Beery Christmas.

I’m not in the mood to do much work today, but while the crock pot is finishing up its day long task of turning a fresh whole chicken into the holiday dinner, I thought I’d post this shot of my pre-dinner beer, McKenzie Brune Cuvee, for your enlightenment. That, and mostly, to capture what my father called  the “Family Goat” over there on the right side. This bottle opener has to be in the neighborhood of 70 years old and was used, I’m sure,  to open the first beer I ever drank…and many since. It is the oldest single object I own. It, and the table on which my mother made pasta for decades, which is, I’d guess, at least a half-century old, are the last links I have to the world in which I grew up.

No in-depth review here, no deep thought—even I take off Christmas—but I will say this is a nicely balanced farmhouse ale indeed, brewed with spices and aged in oak barrels, with a nice nose and pleasant Brett-y background, and big enough at 8% to make me happy to be safely ensconced at home. I opened the even better, and bigger, Cuvee McK a few nights ago—they call it a Biere de Garde (in quotation marks for some reason)—which was also spiced nicely and barrel-aged, and that one blew me away, in both senses, at 10%. These guys do know their way around the farmhouse style, they do. I’m saving the GABF double Gold winning Saison Vautour for New Year’s Eve.

Less nostalgic by a mile, but no less appropriate to the celebration, was the bottle of Batemans Rosey Nosey (courtesy of Alan Shapiro and SBS-Imports) with which I spent Christmas Eve. It is a Holiday Ale which is new to the U.S. market this year from one of the few remaining family-owned breweries in England, begun in 1874 and now under the fourth generation.  Very nice, very British, with lots of biscuity malt (Maris Otter) and enough hops to do the job, eminently drinkable at 5%. This one was perfect for wrapping presents and explained the whole idea of Christmas to Buddy, who was most curious and somewhat concerned about why I was mixing my evening imbibing with activities which required the use of sharp instruments, something he had warned me against early on.

It has been a good day, the morning spent exchanging presents at my daughter’s house amidst the chaos of three dogs (HMB, their new black lab puppy , Harley, and my ex-wife’s frantic poodle, Dharma) running amuck. Plus I was able, via telephone, to lord over my son the fact that we have snow on the ground here in his ancestral home region while he, stuck in rainy Atlanta, visiting in-laws, was far from the drifts of Idaho.

Hey, he would have done the same to me. Dunno where he learned that.

One last once, to one and all—Merry Christmas!

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