Friday, December 16, 2011

Nodding Head 12 Beers of Christmas

On the second Saturday of December, Nodding Head held an event called 12 Beers of Christmas. They've been doing second Saturday events for quite a while now and they always have a few special beers for each event. For this one, they had 2010 Sledwrecker, Phunkywine, and some Grog aged in a JW Lees barrel. There were also quite a few others as they had like 12 beers available so it was quite an afternoon. When I arrived, things were slightly busy but there was plenty of room to stand.

Knowing I'd end up ordering all the beers I wanted anyway, I decided to start with the JW Lees Grog as it was in a small firkin sitting on the bar so I felt like it had the highest chance of kicking at some point.
Started with a clean caramel nose. Didn't remind me of Grog, but I haven't had Grog in a while so I may just be crazy. Thick body. Tasted of caramel with a bit of breadiness. Some people were very impressed with this while I thought it was just decent. Maybe I wasn't in the right frame of mind and should have waited or something, I dunno.

The next I ordered was the Old Sot, an American Barleywine.
Big hoppy nose with an unfortunate soapy note underneath. The hop notes in the body, however, were quite a bit more pleasant with a heavy citrus note, almost like orange juice. Luckily, this is one of those that gets better as you drink as the soapiness disappeared and I ended up with a nice hoppy beer instead.

I followed that up with the Phunkywine which was a soured version of Old Sot.
You can see some of the other beers available plus descriptions if you enlarge this picture. So, I drank the Phunkywine after the Old Sot to try to get a feel for the base before the souring occurred and I feel like it worked out pretty well. I detected some of the original hoppy citrus notes but the funkiness from the barrel took over quickly. The nose was funky, slightly musty, and slightly tart and everything followed from there. I quite enjoyed this one.

Up next was their holiday beer, Sledwrecker.
The recipe for Sledwrecker changes every year with this year's being brewed with vanilla and some other spices. Clove and cinnamon nose with a sugary and vanilla sweetness in the back. Taste followed with the cinnamon and vanilla being the major points. Major points on using vanilla well since it can be easy to overdo it. I wasn't expecting much from this and was happily surprised at how good it was.

The last beer I ordered was the 2010 Sledwrecker.
As I said, the recipe changes every year and you could totally tell the differences between the two years. There was way more cinnamon and some dark fruit flavors and no vanilla in the 2010. It was decent but didn't wow me like this year's version.

Really enjoyed my time at Nodding Head. I was only expecting to stay for a couple hours and ended up spending like 4 or 5. Probably not a real surprise considering I always stay longer than I expect but one of these days maybe I won't. It's just hard with so many cool people to talk to and so many beers to try. I really like these second Saturday events and hope I can make the next one since they are doing Icecapades again and I missed out last year. We'll see though.

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