Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Saturnalia approaches, and here's an advance look.

(Updated on November 19)

It’s almost time for Saturnalia, my favorite annual draft beer festival of the year at the NABC Pizzeria & Public House (formerly Sportstime & Rich O’s). Saturnalia will kick off earlier this year: Friday, December 4.

The reason why I prefer Saturnalia has less to do with the most wonderful time of the year than the freedom afforded by the concept to assemble a special draft list unbound to a specific stylistic type, i.e., hoppy as with Lupulin Land and alcoholic like Gravity Head.

For Saturnalia, we try to find representative samples of winter and seasonal styles (themselves pleasingly varied stylistically) and augment them with others that strike us as somehow festive in purely subjective ways.

Not only is it fun, but it’s also educational, providing me with frequent polemical opportunities to pontificate about unleashing our inner pagans. Here is my yearly stump speech:

In pre-Christian Rome, Saturnalia was the annual winter solstice celebration that originally coincided with the feast days for Saturn (god of sowing and the harvest), Consus (god of the storage bin) and Opa (goddess of plenty).

Many of our contemporary winter holiday traditions derive from Saturnalia’s pagan roots, including the hanging of wreaths and garlands, donations to the needy, prayers for peace, time off work to be enjoyed with family, and of course eating, drinking and merriment.

NABC pays tribute to these ancient pagan origins with Saturnalia, our holiday draft celebration. We’ve gathered dozens of special kegs of beer – some rare, some seasonal and others just festive – from the USA and around the world. Some of these beers will be appearing in draft form at Rich O’s and Sportstime Pizza for the first time in metropolitan Louisville.

When the doors open at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 4, the first wave of sacrificial MMIX Saturnalia selections will be revealed, tapped in the traditional, ritualistic manner … and the hedonistic pleasures will begin. The remaining kegs will be tapped as the days pass and the first wave is depleted, and the revelry is expected to continue well into January, 2010.

Here are the kegs currently in house or pre-ordered. There’ll be a few others by the time it’s done, and I’ll use this page until around Thanksgiving to update the listings, and then print the program. I’ll also provide more detailed information about a few of the selections as the research process continues, so stay tuned.

American Craft

Atwater Voodoo Vator Bock
Bell’s Christmas
Bell’s Java Stout
Bell’s Rye Stout
Boulder Looking Glass Never Summer
Breckenridge 471 Mighty Brown
Breckenridge Christmas Ale
Clipper City Winter Storm
Dogfish Head Punkin
Founders Breakfast Stout 08
Great Divide Hibernation Ale
Left Hand Fade to Black (rotating style; Export Stout in 09)
Left Hand St. Vrain Tripel
NABC Naughty Claus
NABC Bonfire of the Valkyries
NABC Solidarity
New Belgium 2° Below
Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence Stout
Pyramid Snow Cap
Rogue Yellow Snow
Schlafly Christmas Ale
Shmaltz He’Brew Origin Pomegranate
Shmaltz He’Brew Rejewvenator
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale
Thirsty Dog 12 Dogs of Christmas
Three Floyds Alpha Klaus Porter
Two Brothers Heavier Handed


1809 Berliner Weisse
Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes (BFM) Biere Ambree au Tarry Suchong (firkin)
Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes (BFM) La Mandragore
Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes (BFM) La Meule (firkin)
Birra del Borgo My Antonia
De Dolle Stille Nacht
Delirium Noel 08
Delirium Noel 09
Dubuisson Scaldis Noel
Dupont Avec Les Bon Voeux
Etienne Dupont Cidre Bouche Brut
Kasteel Rouge
N’Ice Chouffe
Nogne O Winter Ale
Pietra Corsican Chestnut Ale
Ridgeway Pickled Santa
Ridgeway Reindeer Droppings
Schlenkerla Oak Smoke
Slaapmutske Kermutske
Weihenstephaner Korbinian
Weissenohe Monk's Christmas


Rick said...

Looks great, but, Bell's Expedition Stout, pleease?

The New Albanian said...

Think: Gravity Head 2010.