Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Happy yule-tide!

It's a tad early...but the deacon has all the ingredients for a delicious spiced holiday ale sitting in and around his fridge, so why not. From the Prose Edda, on the Norse/Germanic origins of our holiday season:

Again we have produced Yule-being's feast [mead of poetry]*, our rulers' eulogy, like a bridge of masonry.

Yule being the god who demanded a massive winter celebration with excessive quantities of honey mead in his honor. If that's not enough to make a man find religion, I don't know what is.

*side note: the vikings word for "poetry" and "alcohol" (mead) was one and the same. Brilliant huh?

Anyhow, in honor of our beer drinking origins (or something like that) I visited Colorado this last week, home of more breweries than any other state in the union. Or so they claim. I also drank at Boulder's original microbrewery (Walnut Brewery), Denver's original microbrewery (Wynkoop) and Colorado's original microbrewery (Boulder Beer Co.), sooooo...on to my notes!

Walnut: Located in scenic downtown Walnut Street, Walnut Brewery just happened to be several blocks from where I parked my borrowed car after a half day skiing, so a burger and some beers seemed necessary while I waited for my friend to get out of class. I'll say straight out, I love breweries that brag of their accomplishments. Vanity, yes, but why brew and enter all these beers for a million different festivals if you're not going to advertise your winnings? Starting with:

Old Elk Brown Ale: Their most esteemed ale, according to my waitress. A Silver Medal winner in the English Brown category at the GAB in 2008, these sweet, malty brown had a chocolate/caramel flavor balanced with earthy Willamette hops and a nice sour bite from the Munich grains. A very classically european brown, with a huge body and full flavor.

Big Horn Bitter: Surprisingly I was onto beer two before my delicious jambalaya came out. Amazing huh? Yes, I impress even myself sometimes. This was another classicaly english style, dark like the old elk but without the sweetness and with the more bittering Chinook hops, providing a classic cool finish. A nice pub ale.

One other cool note about Walnut: I liked that you could see the brewing tanks from the floor, and the individual temperatures each beer was fermenting at (in the low 40s for the lagers, in the 50s and 60s depending on the ale style).

More updates to come from: New Belgium, Wynkoop, and Boulder Beer Co. Season's greetings!

1 comment:

  1. The Christmanukah party should be replaced by the Yule festival. I'll bet we could even come up with a kick ass counterpart for the Christmas Tree and Menorah to celebrate "Yule Day."

    I'm thinking we initiate the first ever annual Yule Day on 12/12/2009 with Yule Eve on 12/11/2009. The holiday will start at Sunset on the evening before the day and continue until sunrise the following day.

    The day shall be the second Saturday in December henceforth.