10. Christmas Beers!

Christmas!  The time of giving.  And, since it’s my daughter’s first Christmas, it’s the time of giving and giving and giving.  The gifts for her have already started rolling in and my apartment is slowly becoming FAO Schwarz.  Books, stuffed animals, dresses, shoes and socks (which she’ll only wear for about 5 minutes), various random toys, and lots of clothing.  The high point for me was when I noticed someone sent her Legos.  I’ll be playing with those until she’s big enough to know not to eat them or even later.  Perhaps when I’m willing to give them up (NEVER!).

It is very exciting though.  With it being her first Christmas, it’s almost like it’s my first Christmas too.  Except this time I’ll be doing less unwrapping.  Hopefully she won’t tear apart Grandma’s tree.

One good thing I need to tell you about:  Amazon Prime.  This is the greatest thing ever!  My wife signed up for Amazon Mom when we had the baby and it’s been a big help.  You can sign up to have it automatically send you new diapers and wipes and get a big discount in the process.  The shining star of signing up, though, is the free Amazon Prime.  Prime is basically Amazon’s Preferred Member program.  The part we use all the time:  FREE TWO DAY SHIPPING.  That’s right!  Guess how we did a lot of our Christmas shopping.  You are correct: point and click.  Then, two days later it shows up at your door.  If you don’t have Amazon Prime, get it now.

(Note:  I did not get paid by Amazon to say this stuff.  However, if Amazon were to give me a few more months of free Prime, I would not turn it down.)

This is my last post before the Christmas break (I may get one up next Thursday, but I’m not making any promises).  So, to prep you for Christmas, here are 3 holiday beers:

First, the Leinenkugel Fireside Nut Brown

Sight:  Bright copper in color with a thin white head that faded off quickly

Smell:  The aroma is sweet and malty.  It was slightly nutty with a little molasses thrown in.

Taste:  The flavor is sweet and malty, but surprisingly light.  It has a crisp mouthfeel and a light bitter hop flavor to finish it up.

My overall grade: B-

This was a decent beer; one that you could easily have a few of.  It didn’t have any real stand-out features, but it didn’t really do anything wrong.  Leinenkugel tends to overdo the flavoring in my book, but this one settles in nicely.

Next, the New Belgium Snow Day

Sight:  Deep brown in color, nearly black

Smell:  It has a grassy hop aroma, which surprised me considering it’s a winter ale

Taste:  Very mild sweetness at the front that fades into a thin hoppy finish.  It’s very crisp and not too bitter.  It seems light for a winter release.  It reminded me of a black IPA, or Cascadian or whatever you want to call it.

My overall grade:  C+

It was a bit disappointing, I think I was expecting more from New Belgium.  This beer seemed a bit watery to me.

Finally, the shining star in my Christmas tastings:  the Half Acre Big Hugs.  Brewed about a mile from my home with Dark Matter coffee, this is one big imperial stout.

Sight:  Black.  Like a coal mine.

Smell:  The aroma is full of coffee and sweet malts.  There’s some caramel hanging out and a little bit of chocolate.

Taste:  Delicious.  It’s a big beer full of coffee and caramel.  There’s a sweet dark chocolate mixed in.  It’s slightly syrupy in the mouthfeel, but much less than you would think.  There’s a slight bitterness in the finish to cleanse the palette and a mild alcohol burn to keep you warm at night.

My overall grade:  A

This beer is incredible.  They do run it in a limited number, so if you can get it… get it.

Merry Christmas everyone!

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