Tap It proposes their American Standard Ale as a 'session pale ale'; it brings to mind the ancient jingle of Schaefer's: "the one beer to have when you're having more than one". What a delightful proposition! There are so many quality beers whose appeal has an inverse relationship with the volume consumed, so I am glad the brewing craftsmen are taking this into account.
The beer pours a pleasant, clear golden colour, with about a finger of decent head. You can definitely scent the hops, but we aren't into double IPA or stunt beer territory here; more citrus than pine. A good swallow showcases a very decent body for such a pale ale, and goes down tremendously smooth, with just a bit of hoppy bite at the finish, and a hint of nut in the aftertaste. Extremely well balanced, and for the first time, a beer causes me to question the wisdom of those who curate this marvelous calendar; presenting an almost ideal session beer for those inclined to hops, but only one of them? An oversight at best, a cruel jape at worst!
The final wise man showed up today, throwing a monkey wrench into my interpretation of the gifts: this one carries a...rod? (Scepter? Bat?) of gold, meaning the apples previously are more likely to be a representation of frankincense. It's probably just as well; the whole golden apples thing was just a touch too Discordian to suit me, despite the amusement it provided for The Rare Hipster and I.
Frankincense is another aromatic resin, like myrrh, and probably would have been called levonah by Hebrews at the time. Unlike myrrh, which has associations with burial and preservation, frankincense was commonly used in religious ceremonies. Gold, frankincense and myrrh cover kingly, godly and mortal aspects of Jesus' birth and eventual death; the last gift establishes his bona fides while foreshadowing his fate. Sometimes this Christmas story has some dark underpinnings, doesn't it?
Fenya sang, 'In The Bleak Midwinter' in church today, and it was well received despite being much more somber in tone than a lot of other seasonal music. Rather in keeping with the gifts of the magi, if you think about it; bittersweet like baker's chocolate.