I’m a bit early on this month’s Top Three Tuesday post, but I couldn’t help it! I just had to share with you some of my favorite New Year’s Eve-worthy beers.
These are classy beers, reminiscent of the bubbly stuff, but even more delicious (and affordable). Let’s ring in 2014 right!
Starting off with . . .
1 – L’Angelus by Brasserie Lepers
Still want the big pop and French styling of champagne? Look no further than Brasserie Lepers’ L’Angelus, a Belgian blonde style from the North of France. This 7% ABV stunner smells of sweet earthy hay, herbs and citrus. The flavor is similarly earthy and citrusy but with a long dry, peppery finish. The mouthfeel is effervescent with tingly bubbles that race up your tongue. Pour this into your champagne glass and you will not be disappointed.
I bought my 750 ml bottle at Dutch’s Bottle Shop in Hyde Park.
2 – As Follows, by Stillwater Artisinal Ales
This 9% ABV Belgian Golden Strong Ale is just lovely. The aroma hits you with prominent sweet pineapple and mango, and a bit of Belgian funk. I’m thinking the tropical flavors come from the hops they use, perhaps mosaic or motueka, but that’s just a guess. The flavor has a big pineapple fruitiness with a crisp, effervescence on the palate. The finish is semi-dry and wonderful. The bottle art is gorgeous too.
As Follows is available in four packs of 12 oz bottles, or 750 mL bottles. In sticking with the “champagne-esque” theme, I’d go with a 750 mL bottle (or two) to share. Ours was purchased at the Party Source.
3 – Cask Aged Tripel, by Rockmill Brewery
This big, beautiful, boozey beer is just the ticket for you who love barrel aged beers. Yowza. Rockmill took their lovely tripel and aged it in award winning Oyo Whiskey barrels. I have really enjoyed Rockmill’s beers, and this one, has absolutely taken my breath away. At 10.5%, you get a bit of tingly whiskey alcohol on the nose with hints of banana. At first I was afraid that the whiskey had taken over but not at all. The flavor is rich and complex, vanilla, a touch of sweet, balanced and smooth. The barrel aging has transformed this tripel into a glorious liquid from heaven. If this isn’t something to be drank on New Year’s Eve, then I don’t know what is.
Rockmill is a relatively new brewery located 25 minutes Southwest of Columbus, Ohio. They pride themselves in using mostly organic ingredients in their brews. I’ll definitely be making a trip to their tasting room soon. I found this beer beauty at Market Wines at Findlay Market and have seen it at other locations around town, even Whole Foods and Fresh Market in Oakley.
If you can’t find any of these particular beers, dust off a special bottle from the cellar or grab a growler of something unique at your local brewery. It’s always a good idea to support your local businesses!
If all else fails, the following is a list of some of my personal favorite large format bottles that work as perfect champagne-replacements. All of these should be pretty easy to find at your local bottle shop and worthy of popping at midnight: Duvel, Brooklyn Brewery Local 1, Brouwerij Verhaeghe Duchesse de Bourgogne, Brasserie d’Achouffe Houblon Chouffe or McChouffe, Brouwerij Bosteel Tripel Karmeliet, or Unibroue Fin du Monde.
Wishing you and yours a wonderful, beer and food filled 2014.