Since my original 12 Beers of X-Mas back in 2008, the idea has been taken up by many others, including Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Peter at BetterBeerBlog, Dan Murphy with the Press-Register, and the guys over at beerschoolblog. Cheers!
This year’s 12 Beers of X-Mas begins with the 2011 Christmas Ale from Goose Island. The reverse label on my bottle of this American brown ale is upside-down. The obverse shows the goose with a Santa hat, encircled by holly and ivy.
The Christmas Ale pours a barely hazy copper brown. The tan head is generous, but not as solid as I would like. The nose is mild but complex. A spiciness is immediately evident, with cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. A rich nutty and bready malt character follows, accompanied by a slight grassy hoppiness.
The grassy hop flavor stands out, assuring this beer a prominent place among American-style brown ales. The hops lend some bitterness, almost balanced by the nutty malt flavor. A spicy character and alcoholic bite add to the complex richness. An appropriate winter beer.
Goose Island Christmas Ale 2011