We’ve barreled our way into November and have succumbed to the blistering cold winds coming off of the shores of Lake Erie and the Bayshore's of Sandusky Bay. See what I did there, I left a hint for this week's beer spot.
For most people, this is the time of year to wind down, lock up the checkbook and anxiously wait for the joyous night where we turn the clocks an hour forward and officially get ready to kick off the summer season. Well, I’m here today to put the kibosh on that way of living.
Most craft beers aren’t very enjoyable in the hot summer sun, and sunlight can often alter the taste and complexity of a deliciously crafted IPA or bright amber ale. Sure, you have your summer beers, your shandys and your tallboy domestics, but you’re not going to enjoy drinking an Imperial IPA or a Robust Porter in ninety degree heat. So to that I say, “Bring on winter!”
It’s the only time of the year when it is perfectly acceptable to go a few extra days without shaving, pack on a few extra pounds and have it all covered up by extra layers of clothing. It’s also the perfect time of year to enjoy heavy, hearty brews that will warm you up on even the coldest of nights.
Jeff’s selection at Bayshore Beverage will make sure that that your refrigerator is always stocked with the best holiday and seasonal offerings as the fall seasonal selections are all but gone and the winter and Christmas Ales are filling up the shelves.
Beyond the holiday offerings, there are some other great beers that Jeff currently has on the shelves, such as a whole aisle dedicated to Stouts and Porters, as well as a wide array of IPA’s and Belgians. I left the Cleveland Road establishment giddy as always with my selections for this week.
Unibroue’s La Fin du Monde 9% ABV
The Canadian brewery, Unibroue, located in the French speaking province of Quebec, has brewed one of the finest Belgian Tripels known to mankind. Rated World Class by BeerAdvocate.com, this brew is truly something special.
Pouring a hazy blonde with a nice, vibrant golden hue, La Fin du Monde has a nice fluffy white head that lingers throughout each sip. Traditional Tripel aromas of lemon peel, orange, coriander, banana and a nice pepper spice make this brew as enjoyable to view and smell as it is to drink. Tastes are similar to that of the aroma, with a nice mild pepper bite in the finish. A light mouthfeel with a heavy carbonation with an almost champagne like bubbles makes this beer very enjoyable.
I would recommend letting it sit for a little bit after pouring into the glass to enjoy the aromas, as well as let the body warm up a bit. You’ll notice a smoother body and less of an alcohol burn from the high alcohol content by letting this beer reach above 50 degrees (let’s be honest here, you’re not going to actually take a thermometer and put it in the beer, so just let it sit for about ten minutes or so to let it warm up).
Triton Brewing Company’s Rail Splitter IPA 7% ABV
A fairly new edition to Ohio store shelves, this Indianapolis, IN brewery has been one I’ve wanted to try for some time now.
Rail Splitter pours a cloudy copper with a half inch head that dwindles away after each sip. Hints of grapefruit, honey and floral hops round out the mild aroma of this brew.
With tastes of grapefruit, citrus hops and a bit of honey with a medium body, strong carbonation and a very bitter finish, Triton does a superb job of brewing a traditional Midwestern IPA.
It’s flavorful, full, bitter and just the right amount of alcohol content.
For the novice craft beer drinker, I wouldn’t recommend starting out your IPA journey with this one as I consider it a little bit heavier than a traditional IPA, but not as strong as a double or an imperial. It’s a good mid –level IPA, when to get your feet wet before trying out some of the big boys.
Thirsty Dog Brewing Company’s 12 Dogs of Christmas 8.3% ABV
Now normally I don’t try to get into anything that has to do with Christmas until after Thanksgiving, however nowadays that is just impossible as you can’t walk into retail establishments before Halloween without being bombarded with Christmas nonsense. Poor Thanksgiving, it’s really become the forgotten holiday.
Anyways, I will admit that 12 Dogs is my absolute favorite Christmas beer on the market. Maybe it’s because it’s from my hometown of Akron, OH, or maybe it’s just because it is downright delicious-hmmm…I think I’m going to go with the latter reason.
Pouring a cloudy ruby and chestnut color with a very small head that doesn’t hang around too much, aromas of traditional Christmas kitchens fill the nostrils-ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, dark fruit and possibly the most interesting scent I picked up-sweet potato. Yes, it seems odd, but my nose smells what it smells.
Tastes are very similar to the nose, with a perfect blend of each flavor mixing perfectly well together. My favorite part of this brew is the dry finish. Many Winter Warmers and other Christmas Ales alike tend to be heavy on the cinnamon and honey, therefore leaving a sticky, lingering finish of heavy and filling spice. Not 12 Dogs as it finishes perfectly balanced and dry, leaving next to no lingering effects.
I plan on barking up the holidays with one! (It’s been a while since I’ve done a cheesy pun. I’m not even sure if that one makes any sense, I’m probably a little rusty, but either way, just deal with it.)
So if you’ve learned anything this week I hope it’s that winter can be the best season of them all. So many different beers are available that you wouldn’t think twice about skipping over in the summer months.
Expand your horizons and enjoy the wonderful gift of craft beer!
Also, just a friendly reminder: They don’t serve you craft beer in the hospital or prison, so please drink responsibly!
This week’s edition of Foaming at the Mouth is brought to you by Bayshore Beverage. Located at 2349 Cleveland Rd W in Sandusky, Bayshore Beverage offers the finest assortment of craft beers the rockin' roller coast has to offer.