Sunday, December 11, 2011

Schlafly Christmas Ale

I feel your pain, St. Louis. I really do. I went through this same thing when Reggie White left the Eagles. It’s a real bummer. It’s unthinkable that your boy left you. Your heart is broken. But let’s think positive. The Angels may have Albert Pujols, but you’ve still got the championship. And you’ve got Schlafly beer. Schlafly beer! Yes!

Having sampled a few underwhelming Christmas ales this week, I had my faith restored by Schlafly’s ho-ho-ho seasonal. This is what a Christmas beer should be: warming (eight percent alcohol!) and spiced out the wazoo. Schlafly uses orange peel, ginger root, cloves, juniper berries, and cardamom to flavor its Christmas Ale, while honey, caramel, and chocolate malts add an assertive sweetness redolent of a Belgian. Yet at just 30 IBUs and relatively light-bodied, this is one of the most drinkable Christmas beers out there. And like all of Schlafly’s brews, it’s nicely balanced. It takes skill to successfully walk the line between sweet and “too sweet”, but here is a case where the brewer really pulls it off. Spice is nice, but you don’t quite want it in your face. Hallertau hops come through in a big way to round off this brew. While this ale will never rival Troeg’s Mad Elf in my heart, it’s one of the few Christmas beers that I’ll look forward to purchasing again next year. Very tasty. Get in from the cold, have a seat by the fire, and savor the flavor. It sure ain’t snowing in Anaheim.

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