Beery Christmas: Day 1 – Smoky Oak Ale by Ninkasi

I love beer, I love Christmas and I love advent calendars. There’s just something fun and exciting about getting a surprise present (or chocolate) every morning even at age 35. And it helps me get through the darkest time of the year before Christmas arrives to bring festive cheer. So when a friend of mine sent me a link to a beer advent calendar, it seemed like fate.

I thought it would be a nice idea to review the different beers and make a little bit of an occasion out of it. Not that I think I’ll get around to drinking and reviewing one beer a day, but I’m more than happy to extend the experience into the Christmas holidays. 😉

Please bear in mind that I know little about beer apart from what I like and don’t like (mainly Heineken, Dahls – sorry home town, and Budweiser), so these are my totally personal and unqualified opinions. That being said, maybe this will be a little bit of an educational journey for me as well – through the land of beer.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Colour: warm, clear amber

Smell: barley, malt, hint of honey

Taste: barley and malt, very sweet but not overpowering. Honey, slight banana flavour that I only started tasting about halfway through. Overall subtle flavours and smokiness. Almost no bitterness.


Suggested pairings (mine): It went over very well with my slice of whole grain toast with smoked eel and I think it would work well with other smoked meats, cheeses or nuts. Also drinks nicely on its own.

Suggested serving temperature (Beery Christmas): 10 degrees Celsius.

Personal comments: I would have liked it to have a deeper, more full-bodied flavour. I love smoky flavours and wish it had a bit more of that. But that’s coming from someone who loves Islay single malts (that’s actually one reason I was excited about this beer, it states it’s brewed with “peat smoked whisky malts”, but it fell a little short of expectations in this regard). I also generally prefer darker, richer beers like porters or stouts with coffee or cocoa-y tasting notes. But it is a really nice beer. I enjoyed it, just not as much as I was expecting based on the description. A nice one for a cold evening in front of a fireplace, but could also work for a cool summer evening,

About this beer type: What defines an ale is the type of yeast used to brew it, which  tends to gather at the top of the tank. Ales are typically fermented at warm temperatures, which is what gives them a sweet or fruity flavour.  Ales taste best if not aged or aged for only a short period of time. Ale is one of the oldest types of beer in existence.



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