A Very Merry Pick 6: Holiday Poems

‘Tis the season for celebration and libations.  

Christmas beers

To celebrate the holidays this year, I picked out 6 festive seasonal beers, drank them, and wrote shitty poems about Christmas while drinking them. So let’s go wassailing and celebrate good beer, holiday cheer, and making it through another year.  

Happy Holidays!  

Deschutes Brewing – Jubelale – 6.7% – Winter Warmer  

“Cozy up fireside with this festive winter ale full of spice notes and a robust malt character of toffee and dusted cocoa.”  

Did your grandma ever make really weird Christmas desserts? Like with dried figs? And other dried fruits?  They were weird, but also oddly appetizing. That’s what this beer brings to mind. A dried fig pie with fruit flavors of prune, dark cherry, raisin, with a delicious blend of holiday spices, notes of clove and all spices. It’s a perfect winter time dessert beer.  

“Stale dessert”
In that rundown  
shack the one off the road 
up on the hill  
in a 309 area code 
we shared stale dessert,  
holiday treats 
bottles of port  
and a heavy blanket for heat 
snow and ash,  
cascading slow 
a memory captured, us 
a scene in a snow globe.”  

New Belgium Brewing – Accumulation – 6.2% – Belgian IPA  

“This winter, IBUs start accumulating like snow in Colorado with our new Accumulation White IPA. Brewing a white IPA was not only a way to salute the white beauty falling from the sky, but a direct revolt to the longstanding tradition of brewing dark beers for winter and winter seasonal beers. At least that’s what our rebellious brewers like to claim as they shovel in plenty of mosaic and Amarillo hop varietals and a bit of wheat for a smooth mouthfeel. Stack up a few cases of Accumulation White IPA to keep your long nights glowing blizzard white.” 

Accumulation gives off a refreshing feeling, like that feeling you get walking out in the morning to the very first light snowfall, untouched or untainted by anything, and you can feel the crisp wintery air bite at your cheeks along with the crunch of snow under your feet.  

What I’m getting at is that New Belgium did a good job at brewing a holiday beer that captures the feeling and beauty of that first snowfall. The beer contains notes of refreshing lemongrass, citrus, and floral hops that lead into a bitter hop bite of pine for a finish. The background has mild pale and wheat malts that work to help balance some of the piney bitterness. It’s a great shake up to the holiday styles that are predominantly sweet and spiced.  

The Christmas Bar Crawl  
a poem somehow inspired by A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and a Journey of the Magi by T.S. Eliot  

“‘I am as light as a feather,  
I am as happy as an angel,  
I am as giddy  
as a drunken man.'” 
And that is that 
I am.  
It’s Christmas  
it’s cold  
and we’re on a crawl  
our journey took us to Priors for beers,  
and warmth and to reminisce 
A Belgian, some bruts, some gin 
before we were on our way again  
out in the cold,  
trudging through snow  
as an icy wind made our faces glow  
santa red so we decided to stop again 
at a contemporary place, modern and up to date 
there we had more beer, filling our spirits with holiday cheer  
we sang out some carols and songs as the hours passed along,  
good company of friends, together we went again  
to a final stop  
a place they call prospects  
and it was here I held 
your hand sipping a quad by the fire of the bar made up like a north woods lodge 
and we saw the cutest old couple get up a sing  
what are you doing for new year’s eve  
and I looked over at you, there among the crowded bar,  
and it struck me like a shooting star  
the christmas spirit  
I could feel it the future all from  
the lyrics and song, the aroma citrus and basalm  
crackling fires, kids and the presents, I want it all 
with you  
I want it all  
I fell in love  
oh yes on a Christmas bar crawl.’

Bell’s – White Winter Ale – 5.0% – Belgian Wit  

“An alternative to dark and heavy winter warmers and stouts, Bright White (formerly Winter White) is a stylish and refreshing Wheat Ale. Fermented with a Belgian ale yeast, this blend of barley and wheat malts yields a mixture of clove and fruity aromas, all without the use of any spices.”  

