I hadn't planned on doing two American beers in a row, but this one has become my go-to Christmas beer, of late. I was planning on picking some up at Oliver's, but conveniently (for me, not necessarily Oliver's) the Lionheart was kind enough to get it on draught. It's a win-win situation (again, for me, and not so much for the beer store.) It helps, too, that the LH is all decked out like Martini's bar in It's a Wonderful Life—minus the drunk and somewhat suicidal George Bailey, at the bar.
It's a gorgeous ruddy brown color with an aroma of dried figs and raisins with a nose full of sweet caramel. The flavor is similar, with a nutty and mildly molasses/burnt sugar edge—like Boston brown bread or Joe Frogger cookies. The spice is subtle—with every sip you pick up a hint of vanilla or is it clove and then, maybe, possibly, cinnamon—it's there but almost not. There's something comforting about this brew. It's soft and a little warming, with a Christmas spice so subtle you might not even notice it. Maybe that's what draws me to this beer. Goose Island didn't rely on an overkill of spice to let you know you're drinking a "Christmas" beer. I still have seven beers to go in this holiday beer breakdown, but I'm pretty sure I'll still be drinking the Goose Island during that time, too!
On a side note, the ingredients for Marley's Ghost an 1843 Christmas Porter arrived today. I'm all set for Christmas future!