I received a 22 oz. bomber of Pike Brewing Company's Auld Acquaintance Happy Holiday Ale at the confessional last week. The official press release went like this:
Brewed as a perfect complement to holiday meals, the alcohol is a restrained 5% by volume with an original gravity of 1.052. In addition to generous batches of Yakima Valley Magnum, Willamette and East Kent Goldings hops, Auld Acquaintance is subtly seasoned with orange peel, coriander, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Our goal, then and now, is to brew a luxurious beer to be enjoyed with splendid winter fare, like hearty soups, cheeses, turkey, hams and joints of meat.
Considering this thing is full of hops from Yakima Valley, Willamette and East Kent I was expecting a massive hop storm.
Not... even... close.
Since I don't care to have my palate carpet bombed by hops, I didn't think I was going to dig this beer very much. Boy, was I wrong! I had some of this wonderful winter warmer the other night while we filmed the latest "Taste Buds" for Beer tap TV.
As you know... I'm not big on "formal" reviews. I never understood why anyone would care so much about the exact color a beer pours -- describing it in such exacting detail that you use adjectives and terminology that NO ONE UNDERSTANDS! Or that you could taste the slightest bit of something that's probably not even in the beer. Maybe I'm not SMRT enuff for that (there are lots of people who are), but most likely... I just don't care. It's good, bad, or not my type of beer. Pretty easy analysis when ya boil it all down. But then that's how I roll.
Anywho... I digress.
The beer poured nicely into my glass, and came to rest with a sweet head. I didn't smell or taste any hops. What I did taste was a soothing, tasty mix of orange peel (probably the most predominant taste, which comes at the end of the swig) coriander, cinnamon and nutmeg. I love it! Don't let all the hop hubbub fool ya... there's just enough of cannabis' cousin here to tame all the spices without going completely over the edge and making your mouth feel violated.
Pike's PR sheet says Auld Acquaintance is "festive and flavorful with subtle spices on the nose and palate that marry perfectly with holiday foods." That pretty much sums it up... complete with a nifty bow on top!
So if you can get a hold of this sensational seasonal... do so! I'm going to get in touch with our Pike peeps and beg for more.