Has it really been over a month?
Things have been a bit crazy with work and life. In November I closed shop at my main (more general interest) blog, hoping I would (among other things) have a little more time and energy to put into this one. So far it hasn't worked out that way, but between the holidays and job-hunting, I've been a bit preoccupied, I guess.
Speaking of which, I have a BIG interview on Tuesday in California. This is the job I'm pretty sure I want. An offer will trigger a pretty quick relocation, so I probably won't be brewing again any time soon. In addition to all the homebrew I've made (though I have managed to consume and give away a good portion of it), I'm still sitting on about two mixed cases of beer left over from the wedding. I guess a few more boxes aren't that big of a deal if you're moving your whole house, but it just seems silly to be moving that much beer.
Holiday beer-oriented highlights:
--All of this year's homebrews have turned out well, in my estimation. This year's mole porter is the best so far, IMHO. Matrimoniale continues to mature...I will likely hold a bottle or two in reserve for at least a year, possibly more. The high alcohol content should make it OK for long-term storage. The Christmas Caramale, though it doesn't really taste like caramel at all, has turned into a very smooth, pleasant brown ale (in fact, I am having one now). The hops are very assertive on the nose, but very mellow on the pallate. Faint hints of nutmeg in the background...the description I can't seem to get out of my head is "grassy gingerbread" (it's better than it sounds). My wife completely disagrees with this description, but likes the beer nonetheless.
--Speaking of my beautiful wife, one of my Christmas presents this year was every seasonal ale on sale at our local beer merchant...which came to about 25 different brews. I've dutifully worked my way through these (with something of a, ahem, running start on Christmas day). Included were some old favorites of mine: Bridgeport Ebeneezer
, Sierra Nevada Celebration, and Deschutes Jubelale, all of which are which are pretty consistent year-to-year. New to me this year included Alaskan Winter Ale
, a tasty brew made with spruce tips, Avery Old Jubilation
, a complex and very strong ale (probably my favorite if I had to pick one), and Samuel Adams' Old Fezziwig
, which, being faintly sweet, went great with my mom's Christmas cookies. The only disappointment in the lot for me was this year's Anchor Christmas Ale--which is usually excellent, but I just didn't care for this year's edition. I can't remember exactly why, except that I thought the flavor profile was just too unbalanced--too much of something, or not enough of something else. Anchor's winter ales are usually among the very best though, so I'm sure this will turn out to be an anomaly. Or, I might have even gotten a bottle from a slightly off batch.
--New Years was in Pto. Penasco, Mexico, which had beautiful lager-drinking weather (mid 80s and sunny). Living through southern Arizona summers will teach even the stoutest of ale drinkers to love the lager. It's a well-known fact that Coke is better in Mexico
...I think it's true of Sol and Dos Equis as well. Especially on the beach.