There are three yearly activities that I refuse to engage in prior to Thanksgiving night. They are listening to Christmas music, publishing my Christmas list, and drinking holiday beers. Well, here we are. The magical moment has come. The turkey has been conquered, and it’s soon time to settle in to watch the Harbaugh Bowl on the NFL Network. I’ve already “shared” two Christmas songs on my Facebook page. In case you were curious about my Christmas list, I will now share it in somewhat lavish detail:
1. I would like a large sum of cash specifically for the purpose of allowing my wife to quit her job. I am not a greedy man. I am not asking for riches. None of these funds would be used to procure luxury items or finance indulgent vacations. I would just like enough money to allow Tami to take a hard-earned vacation of exactly five years so that she may relax and de-stress. $300,000 or thereabouts should suffice.
2. I would like six pounds of kielbasa from Stanley’s Market in Toledo. Note, it must be from Stanley's.
3. I want the Eagles to win the Super Bowl. Yeah, I know: it’s not happening this year. Hardy har har.
4. You know that Sting box set that was recently released? I would like all copies to be destroyed.
5. I would like a Steak N’ Shake to be built within five miles of the Fitzledge residence.
6. I would like Stepbrothers to be retroactively awarded the Oscar for Best Picture of 2008.
7. Just once, I would like Chick-fil-A to be open on Sunday.
8. I would like a pink Forever Lazy with matching footies.
9. How about a Husker Du reunion concert? Come on, guys. Just one show. Please!
10. I would like an entire case of 22-ounce bottles of Victory Baltic Thunder.
As for my first holiday beer of 2011, I went with a Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale. And let’s just say it was no letdown! Like most beer geeks, I get more than a little excited about the annual arrival of SNCA. It’s a “different” kind of holiday beer. It’s not a winter warmer. It’s not a spiced ale. You won’t find any cinnamon or nutmeg in this magnificent concoction. Brewed every year for a Christmastime release, SNCA is an American IPA made with the first, fresh hops of the growing season. In existence since 1981 and brewed with the same recipe since 1983, this can rightfully be called a “classic” of American micro brewing. Perhaps some people tire of all the praise that is lavished upon Celebration, but in my opinion it really is that good. Its blend of Cascade, Centennial, and Chinook hops creates a flavor that’s part piney, part citrus-y, and part spicy (hence the perception that it’s a “spiced” ale). I’m not going to lie and say it’s not a hoppy beer. It’s loaded with hops. But while I’m by no means a hop-head, I downed my first bottle at the speed of light. Good lord, does this stuff go down easy for a 65 IBU, 6.8 % ABV beast of an ale! It’s so fresh, and the mouthfeel is like heaven on the tongue! Two-row pale and English caramel malts provide just enough balance. And the hop bitterness is actually quite nice, leaving a pleasant aftertaste that makes me want to drink more! Should I drink more? Why the heck not? Another bottle beckons! ‘Tis the season!