Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Saturnalia MMVIII starting lineup is revealed.

(Updated at 4:00 p.m. after learning that Rogue HazelNut Brown Nectar is not available for delivery this week. It has been replaced by Two Brothers Oh Brother Tripel)

Here's the Saturnalia starting lineup for Friday, December 12, as determined by Mike and the Curmudgeon yesterday afternoon. Actually, there may be an error, since I forgot the paper and put these down from memory. If so, I'll correct later this morning. The * indicates a beer never before poured at the pub.

BELGIUM

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.

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.

GERMANY

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.

ITALY

*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.

*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.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

*Barley Island Beastie Bourbon Barrel-Aged Oatmeal Stout
The Noblesville brewery’s Brass Knuckles Oatmeal Stout (5% abv in customary form) is aged in Buffalo Trace bourbon whiskey barrels, bolstering strength. Barley Island’s owners and brew crew will be on site at Rich O’s on Saturday, December 13, to help us drink some Beastie.

Bell’s Hell Hath No Fury
This Belgian Strong Ale first appeared in 2004. According to the brewery, it’s “A brew that gives you either sympathy for the devil or the courage to face him … Goes especially well with your favorite lost my girl/truck/dog/trailer song.” Of course. 7.7% abv.

Boulder Never Summer Ale
American seasonal ale brewed with 2-row barley and British dark caramel malt; Nugget, Willamette and Cascade hops; and a “top secret brewmaster’s spice,” all on behalf of “the drinking town with a skiing problem.” 5.94% abv.

Clipper City “Heavy Seas” Peg Leg Imperial Stout (firkin)
Cross your fingers, cask-conditioned ale lovers. We’ve been sitting on this firkin for about five months, letting a bit of age reshape the thick, evolving black loveliness within. 8% abv.

*Dark Horse Perkulator Coffee Doppelbock
Does anyone ever brew a coffee beer that isn’t a porter or a stout? Affirmative. Dark Horse’s –ator tag is priceless. Guesstimating 7.5% abv.

Left Hand Snowbound Winter Ale
Presented as an “antidote to cabin fever,” and brewed with two-row, Munich, crystal and chocolate malts, Magnum and Saaz hops, and a spice array of crushed cinnamon, cloves, orange zest, honey, chopped ginger and cardamom. The website lists it as 7.6% abv.

NABC Bonfire of the Valkyries
An unprecedented Schwarzbier/Rauchbier hybrid (smoked black lager), back for its third seasonal batch. Not excessively smoky; just right. All in all, magic fire mood music for Saturnalia. Circa 6.5% abv.

NABC Naughty Claus
Jesse’s and Jared’s holiday spiced winter warmer features four malts, molasses, dark brown sugar, orange peel, cinnamon sticks and a few Saaz hops out of habit, if nothing else. This year’s version is evolving as I write. 7.5% abv.

Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence Stout
Last year’s portion went quickly as the sweet tooth brigade gathered for the kill. It’s stout infused with Belgian dark chocolate, and clocks in at circa 7% abv.

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale
It is indeed difficult to imagine another seasonal ale that symbolizes the holidays better than Celebration Ale. Desert island beer for many, recurring seasonal favorite, with generous doses of Chinook (for bittering), Cascades and Centennial hops, dry-hopped with all three, but not neglecting a delicious malt underpinning. 6.8% abv.

Stone Oaked Arrogant Bastard
The process is simple. Arrogant Bastard is aged on oak chips, with lend toasty vanilla flavors that are the perfect complement to the ale’s big background malt wallop. We appreciate aggressive hopping, too. Circa 6.8% abv.

*Two Brothers Oh Brother Tripel
An unpreviewed seasonal release from Chicagoland’s Two Brothers, made from pilsner malt, candi sugar, and “non-traditional” hops. 8.5% abv.

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