Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Imported draft lineup, descriptions, links for Saturnalia Winter Solstice MMVIII (begins December 12).

Here are the imported selections that have been listed for the fifth edition of Saturnalia, which kicks off at the Public House on December 12.

Pricing and portion sizes vary according to alcohol content and style. Selections marked with an asterisk * are appearing on draft for the first time at Rich O’s Public House and Sportstime Pizza.

The two previous table setters for today's half of the Saturnalia listings are these:

Saturnalia explained: Festive draft beers for the winter solstice, coming December 12.

Roger's believe-it-or-not: Saturnalia's planned and ready, a full month ahead of opening night.

The American micro contingent will be previewed on Wednesday.


De Dolle Stille Nacht
“Silent Night’s” ingredients include pale malt, white candi sugar and Nugget hops, but these don’t suffice to explain the seductive attraction of this Belgian classic. 27% degrees Plato, and 12% abv.

Delirium Noël
Noël, from the venerable, family-run Huyghe brewery near Ghent, blends the cleanness of Delirium Tremens (golden) and Delirium Nocturnum (dark) into a unique third way, albeit a shade stronger, prompting the brewery to remind us that it “requires a responsible consumption.” 10% abv.

Dupont Les Bons Voeux
Tawny blond, dry-hopped Saison for the holiday; brewed every year since 1970. The name means, “With the best wishes of the brewery” – Dupont, that is. 9.5% abv.

*Duvel Green
You read it right. Duvel, the Belgian ale that’s never, ever been on draft. Actually, the bottled Duvel formula we know best still isn’t. At 6.8% abv, export-only Duvel Green is entirely different animal from the famous non-draft version. ETA not known - keep your eyes open.

Gouden Carolus Noël
A secret recipe of six herbs and spices, along with Belgian hops, in an old house recipe that hadn’t been brewed for almost four decades until revived in 2002. 10.5% abv.

Kasteel Rouge
The Van Honsebrouck brewery uses the same cherry alcohol from Mon Cheri designer chocolates, dilutes it, then blends with the brewery’s Kasteel Bruin, yielding flavors of cherry, chocolate and toffee. 8% abv.

La Rulles Cuvée Meilleurs Voeux
Eclectic Wallonian holiday brew with pilsner, pale, Munich, caramel and roasted malts; dark candi sugar; American hops (Warrior, Amarillo and Cascade); and fermented using Orval’s distinctive Trappist yeast. 7.3% abv.

N’Ice Chouffe
Thyme, vanilla, orange peel and candi sugar are among the spices used to accent a dark and brawny winter seasonal, brewed in the hills of the Ardennes. 10% abv.

Scaldis Noël
When your flagship ale is the 12% abv blockbuster Scaldis (known as Bush in Belgium), what do you do for an encore come Christmas? Somehow Dubuisson’s holiday ale dials up the seductive elegance. It’s been a decade since we had Scaldis Noël on draft. 12% abv.


Mahr’s Der Weisse Bock
From the Publican’s favorite Bamberg family brewery that doesn’t produce smoked lager comes this compatriot of the better known Aventinus. If we could only reproduce the ambience of the venerable Mahr’s brewery taproom. 7.2% abv

Schlenkerla Rauchbier Urbock
One of the Publican’s all-time Desert Island beers is Schlenkerla Marzen, now on tap all year round, except when Urbock, Marzen’s bigger brother, breezes into town for the holidaze. Taste what happens when beechwood is used in the correct way (as flavor, not bedding in the Clydesdale’s stalls). 6.6% abv.

Weihenstephaner Korbinian
Before there were wheat (Mahr’s) and coffee (Dark Horse) Doppelbocks, there was Doppelbock straight up - malty, dark, strong and always German. 7.4% abv.


*Birra di Natale (Birrificio BEBA)
The next frontier for creative craft brewing is in Italy, so you’d best get used to the idea. We begin with BEBA’s winter lager, which should serve as a tasty calibration beer. Natale is brewed with pilsner, munich and caramel malts, and hopped with Hallertauer Magnum. 8.5% abv.

*Chiostro (Piccolo Birrificio)
The malt bill includes pilsner, wheat and rye malts, and Hallertauer is a familiar German hop variety, but then things get interesting. The yeast is Trappist, and the spice of choice is leaves of Wormwood/Absinthe (Arthemisia absinthium), which go straight into the kettle. Paging Mr. Van Gogh? 5% abv.

*Krampus (Birrificio del Ducato)
The beer itself (8% abv) is spiced with star anise, and the origin of the name is well worth noting (as related on importer B. United’s web site):

The word Krampus originates from the Old High German word for claw (Krampen). In the Alpine region the Krampus is represented by an incubus in company of St Nicholas. Traditionally, young men dress up as the Krampus in the first two weeks of December and particularly in the evening of December 5 and roam the streets frightening children (and adults) with rusty chains and bells. In some rural areas also slight birching especially of young females by the Krampus is part of tradition.

*Malthus Birolla (Birrificio di Como)
Brewed somewhat near George Clooney’s estate in Northern Italy, Malthus Birolla’s twist is the addition of roasted chestnuts and local honey to the wort. Later, the more of same honey goes into the maturation tanks. 6.5% abv.

*Nora (Birreria Baladin)
Throwback Egyptian recipes always are an excellent change of pace. Unmalted kamut (an ancient form of wheat) is used, and only the bare minimum of hops, which were not used in beer until later, are added solely for their preservative qualities. Ginger and orange peel are employed for balance, and myrrh for bittering. 6.8% abv.

*Shangrila (Birrificio Troll)
Shangrila is the Publican’s most anticipated Saturnalia MMVIII ale. To a standard recipe of malt and English hops, a tandori blend of Himalayan spices ups the ante: Coriander, cumin, garlic powder, paprika, ginger, cardamom, saffron, curry, pepper, and anise. 8.5% abv.

*Verdi Imperial Stout (Birrificio del Ducato)
Discerning readers may be aware that one current trend in fine chocolate making is the use of hot chili peppers, which add spice and dryness to rich, dark creations. Will the same philosophy hold with Imperial Stout? 7.5% abv.


*Harvey’s Christmas Ale (firkin)No gimmicks here. Maris Otter and crystal malts, pinhead oats, Fuggle and Golding hops from within cycling distance of the brewery, traditional open primary fermentation and house yeast. 8.1% abv.

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