And thus we return to Alabama and the Back Forty Beer Company for their second contribution to this Advent escapade, Truck Stop Honey. Not just a catchy name, this brown ale actually is sweetened with honey, similar to the Killer Bee dark honey ale brewed by Tin Whistle in Penticton.
Sadly, this is the first disappointment from the calendar; Truck Stop Honey isn't awful, but it really fails to distinguish. The tiny wisp of head disappears almost immediately, there is little to no carbonation in the mouthfeel, and the nose is tepid and uninspiring.
Taste-wise, the first taste is a promising mix of the nuttiness of brown ale with a sweet hint of honey in the aftertaste, but subsequent sips reveal more and more about the beer's lack of character. The ale portion is simply not a strong enough foundation to support the honey, and you end up with a somewhat flat, overly sweet beer-flavoured beverage.
On the other hand, it is a great reminder to pick up a bomber of Killer Bee the next time I'm at Sherbrooke.
In tiny, magnetic Bethlehem today, The Star showed up. Not 'a' star, I stress, but capital-t The, capital-s Star, The Star.
Knowing what we do now about cosmology often makes me wonder about the star; to the people living in Biblical times, they were a mystery, for God (or gods) to do with as they wished. 21 centuries later, I find it unlikely that God ignited a nebula or nova-d a main sequence plasma ball just to serve as a signpost for the impending birth of his son into a foster family here on our little planet. Still, something had to draw those magi all the way from Persia, and I'd be pretty surprised for them to fall for the old 'a concentration of swamp gas reflecting an image of Venus rising' trick.
There are theories, actually, that it might have been a triple conjunction of planets, or perhaps a very bright comet; something the magi would have seen in Babylonia, prompting the journey to Judea, and then again after they had met with King Herod. According to Chris DeBurgh, it might have been a spaceship, so it could pay to keep an open mind going forward.
Regardless of what The Star may actually have been, the theme of heavenly portents and celestial guidance still carries some allure two millennia down the road.