Sunday, Dec 17, 2017
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Christmas Ale's arrival a sign of the season

  • Great-Lakes-Christmas-Ale-1

    Great Lakes Brewing Company's Christmas Ale.

    The Blade/Brian Dugger
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    Dugger

    The Blade
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For some reason, my radio provider (SiriusXM, you know who you are) has decided it is never too early for Christmas music and recently began devoting an entire station to the stuff, 24 hours a day.

Great-Lakes-Christmas-Ale-1

Great Lakes Brewing Company's Christmas Ale.

The Blade/Brian Dugger
Enlarge | Buy This Image

So it should not be surprising that the other night, alternative lyrics to “Jingle Bells” popped into my head as I moped around my house complaining about early November Christmas music:

“Dashing to the bar

In a Jeep Grand Cherokee

O’er the roads we go

Laughing merrily

Brian sings off key

His wife is grimacing

What fun it is to laugh and sing

In Perrysburg tonight

“Oh, Christmas Ale, Christmas Ale

Great Lakes all the way

Oh what fun it is to drink

My Christmas Ale today

Oh, Christmas Ale, Christmas Ale

Santa’s favorite beer

It wouldn’t be a holiday

Without our cup of cheer.”

dugger-jpg-9

Dugger

The Blade
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Yes, I have an unhealthy love for Great Lakes Brewing’s Christmas Ale, and yes, my wife and children are pretty darn lucky to have a guy around the house who constantly makes up songs for them.

I don’t consider myself musically challenged (they do), but when I learned to play “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” on my guitar, my wife guessed that it was “Jingle Bells.”

Children everywhere are surely counting down the days until Christmas. My countdown began at the beginning of October, and it ended on Oct. 26, when Great Lakes tapped its Christmas Ale in Cleveland.

It is hard to remember exactly when I fell in love with Christmas Ale, but Great Lakes has been brewing it since 1992. The brewery claims it only has a 7.5 percent ABV, but I remember one night not being able to stop laughing in the middle of the bar — for no great reason — while drinking a pint a few years back. 

The stuff just makes me happy. Maybe it’s the fresh honey, ginger, and cinnamon. Or maybe it’s that it is only available for about a month each year, so it’s a real treat when I get my hands on the season’s first batch.

The other night, I came home from work, and there was a six-pack of Christmas Ale in my refrigerator. My wife was nearby, smiling like a little kid watching his dad unwrap his present.

You sing good songs to a good woman, you get good beer. “Oh, Christmas Ale, Christmas Ale ...”

Hoppy Holidays at SeaGate

The Hoppy Holidays Brew Fest will take place Nov. 18 at the SeaGate Centre. General admission tickets are $30 in advance ($40 day of event) and ticket holders will be admitted at 5 p.m. and will receive 18, three-ounce samples. VIP tickets are $45 ($55 day of event) and will include 25 samples, including high-end beers available at the 4 p.m. early admission. There is also an exclusive VIP ticket for $69 ($70) that will allow early admission, 25 samples, and entry into a VIP lounge, where hard-to-find beers will be available.

There will be more than 50 local and national breweries. Each brewery will have at least one seasonal beer available. A complete list of breweries and additional information can be found at hoppyholidaysbrewfest.com.

“There are several breweries that have never participated in, or rarely participate in, other craft beer events. Hoppy Holidays Brew Fest should be a fantastic event for not only craft beer enthusiasts, but also for the guest who wants to try several different types of beer,” said Peter Boyer, coordinator for the event.

Tickets can be purchased at the Huntington Center box office, on the day of the event at the SeaGate box office, online at ticketmaster.com, or by phone at 1-800-745-3000. 

1 year for Earnest

Toledo’s Earnest Brew Works, 4342 S. Detroit Ave., will celebrate its one-year anniversary Dec. 2, beginning at 3 p.m.

There will be 15 beers on tap, including the Spice is Right, a seasonal winter white ale. There will be a vanilla anniversary cake firkin. The first 100 people will get $5 off a Pepperoni Tony pizza.

“We are really happy to have been open for a year. The community has really supported us,” co-owner Scot Yarnell said. “The distribution has been a bit of a surprise. Our beer is now in about 20 restaurants and bars. The beer has been so well-received that it’s exciting.”

Homebrew demonstration

The Glass City Mashers, a Toledo-based homebrewing club established in 2011, hosted its annual "Learn to Homebrew Day" event Saturday.

The club paired up with three craft beer establishments: Earnest Brew Works, Forest View Lanes in Temperance, and Swig in Perrysburg.

Members of the Glass City Mashers were on hand to answer questions on homebrewing and to give demonstrations on milling, mashing in, and fermentation.

“It was a great chance for us to brew out in the public eye, instead of our garages or kitchens, and really get a chance to let whoever happened by get to see the process,” Glass City Mashers President Jon Sicotte said.

The Glass City Mashers meet on the second Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Hungarian Club of Toledo.

More information about the club is on its Facebook page.

Contact Brian Dugger at: bdugger@theblade.com or on Twitter @DuggerCountry.

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