It's around about this time of the year that I start pining for the cooler temperatures of November and December. Here we are at the beginning of July with the dog days of August still ahead of us, although it has to be said that this summer hasn't been too uncomfortable so far. We're almost halfway through the hottest part of the year and we still haven't hit 100°!
Damn, I probably just jinxed it, didn't I.
During the summer months I also start pining for some of those delicious winter beers. Sure, I love the summer seasonals and the lighter beers that the hot weather puts you in the mood for but I'm ready for a winter warmer or two any time of the year, so with that in mind we've decided to take a little break from the wheats and the lagers with the inaugural Christmas in July Beerfest.
Over the next three or four weeks we'll be featuring a few of the drafts and bottles that we've held back since last winter, including (but not limited to):
Avery Old Jubilation (draft) Old Jubilation isn't brewed with spices and other flavourings the way that many other Christmas beers are, which is probably why Avery describes it as an English strong ale rather than a winter warmer. They allow the rich blend of malts do the talking, including victory malt which lends a biscuity, nutty flavour to the brew. You should also look for a moderate malt sweetness with a good hop balance and a slightly bitter finish, plus hints of toffee and caramel, dark fruits and maybe a little cognac too.
After tapping this one and trying the first pour from the keg I can tell you that it is without a doubt one of the tastiest beers I've had in a long time. The months spent in our room-temperature beer store have done it a power of good. 8.0% ABV
Avec Les Bons Voeux Saison (draft) Brasserie Dupont in Belgium is known primarily for its year-round Saison Dupont, regarded by beer connoisseurs as one of the world's best saisons, but there is another, lesser known saison in their portfolio. Although the saison is usually thought of as a summer beer, this particular example of the style was originally brewed in very small quantities as a New Year gift to their best clients. Its full name is Avec Les Bons Voeux de la Brasserie Dupont, which means 'With the best wishes of the Dupont Brewery'. Although it's now part of their seasonal lineup, it's still brewed in very limited quantities. This keg was the very first one we bought specifically for the Badass Tap, way back in January and it's been sitting in our referigerated walk-in since then. Seeing it go will almost be like watching your firstborn child flying the nest. 9.5% ABV
St Bernardus Christmas Ale (bottle) The St Bernardus brewery of Watou, Belgium is held in very high esteem and rightly so, and this is a superb example of a dark Belgian ale. Plenty of malty sweetness up front, heaps of spicy Belgian yeastiness, but a deceptively dry finish with a hint of bitterness. The aftertaste of this beer is very reminiscent of barley sugar twist. This will be the first of the Christmas bottles. 10% ABV
Delirium Noël (bottle) Another dark Belgian ale, this time from the Brouwerij Huyghe near Gent.These are the folks who put their beer in ceramic bottles with pink elephants on the label. First brewed in 2000, Noël is similar to the St Bernardus but with a slightly tart apple flavour common to the other two Delirium beers (Tremens and Nocturnum). There's plenty of malt sweetness and peppery Belgian-ness together with hints of dark fruit. A deliciously complex beer. 10% ABV
As hinted above, there might be a surprise guest or two added to the bill, but we're still in negotiations. You know it can be sometimes with contract riders - a particular brand of water, no green M+Ms, just the right shade of pink on the walls, that sort of thing. Each new beer (draft or bottle, listed or surprise) will be announced on the Drafthouse Twitter feed.
And since its, er, Christmas, let's go out with a seasonal song. Merry Christmas everyone, and a happy new beer!
Jim Hughes, Head Beer Nerd, Alamo South Lamar “If I had all the money I’ve spent on drink… I’d spend it on drink.” ~ Sir Henry Rawlinson