My Gingerbread Saison got a taste last week while I was checking to see it had hit its FG. It tasted like a rather bland saison, and looked kind of murky and awful. The spices I had added were subtle to the point of not existing and there wasn’t much about it that seemed very Christmassy at all. I did stick it outside for the last 5 days to cold crash it the ghetto way (might as well get something good out of the turn in the weather.) In the meantime I pondered what to do with a beer that had not gone wrong in anyway, but wasn’t offering anything right either. My first realization was that for the last 9 days I’ve been stepping up a Brett Trois starter to use in a Mosaic-instead-of-Citra version of Michael Tonsmeire’s Brett IPA which will be brewed on Tuesday. That meant I could safely forget about a beer I had basically lost interest in for a long time because I was going to bottle condition with Brett, and make it one of next year’s Christmas beers. Continue reading A series of fortunate events, a festival of brett.
Here in Denmark, Christmas beers are a big deal. I’m not entirely sure the entire history but they tend to be all released on one day called J-Dag (Juleøl, or literally Christmas Beer, and Day.) I believe that the entire tradition was started by Tuborg, the National shit beer of Denmark to release their Christmas Beer, which they send reps out to hand out for free on the street. Also, the entire idea of their Christmas beer actually originated with a cute add:
Denmark’s myriad of small breweries have since co-opted the holiday and J-Day events happen in almost all beer-friendly establishments, usually featuring mostly Danish but also Belgian and American Christmas beers. I have gone to J-Day every years since I lived here. I can’t say I really like Christmas beer, even though there’s no established style. My first year here Horn Beer released a pretty good “Christmas IPA” that had some very mild spicing and I stuck with that for the whole season. Usually, it’s something brown with too much added sugar and too heavy a hand with the spices. Last year I had one with a distinct dog-poo nose. Even The Bruery’s version of Danish Christmas Beer doesn’t do it for me.
So what did I decide to brew to celebrate the birth of the Baby Jesus and the eternal darkness of Danish winter? A brown beer with spices and molasses. I guess I’m a sucker for punishment, or at least staying out of my comfort zone. Continue reading Christmas Beer – Gingerbread Saison