My wife and I usually select a Christmas Tree during the weekend after Thanksgiving, and we were thrilled to discover the farm down the road from us is selling trees this year. She and I stopped by the farm while walking our Boston Terrier, Caesar, who helped us sniff out a good one. After my wife and I dithered over the best tree for several minutes, Caesar weighed in with his selection by lifting his leg on a plump Fraser Fir.
I hope that means he liked it.
The tree went up on my shoulder, I carried it home (drawing chuckles from several people driving by), and our Christmas season officially began. We’ve been listening to Christmas music, drinking hot chocolate, and generally sickening all humbugs spying through our windows.
So it should come as no surprise that I’ve selected the “Hoppy Christmas Ale” from Belgium’s Brewery De Ranke. The beer — Père Noël (imported by Shelton Brothers) — intimates the reason for Father Christmas’ jolly cheeks and rosy nose; the label depicts Santa embracing the frothy, 7% ABV Strong Pale Ale.
The last of the beers sponsored by @drewdockery is a Belgian-style Dubbel brewed in Chicago.
Pere Jacques beer is named after the Abbot who gave the brewmaster of Chicago’s Goose Island Beer Co. an unforgettable experience during a Belgian brewery tour. According to the label text, Pere Jacques finished the experience with a hearty lunch of roast duck, wild boar, and the brewery’s own ale. In honor of that tour and meal, Goose Island crafted a Dubbel with “LOADS of MALT and BELGIAN YEAST”.
My serving of Pere Jacques was bottled in early 2008; it has a 9% ABV and the label claims the beer will continue to mature until 2013 — at least it would have, if I hadn’t just opened the bottle! The 2009 version has a new label and a slightly tamer 8% ABV.
Thanksgiving week is upon us, a time filled with family, food, and Uncle Junior’s embarrassing drunkenness. But before the turkey fires can set off your smoke detectors, it’s a simple fact that this holiday week MUST kick off with a bold and hoppy brew.
For this IPA Monday, I’ve chosen to drink Mayflower IPA. If you’re looking for a “Pilgrim-themed” IPA to help you start off a shortened workweek, you would be hard-pressed to find a better beer. Mayflower’s India Pale Ale is 7% ABV, 69 IBU, and is brewed with four different types of hops: Nugget, Simcoe, Glacier, Amarillo.
Did you know that beer is featured prominently in the Pilgrims’ historic journey aboard the Mayflower? According to the Mayflower Brewing Company’s website . . .
“. . . beer was the staple drink on board the Mayflower. Unlike water, which quickly spoiled when stored in the hold of ships, beer contained no bacteria, and the then-recent introduction of hops made it keep longer. It was also a terrific source of carbohydrates. Men, women and children drank beer daily, and sailors aboard the Mayflower received a daily ration of a gallon.”
“Clamber aboard the baby tree! / Soak it in, there’s much to see. / What’s inside those babies’ heads? / Heaven knows, and we shan’t guess.”
– Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project
To the pile of news stories describing how “a beer a day” can improve your cholesterol, reduce kidney stones, and give you cancer, let’s add one more astounding property — it seems a beer a day can get you pregnant!
A few months ago, I paused my regular blog contributions to take a much needed breather and to focus more attention on my wife. My beer gut has been growing steadily all year, but it seems my wife’s belly has recently begun to give mine a run for its money.
Yes indeed — my wife and I will be having a baby next year! In several months, my life is certain to change dramatically. I’ll go from nursing bottles to, well, bottles and nursing. (Hmmm — guess it won’t be such a stretch afterall.)
So you can understand my shift in focus. I’ve only had two or three hours each evening to share with my wife, and spending a good portion of that time behind a computer writing about beer just seemed ridiculous — these are the final months with “just the two of us” for company. I’ve continued to photograph my beer, take notes, and “tweet” about each beer on Twitter. And despite my shift in focus, I do plan to write more about beer here on BeerADay.net as I push through and finish up my “one a day all year” project.
In the meantime, I hope you’ll join in my excitement by raising your glass high! Let’s have three cheers: Sláinte! L’Chaim! Prost!
Have you noticed the title of this post? Do you think it’s a coincidence that on the day of my big announcement, I’m drinking “Baby Tree” from Pretty Things Beer And Ale Project?
Folks, I’m still alive and drinking exactly one beer a day. I’ve had to recalibrate my expectations — my beer notes have been going into Twitter (@beeraday) rather than BeerADay.net. My Twitter feed loads on this website, but you won’t see it if you only subscribe to the blog via RSS.
More on what’s been taking my focus will be posted in the next entry. But today, let’s focus on Bluegrass Brewing Company’s Bourbon Barrel Stout.
Bluegrass Brewing Company ages this stout for 60 days in barrels that once held Jefferson’s Reserve Bourbon. I lucked into this bottle through an arrangement with Twitter user @DrewDockery. I’m extremely grateful — not just to have a beer sponsored, but also to have a chance to taste beer aged in barrels from my favorite bourbon!