Christmas is many things to many people but one of the holiday truisms is the abundance and indulgence especially when it comes to rich foods and sumptuous desserts. So what better to accompany this calorie-laden fete than a heavy, viscous and equally rich beer? Now before you default to the tried and true (cough, cough …Guinness) how about taking a chance on something a little bit different…
First up is Southern Tier’s Imperial Creme Brulee Stout heavy ale that pours a rich deep black with dark caramel head. The smell alone is worth the purchase; the burnt crème scent so distinctive to the dessert namesake wafts strongly from the glass before you even get a sip. Initially this beer has an almost bitter quality, a coffee essence if you will or strong roast malt, but this is countered as you continue to drink with the sweetness. Definitely one to savour after a meal and I think you would want to serve this cool but not cold as it seems to mellow as you drink it.
Second, the Brooklyn Chocolate Stout another strong, dark and heavy ale that pours near black. This one has a staggering 10% ABV so be warned… I thought it was important to put that out there early in the review since the sheer awesomeness of this beer makes one (me for instance) want to drink it down (too) quickly. This ale has all the hallmarks of a great stout viscosity, colour, depth, chocolate, coffee and lots of malty goodness. My go to stout for the season. Like the Creme Brulee stout this beer does not want to be ‘Coors lite mountain cold’ but rather prefers to linger at a cool-ish room temperature.
The last quaff is God Jul from Norway a dark seasonal more like a porter than a stout. I would love to give a bit of a description from the brewer here but alas I do not speak Norwegian and I have no idea what the bottle says. So onto my evaluation –just so you know I did not select this beer blind as I had sampled their stout earlier and was very impressed. God Jul did not disappoint. An opaque, effervescent and sediment heavy beer, what my partner dubbed used motor oil, God Jul has a fruity, apple cider nose and the strength of a Belgian. The beer pours dark with an impressive amount of lacing, which lingers on the sides of your glass. There is a definite spice element and a burnt aftertaste.
So who is our holiday winner? Which beer will be left out for Santa with a plate of gingerbread? Drum roll please… oh gosh I can’t pick between them they are all great in their own way so 4.5’s all around for Southern Tier Creme Brulee, Brooklyn Chocolate Stout and God Jul.