Mad Elf, Tröegs Independent Brewing, Hershey, PA is light reddish brown with a fluffy khaki head that recedes quickly. The Mad Elf comes in at a whopping 11%abv. Dark roasted malt, brown sugar, and red cherries greet the nose up front. Cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and clove follow through as the aroma opens up. Palate is a mélange of roasted malt, cherry, baking spices and wild honey, hitting the taste buds like Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound” hits the eardrums. This is a welcome brew when the temperture’s are sinking lower and lower, the high alcohol content warms the bones, warm the beer and it will work wonders as a “Mulled Beer.”
Tröegs is a Hershey Chocolates neighbor, an incentive to visit this sweet part of Pennsylvania. Warming up the Mad Elf would be great to create a mulled ale and eat with a variety of chocolates.
Anchor Brewing, Merry Christmas Happy New Year 2019. Is dark brown with a khaki head. This year’s version comes in at 6.9%abv. The aroma has a slightly sweet dark roasted malt with hints of burnt sugar and espresso. The background does have light scents of clove and allspice with a little cinnamon and vanilla. The palate is more straightforward with its dark roasted malt and even malted milk flavors. This rich ale has a full mouth feel and is searching for an airy dark chocolate mousse in a shallow pool of blackberry puree. To keep it simple just pour some of the beer into rocks glass and add a scoop of Tahitian Vanilla bean ice cream.
This is the 45thanniversary of Anchor Steam brewing its “Our Special Ale,” which is released every year, available from November through January, but usually disappears from store shelves rather quickly. Every year the recipe changes, but somehow it always captures the feel of winter. Another unique feature is the tree on the label. This too changes every year, this year the label features the Arborvitae (Tree of Life) an evergreen native to Northern California.