When I was a child, Christmas Morning meant waking up at the crack of dawn with my siblings, tearing open presents until we found a video game, and playing said game for the remainder of the day.
Now that I am an adult with greater patience and other interests (read: someone who wants to sleep in and already bought the games he wanted), the holidays represent a time of visiting family, counting our blessings, and sharing in great conversation while drinking tasty winter brews.
As the sing-song title of this article would imply, I made a pilgrimage to the land where I was raised; a place of mountain views, rich foods, and an abundance of Christmas decorations. Since most of my time was spent enjoying the company of my loved ones, this Weekly Brews and Reviews article is very light on video games (but rather heavy on brews). In fact, outside of watching my brother crush faces in Street Fighter V, I played no video games over the holiday week (GASP!).
In spite of my lack of gaming, I still managed to sample a handful of delicious beers and enjoy some video game related media.
Anytime I visit my family and friends, I make sure to bring some novel beers for us to try. This year, I brought two decadent brews for our sampling purposes: Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company and Death By Coconut from Oskar Blues Brewery.
For Backwoods Bastard, Founders Brewing put their Scotch ale (Dirty Bastard) in bourbon barrels for over a year to produce a unique beer. This barrel-aged beauty showcases an amber color with a garnet-red tint and a fizzy brown head. The nose is intense, with odors of a fine scotch and mince pie (think cinnamon and figs). The taste leads with a syrupy smooth start of salted caramel, giving way to spicy notes of dried fruit, climaxing with a gingerbread finish. Backwoods Bastard is most definitely a sipping beer, clocking in at 11.2% ABV.
Death By Coconut is an equally unique brew. In their delightful madness, Oskar Blues Brewery decided to brew an Irish porter with pure liquid cacao. The result is a beer that pours coffee brown with a marshmallow cream head. The nose is unsurprisingly rich, with aromas of milk chocolate and roasted coconut. The taste is absolutely decadent; a smoky dark chocolate start leads to a toasted coconut flavor, finishing with a hint of almond. Death By Coconut is a Mounds bar in a glass- dark, sweet, and delicious.
Following a night of uncommon brews and cherished camaraderie, I ventured back to the homestead where a Christmas tree of traditional and gaming decorations stood with fantastic gifts underneath. Thanks to my wonderful wife, I received not one, but two gifts based on my favorite game of 2015.
Along with the Undertale Art Book and a delightful Papyrus figurine (both of which are highly recommended and available from Fangamer.com), I also received another beer in the Barrel House Series from Blue Mountain Brewery: a Belgian-inspired Christmas ale called Blitzen. This Bière de Noël is brewed with special biscuit malt, Belgian candi sugar from sugar beets, and French + German hops. The resulting brew is cola brown with ruby-red hues. Blitzen has a nose of caramel, clove, plum, and a hint of toasted marshmallow. The taste begins with tart notes of dried fruit, which mellows into a smooth toffee and gingerbread body. The finish is rather dry, with flavors of wheat toast and honey.
Even though I didn’t get to indulge in a new video game binge on Christmas Day, I still feel very blessed during this holiday season. I live in a time when craft beer and gaming media are escalated to fantastic heights. Plus, I am surrounded by folks who
enable encourage me to pursue such delightful hobbies. In short, this was an excellent holiday and I appreciate everyone who made it a wonderful experience. Merry Christmas, everyone!