It's All about the Beer
For those of us who celebrate Christmas, this time of year is resplendent with sights, songs, and smells that bring the holiday instantly to mind. Most of us who grew up with a real Christmas tree in the house are instantly transported by the smell of a freshly cut fir tree. My olfactory memory of Christmas blends pine needles, interior latex eggshell paint, pies baking, and the unique smell of brand new plastic toys and electronics. At one time, though, especially in Europe, one of the classic smells of the Yuletide was Christmas ale.
Almost all of them are dark, or at least go for a rich amber color suggesting heartiness. They also tend to be stronger than average, ranging from 5.5% at the low end to more than 14% for age-worthy after-dinner beers. At one time, especially in England, Christmas ales were often spiced and sometimes mulled. Wines, ales, and ciders were often served this way around the holidays and were referred to collectively as wassail, a drink often consumed while caroling. Today, many American craft breweries produce spiced ales at the holidays, harking back to the old tradition.
- Christmas Beers
- A pint of Guinness