Last week we featured a beer that was ten years in the making. The epic conclusion to an ambitious project, the brewery had released a new brew every year for a decade, each with a unifying storyline that tied the beers together and taught the public about the joys of beer cellaring.
Not to rest on their laurels, Orange County's, The Bruery began a similar series a few years back. Based on the 12 Days of Christmas song, each holiday beer is released in December and meant to evolve until the conclusion of the 12-year story arc, when the 12 Drummers Drumming brew will be released.
This year's brew, 5 Golden Rings, puts a unique twist on the Belgian holiday ale tradition. Where most beers of the style are based on a dark ale recipe -- typically a Belgian Dubbel or Strong Dark Ale -- this beer pours into the glass with a hazy orange glow. Fruity aromas from the Belgian Golden ale yeast are readily apparent. The brewers used an artful hand in the spicing of the brew, yielding balanced notes of cinnamon, allspice, and ginger. The inspired twist in the beer is the addition of pineapple juice, which brightens up the drink and adds a tangy tropical note. The fruit and spice mingle, bringing to mind a sticky, sweet slice of fruitcake.
Given the sweet flavor and high alcohol (11.5%), the bottle is easily shared as a holiday treat. Try pairing the brew with desserts such as ricotta cheesecake for a full-on diabetic coma experience. To try the beer alongside the previous four iterations of the series, head to Monk's Kettle today, where the staff will be opening bottles of each brew as part of their ongoing Vertical Series event. Take-away bottles of 5 Golden Rings have recently been spotted at shops such as City Beer Store, Whole Foods Potrero Hill, and the Jug Shop. Call ahead for availability.