Kudos to Yukon Brewing for having the best named beer of the calendar thus far, and a tasty one to boot. I've had their Deadman Creek Cranberry Wheat Ale before and really enjoyed it, so when I saw this morning that 39 1/2 Foot Pole is a Blackcurrant Ale, I was pretty excited.
After three dark beers, it was good to switch things up to something lighter and hoppier; this ale pours a gorgeous reddish-gold with a modest head, and a nose full of hops and fruit. The earthy blackcurrant taste is definitely present but not overpowering, and not too sweet. The sweetness there is probably comes from the 6.9% ABV, which makes a nice complement to the tart hoppiness of 39 1/2 Foot Pole.
With that kind of potency, this is definitely not "the one to have when you're having more than one", but it would make a great substitution for a pre-dinner-party cocktail or après-ski beverage. I also highly recommend Granville Island's Lion Winter Ale for this purpose; it is a spectacular spiced ale, and if there is one in this calendar, I would be quite all right with that, despite having already tried it!
If you've read this far while wondering about the significance of the name, first of all, you have my pity. Secondly, please take a moment to enjoy the brilliant Thurl Ravenscroft, and listen carefully:
Your A Mean One Mr Grinch by The-Jazzman
On the nativity side of things, the first of the magi has shown up, but I have no real way of telling which one he is, but I can tell you he is a bit problematic. First of all, despite having been described as coming from 'The East' (and very likely to be a Zoroastrian astronomer/astrologer from Persia), he is dressed like western royalty. Secondly, his gift looks like apples, which in addition to not being gold, frankincense or myrrh, seems a little bit paltry for someone you've crossed the desert in pursuit of a star to see, doesn't it?
Well let's assume the apples are gold and just happen to be shaped like apples; you can never go wrong with giving cash, even though it might seem impersonal. Gold is one of the easiest of the first Christmas gifts to understand and identify with, since gold hasn't exactly become less valuable in the intervening millennia.