The 12 Profiles of Christmas: Santa’s in a HURRY

By Ken Carman

I started the 12 profiles and the Professor added some of Maria’s, but I’m afraid we all got so caught up in the season we only got 4 in. So we decided to recommend and comment on some interesting brews to try this season and at least one ghost of Christmas Past. Links will be provided to PGA articles if available…

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1. Hoppin Frog’s Frosted Frog: Barrel Series

The actual Frosted, in my opinion, is nothing more than a good, but not that interesting, brown ale platform on which to build a great barrel aged beer. Mr. Karm and his brewers do NOT disappoint. There have been several, all fascinating.

002 _McGuire_s Irish Pub___ Pensacola FL

2. McGuire’s Christmas Ale is, unfortunately, somewhat a ghost of Christmas past. Yes, they still brew it, as they brew many fine beers that former head brewer, Steve Fried, never brewed. But all I have been able to try: and I’m not there every year by any means, have never come up the the simply spiced ale Mr. Fried used to brew. It’s all you would expect from the typical spices. When we were there a few weeks ago the Pensacola version, brewed by his former assistant Mike Helf, wasn’t up yet. Tom and Gary’s version in Destin was on tap but we simply didn’t care for it. It was as if someone took a Scotch 60 or 80 and added the usual spices. Problem: they didn’t mesh well in our opinion. Close to sickly sweet.

This ghost haunts me still.

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Spreading Good Cheer with a Tankard of Mulled Beer

Written by Franz Hofer for A Tempest in a Tankard

Anyone who lives in or has been to Central Europe at this time of year has likely warmed him- or herself with a mug of spicy mulled wine (Glühwein). I remember well my first encounter with this aromatic winter elixir. The gray sky hung low over Saarbrücken, and an icy drizzle coated the paving stones leading to the Sankt Johanner Markt in the center of town. But something was different about this day.100-2705_IMG Aromas of baking spice and roasted nuts mingled with grilled bratwurst and pine boughs. I rounded the corner and was greeted by a cheerful panorama that seemed to defy the dark afternoon: my first Christkindlmarkt. The square had transformed itself into a collection of open-air stalls decked out for the season, many selling Christmas ornaments, nutcrackers and other handmade wooden toys, some selling Lebkuchen and candied almonds, and others selling beer and Glühwein to wash down the Fleischkäse, sausages, and other delectables. It is a winter scene that plays itself out all over Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and parts of Alsace and the South Tyrol.

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