Friday was fraught with disappointment. The day at work was scheduled for 10 hours with a four-hour shift for Saturday. Rats! Another Friday without a review. I loaded myself into the truck with ten bucks and only one destination in mind for the brew review for Saturday night, that being the Four Seasons with their massive cooler almost full of craft beer.
Traffic was terrible but I only had myself to blame. I was glued to the Internet during my morning tea and waited too long to go on the beer run. But once inside the hallowed room of dark green walls, I bade greetings to Barry who shuffled in and out of view between the shelves.
I was in the mood for a nice dark winter warmer. One that I hadn’t had before, but hopefully, one that would challenge my palate. I was particularly looking for Delirium Noel, a strong Belgian ale brewed for this festive season. But, as luck etc., they had every other Delirium beer but the one that I was looking for.
Down towards the bomber end of the shelf I spotted a candidate. It was Three Floyds Alpha Klaus Christmas Porter from the great brewers Three Floyds, out of Muenster, Indiana. Hmm. A possible candidate. I passed it by and finished the shelf and then went to check out the cooler. Nothing after that really grabbed me.
Back to the shelf I went and more closely examined the bottle. Right on the front was the price tag of $9.99. Yowtch! Jeeze, ten bucks for essentially two beers. I didn’t know what to think… I balked… I re-examined the rest of the shelf. I looked behind the Deliriums that were there, looking for Noel at a cheaper price. Nothing.
What the hell. If I can only do one review for this week, let be an expensive craft beer, a GOOD craft beer from a reputable brewery. Before I glommed onto two bombers, I opened the secret flap in wallet and pulled out a ten-spot saved for emergencies. I proceeded to the register where I paid my hard earned money on exotic beer while Barry smiled and informed me that Noel would be in next week. I think I made a good choice. Not a wise decision, but a good choice.
I stashed the beer in the kitchen fridge. Surely the wife won’t get too mad over these two invaders encroaching for only one night. I tried to peel off the price tag for a nice initial photo for the review but wound up tearing the label. Shit. The day has gone to pot.
Once at work, I was in for a pleasant surprise. The notice on the board said that Saturday work was cancelled due to the previous week’s performance. My partner agreed to work the last two hours solo, so I would be off after 8 hours and able to present a brew review for this Friday. Suddenly, and without warning, I was in a great mood and the work day flew by (except for the last two hours, when I started thinking about beer.)
The ride home was torture. A dense fog had settled over the area and although the road was clear of snow and ice, visibility was a factor which dictated lower speeds for safety’s sake. It was killin’ me. Ten minutes past my anticipated arrival home, I quickly made it to my favorite spot in front of the Mac with my favorite pastime, glass in hand, wondering what sort of adventure my tongue will take me on this evening.
I popped open the first bomber and poured about half into the glass.
The beer poured with a very dark, almost black color and I noticed that for some reason, it seemed a little more viscous, a bit thicker than a “normal” dark beer. It could have been my imagination, though. When held up to the light, nothing shown through. It may as well have blotted out the sun. The head came up about a quarter-inch on this initial glassful showing a nice tan color. The aroma was all hops. “How could this be?” I asked myself rhetorically. That was the first clue that this beer may not, in fact, be normal.
The first sip caught me off guard. I was expecting a giant slug of hops but instead, received a wonderful dark, robust, almost toasty flavor, with a bit of a bitter bite at the swallow. Some caramel was tasted along the tongue sides, but during these first sips, the dark, almost smoky flavor and the bitter end were this beer’s primary features. As my palate adapted, as I knew it would, I wondered what other rich flavors awaited me.
This beer presented a unique paradox of sorts. As I dipped my nose into the glass for each successive sip, the aroma of hops rose up and smiled. The surprise was in the fact that the hops were as if masked in that bitter snap at the swallow. It was almost like finding out that your new neighbor wasn’t an asshole after the initial impressions.
The taste of this beer approaches that of a stout, but not quite. It’s still rather subdued in the roasty-toasty category. However, the body of this drink reflected the great choice of the dark malts which carries this beer from beginning to end.
Here’s the way each sip played out: Nose in glass = hops scent; intake = dark malt, good body; to the back = a little caramel and a slight bit of smoke; swallow = a nice, crisp bitterness; belch = hops again. The hops announced their arrival at the door, entered and disappeared into the shadows, only to pass through to the bottom and say, “Neener, neener!” Ninja hops. Incredible.
This is a truly remarkable beer worthy of the season. At 6% ABV along with the full, rich body and dark flavors, it fits in nicely as a winter warmer. Instead of buying ten lottery tickets, pick up a bomber of this delightful Christmas porter. It’s a guaranteed winner. But if you’re having guests over for a Christmas bash, a couple of bombers (or more) will surely please the eyes of the craft beer drinkers and also warm their hearts. But even if you’re not partying, treat yourself to a bottle of this amazing beer.
Taste: A > A plethora of tastes in each sip. (Plethora?)
Smoothness: A- > A hilly, but well paved road.
Drinkability: A- > A veritable tongue workout.
Bang for the buck: B- > The sting of the sawbuck hits with each bottle.
No pertinent beer videos…
So let’s feature Alfalfa and the Little Rascals