Monday, December 10, 2012

The 12th Beer of Christmas, not exactly a Lump of Coal

Happy Holidays Beer411 fans!

Tis’ the season to eat, drink and be merry and starting today we’ll be counting down the 12 beers of Christmas, taking the guess work out of selecting the perfect winter seasonal for your upcoming holiday dinner, ugly xmas sweater party or work gathering.

Tune in each weekday to learn about a new craft brew. We’ve chosen some New England favorites and are still accepting suggestions, so comment below and let us know what you’d like us to try. There are a lot of holiday brews out there that market toward seasonal lovers, but not all of them can make the nice list. We hope to weed out the subpar beers and save you from buying into the holiday hype.

Our first beer on tap is the, “Lump of Coal Dark Holiday Stout” (as the label states), Much More Than You Deserve for Christmas This Yearprobably true.

It’s an English Ale Imported by the Shelton Brothers of Belchertown, Mass with an 8% ABV

As always, I love to read the bottle:
Yet another bummed out holiday? Lump of Coal Dark Holiday Stout is liquid consolation. It’s a deep, rich, sweetly rewarding stout to take the edge off of that grim family gathering, that cheerless annual festival of alienation. This brew is as dark as it gets, as black as the lump of coal you’ll be getting for Christmas. Because, let’s face it, you’ve been pretty bad this year.

The Pour: Dark, like soot. No light is getting though this sucker. A dark red amber rim peaks through near the top and above it rests a small creamy head that dissipates quickly.

The Nose: Smells like toffee with a dark chocolate mocha after waft. Definitely a sweet, burnt sugary nose.

The Taste: A medium bodied brew, a bit more carbonation for a stout than I expected. It tastes like smoke, then a creaminess coats the tongue with a bitter, dark chocolate, boozy finish. (hey ABV – what’s up?) It’s malty and toasty, everything a winter stout should be. It’d be a great fireside warm up brew.

I like it, but it’s nothing I haven’t had before. It’s kind of a “so what?” beer. Drinkable and rich, but holiday? No. I would say it’s just another stout. So I’ll give it a solid B.

This beer would go great with sweets – caramels, chocolates and also roasts and stews. I would also say any soft-ripened cheese, blue or washed-rind would be delicious with this beer. Stay away from bitter cheeses but anything with a salty, sweet, and creamy flavor would pair up nicely.

Had it and loved it? Tried something better? Tells us below. Cheers!

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