I picked up a magnum at my local Whole Foods and was so excited to finally open it at a small dinner party on Christmas Eve. I wish I'd had the wherewithal to scribble in my 33 Beers notebook because all I can remember is how hoppy and spicy it smelled. The first sip tasted, basically, like Christmas. I was baking gingerbread cookies (while friends were over, so tacky) and they were a perfect accompaniment to the beer! Next: Flying Dog Raging Bitch.
Gonzo Imperial Porter was one of the first craft beers I ever tried and I couldn't finish the bottle. If you've ever had it, dear reader, maybe you'll take pity on me. I'd been shy about Flying Dog ever since, but at the behest of a friend I tried the Raging Bitch. I expected it to be a sock in the taste buds like its brewery brethren but was so pleasantly surprised at its hoppy-but-not-bitter smoothness. Like music to my mouth. It smells like an IPA but goes down like a Belgian trippel. Numero tres: 21st Amendment Fireside Chat.
My darling boyfriend was up in San Francisco visiting a friend of his and stopped at City Beer Store at my request to pick up the Fireside Chat. Unfortunately it was the last 6 pack they had, so I have to be stingy. It might just be my mind playing tricks, wishing for Monk's Blood, but this beer pours just like it. Heady, dark, and smooth, but with a distinct spicy bite. I was all pumpkin'd out by the end of October and haven't enjoyed spiced ales more than I have this month. Last but not least: Anchor Brewing Merry Christmas Happy New Year 2010.
This beer is always a favorite. I enjoyed the 12oz bottles earlier in the month as I had in years before, but this was the first time I had beer from the magnum. Correct me if I'm wrong, but as I understand it, the magnums are bottle-conditioned where the 6 packs are not. The 12oz bottles have a sharp taste that I can't pinpoint, and the magnums are smooth and dark, but light in body (not in flavor). I will be getting magnums every year. Also I've never tried aging them, nor would I have the restraint to leave them there, but I guess now is as good a time as any!