Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Advent Calendar - 17th December 2014

Beer Advent Calendar
Tap It Brewing Company - Pale Ale 6.0%
17th December 2014

One week to Christmas Eve and I wonder what you'll be doing one week from today.

Will you, like me, be going to work wishing you were at home because you still have a million and one other things that you could be doing, but nevertheless you'll still make your way to the pub when you've finished because it would be wrong not to. Maybe you'll be at home franticly wrapping presents, baking mince pies and checking that the turkey is defrosting, a bustling hive of activity helped along by the occasional glass or two of beer, or perhaps you like (!) to leave your shopping to the last minute, enjoying the final pre-Christmas gift buying crush. If that it you though, I do have one question: What on earth were you thinking!?!!

You could of course be incredibly organised, entertaining friends and enjoying the build up to the Big Day, and if this is you then I applaud your planning and judgement skills. I expect that you might have even have sorted out which beer you'll be having and when, and if you have then you certainly won't be alone.

The excellent Beer O'Clock Show podcast will be running their now annual #!2BeersOfXmas again this year encouraging you to pick a beer of your own for a day for twelve days and sharing it by either writing your own blog, leaving a comment on their blog, or just posting it on twitter and/or instagram using the #12BeersOfChristmas and #cheersguys hash tags. The official start day for this is this Saturday the 20th December, however I will be joining in from Christmas Day for twelve days as these posts will take me right up to there. The beauty of this venture is though that you can actually join in whenever you want on any day you want, sharing your beers and experiences of them for others to enjoy.

Online beer club Beer Bods have also got in on the act this year with their 12 Beer Bods Of Christmas beer case. Unlike the Beer O'clock Show they have a selection of twelve beers that you don't know about in advance, but they reveal one each numbered day and are doing a short video that is up on their website to introduce it. If you want to get in on the act for this one though I'm afraid you're a little late as not only did it start on the 13th December but I am reliably informed that it is now sold out. I'm sure if it's a success however that they will do it again next year so you might want to look out for that.

Whatever beer you have over Christmas though do try to make sure it's a good one as there is no substitute for quality, and in this season of excess remember that one memorable beer beats a whole case full of mediocre ones. I hope you'll share your beers on social media or perhaps on Untappd because I'm a (red) nosey so and so I do like to see what everyone else is drinking. I suppose there's only thing to add here, before I move on to the next part of this blog then and that is "Cheers!".

So while you're all off to compile or check (twice) your Christmas beer list, here are the answers to yesterdays questions;

1. St Joseph's Abbey

2. Finland

3. Ken Grossman

4. Lager

5. Teku

There were no five out of fives yesterday I'm afraid so it's another rollover. How will you get on today? The questions are a bit further down, but before all that it's time for today's beer.

The Tap it Brewing Co. is another Californian brewery whose beers have been brought over to the UK by Ales By Mail. Interestingly this beer doesn't appear on their website or even Beer Advocate so it's a bit of an anomaly. Their website is also a bit sketchy on the brewery history front, although I gather that it is family owned, so without further ado I grab the beer and pop it open.

Pouring a pale amber yellow with a thin white head it has a gentle fruity aroma tantalisingly offering the promise of mango, pear and pine but there's also a touch of salinity in there that I find a little odd and I'm wondering if this will be reflected in the taste. It has quite a full mouth feel with a good hit from the carbonation and it immediately explodes like a juicy water balloon filled with mango, lychee and pear juice with a twist of lime and a few drops of pine sap, but this also makes it seem a little sweet, perhaps too cloyingly so for my palate, and I've got the salinity again. This hint of salty water is nagging away at me, so much so that it pushes the other flavours aside in my mind and I'm afraid is spoiling it for me a little. The finish is fully of lime zest, mango and peach juice that feels a little oily, like someone has wrung the remains of a bag of  Simcoe hops into a glass. If you're a hop head and you don't mind your beer a little sweet then I'm sure that you're going to love it, but I'm sorry to say that it isn't doing it for me which is a bit of a shame however I would like to taste more of their beer as these guys certainly know how to brew.

While I'm still struggling with my decision on that beer then, here are today's questions which have a distinctly continental flavour:

1. Who is credited with reviving the witbier style of beer based on the Belgian tradition of using coriander and orange peel at the Hoegaarden brewery?

2.  Which rch and malty dark lager style was originally brewed in the winter in the German town of Einbeck to be consumed by fasting monks as a good source of nourishment?

3. Which Belgian brewery, established in 1858 in the town of Purnode-Yvoir owns the brands Blanche de Namur, Gauloise and St Benoit?

4. "O'zapft is!" is the cry heard when the first barrel is tapped at which world renowned beer festival?

5. Which top fermented, sour and highly carbonated low alcohol wheat beer is typically served in a bowl shaped glass and with the addition of either 'Himbersirup' or 'Waldmeistersirup' in it's native city?

Not the easiest set but I'm sure you're up to it with a little thought and/or research so give it a go.

And so, as always, it is time once more for the inevitable conclusion of my Beer Advent Calendar post.

The moment I know you've all be dreading.

Here is today's cringeworthy Christmas cracker joke.

Which Christmas carol is most commonly heard in the desert?

O camel ye faithful!

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