Schlafly Christmas Ale

Schlalfly Christmas Ale 8% ABVSchlafly Christmas Ale
Christmas Ale

I had a some criteria in mind while deciding which 6 pack to purchase on my most recent beer run.  1) I wanted a Christmas Ale/Winter Warmer.  2) I wanted a regional craft beer.  3) I’m always looking for a beer I haven’t tried before.

As I was looking through the plethora of beer options, I came across cases of Schlafly Christmas Ale.  The label of this brew could not have been better, as I always keep in mind that I might review a beer and how photogenic it could be.  The beer also met my first two criteria perfectly.  It says right on the label Christmas Ale against the backdrop of a Christmas tree.  It’s definitely a regional craft beer as the vast majority of Schlafly sales occur within a 200 mile radius of their brewery.

The one knock against this choice was that I had already sampled last year’s Schlafly Christmas Ale.  It was only a small sampling of about 3oz and I felt like trying out a 6 pack this go around.  Also Untappd takes into consideration situations like this by allowing you to specify as a unique checkin different years of the same brew.  With a seasonal beer like this, minor changes do occur in ingredients or how the beer is made, so I would still be able to continue my march to 500 unique beers with this brew.

I’m a big fan of Schlafly and recently visited both the Schlafly Bottleworks and the Schlafly Tap Room, reviews of both will be coming out early next year.  That was the final tipping point, instead of wasting anymore time I grabbed the 6 pack and made my way to the checkout line.

After pouring this beer into a brandy snifter which is the recommend glass, I took a deep inhalation.  Not really much there in the nose to pick up on, but then again I always have slightly stuffed nostrils this time of year.

Next the tasting.  I was immediately able to pick up on the ginger root, a common ingredient in beers of this style.  The other more unique ingredients, orange peel, juniper berries, cardamom and cloves, provide a really nice panache of flavor.  Honey is used in the fermentation process of this beer to increase the ABV “without producing too much heat from the alcohol content.” The combination of the spices and the honey in fermentation make this beer reminiscent of a mulled wine or mead.  This is an ideal Christmas beer.

This beer is similar in a lot of ways to the Schlafly Pumpkin Ale.  They are both 8% ABV, best enjoyed out of brandy snifter glasses, and the adjunct ingredients of both provide the respective beers with nice depth of character and wonderfully appropriate seasonal flavors.  They are also on the higher end of the price spectrum costing you around $11.99 for a 6 pack, both being well worth the price though.

I definitely recommend purchasing a 6 pack of this beer.  If you are headed to a Holiday party grab two 6 packs, one to share and one to keep.  This is the perfect 6 pack to share with just a couple of friends or family member while wrapping presents.  Make sure you only have a couple though, as the 8% ABV can creep up on you and the last thing anyone wants is to wake up Christmas morning to see you passed out underneath the Christmas tree.

Better yet, set aside one of these brews for that yearly X-mas Eve visitor.  Before everyone goes to bed put an unopened bottle in a cup full of ice with an empty brandy snifter glass beside it.  Leave a note for Santa, apologizing for the lack of milk and cookies, and offering him this brew.  Your stockings will be filled to overflowing, never in your life so many goodies left for you.  As Santa will most certainly enjoy this delicious warming ale.  No need to worry about Santa drinking and sledding, I trust Vixen or Blitzen to be his DD after stopping at your home and mine.

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