On Tuesday, team members from Ideas in Motion Media were treated to an ‘In-House Beer Tasting’ event featuring a variety of seasonal brews presented with the expertise of Indiana Beverage’s Craft Beer Managers, Jung Lee and Matt Johnson.
Lee and Johnson, a Level 2 Certified Cicerone, brought along a collection of special holiday beers that ran the gamut from light to dark which goes to show that, no matter what your preference might be, there’s a winter craft beer for you.
“There are tons of options within craft beer and there’s generally something out there that fits into everyone’s taste profile,” Lee said. “Whether it’s a wheat beer or some other type of introductory beer, we’d love for people to try something new.”
“Fred Bueltmann from New Holland Brewing says, ‘this is the greatest time to eat and drink in the history of the world,’” said Lee. “And he’s right! I love that quote because it’s so true.”
The first beer that Lee and Johnson presented was Anchor Brewing Company’s ‘Christmas Ale.’ “Our Special Ale,” as the San Francisco-based brewery calls it, is available from early November to mid-January.
“This is kind of like the ‘Grandfather of American Christmas Beers,’” said Johnson. “Anchor is the oldest craft brewery in the United States at 40-plus years now and they’ve been doing their Christmas Ale for over 30 years. It changes slightly every year so the recipe can’t be copied and, by style, it’s a spiced brown ale.”
Next up was Samuel Smith’s ‘Winter Welcome.’ Winter Ale is part of the English character and Samuel Smith’s Old Brewery at Tadcaster is Yorkshire, England’s oldest brewery.
“This is a winter warmer style ale that was originally called a ‘wassailing ale’,” Johnson said. “Brewers in pubs would brew a cheaper but higher alcohol content beer for people out singing carols during the holidays. For payment they would get a ‘wassailing ale’.”
“Samuel Smith is a real benchmark brewery and ‘Winter Welcome’ is the ‘Grandfather of all World Winter Beers.’ They’re one of the brewers that really have influenced the American craft brew scene. When the resurgence of craft beer came along everyone was influenced by Sam Smith.”
Finally, the team from Indiana Beverage featured Bell’s Brewery Christmas Ale. Bell’s is one of the most notable craft breweries in the U.S. and is located in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
“It’s really not that far away and I would encourage everyone to visit their brewery,” Lee said. “It’s the #7 craft brewery in the United States. For being a regional brewery, these guys have really created something special. They just keep expanding.”
Bell’s Christmas Ale is a blend of hops from Michigan and the Pacific Northwest, and the earthy, herbal aroma will compliment your holiday menu without overpowering it.