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Blog posts of '2013' 'December'

It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year... For Beer!- 23 December 2013

It's that time of year alright, and those great once-a-year beers with the gloriously playful names are with us once again. We've got three for tasting today, Ridgeway's "Insanely Bad Elf', Mikkeller's "From To Via" (What a name! You can actually fill in the names on a gift tag printed on the label!) and Rogue's "Santa's Private Reserve".

Insanely Bad ElfRidgeway Brewing brew several Christmas elf themed beers, three of which can be purchased in a gift pack. Insanely Bad Elf is a vintage Imperial red ale, brewed every year to a festive 11.2% abv (a little excess is always permitted at Christmas, right?!) . The colour appears more burnt copper than red but what all those lovely bubbles floating throughout the body and head, shining like silver baubles in the glow of an open fire, there's no doubt this looks like Christmas in a glass. The nose is fruity and spicy, almost Belgian style and I'm guessing some Belgian yeast may have been involved. Mandarine, clementine, red apples, red berries, cloves and aniseed are all apparent and with no strong alcohol aroma, despite the high abv. The taste is a little sweet with caramel notes lingering over the spicy middle and warming finish. Full, round and satisfying, this would go great with gamey foods.

From to Via

Denmark's Mikkeller Brewery have also brewed a number of different festive beers including "Hoppy Loving Christmas", "Santa's Litlle Helper", and the aforementioned "From To Via". Described on the bottle as a "Holiday Ale brewed with Spices" it is, in reality, an 8% abv strong porter, pitch black in colour with a large, fluffy tan head which leaves good lacing on the glass. The aroma is rustic and earthy, with dark chocolate, roasted coffee and chestnuts infused with cloves and pungent cardamom. The body is full and bitter with the roast notes giving way to strong nutmeg and cardamom on the finish that lasts and lasts. Definitely one for the festive spice lovers!

Santa's Private ReserveThe sweetest of festive beers tasted today is Rogue's "Santa's Private Reserve". It''s a ruby red ale, 6% abv with aromas of strawberry, redcurrant, butterscotch and sweet toffee. Some pinous hops on the palate add a balance to the fruitiness. It's a little spicy on the finish yet remains smooth and medium bodied. Quite easy drinking is this pleasant little ale and I feel it would be the ideal accompaniment to your Christmas dessert.

We have several other Christmas themed beers in limited supply in our Malahide Road and Killbarrack Road stores so pop in before the big day and get yourself a few brews to get you in that festive mood!

Happy Christmas from McHugh's!

A Winter's Ale...- 17 December 2013

So the winter is upon us, and with the arrival of the the cold and short days comes that other winter staple; the winter seasonal brew. And we've got three different, but equally wintery, beers to discuss today; Kinnegar's "Longue Tongue Pumpkin Ginger Rye", Moor's "Old Freddy Walker" and Samuel Adam's "Winter Lager".

Kinnegar Long TongueDonegal's Kinnegar brewery have gone with a thanksgiving themed rye ale (not so surprising given it's founder's US heritage) flavored with locally sourced pumpkins and spiced with Ginger and a "hint of cinnamon". It's light amber in colour, not too unlike their regular rye ale Rustbucket, 5.1%abv, and with a foamy head which all Kinnegar's beers seem to feature. The aroma is pure gingernut biscuits with some pepperiness and yes, indeed, a hint of cinnamon. The taste is spicy, sweet and smooth. Medium bodied and quite malty, the roast pumpkin flavor is subtle but nicely infused with caramel and ginger spice. Possibly more a late autumn style but as it's in short supply it won't be around for too long, so try it while it's going.

Moor Old Freddy Walker

There's no doubt that Moor's "Old Freddy Walker" is an ale made for cold winter nights. A 7.4% dark old ale described by themselves as tasting "like liquid Christmas Pudding". They're not far off. This is a deep ruby colored ale which pours to leave a big fluffy, bubbly tan head that flits and flutters in the glass. Treacle and dried fruit aromas jump from the beer and the taste is rich dark chocolate, raisin, prunes, figs and licorice. A seriously complex beer, it's certainly one for the connoisseur to mull over and enjoy by the fire.

Samuel Adams Winter LagerLast up is the Winter Lager from the Samuel Adams Brewery. Not your typical lager, this a 5.6% bock that pours a ruby-red colour and is generously spiced with ginger and cinnamon and flavored with orange peel. The cinnamon is the more dominant spice on the aroma and there's a nice citrus touch from the orange peel. The flavor is spicy ginger and cinnamon, a little zesty, with malty, toffee smoothness on the finish. Well balanced and reliable as usual from Samuel Adams, this is a real go-to beer for these winter months.

These beers won't be around forever so try them soon!

Tags :  Kinnegarlong tonguepumpkinmoorsamsamuel adamswinterbeeralelager