Beer Advent 2016: Old World Countries, New World Beers

I look outside and I see the sun setting  over the frost tipped trees of the boreal forest; the land around me covered in a powdered layer of pure white snow.  The lights outside are slowly coming on one by one and the world is illuminated again in a sea of various shades of reds, greens, yellows and whites.  Christmas time is upon us again and the holiday season has begun.  Of course, there is no finer way to celebrate than with my drink of choice – BEER!

Last year, you may recall I embarked upon an incredible journey through advent.  Rather than the grocery store advent calendars filled with the cheap but nostalgic chocolates, I acquired a calendar filled with a variety of delicious craft beers.  Continuing in this tradition, I have once again acquired this year’s “Old World Countries, New World Beers” edition of the Beer Advent calendar and I hope, dear friends, that you will join me as I count down the days to Christmas and share in much merrymaking!

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December 1st: APA – 4.8% (Birrificio del Doge – Italy)

This Italian take on an american pale ale was a great start to the season! Pours very bubbly, almost like champagne and has an unfiltered haze in the glass.  Once it settles, a beautiful light rosy amber colour emerges.  Tastes highly of citrus – possible grapefruit.  For those that like IPAs, you might some love here but this beer tends more towards bitterness with little room for hops.  Despite this, it remains a very clean drink.  Serve cold!

Final score: 3.75 / 5

December 2nd: Bavarian Winter – 5.8% (Camba – Germany)

A Bavarian IPA that did not fail to impress.  Golden in colour and wonderfully aromatic.  Hops is the dominant scent which carries through into its flavour while remaining well balanced with the bitterness we normally expect from and IPA.  While the bottle boasts lychee and grapefruit notes, I did not pick up on the lychee at all.  Good thing I love grapefruit though because it becomes the star of this show.  Overall a solid and strong IPA.

Final score: 4.25 / 5

December 3rd: Laiska Jaakko – 4.5% (Teerenpeli – Finland)

This beer was an interesting choice.  The name, Laiskajaakko, apparently translates to “Lazy Jack.”  The label on the bottle shows a picture of one of those novelty beer hats and the company advertises that the beer is organic and uses wood pellet energy in its creation.  Listed as a dark lager, the head dissipates quickly leaving mostly what resembles a slightly flat glass of Coke.  Dark colour with a malty scent that carries through to the flavour.  A touch of smoke maybe, but nothing really beyond.  While the beer has a cool story and marketing, it suffers from a complete lack of anything remarkable.

Final score: 2.75 / 5

December 4th: Rose Wheat Beer – 4.7% (Ticketybrew – England)

A beer that delivers on its promise.  Pours a hazy gold blonde in the glass, the very first thing that hits your nose is the scent of rosewater.  The first sip is tart, but the flavour or rose carries through while maintaining its legitimacy as a wheat beer.  Once its settles on your palate, your will be greeted by lemony notes and a touch of sourness.  Quite an interesting offering!

Final score: 4 / 5

December 5th: De Mons – 6% (Inveralmond Brewery – U.K)

De Mons is, ironically, a Trappist Belgian Abbey style beer.  Pours a golden colour and leaves you with hypnotic bubbles in the glass once it settles.  Smells like an ale with a touch of a fruity scent.  Tastes sweet but remains smooth.  The brewery talks of raisin and fig notes which hold up.  While most of this beer is positive, it does suffer from an alcoholic aftertaste which leaves you with an unpleasant bitterness on your tongue.

Final score: 3.25 / 5

December 6th: Sweet Krampus – 7% (Loncium – Austria)

The second I saw this bottle emerge, I had to laugh.  I recall in the first beer advent calendar I bought, one of the beers was called Krampus and I remember it being interesting and terrible at the same time.  Luckily, this beer does not entirely remind me of that.  Extremely dark and pours like a stout or a porter.  There is a heavy fruity sweet scent coming out of the glass.  The first sip seems light at first but manages to roll into a full bodied heavier beer.  While it maintains its sweetness on the tongue, there is a touch of sourness as well and a flavour that reminds me of brown sugar.  Beats out the last Krampus beer I had but still not my favourite while maintaining interesting qualities.

Final score: 3.5 / 5

There you have it!  The first six beers of advent; 18 more to go!  Check back in a few days when I will reveal the next six mysteries hidden within the advent calendar.

For those that are also partaking in Beer Advent this year, feel free to chime in in the comment section and tell me a bit about your experience.  Agree or disagree with anything I’ve said?  Let me know!

After all, it’s the most wonderful time for a beer!

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