As you know, I’m drinking a beer every day from the Central City/Parallel 49 Mystery Gift Holiday Countdown. If you missed the first half, you can check it out here. And don’t miss my halfway update — which includes my admission to having made a mistake.
Now, on to the second half.
Today my mystery box gifted me a bottle of Black Christmas CDA (Christmas Dark Ale in this case). This take eschews the normally liberal dose of vanilla found in winter seasonals, and comes out more like a normal CDA (Cascadian Dark Ale), in my opinion. Though it is more caramel and cocoa in smell and taste.
An enjoyable beer and nice change from some of the more plain styles we’ve seen recently.
Tomorrow I’m going to guess Red Racer ISA!
Right again!! What’s that, 2 out of…well let’s just not calculate my success rate right now.
So I haven’t had the opportunity to try the Red Racer ISA yet, though I admit I was never particularly excited about it. It sounded a lot like a nerfed IPA to me. So now that I’ve tasted it, has my opinion changed? Nope. I think I could get behind this if it more resembled their IPA at a very sessionable 4% ABU, but unfortunately it doesn’t. In fact, it simply retains the bitterness without bringing along all those great citrus flavours found in big brother IPA. If it comes down to a case of being able to drink more because of it having less alcohol content, I’d very much rather drink one RR IPA than two of these.
Tomorrow I’m going to guess Salty Scot yet again, I’m still holding to the believe it’ll turn up eventually.
OK, I was wrong again. But Salty Scot is going to happen, mark my words.
Today’s beer was Gypsy Tears Ruby Ale. This may be from the main product line, but I enjoy this beer and I’m always happy to down a bottle. You can see in the angled picture I took the ruby colour of the beer. The taste is a good blend of caramel maltiness to go along with the citrus hops. This is a very solid beer and no wonder P49 has made it a staple in their lineup. The best of their “always around” brews.
There are only 5 CC beers remaining that I think will be in this calendar. That means my odds of being right are going up! I’m betting on Red Racer IPA tomorrow!
Red Racer IPA. I said my chances of being right were going up!
I don’t think this beer needs much introduction. It is one of the top rated, most well-known and well-respected IPAs in BC. It hits you hard but it’s so balanced it is, put simply, a joy to drink. If you haven’t tried it yet and have even a passing interest in IPAs, I highly recommend this beer.
Tomorrow I’m going to guess Salty Scot for what feels like the millionth time. I’m so sure it’s coming I’m just going to keep guessing it till it shows up.
Sahti Claws! How could I forget about this beer? I even talked about it last year!
Anyway, as you can see from before, I thought it was a pretty decent beer. Do I still like it? Yup, sure do! The juniper really makes this a unique, stand out brew. What’s nice is that it manages to take advantage of that unique flavour and make it into a solid drink, instead of something overpowering one way or the other. Thumbs up.
Tomorrow I’m thinking either Imperial Porter or Imperial IPA. I wonder to myself, would they roll with their Imperial IPA right after doing their IPA? I don’t think so. For that reason I’m going to bet on the Porter.
Should have gone with my first instinct and picked the Imperial IPA, because guess what I found in my box today? Yup, the Imperial IPA.
So I’ve had this before and loved it, and that hasn’t changed. At 90 IBU you’d think the bitterness would hit you hard, but it really doesn’t. In fact, it doesn’t even hit as hard at the normal IPA (80 IBU). It is sweeter, deeper, and maltier, and all that does a great job masking the higher ABV and IBU. This is a dangerous beer, because it is a barely noticeable 9% (until you’ve drunk a few) and so. damn. good.
I fear I’m going to have to toss my Salty Scot (sad!) prediction to the side. There are only 3 P49 beers left and I’m pretty sure the most likely candidates are Ugly Sweater, N2, and Barleywine (please!!). So I’m going to go with Ugly Sweater.
Seriously? I swear P49 is just being contrary now. I must have guessed Salty Scot about 15 times. Then I finally gave up and look what shows up? Salty Scot. The good news is I really like Salty Scot, so finding this is fine by me!
This is actually the first beer I ever had from Parallel 49, and the reason I became an instant fan. The taste is filled with caramel goodness, along with a pinch of salt and some nuttiness. It’s like drinking a beerified version of one of those caramel toffee candies. I could drink this beer all day.
Tomorrow, I’m guessing I’ll find a bottle of Imperial Porter from Central City.
Last year Central City released an Imperial Porter that was…good. Not amazing, but not bad of course. It seemed like it wasn’t quite hitting all the right notes. So when they released it this year I wasn’t as excited as the words “bourbon barrel aged imperial porter” would normally make me. And if you can believe it, I didn’t even rush out to buy a handful of bottles.
But I’ve been hearing good things about the batch this year, so I was looking forward to the day it inevitably showed up in this calendar. Today is that day.
This is better than what I remember the bottle was last year. A lot better. The bourbon influence is really strong (but that will mellow out with some aging), and there is a nice balance of vanilla, chocolate and coffee rounding it out. Colour me impressed. Now excuse me while I drive out to Central City to buy a few bottles!
