The countdown to Christmas is on and while most people are counting the days of advent with chocolates, I’m taking the road less traveled.
This is the second year in a row I’ve purchased a Craft Beer Advent calendar. I remember finding it last year and thinking it was one of the coolest ideas. Each beer was different, unique, bizarre or outrageous. While not every beer produced from the numbered panels on the box was good, each one offered an experience that I hadn’t had before. That lone made it worth the price tag associated with it. After drinking the last one, I couldn’t wait to buy the 2015 calendar.
That moment has finally arrived!
I have been slowly working my way through each panel since December 1st and thought that I would share some of my experiences with this year’s selection of beers here. I will leave tasting notes, impressions and then rate each on a 5 point scale. So get ready to hear about the tasty, the bizarre and the outrageous.
December 1st: Fall Hornin’ (Anderson Valley Brewing) 3.75/5
This beer wasn’t at all what I expected from an advent calendar. The label shows a bear with horns and identifies itself as a pumpkin ale. Dark in colour with just the right amount of sweetness. Not as spicy as I expected, which I appreciate. Very well balanced
December 2nd: Black Sam Licorice Stout (Lighthouse Brewing Company) 3.5/5
This beer tastes like licorice! – just the right amount anyway. It’s not overbearing at all. The head disappears almost instantly and the beer itself is not as creamy as a stout should be. Overall, a tasty offering.
December 3rd: Independence Pass Ale (Aspen Brewing Company) 5/5
I love IPAs so I am a little biased, but this is one of the best IPAs I’ve had in a while. Noticeable flavour of hops that is evenly balanced with the alcohol content of 7%. Flavour develops nice and bitter on the finish but manages to remain subtle. I can’t recommend this beer enough!
December 4th: 1815 XXXX Peacemaker (Strathroy Brewing) 2.5/5
Sadly, I decided to drink this beer on an empty stomach. That didn’t do it any favours, but overall this was way too much for me. It was dark. It was bitter. Flavour profile was okay but I couldn’t discern was I was tasting really. Ultimately, I found the flavour very muddled in amongst a 6% alcohol rating. Not my usual style of beer but glad I tried it once. I wouldn’t go looking for this in the store.
December 5th: Devil’s Tramping Ground Tripel (Aviator Brewing Company) 2.25/5
I was excited to try this beer. I don’t know why. With a whopping alcohol content of 9.2% and a heavy sweet flavour that initially came across as balanced to me, it was an interesting try. A few more sips down the road revealed the truth behind it which led me to believe that it could peel paint off the wall. I know that Tripel is a very specific style and some people love it. I am not one of those people. Sadly, I had to poor the rest of this out. I just couldn’t finish it.
December 6th: Biere de Noel 2015 – Holiday Extra Strong Ale (Big Sky Brewing Company) 3.75/5
I have to start off by saying the label makes me want to buy this alone! Big Sky Brewing has made something fairly unique in this beer. Amber in colour. Sweet – but not overly sweet. Delicately spiced and leaves you with a flavour that’s almost nostalgic. It actually reminds me slightly Christmas candies I use to have when I was a kid. Not an every day drinking beer, but one that I would have a again for sure. This will put you in a holiday mood!
December 7th: Into the Shade (Cameron’s Brewing) 4.25/5
5.2% alcohol and tastes like oranges. I’ve been a big fan of this brewery recently and always look forward to what they have to offer. This is another one which simply screams Christmas to me. My only warning is to be careful when you open this bottle……it likes to blow! Seriously. It wouldn’t stop foaming out of the neck long enough for me to pour it.
December 8th: Boris the Spider – Russian Imperial Stout (Spider Bite Beer Co. 3.25/5
This beer is so incredibly dark and thick. I’m usually willing to try anything when it comes to beers and this one had me struggling for the first few sips. Very malty and tastes of coffee. This is not a beer for the common man or woman – you have been warned!
This concludes the first 8 days. I am currently wrapping up the next 8 and will post on them shortly. If any of you have tried thee beers and agree or disagree with anything I have said, I encourage you to comment in the section below! I look forward to hearing what you have to say. Beer is a passion of mine and I’m always looking for a good conversation about this delicious art form.
You can find more information on the Craft Beer Advent calendar here: craftbeerimports.ca
Standby for episode 2!