...my true love gave to me – Holiday Spice Lager Beer – 2011, Lakefront Brewery, Inc., Milwaukee, WI, USA.
"Brewed with honey, oranges, cinnamon, nutmeg & clove"—it says it right on the label. What could be more Christmas-y than that? There's something about the way holidays smell—be it the aroma of a fresh cut spruce or a billowing wreath in the living room, the waft of hot apple cider simmering on stove top or cookies straight out of the oven. The holidays smell, well, they just plain, smell good and this beer embraces that idea. Yeah, I know a lot of Christmas beers have a good amount of spice to them, but this one goes beyond that. Lakefront has really hit the mark in combining all those classic yuletide elements, into a lager that simply smells like Christmas.
Although, the nose knows, I should probably get into the taste, as well. I was expecting a something light, I guess I made the presumption that a "spice lager beer" would lean more toward a golden hue. I couldn't have been more wrong—this lager tumbled into my pint glass a rich brown, with coppery highlights. Then came that great aroma—citrusy and spicy with a sweet round maltiness. The honey and orange are both is upfront on the sip, and the spices play back-up at first. Of those clovey-nutmeg flavor is the strongest, rolling in on the swallow, followed by bit of cinnamon. The honey, citrus and spice create a baked raisin or date cake quality, with almost a slightly, toasted woody note—nearly like vanilla. This one packs a bit of a wallop, too, and it's 11% ABV brings a nice alcoholic heat to the party, underlying all the other holiday flavors. That being said, this one drinks light a significantly less-strong beer—so watch yourself.
I've read that stimulation of our olfactory system can induce feelings of nostalgia better than any of our other senses. So, even in July, fresh baked cookies and spicy peppermint reminds you of the holidays you had as a kid. It appears that the folks at Lakefront Brewery read the same thing. They just figured out a way to bottle it—at least the smell of it anyway.