It seems to happen every time approaching Christmas. We find ourselves here at work with an abundance of high-end, really rare beer.
And me, who has routinely rejected the commercial, consumerist aspects of the holiday… I just can’t seem to help myself. Perhaps I’m compensating for my supposed lack of interest in receiving presents. I spoil our tap wall – and my palate – rotten with amazing, hard to come by items instead. At least it can’t be said that I don’t go out of my way to procure nothing but the best for our guests around the holidays.
That being said, many of these items are goodies that cost a little more than the average beer. Well, hey… It’s Christmas. Treat yourself to something nice.
Because of the colder temperatures, many of these year-end specialties are big, rich beers, a fair number of which have been barrel aging for the occasion. Stout, old ale, barley wine and the succinctly-named winter warmer all find a seat at the bar; their heavier textures, roasted grain flavors and spices the perfect warm coat for the season.
This time, however, we’ve got a bonus; the proverbial present Ralphie overlooked behind the Christmas tree. Better than an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two hundred shot range model air rifle, we’ve got two versions of the same beer. One of these is also, if my sources are correct, one of only two kegs of it in the entire Florida Panhandle. We’ll let you guess which one it is.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t review Thirsty Dog’s 12 Dogs of Christmas. Kinda hard to get around that name in late December, you know. It’s even better that it’s a fantastic beer and not just a ploy to lure consumers. Well, Santa put us on his “extra-nice” list and hooked us up with a Bourbon barrel-aged version of 12 Dogs as well!
The straight winter warmer is a nice hue of amber-gold. Brewed with honey, nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger, this medium-bodied sipper has nice scents of Christmas cake, caramel and homemade bread. Brown sugar and clove flavors sing carols with notes of dark fruit, honey and gingerbread. Essentially, it’s Christmas in a glass.
If the regular winter warmer is Santa, the barrel-aged is Krampus. This one’s a little wicked. Nothing much changes in the color but the scents now include butterscotch, golden raisin, rum cake and spice. It also isn’t shy about its booziness, yet the alcohol heat takes a side seat in the sleigh to pronounced hits of everything found in the non-barrel-aged plus a little bonus cinnamon drawn out by the whiskey-soaked wood contact.
According to the song, our true love keeps getting us presents in the days to come. Check back to see what other barrel-aged Thirsty Dog rarities we’ll be unveiling real soon! In the meantime, Christmas just got a whole lot merrier with 12 Dogs.