A weekly review of Vas Foremost’s craft beer offerings.
All of the major gift-giving holidays are over and I didn’t receive a gift from you…again. I’ve been dropping hints for the past couple of weeks! Instead of feeling too sorry for myself, I went down to Vas Foremost and found some holiday surprises still on the shelf. In this week’s Vas Review, we take a look at two classic holiday and winter beers. Get them quick before I drink all of them.
Brooklyn Winter Ale
Style: Scottish-style Ale
The story of Brooklyn Brewery is a fascinating one. At one time a hub for breweries, the city of Brooklyn fell victim to prohibition and the great consolidation of breweries in the mid-1900’s leaving not one brewery behind. In the mid-1980’s, a journalist and avid homebrewer named Steve Hindy developed a friendship with his neighbor, Tom Potter. That friendship included a lot of beer drinking (Steve’s homebrews) and a lot of dreaming out loud. In 1988, Steve and Tom realized their dream with Brooklyn Brewery.
Brooklyn Brewery pours out a deep red color showing my reflection in the glass. Its aroma is rich and wonderful, yet it doesn’t want to loan me a couple of bucks. Fruity, bready, and sweet with a touch of caramel and smoke. Who needs hops?
You’ll be greeted by a dominating malty taste as you venture along. Sweet cherry pie filling with a dry biscuit and cracker arrangement. Very subtle complementing smoke flavor and just a spoonful of caramel for depth. At one point, the beer has a distinct dry, grainy taste that leads to a finish of bread crumbs and fruitiness.
Brooklyn Winter Ale is a little bit lighter than most winter beers but should not be overlooked. Mostly because you can see my reflection in it, and I look pretty good tonight in my Winter sweater. Yep, pretty good.
Great Lakes Christmas Ale
Style: Winter Warmer
Cleveland shares a very similar story to Brooklyn. In the late 1870’s, Cleveland was a hotbed for breweries. Prohibition and consolidation took its toll on this city and by the 1980’s, not one brewery was left. To Patrick and Daniel Conway, this was unacceptable. In 1988 they opened what would become Cleveland’s first brewpub and microbrewery, the Great Lakes Brewing company. Today the Great Lakes Brewing Company has grown to become one of the largest craft breweries in the United States.
Great Lakes Christmas Ale is a classic. It is a beautifully copper-colored beer that is perfectly clear. As I look at the beer I can not only see my kitchen right side up, but up-side down. This beer must be a WITCH!
The aroma is full of sweetness and spices. Ginger, honey, and a sweet red licorice. As you really dig in, the cinnamon starts to say hello. The first sip is dangerously addicting as I immediately want another. Bread crumbs sprinkled on a fruitcake with a gingersnap dusted with cinnamon. Warm and with a slightly fuller body, I know why this beer was meant to be drank on Christmas.
Great Lakes Christmas Ale won’t be around much longer. Because I am going to drink it. All of it. And leaving nothing for you.
Merry Christmas, you filthy animal….and a Happy New Year. (Obligatory Home Alone 2 reference).
Next time in the Vas Review: Back to the brewery spotlight!
Steve Pasko is a Certified Cicerone® and the Beer Content Writer for Vas Foremost. Follow him on Twitter or Untappd at Gardemybiere. Email him at Gardemybiere@gmail.com or Steve@vasforemost.com