Great Lakes Brewing Company has given us an early reason to be merry: the return of Christmas Ale.
The brewery kicked off the holiday season early with a tapping party in the bar Tuesday at lunchtime this Tuesday and an official release at midnight last night. Faithful fans were allowed to buy one case each until 1 a.m. last night at the brewery gift shop on Market Avenue, across from the West Side Market. Six-packs are now available for purchase there.
Chances are, you haven’t forgotten the taste of this Cleveland tradition, but let us refresh your memory just in case. The brew includes honey, ginger, and cinnamon, mixed together for a spicy flavor that lingers long after it’s been consumed (as does the buzz). The popular ale has been a hallmark of Cleveland's Christmas seasons since about 1990, and the suspense we feel throughout the remaining winter, spring, and summer months has made beer-lovers crave and demand it every year since.
The beer hits stores Monday, but it's already available on tap at the brewery. The shortages of years past are unlikely — for a while, at least. We hear production has increased 22% this year, with thousands of barrels to go around.
So bring your thirst over to Market Street and rejoice.
To read our article about Christmas Ale from the magazine's December 2008 Cleveland beer package, click here.