Final Thoughts On Season's Holiday Beers, And Reasons To Hang On Till Saint Patrick's Day

Categories: Hophead
dinner with ken.jpg
The holidays are over, and unless you've got Martin Luther King Jr. Day or Presidents' Day off, there aren't any work holidays until Memorial Day on May 30. Christmas and holiday beers are disappearing from taps and shelves faster than your New Year's resolutions. But before you put a gun in your mouth, remember the good things in life you have to look forward to. And I'm not talking about Valentine's Day.

For example, the Fort Worth Flying Saucer has the Allagash Experience on Saturday from opening until the brews are gone, with Black, Curieux, Four, Interlude, Odyssey and White, plus a few bottles of Victor and Victoria.

Flying Saucer on the Lake is celebrating Barley Wine Week Monday, January 24, through Friday, January 28. The bar and grill will feature a different barleywine each day: Monday, Lagunitas GnarlyWine; Tuesday, Brooklyn Monster 2007; Wednesday, Stone Old Guardian (this will also be Stone Brewing Co. Brewery Night, featuring keep-the-glass deals); Thursday, Harpoon Barleywine; Friday, Anchor Old Foghorn.

Tuesday, January 25 is Burns Night, celebrating the work of the beloved Scottish poet -- which is best enjoyed with scotch and haggis. And it's as good a time as any to enjoy Belhaven's fine beers -- or those from Brewdog, for that matter.

And if you can make it most of the way through the worst month of the year, Ken Grossman of Sierra Nevada will host a beer dinner at the Meddlesome Moth at 6 p.m. Monday, February 21, featuring all of the brewery's 30th anniversary series, plus the ubiquitous Pale Ale and a rare treat in the collaboration with Dogfish Head's Sam Calagione, Life And Limb. It's $85 a head, though, so better start saving up now. Moth GM Matt Quenette shares some thoughts about the man and the brewery on his beer blog.

See? There are reasons to hold on until St. Patrick's Day.

After the jump, my thoughts on a few more of the holiday and winter seasonal beers I've enjoyed along with those mentioned last month.
Lagunitas Brown Shugga'
Speaking of Lagunitas GnarlyWine, this beer started out as an attempt to rescue a wayward batch of Lagunitas' barleywine by adding brown sugar, but the beer took on a life of its own. It's a clear brownish-amber color, on the thick side of medium-bodied, and definitely sweet and malty, with the brown sugar very noticeable, but has a crisp finish and a very well-hidden 9.9 percent ABV.

Saint Arnold Winter Stout
Dark brown with ruby highlights and a thick tan head, this is on the light side for a stout. There is some cocoa and roasted coffee on the nose, but it's not overpowering. "Subtle" is the first word that comes to mind. It's malty and thick, but without as much charred-malt bitterness at the finish as I'd have liked. Still, though, it's a good easy-drinking winter beer, if not an exceptional stout.

Winter Hook
This offering from Red Hook is something like a hoppier brown ale to me -- nice and toasty with a little hop bite at the finish. It's on the lighter side for winter beers and would make for a good well-rounded session beer.

Mikkeler Santa's Little Helper
Very rich with plenty of Christmas spice flavors like clove, nutmeg and cinnamon, along with the bright yeasty characteristics of a good Belgian ale, dark without much sweetness. If Anchor was a Belgian brewery, its Christmas ale might taste something like Mikkeler Santa's Little Helper. Pricey but definitely worth a try.


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