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Delilah's Annual Winter Beer Tasting Warms The Cockles

By Erika Kubick in Food on Dec 9, 2013 7:00PM


We headed to Lakeview Delilah's Saturday to attend the venerable bar's 15th annual Christmas and Winter Beer Tasting, the most comprehensive samplings of winter brews in North America. Delilah’s selection was both savvy and approachable and the atmosphere was altogether jolly.

We sampled from an international lineup of more than 100 beers, including vintages going back to 1998 and every year in between. It was an opportunity for beer geeks to gather around an aisle of ales, lagers and ciders and engage in friendly discussion. It was also an excuse to drink at noon. It was tough to choose from the lineup, but there were definitely a couple standouts that we tried.

The Belgian ales were a highlight of the event. We were smitten with the Brasserie des Legendes Noel Des Geants (2013), a full-flavored, velvety brew with spicy notes of honey and fruit cake. We also enjoyed the Djævlebryg Hjul & Stejle (2013), a surprisingly light and funky beer with a thick head and hints of pollen.

There were eight vintages available for Sam Smith’s Winter Welcome, a classic from England. We sampled the 2002 and the 2007. The former was both caramelly and sour, a result of oxidization from aging in a clear bottle. The latter was much nuttier with a richer mouth feel. The other English brew we tried was Harvey’s Christmas Ale (2010). This beer had a thicker mouth feel, with flavors of molasses and butterscotch - likely our highlight of the day.

We couldn’t resist sampling both vintages of the local Three Floyds “Alpha Klaus” Christmas Porter. The 2005 ale was almost sugary, rich with maple, bacon and coffee flavors. It would be a stellar dessert beer. The 2013 vintage smelled herbaceous and tasted buttery and hoppy with chocolaty richness.

We’ll be keeping an eye out for our favorite winter beers, which are best enjoyed alongside rich, heavily spiced meals at the holiday table. If you’re interested in aging your beer for heightened complexity, click here for information on maturing beer.