Hootenanny Ribs

Hootenanny Ribs
3-2-1 rib perfection on my Traeger Pro 34 wood pellet grill

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Twelve Beers of Christmas 2013

The holidays are a great time to select your best beers from your cellar or fridge to share with your family, friends, or savor by yourself by the fireplace.  For the past few years I have enjoyed assembling a "Twelve Beers of Christmas" to enhance my holiday beer experiences all while giving me another good reason to acquire rare and highly rated beers during the year to save for this event.  The 2013 lineup is no exception.  These beers are all offerings that I have not yet tried giving me yet another reason to enjoy the season.  The tastings start on Christmas day, one of these exquisite beers per day, and goes twelve days, following the Twelve Days of Christmas festive tradition.  I give you my Twelve Beers of Christmas for 2013:

1. The Bruery Oude Tart


"Oude Tart is a Flemish-Style Red Ale aged in red wine barrels for 18 months. Pleasantly sour with hints of leather, dark fruit and toasty oak."

I'm very fond of this style and this is a great brewery so I know this will be epic.  Thank you Matt R for acquiring this one for me.

2. Engelszell Gregorius Trappistenbier 

"The Trappist monastery of Stift Engelszell is located in Engelhartszell, in the northern part of Upper Austria, on the Danube, in a valley with wooded hills.  This monastery has been a member of the International Trappist Association (ITA) since 2008.  In 2009 the ITA granted Stift Engelszell the right to use the 'Authentic Trappist Product' label on its Trappist liqueurs.  The Trappist community have launched a dark Trappist beer, the 'Gregorius' (9.7% ABV). This name refers to Dom Gregorius Eisvogel who was the abbot of Stift Engelszell Abbey for 25 years (1925-1950)."

This is the only "Authentic Trappist" brewery from which I have not tried at least one of their ales.  One of my beer goals for 2013 was to track down one ale from the remaining Trappist Monasteries that I have not tasted.  Mission accomplished. 

3. Williamsburg AleWerks Brewmasters Reserve Café Royale

AleWerks Brewmasters Reserve Café Royale

"We age a stronger version of our CoffeeHouse Stout in Virginia Gentlemen Bourbon Barrels for 3 months. This aging adds layers of complexity including notes of vanilla and Bourbon to this big coffee beer." 

This beer is from a beer trade with BeerPal Melanie Wiscount who attended my annual  Hootenanny in 2013 by riding down on her Harley-Davidson from Washington, D.C. with FoamDome.  Aged in Bourbon barrels; what's not to like?

4. AleSmith Decadence 2012

"Decadence is the ongoing anniversary ale from the amazing AleSmith, unquestionably one of America's top five breweries, and this 2012 is a real show-stopper: a Belgian-style Quad that serves up a completely hedonistic richness and velvet-like creaminess that just tastes special; a beer obviously brewed with consummate skill and obsessive care. The lush fruits and boozy notes present themselves powerfully and the brawny 12% ABV is absolutely undetectable. This is a masterful ale from a world-class brewery and a perfectly delicious treat!
Raisins, milk chocolate, burnt sugar, molasses, treacle, yeast-driven spices, and rum fruitcake notes make this a titanic, memorable limited ale!"

Really looking forward to this one.  This will be my first in the annual Decadence series.

5. 3 Fonteinen Intense Red Oude Kriek

"Intense Red is an artisanal, unsweetened, unfiltered old kriek. It contains a higher amount of cherries, making it slightly less sour than a traditional 3 Fonteinen kriek. The new beer is the result of a collaboration between 3 Fonteinen’s Armand DeBelder and Manu De Cort of PuPil, a creative marketing company in Halle."

3 Fonteinen Intense Red Oude Kriek

I simply love most kriek ales I've tried, especially the higher quality Belgian offerings.

