Skip to main content

Advent Calendar Window 13 - Special Holiday Ale

I bought this on my first ever visit to Beermoth back in March, spotting the three wise men on the label and instantly grabbing it for this year's Advent Calendar. At this point, it was the first I'd heard of Special Holiday Ale 8.5% -  a collaborative brew between Nogne O, Stone Brewing and Jolly Pumpkin. Research into this shows that this a collaboration that has taken place each year since 2008 using the same recipe, but taken in turns to be housed at one of the 3 breweries each year, allowing for different brewing and aging practices. I like the premise and this particular is the second time the brew has taken place at Nogne O. A collaboration between three giants of brewing, Jolly Pumpkin were the only brewery I wasn't a huge fan of on purchase, but exploits into their Luciernaga and Noel de Calabaza in this very Advent calendar have made me a convert.
"Things are different since you've been here last
Childhood dreaming is a thing of the past
Maybe you can bring us some hope this year
Visions of sugar plums have disappeared"
Special Holiday Ale has a Ruby Port look and style about it with low carbonation. There's lots of complexity here that I've listed in my notes. For the nose I've written down: Sherry, red wine, cherries, fennel seeds, cranberries, thyme, raisins, hazelnuts. For the taste I've used the words; Grog, winter berries, more cranberries, more sherry, oak casks, I'm thinking of spruces, northern, snowy forests, Christmas. I'm not really getting the proposed spices but drinking this beer makes me feel like I'm in Scandinavia. There's certainly lots of goodness things going on here, but something in the finish is slightly lacking meaning all those tastes happening in your mouth are short lived. Desperate to keep the experience alive, I find myself reaching for another mouthful each time it disappears and the experience is over all too quickly. Excellent to a point, but perhaps would age even better.
Purchased at Beermoth, March 2013


Popular posts from this blog

Children and Dogs in Pubs and Bars

  I once took my niece to the pub. She was either 1 or 2 years of age. I often looked after her on Saturdays and on one of our weekly walks, for the first time, I stopped by the local pub, mainly because my friend was there with his daughter of similar age. The two kids got on well together and it was a lovely couple of hours; a perfect showcase of adult friends and their children existing in public houses. But my sister was furious. She didn’t rant or rave but her lips were purser than a 90s children’s show teacher. It was here that I learned of the effect that our childhood had had upon her. She recalls many an afternoon being bored in the corner of pubs that our Dad had dragged us to, arms folded in the corner with nothing to do, and she doesn’t want the same for her children. The idea of her first born being taken to pubs infuriates her; fearful that they would be subjected to the same unhappy experiences that she was.  I don’t recall those times in the same way as my s

The Ten Pubs That Made Me - Part 3: Dr Okell's / My Foley's Tap House and Leeds

A pint in Mr Foley's Tap House from December 2022     This is Part 3 (the fourth post) of an ongoing project. Please see the beginning of Part 0 for details.    Come the end of this journey, there may be a lesson in procrastination that I am unlikely to heed. These posts stem from a list that I made three years ago and a series that I embarked on 18 months ago. We’ve only now reached a 30% completion rate and with this post we are back to fail for the second time.   This odyssey began with a trip to Mr Foley’s Tap House in February 2022 – named Dr Okell’s bar on my first visits in 2005 – only to discover that it was closed. It did reopen by the time that the post was coming out and I managed a brief visit in December 2022. However, my July 1 st 2023 trip to Leeds, on which this post is based, is met with this sign at the door of the bar:      A quick check of social media shows an Instagram post from the day before (June 30 th ) announcing the closure of the

"They Had Their Issues, So..."

      There’s a set of garages to rent as storage units near my workplace. One of them is taken by a local florist that uses it to store flower arrangements for various events, that are more often than not funerals.   As such, at least once a week at 8am I will pass a car being loaded up with flowers arranged into heart shaped patterns or the letters M U M. It is a grounding reminder that, as I mentally grumble my way through the upcoming arbitrary grievances of my ordinary working day, a group of family and friends locally is going through the hardest time. It provides much needed perspective on days when I could do with being reminded of all that I have to be thankful for.   These little moments explain to me why it is possible for us to share a communal loss when a celebrity passes away. Grief is often a personal and lonely experience, shared between a minority of people in your life. When a co-worker loses a relative or friend, it has little affect on me, bar signing of