Editor's Note: So many beers, so little time. One Big Bottle will spotlight the brews we're sipping, one by one.
If you're looking for fruitcake in beer form, this is the winter warmer for you. New York's Heartland Brewery sent us a sample of this 2007 special edition of their Old Red Nose ale, which clocks in at 8% ABV (as opposed to their classic version, which is 5.5% ABV.)
This beer is brewed with a bit of caramel malt and chocolate malt, as well as some cold press orange oil, cinnamon sticks, and fresh ginger added in the last 15 minutes of the boil.
It's a rich and creamy, malt-forward brew, without being overly sweet. It reminded us of molasses, dates soaked in rum, with hints of allspice and ginger, candied orange and Boston brown bread. This Christmas beer leans toward the pruniness of a Belgian dubbel; it doesn't have much in the way of piney hops. It's warming and strong, though pretty well balanced, as long as you're craving something sweet and rich.
Pair this ale with brisket braised with carrots or a platter of roast duck or goose with chutney or cranberry sauce. Or put it out for Santa with a little plate of gingerbread men.
Are you drinking Christmas beers on Christmas Eve? Which ones are your favorites?