Tag Archives: Holidays

Festive Times Call For Festive Brews

I’m a little late in posting this, but given the Christmas season, I decided to indulge in the 2013 incarnation of Sweetwater’s Festive Ale.

South Carolina Winters Are Rough
South Carolina Winters Are Rough

In my heart of hearts, I’m an IPA guy who dabbles in some hoppy lagers and maybe the occasional Belgian. However, I’ve been trying to expand (read: develop or establish) my beer “palate” and thus have been attempting to broaden my horizons a bit as of late. Also, I’m striving to get more badges on Untappd (terrible, I know).

Back to the task at hand–Sweetwater Festive Ale is a yearly winter seasonal released by the Hotlanta mega craft brewer and is classified as a “winter warmer”. When living in Jersey or even in Durham, NC, there were definitely times when any type of warmer would have been welcome when the temps started to dip. However, here in Charleston, SC, a “cold” day is seemingly when the thermometer drops below 50F. I know the locals view such days as cold because that’s when the puffy winter jackets, ear warmers, and UGGs come out of hibernation. I guess you really do adapt to your environment. Even though I may not be in need of any warmer per se, one is always in need of good brews…

I am happy to report that Sweetwater’s Festive Ale definitely does fall into the “good brew” category and did also pack some warming powers even on a rather temperate SC evening.

The brew poured a very deep and dark Coca-Cola like brown color. There was little head and what head was present was thinner than I would have expected. A medium level of carbonation helped make the brew quite drinkable. Nutmeg and cinnamon dominated the initial aroma and taste on the tongue, with cola and ginger lingering later.  Overall, there was definitely a significant spice character but this seemed to be balanced quite well by the overall maltiness. However, the spices did make their presence known to bring forth thoughts of snow angels, presents, and Santa sliding down the chimney.

Given its pretty hefty 8.60%ABV, this brew hid the alcohol taste well and was very drinkable.

The final verdict is that Sweetwater’s Festive Ale was an enjoyable and surprisingly complex brew that seems very well suited for the holiday season!

 

 

Still The Best!

With only 4 minutes remaining (at least in Eastern Standard time) in the 2013 edition of Christmas day, I think it’s safe to say that Wham!’s chart topping holiday jingle, “Last Christmas”, remains the quintessential Christmas tune. Now I’m not ruling out the possibility that some musical artist somewhere out there could release a comparable jam in the next few minutes, but it seems unlikely at this point. Plus who could top “Last Christmas”? Unless Wham! reunites for the sequel (which I assume would be entitled either “This Christmas” or “Next Christmas”), I don’t think anyone’s taking down those two British lads.

Timeless Poetry
Timeless Poetry

According to Wikipedia (aka the website where only factually correct statements make it into print), “Last Christmas” has entered the Germans singles chart every year since 1997, and even managed to peak at #4 on the chart in 2007 (23 years after the song was originally released!). What does that tell me? It tells me that Germany knows what’s up! It also tells me that Germany is a bit slow on the uptake. Seriously, the song is released in ’84 and isn’t hitting the German charts until ’97? Well, at least they’re recognizing its timeless and transcendent qualities now!

So again, thank you George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley for penning such a holiday masterpiece and for laying down the killer vocals that shall echo in time forever.

Selfies are acceptable on Christmas, right?
Selfies are acceptable on Christmas, right?