The smell of chestnuts permeates the air, coupled with the sounds of children laughing and the rich aromas of pine. People are smiling and cordial. Then this feeling of universal joy is shattered by a single phrase, “Why cant people watch their language, especially around the children? How dare you wish me a Merry Christmas!”
With the holidays in full swing, the media is starting to buzz with stories of people that are somehow insulted or intimidated by the phase “Merry Christmas.” In this world run amuck with political correctness, the word Christmas is soon on its way out the door. Companies now throw Holiday parties in an effort to not alienate or insult anyone or better yet to avoid the now too often frivolous law suit. The way some people react to the words “Merry Christmas,” you would think you were telling them they suck. So now what happens to our Christmas classics?A high school in Massachusetts recently cancelled a student trip to see Miracle on 34th Street because it featured Santa Clause. Any person with a half a brain knows that Jesus and Santa have absolutely no connection whatsoever. Even if the production the high schoolers were going to was the story of the Nativity, wouldnt you want your kids to understand and have a look at your neighbors religion?I am not a religious person; spiritual, yes, but not religious. I have spent midnight Christmas Eve mass with my Catholic friends. I have said blessings in the Kingdom Hall with my Jehovahs Witness relatives. I have stood up in the weddings of more than one Jewish friend in Temple. Chanting with the Buddhists was once a common occurrence for me.None of these people that have crossed my path would every get insulted by someone wishing them well. Let alone wishing them a Merry Christmas. I need to know where all of this PC chatter is coming from. My guess is most of it comes from the west coast, namely Hollyweird and San Fran.This is the land where some filthy skank B “ movie actress can name herself after the matriarch of the Catholic religion. Then must make it known she is a devout follower of Kabbalah and she does not recognize Christmas and Easter. Madonna also had to let us know that she stops giving her children gifts for Christmas. If you dont want to celebrate or recognize Christmas fine, but dont use your kids to make the statement.This is why celebrities kids grow up so screwed up. So what happens when Lourdes and Rocco are teens and get shit-faced at their first Christmas party? Is mommy dearest going to get more pissed off that they were drinking, or perhaps drinking Christmas beers?I know a couple of you raise an eyebrow. Christmas beers? My brother put a bow on a suitcase of cans one year¦ is that what you are talking about? Nope, the beers I am taking about are seasonal brewed for the winter holidays. Anchor Christmas Ale is one of the more well known versions of these beers, as is Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale. Typically Christmas beers are dark Ales spiced with ginger, nutmeg or cinnamon or any combination of those spices. In keeping with winter beers characteristics most are a bit higher in ABV% also in the 6- 7% ABV neighborhood.Over the next couple months you will also see many offerings with the names Holiday, Celebration and Winter Warmers. For the most part you will find the same for mentioned spices along with everything and anything you could find in a Christmas kitchen brewed into a beer.You will find a few heavier examples out there; Christmas Porters and Belgian Holiday Ales come to mind. Founders Xmas Porter is brewed with a ton of anise reminding me of the fresh baked white frosted cookies my neighbor Mrs. Fallano would make every Christmas and her fresh pizzelles. The smell of anise always brings me back to that kitchen.Dont let the Italian Christmas cookies throw you off base I actually grew up in a Jewish neighborhood with 4 temples within blocks of my house. I remember the beverage of choice at most Jewish gatherings being Manischewitz wine. Manischewitz is too sweet for my palette so I am happy to have a malt and hop Kosher alternative to bring to any Kosher holiday gatherings I may attend in the near future.For those of you that will be celebrating Hanukkah, the choice for a kosher offering is from Schmaltz Brewing Company. Schmaltz call Jubilation “the most extreme Hanukkah beer ever created.” Each year, Jubilation goes up in ABV% to match the anniversary year of Schmaltz Brewing Company. This being their 11th year on business Jubilation 11 as you can imagine packs quite a punch at 11%ABV. With a huge malt backbone and a fistful hops to balance out the flavor, one sip and this is sure to become one of your seasonal favorites.Keep your eyes opens for the parade of seasonal that shall be hitting the shelves over the next few months as the temperatures outside maintain their decline. I just got an e-mail from my preferred beer shop The Cask & Keg in Waltham, MA, stating Victory Hop Wallop and Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout are on the shelves. That means Sierras Nevada Bigfoot cant be too far behind.Let us not get too far ahead of ourselves; the subject of the day is Christmas Beers. Not winter beers. 20 years from now when I am watching “The Grinch That Stole The Winter Festival” or “Charlie Browns Holiday Party” with my grandkids in this world gone amuck with political correctness, hopefully in my hand will be a Christmas Beer. And if I cant buy one, I will brew one! Hopefully things wont get that bad and I will be drinking the same beer that is in my hand right now.My pick for a Merry Christmas:St. Bernardus Christmas Ale – This ale is the youngest descendant in the illustrious family of delicious Abbey Ales by Brewery St. Bernardus. This specialty beer of 10% alc. vol. is characterized by its deep dark colour, with a creamy, thick head and a full, almost velvety taste with a fruity nose. It’s a seasonal ale, brewed annually for the holiday season. The long winter nights are perfect moments to savour this ale with or without friends and to enjoy its unique, complex taste and after-taste.