Sunday, December 15, 2013

2013 Advent Beer 15: Hollow Point Quadruple Ale

It appears there is more than one beer by this particular sobriquet out there: one from Belgium, which is totally apropos for a Belgian-style quad, and this one, from Stratford, Connecticut. Full marks for a captivating label and great copy, but in the end, I'm going to drink it, not frame it.


It pours a rich,caramel-amber, with a wispy head that soon dissipates except for a telltale trace around the rim. Traces of apple and perhaps citrus fruits, as well as bread in the nose.


A yeasty, bready taste, still with hints of apple and spice and dark bread, like most good Belgian ales. The 10% ABV means you are going to have a fair amount of sweetness, and very little bitterness to speak of. I've always found the tripels and quads to be heading out of beer country and into barleywine territory, not that this is necessarily a bad thing.


With wine for supper, I am not likely to have another beer this evening, which is good, because Hollow Point would be a tough act to follow. The Belgian styles are not usually the first place I go when looking for strong beer (as yesterday's IRS will attest to), but this beer would make a great conversation starter.


Manger-wise, our second wise man has arrived, and is, thankfully, a gentleman of colour. With gold assumedly out of the way, we can presume he is carrying either myrrh or frankincense, so since he has a jar, let's call it the former, which brings a little creepiness into the scene.


You see, myrrh is an aromatic gift, a sweet smelling resin extracted from certain varieties of tree. It has ritualistic properties going back to the ancient Egyptians, but in 1st century Palestine, it was most commonly used in the treatment of bodies for burial; a grim bit of foreshadowing that alludes to this child's eventual journey to Golgotha. Even the carol "We Three Kings" references this:

Myrrh is mine: Its bitter perfume

Breaths a life of gathering gloom.

Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding dying,

Sealed in the stone-cold tomb.


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