Monday, December 30, 2013

On the Ninth (and Tenth)Day of Beermas...Great Lakes Christmas Ale and Block Three Sinterklaas!

Want to get the Beermas Countdown done by New Year's Day, which has been difficult with an intense work schedule this past couple of weeks.  But I've got a day off before the absolute shitshow that will be New Years Eve, so here's a couple more.

Quick note: another one of the initial brews I set out to review, Captain Lawrence Winter Ale, went a bit south before we got a chance to try it.  Crazy how that works sometimes; I had a bottle of Grand River Jubilation Winter Ale saved in the cellar from last year and it held up well, while this brew was picked up in August and didn't last.  Might not have stored it well.  Fortunately, a winter brew from just around the corner in St. Jacobs was able to step up to the plate.

Beer: Sinterklaas Winter Ale
Brewery: Block Three (St. Jacobs, ON)
Type: Belgian Dark Ale
ABV: 5.4%

First winter seasonal from the region's newest brewery.  Nice to see Block Three get on the ball with some cool seasonal releases - makes for an exciting lineup, and gives geeks like me something to look forward to every month or so.  After the bold German bock stylings of Samichlaus, Sinterklaas is a milder Belgian Ale also named after old St. Nick - Dutch style, in this case.

Poured into my Block Three snifter.  Amber caramel in colour, with about a half inch of head that recedes into a thick ring with some swirls and islands floating about.

Nose is very fruitcake like, or so I'm told, since I never eat that shit.  Cinnamon, caramel, nutmeg, raisins, candied cherry.  Very nice nose to it.

Tasty Belgian ale, considerably drier and more tart than the nose had led on.  Still, a tasty blend of tart cherry, spice, malt, Belgian yeast, and dry puckery hops.  Medium bodied, slightly sticky, and with moderate carbonation; not too boozy, which gives it some great drinkability.

Not quite as 'fruitcake' as I'd expected, but it nevertheless is a solid Belgian-style ale with good tartness and various Christmassy flavours.   Another fine brew from Block Three!

Beer: Great Lakes Christmas Ale
Brewery: Great Lakes Brewing Co. (Cleveland, OH)
Type: Winter Warmer
ABV: 7.5%

Next up is the annual Christmas brew from Great Lakes...the American one.  Another pickup from Premier Gourmet in Buffalo.

Poured into a small whisky glass.  Amber-ruby in colour, with a generous dollop of cappuccino foam that produced lots of lacing and had some remarkable retention.  Great looking brew.

Nose is more from the gingerbread family of Christmas beer: malty, cinnamon, nutmeg, and bold ginger.  Like a ginger cookie.

Tastes much the same - lots of spices and ginger, with some additional apple, cherry (or perhaps cranberry, since it was somewhat tart).  Highly enjoyable brew, and with a moderate body, gentle carbonation, and only a mild booziness, quite drinkable too.

Finishing off the countdown tomorrow/Wednesday with Southern Tier 2XMAS and Anchor Old Foghorn Barleywine!

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