Beer Advent 2016: One last hop, skip and drink!

The last days of advent have come and gone; 2016 is now but a memory as a new year dawns upon us.  That being said, it is not too late to review the memory of the last six beers of advent to help ring in the new year.  Let’s not waste any more time and get drinking!

December 19th: Shepherd’s Watch Canadian Edition 2016 – 6% (World Top Brewery – Yorkshire, England)

This beer pours quite nicely and provides a decent thin head.  Fairly dark, the scent is a bit fruity – it actually reminds me a lot of fruit cake.  Despite this, it tastes fairly clean and does not linger in the mouth while maintaining the taste the scent suggests.  At second glance, the darkness that dominated the glass has now become a reddish brown.  While not my usual style, this beer surprised me.  Would pair extremely well with a rich desert.

Final Score: 4 / 5

December 20th: Oud Bruin – 6% (Brouwerij ‘t Verzet – Anzegem, Belgium)

This beer claims to be a sour beer that is a common style brewed in the Flanders region of Belgium.

Disclaimer: if you did not read my previous entries about my experience with “sour” beers, consider this your warning.  I have not liked any of them.  I am still waiting to find one I will like.  I approached this beer with an open mind….

Pouring a red brown into the glass, the beer pours with a tremendous head that takes a while to dissipate.  At second glance, the beer has a very interesting murky red brown look to it….not the clear red brown I was initially seeing.  The scent is definitely sour…..not much else to note at this time.  There is nothing left to do but take a sip.  “Holy hell! What did I just put in my mouth?!?” The flavour I get is sour upon sour upon sour.  Endless sour.  Reminds me of an apple flavoured atomic warhead sour candy.  As I swallow and pucker my mouth, I read the label which literally has the following quotes in the beer description: “Lactic acid dominates the taste” and “wakes up your mouth with a big punch in the face.” Despite everything, I finished the glass (against the sage advise of my wife).  Towards the end, the sour taste kind of reminded me of the acidic qualities in vomit.  Would not recommend unless you are trying to play a mean joke on someone you hate.

Final Score: 0.75 / 5

December 21: La Debauche Cognac Barrel – 9.5% ( La Debauche Brasserie – Angoulême, France)

This beer is actually a barley wine that has spent some time in a cognac barrel – hence the name.  As it is poured, you will notice that this thing has a head that won’t quit.  After you get everything in the glass, it does an amazing imitation of a root beer float (kind of a weird head that is produced by introducing ice cream to anything carbonated – and no I did not add ice cream to my beer). The beer itself is a dark red brown and smells quite alcoholic.  After a few whiffs, the scent does remind me a bit of cognac.  The first few sips are hard to describe as the flavour was quite hard to pin down.  The first tastes were sweet and of caramel and coffee.  Cognac for sure.  Then it went even further with leather and fresh pipe tobacco.  Very complex.  A sipping beer for sure.

Final Score: 4 / 5

December 22nd: Sauerkirsche Stout – 10% (Eviltwin Brewing – Spain)

This beer is labelled as an Imperial Stout with sour cherry.  As it is poured into the glass, there is very little head to speak of – in fact it looks a little flat.  As the liquid settles, what we are left with is a beer with a very very dark black appearance.  The scent is definitely a stout with a hint of what smells like cherry.  Although I wasn’t super impressed with the beer at first glance, the flavour actually resembles that of a black forest chocolate cake.  Not the best thing I’ve ever had, but certainly interesting.

Final Score: 3.75 / 5

December 23rd: Clootie Dumpling – 4.3% (The Orkney Brewery – Scotland)

I had to read the label over and over again.  What a fun name! This tawny ale is supposed to resemble a traditional Scottish pudding of sorts.  The beer itself shines a beautiful amber colour in the glass.  The taste is very much cinnamon and ginger but the label talks of a fruity scent and flavour that simply doesn’t translate.  I was a little disappointed with this one.

Final Score: 3 / 5

December 24th: December Flower – 11.6% (White Pony Microbrewery – Belgium)

The last of our beers, this winter seasonal ale has a scent of oranges on Christmas day.  The label talks about several other flavours that I sadly did not pick up at all – mainly the missing element of coriander.  While the beer is quite beautiful to look at, it was sadly a bit too sweet for my taste and a bit of a let down to the end of the calendar.

FInal Score: 3 / 5

So there you have it! Another year wrapped up….another holiday season blessed with beautiful beers, alluring ales and stellar stouts!  Of course, if there is anything you would like to agree or disagree with, please feel free to respond in the comment section!  Until then, I will finish off the 2016 Beer Advent calendar with an old Irish Toast.

“For every wound, a balm.
For every sorrow, cheer.
For every storm, a calm.
For every thirst, a beer.”

See you next year!

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