It took me five tries to pull the correct beer out of the Advent Calendar this morning, which is frustrating in two distinct ways: first it is woefully inefficient and time consuming, but worse still is that it spoils the surprise for future beers. The packaging this year is a bit of a shambles, and although they have tweeted apologies, I will need assurances that the issues will be addressed before next year's calendar is released, or I will be disinclined to participate.
Some of this year's adventeers are also dismayed at the relatively high number of strong beers, as well as the fact that they are showing up on weekdays, but I just see that as part of the fun. Tonight's selection is no exception; West Sixth Brewing from Kentucky (never sold in Alberta before!) presents their 9% ABV Christmas Ale.
I like a spiced ale any time, but more so in the winter to be sure, so I was eagerly anticipating this one. It pours out an intensely dark caramel colour, with a modest amount of tannish foam. There is a slightly musty aroma, but it carries with it scents of nutmeg, ginger and cloves, very appropriate for the Christmas season!
The first impression is of a malty sweetness, suitable to the style, but traces of the spices smelled follow through quickly on the palate, joined by orange peel and cardamom, and maybe cinnamon to boot. Very tasty indeed, and it is not cloying, and bears no burning from the spices or hotness from the high alcohol content. I don't know if West Sixth's Christmas Ale ranks quite as favourably as Biere De Noel, but it follows in the same footsteps to be sure and is a delightful winter warmer.