I have continued my quest, opening each panel in turn. Every day reveals another beer; another unique experience as we inch closer and closer to Christmas. Some of them great. Some of them…..not so much.
For those who aren’t following so far, I am currently going through an Advent Calendar filled with mystery beers. Each one is a craft beer that has been carefully selected and is, most likely, not available in the local stores. My previous post focused on the first eight days of this calendar. I shared some thoughts, reflections, tasting notes and hardships. Now, you can join me as I reveal the next eight beers and the second part of my journey through advent.
December 9th: Spice of Life (Iron Fist Brewing Co. – Vista, California) 2.5/5
This beer wasn’t all that bad. Orange is the first flavour I get on the pallet. Golden amber colour. Slightly cloudy. Further tasting revealed a metallic flavour – iron maybe? Listed as an herbed/spiced beer, I didn’t get all that much in the way of either. 6.5% alcohol. Good for a go, but I wouldn’t buy it again or on purpose.
December 10th: Sleigh Booster Imperial Red Ale (Bridge Brewing Company – North Vancouver, BC) 3.25/5
Sleigh Booster almost knocked my socks off! I got hit with flavour from the first sip and that is exactly what kind of a beer this is – a sipping beer. Very caramel, malty with a hint of citrus. Amber red in colour as the label promises. Listed as an imperial double ale and boasting a 9% alcohol rating, this one delivers. If you like a strong red, this might be what you are looking for.
December 11th: Ursa Major Brown Ale (The Grizzly Paw Brewing Company – Canmore, Alberta) 2.75/5
Sadly, I didn’t have much to say about this beer, hailing from my current home of Alberta (note: I am not from Canmore). An American Brown Ale in style, pours well. 7.2% alcohol but isn’t really noticeable. It is indeed brown in colour. Average taste. Comes across a little tinny metallic on the pallet. Not exactly my favourite.
December 12th: Saint Beatnick Chocolate Stout (Flying Monkey Craft Brewery – Barrie, Ontario) 4.25/5
A stout listed at 7.7% alcohol and a pleasant surprise! While I wasn’t overly impressed with the other stouts in the box, I’m happy to say this one outperformed the others in every way. Carbonation level still seems to be a challenge, but that’s really the only negative thing I have to say about this beer. Now, on to the good stuff – holy chocolate!!! Cocoa on the nose and carries through in a bittersweet flavour on the pallet. Still maintains its integrity as a stout. This beer is delicious and slightly decadent. Highly recommend!
December 13th: The Cowboy (Evil Twin Brewing – USA/Denmark?) 3.75/5
This beer confused me. Listed as a smoked pilsner (a style I am not overly familiar with), it didn’t really pop the way I thought it would. The Cowboy does indeed carry the scent of smoke. Pours a deep golden yellow and contains a 5.5% alcohol rating. Overall, I was really missing the smoke. While present, the smoke came across as more of an IPA hops flavour that I wasn’t overly impressed with. A touch bitter. After looking into the brewery, it seems it’s a Denmark brewery and then claims to be from New York. I think this beer is suffering from an identity crisis.
December 14th: Blueberry Maple Stout (Saugatuck Brewing Company – Douglas, Michigan) 3.25/5
Also listed as a Blueberry Pancake Stout, this beer certainly delivers what it promises. 5.9% alcohol and a good pour while still suffering from the bottled stout carbonation. Smells of blueberry and a hint of maple. Quite heavy and almost literally tastes like a blueberry pancake with maple syrup. Not an everyday beer by any means, but a solid offering and one I recommend if you are looking for something incredibly different.
December 15th: Christmas Ale (West Sixth Brewing – Lexington, Kentucky) 3.5/5
A winter ale boasting a 9% alcohol rating, this is another appropriate beer to have in an advent calendar. Pours a dark reddish brown. Smells a little of ginger and sweetness and – surprise! – tastes like gingerbread. There’s a lot more going on in here though. There’s a fair amount of malt and molasses on the pallet as well. A good one if you’re looking for a sipping ale by the fireplace.
December 16th: Baltic Porter (The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery – Farmville, North Carolina) 3.5/5
This beer is actually a Baltic porter in style which is something I’ve never had before. I’m glad I had a chance to give it a try. Pours dark and holds a 9% alcohol rating. This beer is a solid mouthful and maintains a nice bitterness. Oddly enough, despite its heaviness as a porter, I found it easy to drink, which is a little scary. The design on the label alone made me want to try it. If porters are something of an interest to you, I would recommend this one for sure!
This concludes episode 2 of my journey down the rabbit hole that is my advent calendar. Once again, if you have tried any of these beers and have notes of your own that you would like to share, I urge you to post in the comment section below. I’m always looking for additional input – even if you disagree with something I’ve said above. I look forward to hearing from you.
I hope you join me on the last leg and the final reveal! Ho! Ho! Ho! Only 8 more beers to go……