Taste Test: Xmas Seasonals

Prairie Christmas Bomb! Imperial Stout

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This is not Prairie Christmas Bomb!, but I wished it was.

I didn’t add the exclamation point myself. Really. Someone else thought it was just that good, and man, they were right. I saw this beer for the first time last year at Potent Potables, but I opted for something a little less potent since I was driving. At 13% ABV, you’ll want to drink this stuff like wine. (As of 12/21, PP has a keg of it tapped.)

And it’s meant to be savored anyway. It hits you with coffee and chocolate and other things that put a frickin’ ballerina in my mouth. I couldn’t figure out how it had that many layers. We got a growler of it from Beer Growler in Winston-Salem around Thanksgiving, and you can find out where it is on a beer app like Beer Menus or Untappd. Snatch this up quick because in my experience, it doesn’t last long.

True to Style: 5/5
Wow Factor: 5/5

Foothills Moravian Porter

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I stopped by the Foothills Tasting Room the day they released their 2017 Moravian Porter. I’ve tried People’s Porter before (the BBA version is better because bourbon makes everything better), and the Moravian Porter is like a spiced version of it.

Another Triad heavy hitter, Natty Greene’s, releases their spiced ale Red Nose around this time of year, too, but it’s totally different. Red Nose used to be my go-to winter ale since it was easily accessible at the grocery store and was damned tasty, but it fell out of my rotation as I trended toward darker and heavier beers.

The Moravian Porter was solid in terms of style, but it didn’t wow me like I thought it would. I guess I was expecting more because of the awesome marketing. All of a sudden, I was seeing the release event on FB and the thing sold in a gift package along with a pint glass and some other stuff. I tip my hat to their marketing director, Ray, who is damned good at his job.

I’d have another of these given the opportunity, although I doubt I’ll go out searching for it specifically again. Who knows? You may love it. That’s the beauty of beer (and anything) — we all like different things. Let me know what you think!

True to Style: 4/5
Wow Factor: 3/5

Tröegs Mad Elf Belgian Strong Dark Ale

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Trust me. You wouldn’t want to date this guy.

Whoa.

I’d heard of Tröegs Independent Brewing before (from Hershey, PA), maybe on some website like Beer Advocate that talked about how awesome it is. I dunno. I’m usually skeptical about that kind of stuff because I’ve been to Portland and, you know, some beer isn’t as great as they say it’ll be.

So I’d bought a bottle of this at Winston-Salem Wine Market (yeah, they have beer, too) last year to try with my family at Christmas. We dug it out of the back of my grandparents’ fridge at our recent annual eggnog-making gathering.

I’m a sucker for Belgian beers (I’m looking at you, Magella), but not all Belgian beers are the same. Even within the same style — single, dubbel, tripel, quadrupel — they range from really sweet and fruity to kind of watery or just meh.

This one, though. Whoa. A great Belgian to me is heavy with a sucker punch of flavor. Mad Elf delivers on both fronts. I was surprised since bottled beer normally isn’t as great as this, and this one was at least a year old. (Still skeptical about the whole “drink within 90 days of bottling” thing.) Dad thought it tasted a lot like cherries, which it says on the label: “brewed with honey and cherries.” I couldn’t catch that, although the nuances were probably overshadowed by the Foothills Hoppyum I’d just had. Gotta save new beer for the first beer of the night.

True to Style: 4/5
Wow Factor: 5/5

 

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