it's been quite the holiday season for the sisters kovach. lauren has been working tirelessly selling umpteen cases of fine booze to the thirsty masses, with nary a day off to call her own. i, on the other hand, have loads of time off from my cushy university job, but, despite my desires to not get caught up in all the holiday-inspired madness, have been running around quite a bit more than i'd like to. this year i was invited to, and happily attended, more holiday parties than ever before. plus, being married means double the family obligations! i love spending time with the fam (a facet of growing up that i never would've anticipated), but all the driving and socializing can wear a body down. good food, wine, gifts and conversation help keep it fun, but it's nice to feel settled back in our cozy home.
today, thanks to christmas being a few days behind us and to the truly epic snow storm that dumped well over a foot of frozen precipitation upon our fair city, today has been a good one for relaxing. ryan and i started the day off with an extended snooze and a hearty breakfast. more practical people would maybe use this forced time inside to take down the holiday decorations, but i don't think either of us are all the way ready yet.
another aspect of holiday trappings that i'm not ready to say goodbye to yet is christmas beer. while i don't always crave the sweet, strong, spicy character that holiday beers boast, i found myself taking solace in their soothing caress this season. one of the best i've sampled was rude elf's reserve (formerly known as rudolph's reserve) made by brew works. i feel like every other day i learn about a new craft brewery in our region. hell yeah!! when the roads are less treacherous, i fully plan on scheduling a mini-road trip to tour the brew works in either allentown or bethlehem, pa.
this special bottle was part of a beautiful gift basket given to us by our dear friend and fellow blogger annabell. anyone named annabell is pretty much destined to give adorable, thoughtful presents and just be an all around sweetheart. just saying. anyway, this belgian style holiday ale pours a thin head that gently gives way to a beautiful dark amber color. a strong gingerbread-y aroma follows. i couldn't stop sticking my face right in the glass and huffing the baked-good fumes.
despite the kind of obnoxious art on the beer's label, the flavor is sophisticated and expensive. pure sweetzel's on the nose with a slow, spice burn on the finish. there is a lingering, but smooth alcohol taste long after swallowing, akin to brandy or scotch. if you took a big bite of fresh gingerbread and washed it down with a shot of maker's, it might taste something like this. the beer's beefy 10.5% APV is good for slow sipping and savoring. so good, in fact, that i, a habitual fast drinker, took nearly 90 minutes to finish my glassful. it was my only beer of the night, but an amazing one. the notes of the beer kind of changed as it warmed up, in an incredibly pleasing way. i always like how strong winter beers claim that they "warm" you. insider's tip: that really just means they pack on a killer buzz!
so happy holidays, and don't feel bad if you're kind of happy that they're over. doesn't mean you have to stop quaffing badass bevs!