Just in time for bowls of jelly, sugar plums, nutcrackers and elves, Avid Reader, here is a beer to help with the impending holiday festivities. If you are already sick of eggnog then let me tell you about a pleasant alternative that might be able to fend off a visit from three random specters. Winter seasonal beers seem to be a little more fun than summer seasonal beers. In the summer you can expect some brew to be hijacked by a fruit flavor that often adds nothing to the beer, however, for winter brews a little bit of fruit seems to go a long way.
This was a new brew to me and I was expecting some kind of a stout, since that is the theme I’ve been building on for the last few weeks, but a rather odd word on the label caught my attention. This beer was brewed in the same tradition as a Swedish Glögg. Before you go looking for it, I already did the legwork for you: this is the Swedish term for mulled wine. For quite a while I used to make mulled wine around this time of year, but I stopped after most people didn’t drink it very often. No matter, this beer brought back some memories and having that bit of knowledge helped put it in perspective.
First of all, it poured out to a nice caramel color in my pint glass, and I could smell some orange rind swimming in there. I took a quick swig and it did remind me a little of mulled spirits. Another key ingredient is figs, not that I could taste them or anything, but I thought that to be an interesting item to put in a beer. Hey, I’ve had a beer made with bacon, so figs are kind of tame in comparison.
Moving through the pint, the orange stuck with me and malt body was great. Not roasted or burned, just mild and easy to drink with a little bite from some hops. This is a beer that needs to be mild and not overpowered by hops or roasted malts, just a simple brew to enjoy after you’ve unwrapped every available package in sight.
This brew could be a close cousin to Sam’s Winter Lager; however, the idea that it was mulled gives it a different edge. I’m not saying that you should warm up a few bottles of this beer on the stove with some sliced fruit floating around, since that would be a terrible waste of beer, but it is a twist on an old favorite. Help spread some cheer this year and leave a bottle of this for that jolly old elf and I bet he’ll leave you something better than coal in your stocking. Just make sure the reindeer don’t have any, they prefer candy canes anyhow.