Another year has come and gone and for those few that read my annual beer review, you may be wondering……where is it?
Well, dear friends, this may come as a shock, but I’ve been extremely busy.
This year, I decided to participate in a small little production of Evil Dead: The Musical in which I had, let’s say, a bit part. In part, it was enough to keep me busy for a month and a half, including the first half of December. I’ve decided, as such, to lay the blame squarely on this little blip in my schedule. Now, will I post the review anyway? Of course I will! I’m just going to go about it differently. Rather than trying to review all 24 beers in one go, I’ve decided to talk about the highs and lows of this year so that I can be better prepared for next year (and be lazy about it this year).
To start, this year’s theme was titled “In Honour of Belgium.” I’ll be completely honest, Belgian beers are far from my favourite. A good portion of those tend to be overbearing and not very smooth. I didn’t have high hopes for this pack at all but the good news is I was surprised just as many times as I was disgusted.
December 1st rolls around and I got a beer that’s name will stick with me for eternity. Voodoo Love Child. This Belgian Tripel boasts a nifty 9.2% yet somehow manages to remain completely smooth from beginning to end and doesn’t feel as hefty as most of the style. It seems to remind of a caramel heavy Hefeweizen. Tastes of sweet fruit, largely ripe raspberry and cherry. Colour is very golden and the beer is extremely bubbly. Overall score: 4 / 5
At this point, I’ve managed to stay on target, despite my busy schedule and December 3rd brings the next beer on our list, Rebel Kent. This Red Ale hails from 3 Sheeps Brewing Company and sits at a completely normal 5%. The best thing about this beer is the colour which is everything you would want in a red ale – a nice hazy deep red hue. As to the flavour, well…..there wasn’t much. Everything about the taste was subtle. And that is being generous. From what I could tell, malt is the dominant feature with a background that reminds of banana bread. There was even, dare I say it, a touch of spice. Overall, this beer wasn’t very bold but I gave it points for being easy to drink and not unpalatable.
Overall score: 3 / 5
This is where it all goes to hell.
Life started to get ultra busy and I ended up about 3 days behind in calendar days. So, to do the math, I’m now opening beer #4 on December 7th. In order for me to catch up, I would have to drink 2 beers a day for the next 3 days. Keeping in mind, of course, that the average alcohol content of each beer in the pack is probably around 8%. On top of which, I had decided to hold on to a beer for a time so that my girlfriend could also try it so I did it completely out of order. This is also all while still maintaining my rehearsal schedule and a full-time job. So, if you suffer from OCD, this tale is not for you.
December 11th is the first day I feel like I’m back on track and I come face to face with Thor. This 9.5% brown Belgian ale from Brasserie Valduc-Thor pours into the glass a thick brown. As I bring the glass up to my nose, I hesitate, take a sip, and I cough. The best way for me to describe what I put in my mouth is “smoky motor oil.” There is nothing godly about this at all! The background flavours suggest chocolate and coffee, but it’s almost impossible to get past that first hit! I will grant this beer points for managing to do accomplish what Yankee Candle Company does – replicate a scent/flavour perfectly. Unfortunate that it came from Jiffy Lube.
Overall score: 1.75 / 5
Before continuing on, I would like to point out that I’m now almost consistently 1 or 2 days behind going forward up until the very end. My god…what have I done?
December 16th – the next one up, and properly drunk on the day of its advent, is KlevereTien from Brouweij Het Nest. This 10.1% Belgian Quadrupel (as if we need more upels) was surprisingly good! Incredibly well balanced and pours almost dark as night. The first sip is boozy but somehow not very alcoholic in taste. Coffee, chocolate, and licorice make up the bulk of the flavour with a nice blend of raisin, plum and prune tying it together. I would heavily recommend this beer!
Overall score: 4.5 / 5
On December 18th, doing another double round, I was finally faced with Rookop from Brouwerij De Plukker. Yet another brown Belgian ale, this one sits at around 6.5% and pours a reddish-brown colour. Chocolate dominates the nose and palate and is quickly followed by nut and coffee notes that help add the depth which makes this beer a solid choice. To help with the balance, a nice fruity sweetness takes up the background and keeps bitterness low.
Overall Score: 4 / 5
December 24th hits and I’m once again fully back on track. I open the door on the calendar to find Tournay de Noel. A Belgian strong dark ale from Brasserie de Cazeau, this beer boasts a lovely 8.2%. Talk about going out on a high note! This beer was incredibly weird. It manages to sit somewhere between a dark ale and porter while being both. It is both strong and dark; light and smooth. The mystery is how it successfully manages to do both! Caramel malt and chocolate make up a good portion of the flavour profile. I can’t recommend this beer highly enough! Merry Christmas indeed!
Overall score: 4.75 / 5
And there you have it, the tale of my demise through advent, and the beers that contributed to my downfall as a writer. I sincerely hope you join us next year for another round!