If the Accumulation reflected feelings of the first snowfall, then the White Winter Ale tastes like those first few minutes after walking inside, cold and wet from playing in the snow. You feel that first warmth of the fire as the cool draft of the winter air still surrounds you, and you’re shivering and shaking it all off, that bitter cold winter air and settling in to a feeling of comfort. Yep. That’s what I taste when I drink this Bell’s.  
It has that classic Belgian yeast flavor of banana and bubblegum, and a very crisp effervescent bite, along with notes of peppercorn and clove that just warm you right up.  

I spent might Christmas night 
on the bathroom floor of a bar  
praying to the porcelain  
more like wassailing  
too much of a good time 
the curse of a big heart like mine 
I really just wanted a merry Christmas  
but look at this mess 
my head is spinning  
lord of heaven 
forgive me for this heart of mine 
for all I wanted was a merry Christmas time.’  

New Glarus – Snow Shoe – 5.7% – Red Ale  

“Settle in with Wisconsin’s Snowshoe Ale. This beer is brewed with a blend of American and German malts. We also infuse generous amounts of hops from Slovenia and the Great Pacific Northwest to add a special note of warmth for your winter evening’s enjoyment.”  

If the other two beers above were all about snow, then this one is a feeling of being in from the snow, surrounded by blankets and a big fire, in a full on cozy comfort mode. That’s what the Snow Shoe reminds me off. It’s full of rich caramel, toffee, and hints of cocoa and dessert spice and bitter pine hops to send it off.  

 Walking under Christmas Lights 
Lifted from Patsy Cline’s Walking After Midnight  
‘I go out walkin’ after midnight 
under Christmas lights  
with the ghost of you  
I’m walking in the moonlight 
it’s bathed me like a spotlight 
as I croon for you 
This Christmas night 
I just want what’s right 
to be united with you.’  

Bell’s – Christmas Ale – 7.5% – Scotch Ale  

“This traditional Scotch Ale is rich and malty with notes of caramel and a warm finish. Certain to make any occasion festive, or at least a bit more bearable. Enjoy with the company of friends and family.”  

Bell’s Christmas Ale shares some similarities with the Snow Shoe. They both have decadent caramel malts, but the Christmas Ale is also a lot heavier and syrupier, and has a campfire smokiness, burnt brown sugar sweetness, along with rich molasses, vanilla and dried berry flavor. It’s a strong, full-bodied scotch ale that will definitely keep you warm on a winter night.  

 Christmas Bell’s  
‘Pop that bottle, pour that beer 
Why does this time only come once a year?  

I love the sound of Christmas bells 
cinnamon, fresh snow and the holiday smell  

The warmth of a drink and spirits 
surrounded by those we hold dearest 
Why do the holiday bells only ring 
why do the angels only sing 
why can’t we feel this good all year.’ 

New Glarus – Belgian Red – 4.0% – Fruit Beer  

“Over a pound of Door County Cherries in every bottle makes this beer uniquely “Wisconsin.” So unique, in fact, that we applied for a patent. Expect this beer to be ruby red, with a medium body that is highly carbonated and intense with cherry flavor and bouquet. Serve your friends Belgian Red in a brandy snifter or champagne flute and toast life with beer from the land of Wisconsin.”  

Cherry Champagne. That’s essentially what we have here. Imagine leaving a red cherry tootsie roll sucker in a glass of champagne until it dissolves all that sugary cherry sweetness, and then drinking it. That’s this. An effervescent cherry bomb delicious dessert beer.  

‘My baby’s a belgian red 
swaying and singing champagne kisses  
christmas songs  
That show the world
god is dead  
Up there under the bright light she glows 
a holiday angel in a gown  
of red
the stage  
swaying so slow like garland  
in the snow  
singing about a winter wonderland’  

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