Monday, January 28, 2008

Well, I said I'd try.

In my opinion, one of the most hackneyed clichés in the seasonal beer style lexicon is this one: “When the ground turns white, the brews go dark. It’s time for malty wintry ales.”

Not to pick on Newsday’s Peter M. Gianotti specifically, of course, but such advice is no more profound than rote warnings to use sunscreen in high summer and refrain from touching your tongues to frozen steel in winter.

A local perspective can improve on a .143 batting average.

Still, I’ll play the game, with a caveat: With the end of January in sight, it’s almost too late to be discussing winter beers. Breweries these days follow the national retailing trend and have their Christmas beers on the shelf before Halloween and sometimes during Oktoberfest, so by now, many already are gone.

As an aside, why do we need Christmas beers in October? The same reason we need Christmas decorations just after Labor Day, which is to say, none.

Why must wintry ales be dark and malty?

The hottest release in cold weather this year is Bell’s Hopslam, a Double IPA that isn’t dark, does have plenty of malt, but is exuberantly hopped.

(end of 195-word limit … next topic?)

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