Talking Head - What’s on tap for the holidazeWednesday November 19, 2008 12:04 am EST
I don’t understand holiday depression. How can you be depressed when there are so many sweet, spicy and warming elixirs made especially to enliven the cold, dark days of winter? Whether you are celebrating with the family or trying to get away from them, swing by your local tavern or brewpub and enjoy a glass of merriment.
At 5 Seasons North, brewer Crawford Moran has a few specialties on tap that fit the bill for holiday libations: the Great Pumpkin Ale, made with tons of fresh, local pumpkin; Quintessence, a Belgian dark ale made with five kinds of malt and five kinds of hops; and Black Beauty, a 12 percent ABV Belgian-style dubbel brewed with rye.
At 5 Seasons Prado, new head brewer Kevin McNerney has just put his first original recipe on tap, the Hopgasm IPA. He promises big hop aroma and taste without an overly bitter character. Other big ales on tap include the Kilt-Lifter Scotch Ale and Bob’s Gnarleywine, an 11.5 percent monster named for Jamaica’s most famous musical son. McNerney also plans to continue the tradition of former brewer Glen Sprouse brewing up the Belgian Abbey-style Delirium Dubbel, which should come on line just before Christmas. Parking is a cinch now at the Prado, so swing in for some holiday cheer. Also keep an eye out for the February release of a whiskey barrel-aged Scotch Ale. Stay tuned for more details.
Over in Decatur, Twain’s will be rolling out a new Ginger Brown Ale for the holidays, along with a Belgian porter that is still being tinkered with. The excellent XL Double IPA and Coffee Stout are on tap now.
Atlanta-area tap rooms are adding some winter seasonals and holiday beers that are worth checking out as well. Taco Mac has Rogue Juniper Ale and Rogue FestivAle, along with Anchor’s Our Special Ale and Sweetwater Festive on draft. They also have a large selection of bottled winter seasonals.
The Brick Store has a phenomenal tap list right now and promises nearly two dozen special kegs in the next few weeks. You can sample the rare Leroy Brown from Oskar Blues, a 2006 vintage barleywine from Duck-Rabbit, the Left Hand-Terrapin collaboration Terra-Rye’zed black lager, Hebrew Jewbilation 12, Allagash Four Belgian-style quad, and a cask of Victory Hop Wallop just for starters. After Thanksgiving, most of the Belgian taps will be replaced with holiday offerings from Dupont (Avec Les Bons Voeux), Gouden Carolus, St. Bernardus, Brewerij Huyghe (Delirium Noël), Des Géants, De Ranke, Scaldis, d’Achouffe (N’Ice Chouffe), and Corsendonk. Winter seasonals and Christmas ales from American craft brewers will be tapped starting the day after Thanksgiving, including Anchor Our Special Ale, Sierra Nevada Celebration, Avery Old Jubilation, Left Hand Snowbound, Terrapin Wake n Bake, and Great Divide Hibernation.
Look for reviews of some of these special holiday beers after Thanksgiving. Happy holidays, everyone!