Beer of the Week

Five Things About … Little Brewing’s 2013 Christmas Ale

1) Things can get a bit funny in Australia around Christmas time. While December 25 is very much in summer, so much of Christmas here seems as though we think it’s winter. We get Christmas decorations that feature snow, we listen to carols that are all about cold weather and we eat a festive lunch that is heavy on the hot meats. All while it’s actually T-shirt weather.

2) It happens with beer too. If someone puts out a Christmas ale you can pretty much assume it’ll be a rich, dark beer high in alcohol which will take a while to get through. Especially if you tackle it at the end of Christmas lunch, when your stomach is already way more distended than you ever thought possible. I ask you, where are the Christmas beers more suited to our climate? What about a lightly hopped Christmas lager? Or how about someone cranking out a Belgian witbier called “White Christmas”? Or a cloudy hefe called a “Ho-Ho-feweisen”?

3) Okay, so maybe not that last one. But you get my point. I don’t drink these great big, heavy beers on Christmas day. What I look to do is drink them one night during the festive season when the weather is cool, maybe a bit rainy and I can pace myself with a hugely boozy beer (as stated elsewhere in this blog, I’m a bit of an alcohol wuss).

4) Which is why I drank this 11.3 per cent behemoth last night. It was a cool night after a few stinking hot ones in a row and – even though it was a school night – I felt a bit festive. So I opted to open this beer, which had been sitting in the fridge for a few weeks. Before then it had been sitting under the stairs at home, ever since I asked a fellow beer geek to pick up some for me. I did that not knowing just how high in alcohol it would be (I really need to do better research on that score).

5) And it was quite nice indeed. That high alcohol is definitely there but it provides more of a cuddly warming sensation rather than bashing you over the head, which can happen in some cases. The flavour is very much of fruit cake, though there are some rum notes that poke their head in as the glass warms up. There is also some sweetness from that fruitcake character but the booziness manages to keep it in check. Also, despite the fact this is four years old, it holds up really well – there’s no sign of anything being out of balance.

Free or paid for: I bought a four-pack in 2013 and I have two left. I think I’ll leave them until a cold winter’s night, when I reckon they’ll go down a treat.

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