Blue Moon Winter Abbey Ale
I t was a long day, but a very enjoyable one.
Each year my brother Charlie has a Christmas Eve get together in his smoke shed at his house in Griffin, Georgia. It started in 1990 when he started smoking whole hams as Christmas presents for his employees and some for friends. Starting at 5am friends would drop by with hams and would bring biscuits. It was an all day thing for the first 15 years. People would drop in for coffee and hot sausage right out of the smoker in the morning, stop by for a bit of deep fried turkey around lunch then return with their spouses around 2pm for all of the above and a beer or two.
Now he smokes about 99 lbs of sausage and ribs. He gave up on the hams because it was too much work and not enough time to stop and enjoy talking with friends. Still plenty of work but it’s much more enjoyable. I’ve always accused him of buying boring beer (Bud, Bud Light, Bud Ice). He would on occasion buy Killians for me but he claims he always had some leftover and he only wanted leftover beer that he would drink so he stopped. Actually there was never any Killians left over from the party. They all got drunk by either me or one of his sons. It was the leftovers from when I came to visit the rest of the year that was the real culprit.
Because of his little smoke shed affair he’s been featured on the front page of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and featured in a book on Southern BBQ with his claim to fame was he doesn’t use any seasoning other than the smoke.
I’ve been to all of them except about 3. I get there the night before and start making boiled peanuts. I have to admit that this year’s batch turned out pretty good. I brought some home to nibble on while watching upcoming bowl games.
A great party but the drinkin’s were pretty slim until a first timer dropped by with a six-pack of Blue Moon Winter Abbey Ale. I saw them sitting in the ice filled claw foot bathtub that serves as the bar. I made sure its owner was cool with me snitching one and enjoyed sitting by the fire nursing this fine brew. It was pouring outside, Mr. Ben was running around showing all the adults how cool his iPad games were and I was enjoying it all.
Once again Blue Moon has a made a great seasonal brew. I like all of their seasonals.
This is a darker sweeter malt brew like many Winter Ales but it’s not so much in your face that it becomes a session brew. Not to say you couldn’t treat it like a session brew but it’s medium-body mouthfeel is like enough so can you have a couple.
I couldn’t swear to the color because I drank it from the bottle.
It’s predominantly a malty brew with chocolate, toffee and caramel notes. A hint of hops balances it out. It’s got a hint of sweetness that makes it a typical Winter brew. I checked out their website and they say that add Dark Belgian Candi Sugar.
Here’s what their site says:
Malts: Pale, Winter White Wheat, Chocolate
Our Twist: Dark Belgian Candi Sugar
Original Gravity: 14º Plato
Chestnut brown-colored ale with brilliant clarity and a rich, white head.
Like the season, there’s a lot to take in. Starts with a malty nuttiness with notes of dark chocolate and toffee. A hint of hops swirls in the background.
The taste starts with assertive malty caramel notes with a touch of dark chocolate. It’s quickly balanced with a small amount of hop bitterness to keep the malt sweetness from building up.
A medium-bodied winter ale with a medium level of carbonation for balance.
Rich toffee and caramel finish with a hint of bitter dark chocolate.
I’m adding this to my Winter Seasonal Favorites list. It’s a tight list that now includes this brew and Bell’s Christmas Ale.
I nursed this brew for some time. We had a 3-hour drive home ahead of us. We’re going to the Christmas Eve service.
Before you know it the place cleared as everyone headed home to their own Christmas Eve rituals. We cleaned up the peanut pot, had a brief exchange of gifts and on the road by 5:30PM.
As we road out of Griffin I thought back about 40-something years when I would head out about this time of day on Christmas Eve with my Dad with the boot of his car loaded with Seagram’s VO. We navigated around Hollonvile and Pike County dropping off foil wrapped gift boxes to the gentleman farmers who invited him to their dove shoots.
It’s nice that those simple moments have been replaced with those with my brother and sister-in-law in Griffin. It was a very good day.
From: Denver, Colorado
Brewery: Blue Moon Brewing Company