Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Great Lakes Christmas Ale

Great Lakes Brewing Company makes many great beers, like the Lake Erie Monster and the Nosferatu.  But the most sought after Great Lakes beer comes only one time a year.  It is the Christmas Ale, which has won five awards at the World Beer Championship.

The "Christmas Ale" style has a lot of leeway for brewers.  According to the Beer Judge Certification Program ("BJCP," which issues style guidelines for individuals who are training to become beer judges), "many interpretations" are possible when it comes to the flavors of a Christmas Ale, as well as the aromatics of these beers.  With regard to flavors, the spices used should complement, but not overwhelm, the beer.  Brewers have a wide array of choices when it comes to spices, whether it is dried fruit peels (such as raisin, plum, fig, orange or lemon) or holiday spices (like allspice cinnamon, clove, ginger,or nutmeg). 

In addition to using all natural ingredients (barley, hop, yeast and water), Great Lakes brews its Christmas Ale with honey and spices it with fresh ginger and cinnamon.  The beer pours a nice amber color.  The aromatics are subtle.  The spices provide some aromas that are evocative of the holiday season.  The cinnamon and ginger are much more pronounced in the taste of the beer.  Overall, it is a great beer and definitely worth having in the refrigerator for the holiday season.

Great Lakes Christmas Ale is usually available in November and December every year. However, the brewery makes only a limited amount of the beer and it tends to sell quickly.  The beer can also be expensive, costing more than $12.00 per six pack.

For more information about Great Lakes' Christmas ale, check out the profile provided by the brewery.  For more information about the Christmas Ale style, check out the Beer Judge Certification Program.

1 comment:

Angry Monkey said...

*sniff* I miss you xmas ale! I made up for it when I was in OH...

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