Slaapmutske Christmas Ale and Pressklubben 10th Anniversary

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I sampled these two seasonal/limited releases from Belgian brewery Slaapmutske to close 2012 and to welcome 2013. And I’m writing at this ungodly hour as a result of some weird combination of existential angst, ennui, anxiety and whatnot brought about by the impending release of the bar exam results and maybe a bit of a quarter-life crisis thrown into the mix. Luckily, I have these two brews to write about to take my mind off things. Sadly, my everyday stash is close to empty, so I’m writing dry.

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To bring a close to 2012, I decided to go with Slaapmutske’s “Christmas Nightcap”, Kerstmutske. Again, this beer made me question my notion of a holiday ale, as it didn’t seem quite as heavy as I would expect. This was medium bodied with a thick head, dark but not opaque, aggressively carbonated and not at all boozy. The dominant flavors were toasted bread, nuts, pepper and the slightly sour Belgian yeast. I guess this really does work as a nightcap beer, especially in the Filipino tradition of noche buena. When yuletide revelry and nonstop eating goes on until the wee hours of Christmas morning, something substantial but not too filling would be apt. Unlike traditional winter warmers, this would also probably suit our tropical climate better, especially considering that climate change has turned December uncharacteristically warm.

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To usher in the new year, I decided to go with the Pressklubben 10th Anniversary Ale, and I’m glad I did. This was sublime. It smelled of blondies and bread pudding – a beautiful, sweet aroma that I’ve never had in a beer. An initial burst of honey and fruity sweetness with a dry, slightly acidic finish made for a nuanced, balanced brew. I’ll count this among my top discoveries of 2012 (as that was when I bought the bottle), along with Gordon Biersch Summerbrau and Delirium Tremens. I didn’t expect all too much from these three, but they made me eat my words, and of course, drink my beer.

So to paraphrase “Chairman” Mark Dacascos from Iron Chef America, I welcome 2013 with an open heart and an empty stomach. (Allez cuisine!?!)

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