The holidays are upon us and the choices of beers are a many. Gone are the days when we are left with only Christmas beers and Winter warmers to help us celebrate, and celebrate we shall. For today’s consideration I have Hanukkah, Chanukah from Shmaltz Brewing, Solstice d’Hiver from Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!, and Anchors Christmas Ale (40th).
First in line in both holiday and this list is Hanukkah, Chanukah from Shmaltz Brewing. A dark ale boasting 8 malts, 8 hops, and 8% abv. The use of 8 was provided by divine inspiration and results in divine taste. Dark, black at first glance but with a deep garnet hue that becomes visible when held up to light. It has a nice balanced sweetness with hints of dark chocolate. It finishes dry with a noticeable sticky finish. The aroma is somewhat boozy and reminiscent of molasses. If I only had 8 more I could make my own Menorah
Our second offering is Solstice d’hiver from Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!. A barley wine topping out at 10.2% abv will make a fine offering to the pagan gods of winter. Dark brown, almost black, and similar to a raisin in color. This beer has full bodied toffee sweetness that stays behind but not unpleasantly. Solstice d’hiver is strong both in taste and aroma, but enjoyable to the last drop. Several of these would do a better than admirable job of getting you through the shortest day of the year.
My final choice is the fortieth annual release of Anchors Christmas Ale. A brew that is different each year and one that I have not sampled in quite some time. The fortieth edition of this beer dark but noticeably more red than the other two choices. A beer that is visually striking with the contrasting thick white head cast atop the deep colored liquid. I was pleasantly surprised to find this iteration of the beer to be almost lacking completely of traditional baking spices; and instead is reminiscent of dark ripened fruit and bergamot. The aroma is sweet and represented by a scent that I enjoy but cannot place. This beer does have a residual sweetness to it that is noticeable but not unpalatable.
Wow, Happy Holidays to Me! All three of these beers were delicious and if I had to chose one it would be the Hanukkah, Chanukah which is both artfully made and unique. But don’t let me decide for you, go out buy these beers and celebrate the holidays.
Mike “Beruski” Berube is a beer lover who has the belief that there are good beers, there are bad beers, and then there is the right beer. He has begun a quest to find the perfect for every situation.