Well here we are on yet another Christmas day. We don't really do Christmas, outside of presents and sometimes dinner. This year I couldn't be bothered to make a nice dinner, so beer & presents it is. I made cinnamon rolls for Christmas breakfast, though, so surely that counts for something.
We bottled John's smoked porter today - pictured there on the right. We made it on Thanksgiving with his mom and bottled it on Christmas day. Surely it deserves a holiday-related name. Fireside Smoked Porter? Yuletide Smoked Porter? Shopping Frenzy Smoked Porter, perhaps...
Tuesday night, I picked up an Ommegang Gift Box at Royal off State Line. It contains Chocolate Indulgence, Hennepin, and Three Philosophers, as well as a nice Ommegang glass (essentially a large flute). I can't remember the exact price, but I think it was $23.99. It was somewhere in that neighborhood anyway. We cracked open the Three Philosophers that night and it was enjoyable, as always. Someone was thinking when they blended Kriek with Belgian strong ale. It has a perfect balance of strong, Belgian fruitiness with a dry cherry flavor. It's not sweet like the Framboise lambic is by itself. I've always enjoyed it, but am moving it up on my "beers I enjoy" list as of late.
I worked half a day on Christmas Eve, then spent the evening at Waldo Pizza (where they have Boulevard Single Wide on tap), enjoying some of a 12" Choice Cut pizza. Whoever decided bacon on pizza was a good idea should win some sort of prize. I enjoyed a delicious Avery Reverend, which they had on tap. John had a Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale, followed by a Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye (my favorite Bear Republic!), both also on draught.
We then came home and polished off the other two Ommegang bottles, which was an extremely good idea. We started with Hennepin... Now, I'm not a big Saison person. I do, however, appreciate a good one when I taste it and Hennepin is one of them. It has more hop profile than a typical Belgian Saison, which I think makes it a more remarkable beer. I found myself wanting to pair it with a cave-aged Gouda (but then, I pretty much want to eat cheese with anything).
Instead, we just moved on to Chocolate Indulgence. This beer is so fantastic, it is worth trying at least once even if you don't think you're going to like it. It's a pretty complex stout, bringing out not only flavors of chocolate, but ones of roasted coffee and caramel as well. The chocolate is definitely detectable, but not overwhelming. The hoppiness is rather forward, which I prefer, and balances the maltiness of the ale extremely well. I highly recommend this one, even if you're not a "chocolate beer" fan.