffee sweetness. Warming tones finish dry.
De Dolle Stille Nacht - Brouwerij De Dolle Brouwers, Esen, Belgium – Belgian Strong Dark Ale – 8% abv
Your eyes are greeted with hazy orange-amber, while the pillowy white head thins to a light layer of swirling curls within the glass. Cotton candied sour fruit dominate the nose, intermingled with a wet oakiness behind the curtain. The mouth is treated with the fruity sweetness of oranges, tangerines and peaches, creamy and elegant, with a complexity that befit a winter sipper.
Ephemere Cranberry – Unibroue, Chambly Quebec, Canada – Fruit/Vegetable Beer – 5.5% abv
Beer pours a clear straw gold, with the slight haze of yeast suspended in the body. The head is small and bright, allowing the bouquet of cranberries to merge with the air above. A base of delicate wheat malt carries tart cranberry notes across your lips, swirling with effervescent liveliness in your mouth.
Double Barrel Ale Batch 1000 – Firestone Walker Brewing Company, Paso Robles, California, USA – Extra Special/Strong Bitter (ESB) – 5% abv
This ESB pours golden amber with light tan head and lacing that lingers on the sides of the glass. Sweet toffee malt weaves fingers of vanilla and oak into the air toward your olfactory passages. Taste is rich with biscuity malt, painted with delicious woodiness. Body is smooth and chewy, medium-bodied, yet slightly dry. Hop notes add balance without taking center stage.
Four Christmas Angels
Cuvee Angelique – Andelot de Profbrouwerij, Lochristi-Hijfte, Belgium – Belgian Strong Dark Ale – 7% abv
Rusty bronzed-brown Belgian ale has a creamy, light tan head that dissipates quickly, leaving a fine web of lacing on the walls of the shimmering crystal. Aromas are filled with malt and ripened plums, raisins and figs. Starts sweet, with warmth that reaches your fingertips, while a creamy feel lingers with spice in the background. Finish is clean and dry.
Cuvee Diabolique - Andelot de Profbrouwerij, Lochristi-Hijfte, Belgium – Tripel – 8.5% abv
A tripel of delight emerges from the cork and caged bottle like hazy golden light with a voluminous white head that constantly replenishes itself. The nose fills with grapefruit and pineapple, while gently spiced layers of vanilla mix with subtle malt and yeast. The flavor profile holds a solid malt character. Apricot and spices lay dynamic. Balanced hops grab you at the finish, while the warmth floats within your head.
Cuvee Euphorique - Andelot de Profbrouwerij,Lochristi-Hijfte, Belgium – Belgian Pale Ale – 6.5% abv
A misty yellow sunrise floats within the glass while a huge rocky head builds clouds above a body of citrus aromas. A solid bitterness of herbs and spices shimmy on the back of the tongue, and linger in the throat with a refreshing feel.
Cuvee Mystique - Andelot de Profbrouwerij, Lochristi-Hijfte, Belgium – Belgian Strong Dark Ale – 8.5% abv
Mahogany hues are sealed beneath a monstrous head of tawny brown. The complex smells of cherries, plums and dark fruit mix with Belgian chocolate and cinnamon. Flavors of roasted malts and brown sugar emerge, while the finish remains dry and clean.
You may wish to add a bit of class when serving beer. This classic set is a great starting point. You may also wish to seek out Stemmed Pilsners or Wheat Beer Glasses before expanding to Champagne Flutes or Digestive Glasses.
Spiegelau Barrel Beer Classics Lager Glass, Set of 6 in Barrel Gift Tube
Spiegelau Beer Classics Ultimate Beer Glass Set 6-pc.