Foam for the holidays: local brews

By on December 3, 2014

‘Tis the season! Thanksgiving has come and gone and I feel I can finally talk about holiday beers (although most brewers are as overzealous as many Christmas fanatics who celebrate earlier and earlier every year and have already released their special seasonal offerings to the public).

‘Tis the season where you can witness the poor novice who has his/her first run in with Mad Elf at the local bar. The Tröegs creation is notorious for wrecking the evenings of those who are unaware of this seasonal brew’s potency. With honey and cherry flavors topping chocolate malts, Mad Elf clocks in at 11 percent alcohol by volume (ABV) by fermenting and aging the red beer with unique, spicy Belgian yeast. It packs a wallop! Here’s a look at what some local breweries are offering this Yuletide … and remember to drink responsibly!

Appalachian Brewing Company recently released their Grinnin’ Grizzly Holiday Spiced Ale. Available on draft, this amber beer is brewed with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and fresh orange zest. It is slightly hoppier than Mad Elf and carries more of a “spiced” flavor, although it is not too heavy. December brings the release of Pennypacker Porter to all ABC locations. This traditional beer style is named after former Gov. Samuel Pennypacker and carries a modest 5.4 ABV.

Appalachian Brewing Company’s Grinnin’ Grizzly Holiday Spiced Ale contains cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and fresh orange zest. (Photo courtesy of ABC)

Appalachian Brewing Company’s Grinnin’ Grizzly Holiday Spiced Ale contains cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and fresh orange zest. (Photo courtesy of ABC)

Also in Lititz, another porter recently hit the taps. Sturgis Haus decided to heat things up this winter with Screamin Schwein, a chipotle pepper spiked porter.

Screamin Schwein, available at Sturgis Haus, is a fiery chipotle spiked porter. (Photo courtesy of Sturgis Haus)

Screamin Schwein, available at Sturgis Haus, is a fiery chipotle spiked porter. (Photo courtesy of Sturgis Haus)

Recently, Stoudt’s Brewing Company created a special holiday reserve beer called Belsnickel Lager. This toasty brew incorporates ginger, cinnamon, plums and raisins into the brewing process. It is a dark lager with a lot of fruit and spice. This is the first holiday spiced beer from Stoudt’s and was brewed at the request of some faithful customers. Bottling was limited to a small run and has already sold out, but the 6.3 ABV Belsnickel Lager is available on tap at the Black Angus Restaurant & Pub. I would recommend getting in soon if you are eager to try this specialty offering. Next up for Stoudt’s is the return of Karnival Kolsch — one of my favorite beers by the Adamstown brewery. The dry, German-style beer usually appears at the end of January.

Photo courtesy of Stoudt’s Belsnickel Lager, available at Stoudt’s Brewing Company, incorporates ginger, cinnamon, plums and raisins.

Photo courtesy of Stoudt’s
Belsnickel Lager, available at Stoudt’s Brewing Company, incorporates ginger, cinnamon, plums and raisins.

Jeff Harless at JoBoy’s is doing more than showing off his new location in Lititz, he’s releasing something quite special from his vats. Recently, I was given the opportunity to taste the brewery’s first ever barley wine. Rich and complex, this strong ale tastes more like a port than a beer. Harless decided not to try and replicate the traditional English barley wine by making a hoppier, sweet, Americanized concoction. The 9.5 ABV barley wine has been aged three years and is now available on tap. Since production was limited, Harless plans to intermittently remove the brew from tap circulation and reintroduce it over the winter months. This beer will make a perfect digestif after a meal of authentic southern barbecue.

JoBoy’s barley wine, a new addition to their menu, makes a perfect digestif after a meal of authentic southern barbecue. (Photo by Kevin Shaw)

JoBoy’s barley wine, a new addition to their menu, makes a perfect digestif after a meal of authentic southern barbecue. (Photo by Kevin Shaw)

Michael C. Upton is a freelance writer specializing in arts and leisure. He welcomes comments at somepromcu@gmail.com and facebook.com/SomebodiesProductions.

 

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