Day 25 of the 2nd Annual Advent-ure Calendar

Day 25: Great Lakes Brewery Christmas Ale & Final Reflections

beard and broad great lakes christmas ale
25 Days of Winter Beer

Well we made it! We survived another 25 day holiday beer advent-ure. For our final beer, as a group, we decided on Great Lakes Christmas Ale. As we mentioned in previous posts, this is the Cleveland staple when it comes to holiday ales.  Clevelanders tend to live and breathe this beer come Christmas time.  If you’ve been keeping up with us, you’ve probably realized that this beer isn’t necessarily our #1 favorite Northeast Ohio beer. From their website: “Do not open ‘till Christmas? Whoever coined that phrase obviously hasn’t tasted Christmas Ale’s fresh honey, cinnamon, and ginger flavors.”

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Day 24 of the 2nd Annual Advent-ure Calendar

Day 24: Thirsty Dog Brewing Company 12 Dogs of Christmas

Scout presenting 12 Dogs

Many Northeast Ohio folk claim this beer as their favorite. In the recent years, Broad has grown to love this beer even more than Great Lakes. Interestingly enough, this is said to be the original Christmas Ale recipe as a brewer from Great Lakes left for Thirsty Dog.  Of course this could just be rumor, and probably is (especially if this article is any indication), but it’s a fun bit of local beer folklore.  From their website: “This beer’s name sums up the idea of brining the best together to celebrate. It is filled with seasonal flavors form generous amounts of toasted and caramel malts, mixed with equally generous amounts of honey, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. We feel it is the perfect libation, filled with flavors of the season.

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Day 23 of the 2nd Annual Advent-ure Calendar

Day 23: Bell’s Brewery Christmas Ale

Toby wrestling Gracie for the Bell’s Christmas Ale

Bell’s is another favorite brewery of ours. We get most of their beers here because they come from the state up North.  One of Broad’s favorite winter ales is their Winter White Ale which is a Belgian wheat ale. It’s light delicious and a nice variation from the heavy spiced ales. This Christmas ale however is Scottish ale. From their website: “A s essionable alternative to traditional spiced winter warmers, this Scottish Ale features Michigan grown malt from the Bell’s Farm in Shepherd, Michigan to impart dry, toasted notes along with subtle toffee flavors. A blend of hops from Michigan and the Pacific Northwest lend an earthy, herbal aroma to compliment your holiday menu, not overpower it.”

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Day 22 of the 2nd Annual Advent-ure Calendar

Day 22: Delirium Noel

For this beer Rigs and Toby wanted to- WHAT’S THAT?!

Broad has a special place in her heart for Delirium (produced by Brewery Huyghe). It was one of the first craft breweries she fell in love with and Tremens is one of her all time favorites. Unfortunately, these beers tend to be a little on the pricey side so we don’t buy them often. In Belgium, this beer is sold under the label “Delirium Christmas”. Noel is actually a Belgian Dark Strong Ale, so it has a bit more caramelized notes than Tremens, a Belgian Strong Ale.  Let’s get to it!

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Day 21 of the 2nd Annual Advent-ure Calendar

Day 21:  Brew Kettle Winter Warmer

Curl up with something soft and fluffy while sipping this winter warmer

Brew Kettle has been a staple of Northeast Ohio since 1995.  They were Ohio’s first brew-on-premise microbrewery, meaning you’re able to go to their facility to choose from over 70 different recipes, brew the beer (under the supervision of their staff of course), and bottle it to take home.  People have to reserve months in advance in order to be able to brew.  Aside from the brew-on-premise aspect of the place, they make some amazing beers themselves.  We know we’ve had this one before, but can’t quite recall how it holds up to others we’ve had.  From their website: “A Christmas Ale packed with the spices of the holidays; cinnamon, ginger, orange & lemon peel, and a sleigh load of honey. A beer thats loaded with holiday cheer!” Essentially, another basic, generic holiday ale description

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Day 20 of the 2nd Annual Advent-ure Calendar

Day 20: Platform Beer Co. Esther

Platform = joy

Platform Beer Co. is still a fairly new brewery, they’ve only been opened a little over two years. But their beers have made a huge impact on the Cleveland beer scene. They’ve also recently expanded and opened a brewery in Columbus. Their Esther Christmas ale is a “Belgian Dark Strong Ale brewed with Honey. Beautiful Dark fruit flavors of cherry and plum round out this rich beer.”  Esther is a little different than most other holiday beers in the Northeast by being a dark Belgian, while others focus on being a holiday spiced ale.  Read more

Day 19 of the 2nd Annual Advent-ure Calendar

Day 19: Boulevard Brewing Co. Nutcracker Ale

Adam & Alex assembling their army to descend upon all the scrooges out there

We have been obsessing over Boulevard beers since our road trip across the country. We had a stop in Kansas City and indulged in many Boulevard beers. They only recently started distributing in Ohio and we made all of our friends try their beers.  We’re especially fond of their sours and fruity beers.  This beer according to their website: “Nutcracker Ale is Boulevard’s holiday gift for real beer lovers. This hearty, warming brew is a classic winter ale, deep amber in color, with hints of molasses balanced by the spiciness of Chinook hops.”

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Day 18 of the 2nd Annual Advent-ure Calendar

Day 18: Victory Brewing Company Winter Cheers

Last day at the beach for Scott & CT

We’re very excited to try Winter Cheers. We wanted to pick this up as part of our loot but we already had our bunch set. Victory is known (in our eyes) for making delicious beers and we are lucky enough to find most of them around us. Overall, this brewery jam packs a lot of flavor in their beers so we’re expecting the same from this beer.

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Day 17 of the 2nd Annual Advent-ure Calendar

Day 17: Tröegs Brewing Mad Elf

Big props to Scott & CT for powering through this giant beer in the Florida sun

Tröegs’s(‘ss’sss’s’s) Mad Elf is one of those beers that’s always talked about around the holidays.  Besides the local Cleveland favorites, I’d say it’s one of the more popular Christmas beers.  I think it’s largely due to two factors: it’s a Belgian beer, so it’s different from most of the holiday beers out there; and it’s 11%, making it a rather strong beer even by winter beer standards.  Frankly, this beer knocks you on your holiday ass.  From their website: “The holidays at Tröegs start with our inner Mad Elf momentarily taking over the brew deck. So blame “him” for this cheerful ruby red creation reminiscent of ripened cherries, raw honey and cocoa with notes of cinnamon, clove and allspice.”

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