I intentionally went out looking for a microbrew to feature the week before Christmas. Did I actually think I was going to find a beer called Christmas Ale? Well no actually. But finding this one from Great Lakes brewery caused me to pick up a six pack. I had heard wonderful things about Great Lakes brewery in the past and figured I couldn’t lose. I do want to mention that I poured my first into a regular pint glass and didn’t particularly find this beer to be anything special. It wasn’t until I drank it straight out of the bottle and also poured a third into a snifter glass that I begun to appreciate this beer.
Great Lakes Christmas Ale pours a beautiful amber color. A thin head forms at the top which quickly dissipates. The aroma hops with a mild sweetness and notes of ginger and other winter spices. The Great Lakes website notes that Christmas Ale is brewed with honey, ginger, and cinnamon of which I believe enhance each other, but at no point did I taste one over the other. This is a well balanced beer. What I particularly enjoyed about Christmas Ale was that the taste lingers in your mouth for quite a long time and made me feel particularly festive. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but Christmas Ale is bottled happiness, as if the brewers at Great Lakes found a way to contain adult Christmas joy and put it into a beer.
I do want to mention first that you should not leave Santa a six pack of Christmas Ale next to a bowl of pretzels on Christmas Eve because 1) the 7.2% ABV will probably cause him to crash his sleigh into some poor child’s room – ruining Christmas for everyone which will be your fault and 2) some things are too valuable to leave to a fat man who sneaks into your house.
Great Lakes Christmas Ale sells for around $14 a six pack and may be harder to find in areas outside the Midwest. If you find yourself wanting for a well balanced beer on a cold winter night, consider Great Lakes Christmas Ale as a gift from you to yourself. Tis the season to be jolly.