Scaldis Noël

"It is the custom in Belgium custom to brew a beer a bit bolder and stronger as a holiday gift to loyal patrons. At 12.5% ABV, the little Scaldis Noël bottle contains one giant beer. It has a burnished ruby-copper color and a spicy aroma with notes of caramel and marzipan and peach. The taste is round, with hints of anise leading to a long warming finish. If it is snowing and you have a Yule-tide log—fire it up and sip a Scaldis Noël—Pieter Breughel couldn’t paint a more Belgian scene!"

Merry Christmas to me!

7. Central Waters Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine (2011)

"A barleywine ale aged for a full year on used bourbon barrels, this beer has flavors of dark fruits and wood, winner of the Gold Medal at the 2008 Great American Beer Festival."
PfoxyJohn, aka Beer Santa, gifted me this beer in 2011.  It is time to enjoy this puppyThank you Mr. Pfister.  You are indeed Beer Santa.

8. Bells Third Coast Ale (2012)

"Third Coast Old Ale focuses on malt, offering notes of burnt caramel & other earthy malt flavors. Designed with vintage aging in mind, the malt aspect is matched to a heavy complement of hops. Sharply bitter at first, this will fold into the malt character over time and balance out the maltiness."

Another top rated beer acquired in a beer trade, this one with BeerPal kinger.

9. The Abyss (2012)

"A deep, dark Imperial Stout, The Abyss has almost immeasurable depth and complexity. Hints of molasses, licorice and other alluring flavors make it something not just to quaff, but contemplate.  As for the great "drink it now or let it age" debate, we stand clearly on the fence. Distinct and delicious on release, the flavors meld and fuse into an entirely different pleasure a year on."

The Abyss Interview video 

Another gift from PfoxyJohn. Huge thank you. 

10. Struise Pannepot

"In the early 1900s, the village of De Panne, close to the French border, was famous for two things — the ‘Pannepot,’or fishing boats, that could be seen along the coast, and the unique dark ale enjoyed by the local fishermen. Our Old Fisherman’s Ale is a tribute to these hardy sailors and their rich, flavorful brew.
Pannepot is an unfiltered, unpasteurized, bottle-conditioned dark ale with an intense, complex chocolate malt aroma, roasted accents, and subtle hints of spice."

One of the top beers in the world.  Surprise find.

11.  Bear Republic Big Bear Black Stout

"Big Bear is a big, black, stout you can really sink your teeth into. The bold, roasty, caramel malt flavor is balanced by Centennial and Cascade hops."


One of the best stouts in America. On my wish list for quite a while. 

12.  Dieu du Ciel Péché Mortel 

"Péché Mortel (French for "Mortal Sin") is an intensely black and dense beer with very pronounced roasted flavors. Fair trade coffee is infused during the brewing process, intensifying the bitterness of the beer and giving it a powerful coffee taste. Péché Mortel is brewed to be savored; we invite you to drink it in moderation."

This Canadian beer has also been on my wish list for quite a long time.  Purchased at Belmont Party Supply in Dayton, OH.  Ending my Twelve Beers of Christmas with this one because it has evaded me longer than any of the others.

These magnificent dozen are certain to greatly enhance my Christmas spirit.  No "Bah, humbug" from me.  I'm going to be like that Jolly Old Elf by the time my Twelve Beers of Christmas have been enjoyed.  Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Joyous New Year to you all. 


  1. That, good sir, is as fine a Christmas line up as I have seen. Well done, and thanks for writing about it! You have inspired me!

    1. Dave, I believe that my Twelve Beers of Christmas have been exceedingly better every year. This year's line up is possibly the best so far with at least FIVE from BeerPal's Top 100. I hope that you have your own great Twelve (at least) Beers of Christmas.

    2. Where are you getting these? Certainly not around this beermageddon!

    3. Ohio, Portland, Wisconsin, all of which I traveled to in 2013. Some from trades, some gifts from great beer friends. No way I could have gathered these in Tennessee, although it is slowly getting better around here.