Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The 12 Beers of Winter


I always look forward to the annual 12 Beers of Winter (was "Christmas" so terribly politically incorrect? Used to be the 12 Beers of Christmas....) from Saranac, and this year's dozen has so far proven to be quite tasty: 2 each of ESB, Belgian Ale, Season's Best Nut Brown, and three new brews---Vanilla Stout, Bohemian Pilsner and India Brown Ale. Saranac always tests new beers in this 12-pack, and that makes for some nice wintertime excitement.

I'm not a big fan of the Belgian Ale, but someone in Utica, NY must like it to keep it included here. Saranac's tastes thin to me, and this year's version is no exception. You can salvage this brew by serving it with some steamed mussels with garlic, some ripe brie or gouda, or a field greens or arugula salad. Just my opinion, but you know me with food and beer pairings, it's just an obsession.
The Boho Pilsner on the other hand is quite good, with a bracing, crisp taste and a slightly nutty finish. Good solid beer, period. Grab some pretzels, hot dogs or brats and you'll dig this beer when the Iggles smack down those Jersey Jiants on Sunday.

The India Brown Ale is Saranac's attempt to soften its IPA with more malt, but I don't know why. They make a decent IPA already. And the Season's Best is a very yummy nut brown ale. Experimentation for the sake of experimentation? Maybe a brewer could better answer that question. Still and all, this is a good burger beer.

I do always enjoy the Season's Best Nut Brown; it's my new favorite beer to have with that Christmas ham sandwich. Just a good mild, holiday session beer.
I'm waiting to find the right moment to try the Vanilla Stout. I'm thinking---maybe---beer float! Never had a beer float? Really? Oh sweet Jesus you're in for some fun for dessert! I promise to make that a future post.

8 comments:

Susan said...

Vanilla Stout, oh baby that sounds good -- good enough for me to buy the 12 Beers of Winter if I can locate it here. I'll let you know if I do find it, and maybe we can make a cyber date to drink a stout float together.

Rich Pawlak said...

I think we'll be doing some beer floats very soon in the Friday night NBI; stay tunwed!!!

Susan said...

Any chance of beer floats in the NBI tonight? As usual I doubt that I can stay awake, but I've got some BBBCS and some vanilla ice cream calling me. I didn't get to look for vanilla stout yet.

Rich said...

Weare up and running in the NBI, sleepy head

Susan said...

You got me. I did try! But the Sandman won out.
What were the highlights? Did you have a float?

Rich said...

Saranac Vanilla Stout and Halo Chocolate Chocolate Chip for me, and it was OUTSTANDING! Couldnt taste the others'.

Lew Bryson said...

From talking to other brewers, I'm betting they changed it to "Winter" from "Christmas" so they could keep selling it into February. Most consumers won't buy a "Christmas" beer after January 1. Crazy, ain't they?

Rich said...

Duh, never THOUGH of that!