There are only two P49 beers left, and since I think they’re going to bust out the barley wine on the 23rd, that leaves Ugly Sweater and N2 Milk Stout for tomorrow (Though I think Ugly Sweater is more likely). So I’ll flip a coin…and the winner is: N2! (Which means it’ll be Ugly Sweater, of course.)
See? The coin flip always lies. Though to be fair I didn’t have a coin on hand so I flipped a microSD card instead…
The nice thing about finding an Ugly Sweater in the box today is that I actually prefer it over N2. Other than making the pour really cool, I didn’t find that nitrogenating the beer made it any better (I heard N2 Milk Stout is just a nitrogenated version of Ugly Sweater, hence that comment). Maybe if I had more than just a sample glass I could get used to N2 and appreciate it for its own merits, but alas, I simply haven’t done so.
Back to Ugly Sweater, this is a nice little milk stout, and has become a staple in our winter beer fridge. It has a nice, creamy mouthfeel and a blend of cocoa, dark chocolate, and coffee flavours. Nothing too overpowering, just nice and easy. It’s the kind of stout you can drink more than one of in a single sitting.
Tomorrow the beer will be Thor’s Hammer. Why do I sound so sure of myself? Because the options are either that or the special Belgian CC made for the box, Dubbel Trubbel. Since we all know the Belgian will finish the box, that leaves Thor’s for tomorrow.
Thor’s Hammer – Bourbon Barrel Aged. If I didn’t know better I would swear it’s Christmas Day. Spoiler alert: I love this beer. I don’t even need to open the bottle to know I love it. Why? Because this beer has a special place in my heart.
About two and a half years ago my friend Colin introduced me to craft beer with a bottle of La Fin du Monde by Unibroue. I’ve been addicted ever since. A few months later, Colin sent me a text message from Winnipeg: “Dude, there’s bourbon barrel Thor’s Hammer at Central City. You need to go buy some.” I had no idea what Thor’s Hammer was, but I went and bought some.
I didn’t drink it right away. I put it in my cupboard for a few months because I knew I was going to Winnipeg for a wedding at the end of summer. I brought it with me. We popped that bottle, drank, and it was wonderful. It immediately became my favourite beer. Awesome beer, awesome people, what more can you ask for?
That’s why I rushed out to buy a bunch of bottles when I heard there was another batch released this year. Those are aging in my cupboard right now, because I had a feeling I’d get a fresh sample in this box.
So what does it taste like? Strong. There are sweet, dark fruits all over the place, caramel malts, and bourbon. The bourbon is more than a little evident in this beer right now; it might even be a little bit too strong on the finish. With time though, it’ll mellow out and the overall balance will get even better. I can’t wait to try it again in 6 months.
Tomorrow, for Parallel 49’s last beer of the calendar, I’m hoping they end it right by including a bottle of their Barley Wine!
I wasn’t expecting this. But then again, I should have expected anything. Instead of Parallel 49 Barley Wine, today I found a bottle of Vow of Silence in my box. This was a bit surprising, because I really didn’t think they’d made any Vow of Silence recently enough for inclusion. Turns out I was wrong yet again.
Vow of Silence is a Belgian Strong, so it’s certainly not out of place this late in the calendar. As a style, it’s one of my favourites. But I found myself slightly disappointed by the taste. The nose is sweet caramel goodness, but the taste is a bit too sickly sweet for me, and it seemed to have a strong cough syrup flavour too. There was a lot of good caramel, dates and plums in there too, but unfortunately the downsides kept me from really enjoying this beer. This would be a good candidate beer for aging, as at 9.8% it’ll hold up well in the cellar, and the flavours might even out a bit.
I don’t even need to guess what the beer tomorrow is going to be. There’s one day left and we still haven’t had a bottle of Dubbel Trubbel. Looking forward to it!
For the final day of my CC/P49 Advent Calendar, I was finally able to try Central City’s Dubbel Trubbel.
What do we know about this beer? It’s a Belgian dubbel, obviously, made with rum and raisins. If that doesn’t sound destined to be awesome, then we probably can’t be friends. I’ve been looking forward to trying it since I first heard of the calendar back in November.
So did it measure up to my lofty expectations? Not entirely. My first impression was a disappointing “meh”. But I really took my time drinking it in an effort to get every last bit of enjoyment from the final beer of the box, and that effort paid off, to an extent. The rum and raisins are both prevalent in the taste. The raisin was hard to pick out at first, but as the beer warmed it really started to come out. The main problem I had with this beer was the mouthfeel and how the taste hit. I kept thinking “thin” over and over. Almost like it was watered down. My first thought was maybe the volume of rum caused this. But that much rum would create an ABV higher than the advertised 6.5%, I would imagine.
It was good, and I would drink it again, for sure. But unfortunately it simply wasn’t full-bodied enough for me to consider it a home run. A double, at most.
And that wraps up my advent calendar countdown. Thanks for reading everyone!