Nearly halfway there and I’m bringing the 12 Beers of Christmas reviews back to the good ol’ U.S. of A. While the warm summer months invite crisp and hoppy beers, the colder winter months bring out the maltier side of brewers. Darker ales tend to dominate the holiday beer landscape and the next entry falls right into this trend.
On the 5th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
Sleigh’r Dark Double Alt Ale, Ninkasi Brewing Company, 7.2% ABV
This ale pours out a clear, dark brown color with a beige colored head. The aroma has a deep toasted character with a soft roasty note. The flavor is malty with caramel, deep toast, and a slight roast note in the finish. Despite the malty quality, there’s an assertive, yet balanced, hop bitterness. I can also pick up slight alcohol notes but it seems to be appropriate to the beverage and malt based. The body is medium-full/full, and the carbonation is spritzy.
Sleighr is a very good example of an alt bier. When I think of “alt”, I usually think in the terms of “alternative” but that’s not what it means. In this case, “alt” is German for “old”, and alt biers are throwbacks to a German ale brewing tradition. Alt biers are primarily known for being malty with enough hop bitterness to balance and Sleighr fits this description exactly!
As I pen this post, I’m watching the Great Christmas Light Fight. These folks really love Christmas. I thought I liked Christmas, but compared to these families, I have a passing summer crush. People express their holiday spirits differently. Some folks light up their homes, others review Christmas beers (or brew up Christmas beers).