About Beer – Spiced Ales for Christmas drinking!

My husband is really into craft beers, and loves to share the delights of handcrafted brews with anyone who will listen.  I, on the other hand, don’t really have a large vocabulary of adjectives for beer. So here is a combined review/commentary style thing about my favourite style. Spiced beers. What better time of year than christmas to explore the deliciousness of these. A very good place to do that in Brisbane is The Scratch. You can pretty well find all of these there.

My original experience with spiced beer started many years ago with the first release of NZ brewery’s Monteiths Summer Ale. A delicious and refreshing slightly gingery beer, great for a drinking session on a hot day. With an obvious limited  one, these beers have expanded my understanding of how spices can be used and applied in different ways.   I’m just sharing what I’ve discovered, and I encourage you to get behind smaller breweries like all these ones to try and support their artisan craftiness.

Lobethal Bierhaus – 7.5% Christmas Ale from South Australia.  Apart from the label being awesome, it‘s like drinking a delicious christmas pudding. It is rich and sweet, with more chocolatey style to it. It is less spicy than the Taieri George, but well balanced. The heavier alcohol definitely warms your heart, and would be so perfect sitting by the fire on a snowy December night in the Northern hemisphere.

Nogne O God Jul –  American Strong Ale from Norway, 8.5%. OK, so I’m not really one for dark beers, but this made me say WOW. In fact, this very beer played a part in turning my tastes to the darker variety. It’s sweet, caramel, cakey, delicious, and hints of spice flavours, although I don’t think there is any actual spice used in the brewing.

Emersons Taieri George – 6.8% Spiced Ale from NZ. This is like a big fat mouthful of gingerbread. It’s delicious. Darker and thicker in body, sweet like a biscuit and spicy like ginger, nutmeg and cloves. You can’t help but feel all cool and christmassy drinking this. Its a shame we’re in 30 degree heat here in Brisbane!

Norrebros Julebryg – 7% Danish Spiced Ale. This one is light in body, and not too sweet. You could taste more yeasty characteristics, but after the first couple of mouthfuls that mellows out. The spice flavour was very subtle.

Red Hill Brewery – Christmas Ale 8.3% Victoria, Australia. This one wasn’t so much traditionally spiced, but the hops they used were more the driver for spiciness. As a hoppy ale, it was great. But for me, the traditional spicy flavours of ginger, cinnamon etc are the drawcard for a ‘christmas ale’. If you don’t like those flavours, but want to get into the christmas spirit, then this is for you!

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