It’s only October, but in Cleveland, the Christmas season starts today. At 4 p.m., Great Lakes Brewing Company puts its Christmas Ale on tap at its Market Avenue brewpub. Six-packs hit stores next week.
The holiday brew’s cult following grows every year. Bars, notoriously, run out long before the holiday arrives. The combination of cinnamon, ginger and honey is sweet, but not too sweet, a little spicy and very smooth. As popular as the beer is, you have to be careful with it. At 7.5 percent alcohol by volume, it packs quite a punch and often leads to headaches and regret (“I said what last night?”).
I’ve been a fan of Christmas Ale since college, but last year, its return upset me. I was in living in Paris, and Christmas Ale was not on the list of imported beers at my favorite pub. Then, miracle of miracles, Christmas came early. Generous friends sent me a trans-Atlantic six-pack through Rozi’s Wine House in Lakewood.
I was so ecstatic, I posted a picture of myself on my personal blog holding a bottle for the world to see. I enjoyed it with a baguette and cheese.
The worst part about this beer is (surprisingly) not the hangover. Once it’s gone, it’s gone for good. Great Lakes only produces a certain amount each year, and after it’s sold out, we’re all doomed to wait another ten months until we can taste this sweet, sweet nectar.